Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bye-bye, bloggers

A hat tip to the Rap Sheet for linking to an Associated Press report that “young people are losing interest in long-form(sic) blogging, as their communication habits have become increasingly brief, and mobile.” To supplement Mr. Sheet's worthwhile sentiments, I'm bringing back a post I made on December 17, 2008. Everything I said then remains valid today, except that I use Twitter now — to post links to my "long-form" blog.
=====================
I've never Twittered, and I try not to twitter in the word's previous senses: to titter, giggle; to utter a succession of small, tremulous sounds, as a bird; to talk lightly and rapidly, esp. of trivial matters; chatter.

I have, however, noticed that Twitter has caused several intelligent bloggers to re-examine their function. In recent days at least two have decided that Twitter has taken over much of the work blogging once did: spreading bite-size chunks of information quickly.

Except that's not what I do with my blog, and the blogs I most enjoy don't do it either. Rather, we entertain or inform readers, or we explore topics large or small, and we generally do it by coming up with an idea, developing it at greater or lesser length, and reaching a conclusion. We write, in other words, and if doing it on a blog allows easier communication between writer and reader, that's all to the good. But it's still writing.

These two bloggers, chastened into introspection by Twitter's success, are coming around to that way of thinking. They appear to have decided to leave Twittering to the Twitterers and to concentrate in their own blogs on "long-form" writing. Writing, in other words.

It's good to have them back.

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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95 Comments:

Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Except that's not what I do with my blog, and the blogs I most enjoy don't do it either.

Bingo. Sustained thought over several paragraphs is much more interesting than, say, "Hey, I just had a great slice of pizza down at Freddie's!"

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Gerard Brennan said...

Gotta side with Loren. I'm pretty sure people don't want to know that I've just clipped my toenails. What I thought of McKinty's new book, might interest them a little more. And I'll tell them about it in more than a sentence. (I use McKinty as an example because 'Fitty G' finally made it to my place and tha postman didn't even crack the spine!) Or am I missing the point of Twitter?

gb

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Brian O'Rourke said...

Couldn't agree more. Sometimes blogging can get self-indulgent, but still, that's better than this twitter nonsense.

Gerard--I'm jealous that you already got 50G.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Philip said...

I knew nothing about Twitter, so I've just investigated a little. I now know what it is, but I am not much further ahead with regard to the point of it, which may, of course, mean that it's pointless. But I did note that Gordon Brown's office is now hooked into it, and that I shall be including in my next rant on the level of public discourse in the post-political, neo-corporatist age. I actually can't see the word 'twitter' without thinking of a Canadian writer and broadcaster, one of the CBC's stable of favourites, named Erika Ritter. A friend of mine always referred to her Erika Twitter, and if you've ever heard her, you'll know why. You describe what you do very nicely, Peter, and I thank you for doing it.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

I can't even figure out what I'm supposed to do with facebook. It seems like demonstrating your glibness is the main function. And don't get me started on good reads. It's a cult.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

All of you, Loren and Patti especially, might enjoy this comment from my ex-colleague Dave Knadler.

Gerard, I'm not really sure of the point of Twitter except for folks who may feel the need to stay literally up to the minute in a given area. I am, on the other hand, more sure of the point of those who extol its virtues: a need to appear hipper, savvier and more up the second than thou.

December 17, 2008  
Anonymous crimeficreader said...

Philip, I had no idea Gordy's boys & girls were hooked into Twitter. It will probably be used for viral spin leakage!

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Gerard, I might not care that you just clipped your toenails or what you are for lunch, but I suppose Twitter might be useful if you wanted to generate instant, and I mean instant, buzz when you get a firm release date for the book tentatively titled Myths and Mobsters, let's say. There is room for instant communication, I think, when, as with any form of communcation, the matter being communicated is foremost. The Twitter promoters would have us think that form is all, and you can bet that just as soon as Twitter goes mainstream, which it has started to do, they will be looking for the next big thing for us to get excited over. It's not all about money, it's about buzz, hipness and speed.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And do you suppose that twitter and twit share linguistic roots?

December 17, 2008  
Blogger John McFetridge said...

I think of this stuff as theoretical scientific research - it's kind of theoretical technology research. Uses may or may not come later.

But right now, I'm looking forward to hearing what Gerard thinks of Fifty Grand - though that pizza from Freddie's is looking good, too.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the kind words, Philip. As much as I enjoy blogging, I've never been entirely comfortable with the words blog and blogging. I think of what I do as writing, except I do it on a computer, and readers can write back.

As I understand it, blogs originated or at least attained prominence as places to collect, repackage and link to new items that already existed. It's nice to think that bloggers who write can take advantage of a newish technology to practice our old, preferred art.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Patti and Brian, yep, it seems to me that Facebook and so on can be self-generating; you use them because you can. Even the term "social utility: has creepy overtones, doesn't it?

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

CFR, I'd say you could safely drop the "probably."

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

John McFetridge said...
I think of this stuff as theoretical scientific research - it's kind of theoretical technology research. Uses may or may not come later.


John, that helps put these times in perspective. Our consumer culture may have developed unprecedented ability to put technology into the mass marketplace even as it is still in embryonic stages.

I wonder if Freddie's delivers.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Ahem. If one who bakes is a baker, then is one who Twitters a . . .?

No, no. That's unkind and unfair.

I am, however, on (in?) Linked In and Facebook. I don't use either of them much. I got connected to GoodReads because a friend did, but she's the only one I know who's a heavy user of it.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm not knocking them as much as I'm critizing the hysterical buzz that surrounds them.

I had only heard of Goodreads before I read these comments, but I still don't know what it is. What is it?

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Gerard Brennan said...

Brian - Sorry, I know I shouldn't brag, but nyeh-nyeh-nyeh-nyeh-nyeh.

Ahem. That's out of my system now. I'll let you know how good it is, without spoilers.

Peter - Hipper and savvier I might not be, but... no, I'm not up to the second either. Feck it. Sure I'd have no time for beer if I was.

RE Maybe Myths and Mobsters, I'll email you when I know. Most people check their email as soon as they log on, right?

John - Now I'm gonna have to order pizza for the final chapter of Fifty Grand. Can someone email/twitter/facebook message the menu from Freddie's?

Cheers

gb

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Send me a text message reminding to look for the e-mail telling me to check for the tweet about Myths and Mobsters.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Gerard Brennan said...

That'll work.

gb

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Or you can twitter, jabber or blubber. Just don't slobber.

V-word is a cross between an Irish political party and a sigh of relief: shinfeew

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Good Reads.

Book recommendations from friends and maybe people with similar libraries (I'm not sure of that last).

December 17, 2008  
Blogger paul d brazill said...

Good reads is a what? Sorry. Being glib. ;)

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's not a bad idea. I might even be curious to browse other people's shopping lists one day. But I'd still rather read about and discuss books in a discussion that can occasionally slip over into other topics -- something like a real conversation about books and writing, in other words.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Or maybe like a literary salon. Someone referred to Detectives Beyond Borders that way. It is the most flattering comment I have received.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Paul, Linkmeister: I just took a look at GoodReads. It seems part social utility, part Wikipedia of best-of lists.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

All of you, Loren and Patti especially, might enjoy this comment from my ex-colleague Dave Knadler.

That was good, although it depresses me to think we might be at the beginning of a post-literate culture. Also, honesty compells me to admit that I use Good Reads now and again.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I like what Philip wrote above about "public discourse in the post-political, neo-corporatist age." With respect to post-literacy, the two bloggers' decisions that were the occasion of my post may signal at least a slight turn in the opposite direction. I welcome this, and I won't even make fun of it until trend spotters start heralding a return to "long-form" online writing.

December 17, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

Well, I'll weigh in against the tide here slightly. Not that I have any interest in Twitter per se. I just think that its uses will become more apparent over time. I expect it satisfies roughly the same audience that text messaging does. I'm always eons behind the times when it comes to technology, but I've seen the pattern in my own life where I grudgingly accept the inevitable, and then even more grudgingly find my own uses of it.

It's not easy being me.

I 'attended' an online writing conference this fall, something, by the way, that I couldn't have conceived of ten years ago. I noticed a lot of people talking about Twitter as a marketing tool then. I suppose we are a self-selected sample of people who have 'issues' about 'marketing tools' here, but utility of said tools become more obvious when you start thinking about marketing work other than your own. I find that I wouldn't mind twittering at all about certain crime novels and anthologies in the offing. It doesn't have to mean the end of blogging, just as blogging doesn't have to mean the end of writing. Of course the bad drives out the good and all that, but I guess we may as well ride the wave and see what good we can still get out of that.

December 18, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Your stance is comparable to John's in that you're willing to accept that tomrrow's Twitterers will Twitter in ways that we cannot imagine. I do think such an attitude could be an effective hedge against turning into a grim old so-and-so.

I suppose my issue is less with Twitter and social utilities per se than with people who somehow equate that with writing. I see far too much emphasis on marketing than on the product being marketed, in other words.

As for marketing tools, I have nothing against them. I would love to learn how to market my writing and my editing more effectively. The bar is open for suggestions even if they involve Tweets.

December 18, 2008  
Blogger Mack said...

I have a Twitter account though I mainly set it up because my job duties include watching and trying social networking/utilities. You never know when something might come along that is useful. Most of what Twitter could be used for on the job would be better done in a blog. So far.

Here is an interesting use of Twitter: fans of podcaster/author Seth Harwood have adopted the personas of characters in his Jack Palms series and created Twitter accounts in the names of the characters and write Twitter posts as that character.

Also, Grammar Girl (Mignon Fogarty) in her book Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing talks about Twitter. She likes the idea of expressing oneself in 140 characters and includes a few guidelines for posting to Twitter.

December 18, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Mack, it sounds as if Twitter is useful for anything quick and immediate. Twitter is more like a stock ticker than like a financial-news network, in other words.

I know Seth Harwood has been in the vanguard of authors' use of technology for promotion, but that thing that you say his fans do on Twitter is postively weird.

December 18, 2008  
Blogger Mack said...

Oops, a word got left out of my post. Some of Seth's fans (with his encouragement) have created Twitter accounts for the characters, complete with photos. Weird but amusing if you have listened to/read the books.

Amusing cartoon with Twitter reference from Penny Arcade by way of Grammar Girl's Twitter feed
http://tinyurl.com/66en77

Quick and immediate is what I think of with Twitter, myself. I've thought of using it for a work log or maybe the library reference desk could use it to quickly log interesting questions.

Grammar Girl's book also mentions using Twitter for story ideas - "you can watch until you see an intriguing post that inspires you, or you can challenge yourself by picking five random posts and forcing yourself to make a coherent story out of them."

December 18, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You had not dropped fans from the original post. I understood it was the fans and not Harwood himself who were setting up the accounts.

Grammar Girl's idea is an interesting but incidental use of Twitter. Writers can just easily challenge themselves by picking five random snatches of conversation, sentences from newspaper stories or jacket blurbs from novels and try to make a coherent story out of them.

December 18, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

I was thinking today about how to maybe justify the Twitter phenomenon, and I thought of haiku. I know that the vast majority of what is said on Twitter is ephemeral and petty. But that doesn't mean that the form itself is necessarily insignificant. Who knows what modern day Basho is even now making his or her first tentative experiments?

December 18, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That might not be a bad comparison. As I understand it, haikus are traditionally written spontaneously. Twitter-like networks could certainly foster that sort of thing.

A quick, witty rhyme.
I'm ready to send it out!
Damn! Connection lost.

December 18, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

That's a good start, though I expect the form itself will call forth a different style.

As for haiku, I'll take this opportunity to plug a very appealing memoir called The Haiku Apprentice. It's the account of an American diplomat's entry into the world and culture of haiku during her stay in Japan. One of its hallmarks is something one doesn't necessarily associate with the American presence in a foreign country--humility.

December 18, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yes, I see she struggles in the opening chapter with prepration for her speech, a sign of humility.

The one real poem I have written in the 5-7-5 form was consistent with haiku in at least two other respects, I think: It was spontaneous, and it was written about an occasion of which alcohol was a prominent feature. But I wrote it in an e-mail exchange with a fellow participant in that occasion.

December 18, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

I think one of the things I got from reading her book was the evanescent, dare I say 'twitteresque', quality of the form. People don't write this stuff thinking they will be the next Basho. They write it to capture a moment or a season and share it with others, at least in the group Abigail was in. It's all quite beautiful, really.

December 18, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Not having twittered, I can't comment on the nature of Twitter discourse. Thing is, haiku is a kind of delightful preservation of that which is special and beautiful amid the infinite sea of trivial, ephemeral speech. Twitter, on the other hand, because it is a written form, preserves everything, no matter how trivial and ephemeral.

December 18, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

But isn't haiku a written form too?

I'm really not trying to compare Twitter as a social network with Haiku. But I do think there are possibilities in extremely short and even negligible forms that poets might exploit effectively.

December 18, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yes, haiku is a written form, but it preserves and distills the best of speech. I'm saying Twitter is less like haiku than it is like the jabber of speech from which haiku emerges.

December 18, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

That's a fair distinction. However, I'm not really talking about the raw state but what artists and poets might do with the form. In the above posts, Mack has already given us examples of a few interesting uses of the form, and I expect that's only the beginning, unless Twitter itself is too quickly superceded by the next medium.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Artists and poets could do wonderful things with the form, no doubt. But I suspect that you're right, that Twitter will be superseded quickly. I think it was Dave Knadler, whom I quoted above, who noted that the Wall Street Journal's publishing a guide to using Twitter might be a sign that Twitter is on the way out.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

If it continues to exist even when it's been left behind, that might be when the creative types start doing something fun with it. It's possible.

Frankly, blogs are probably passe, just like email, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy them. I mean there's the cutting edge technologically, and then there's the rest of us.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Mack said...

Twitter has discovered haiku. Take a look at
http://tinyurl.com/4vevon

Since twitter is searchable it is ripe for marketers. You can set up an RSS feed to monitor how/if people are talking about you/your products and react appropriately. This long article has examples. In one case, Twitter posts brought down a Motrin commercial.
http://tinyurl.com/5l5e7r

As I write this response I'm thinking about an analysis of how authors are marketing themselves using Twitter or using social media in general of which Twitter is a part. It is a pretty obvious idea so it has probably been done already.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It means there are those who care about the medium, and those who care about the message. Marshall McLuhan to the contrary, these are not always identical.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

To me, marketing is the most tantalizing possible use of Twitter. I have no quarrel with anyone who suggest Twitter or any similar technology has surpassed blogging or anything else as the cutting edge in marketing.

Yeah, I'd be curious about how authors use "social media." Given the state of mainstream publishing, authors could use all the help they can get.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"If it continues to exist even when it's been left behind, that might be when the creative types start doing something fun with it. "

That's the heart of the matter, and I fear that too many capitalist-techno-self-promoters would prefer that we consumers not remember this. To do so might lessen demand.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Gerald So said...

What's sold me on Twitter is the ability to link it with my blog's RSS feed, so when I post a blog entry, a link to that entry shows up on Twitter. This opens my blog to the audience on Twitter who might not otherwise know about it.

I take other commenters' points that Twitter isn't suited to much writing, but it's perfect for people who find blogging too formal, whose need to express themselves is satisfied by 140-character bursts. (A genuine, non-sarcastic comment.) There are some thoughts I have in the course of a day that don't rise to the level of blog entries but are best expressed before I try to write at length.

When you get down to it, Twitter is another way for people to get to know each other. Just like the rest, it can be used tor good or ill.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

What I need to do is sit down with some Twitterers, talk about how they use it, and figure out what it can do for me. I like very much how you use it to open your blog to a wider audience, and I will investigate immediately how I might do the same for mine. Thanks very much for the suggestion.

You practice that form of literature most defined by concision, so I take seriously what you have to see about short bursts of writing.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Gerald: How would I link a Twitter account to my blog's RSS feed?

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Gerald So said...

Peter: After you join Twitter, visit Twitterfeed and log in with an OpenID (such as your blog URL). Once logged in, you provide Twitterfeed with the URL for your blog's RSS feed and set how often you want it checked/tweeted to Twitter.

You can also have Twitterfeed tweet the first few lines of your blog post or just the entry title. I set a tag to let people know a tweet is coming from your blog: "Blogged: (my entry title)"

If you don't want to set up with Twitterfeed, you can tweet the URLs to your blog entries manually.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Many thanks!

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Mack said...

When you get down to it, Twitter is another way for people to get to know each other. Just like the rest, it can be used tor good or ill.

Quite right Gerald. I find it fascinating the way social media has expanded the communication possibilities. Look at us here - I'm a librarian in Virginia, you are a writer editor in New York, Peter is a copy editor in Philadelphia, Brian is a lawyer in PA, Loren is a manager in FL, Patti is a writer in MI, John is a writer in Canada, Seana is a bookseller in California ...
The fact that we can have this dialog is staggering.

I periodically diagram all the social media sources to which I subscribe and show where they interconnect. It is getting harder to do because there are so many lines to draw.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Mack, I understand that well, and I get a kick out of it. I have regular or occasional commenters here from Ireland, England, Wales, Italy, Australia, India, Scotland, Germany, France, Thailand and South Africa, some of whom I've visited or have visited me. The possibilities for dialogue are staggering, yes, as long as one realizes that they are possibilities. The real question is what one does with them.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

Mack, just wanted to say that I tried to check out that haiku at tinyurl.com and got a big security alert from Zonealarm, so didn't proceed further, even though I'm quite interested to see what people do. Any info/insights about this?

V word =sluerte, which is 'luck' pronounced after a little too much tequila.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I can offer no answers on haiku and security, but I have started twittering. It was Gerald So's news that one can link a blog's RSS feed to Twitter, and thus spread the news far and wide, that sold me. I shall have a question for him on the matter shortly.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Gerald, I've linked my blog's RSS feed to Twitterfeed. Thanks for that suggestion. It's done one puzzling thing so far: After first picking up my newst post, it then skipped two posts and picked up a post three posts old. Any idea why it would do this?

December 19, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

Good for you, Peter. I'll be interested to see what your findings are on this new form. I still don't quite get how the interface works--not technically, as that would elude me anyway until I actually tried to do it, but what it means in terms of the blog. Does everyone on Twitter see the new post link, or some selected group or just what exactly?

Yeah, I could go and find out for myself, but that would be too easy.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm also a bit puzzled by what appears and what doesn't. I received a message addressed to me from a fellow blogger, for example, and I posted both a general reply and a reply to him, but neither one showed up on my screen.

I also have not found it as easy to look for other people as I would have expected. But my experience with this medium can be measured in hours, so I still have time to figure it out.

December 19, 2008  
Blogger Gerald So said...

Peter: Twitterfeed can be buggy or delayed at times, which is why I occasionally tweet my URLs manually. In the case of my author chat blog, Chatterrific, it would often re-tweet the same URL several times. I had set it to pick up posts that contained the word "participants". I don't know if that had something to do with it.

If Twitterfeed seems too buggy, you can set it to stop checking your feed for a time, or delete the feed setup entirely.

Seana: People follow each other on Twitter, similar to subscribing to an RSS feed. Only Peter's followers receive his updates. If Peter replies to someone I'm not following, for example, I don't see that update. If I happen to be following both Peter and the person he is talking with on Twitter, I see both sides of the conversation.

On a Twitter profile page, all of a person's updates are listed by default, but it's possible to hide your updates from anyone you don't approve.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Gerald So said...

Peter: The speed at which your updates appear varies. Currently Twitter has disabled the general people search engine. I can only guess that it was being abused.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

Thanks, Gerald. You are quite a resource here.

I understand more than I did, but what I still don't understand is what would make this an effective marketing tool. Aren't you just marketing yourself to people who are already following you anyway?

I know that blogs could be accused of that as well, but starting from paying attention to one or two blogs, I watch the blogs I follow list expanding to what I could well see becoming nightmarish proportions. Bad news for me, but good news for someone who is attempting to expand their presence through the web. Does it work the same way in the Twitter universe? It's hard to believe that you could develop a 'following' just based on Twitter comments.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Gerald So said...

Seana: I don't use Twitter for marketing. I feed my blog posts to Twitter simply because they may interest the audience there, just as my blog may interest anyone surfing the Web. I'm not trying to sell anything or become better known. If I become better known as a fringe benefit, so be it.

It *is* hard to believe you can develop a following based on Twitter updates, but I have developed a small one.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

I guess my question is, regardless of whether it's for marketing or social networking purposes or anything else, is it really like surfing the web, where you can happen upon something randomly, or by searching key words or phrases? Or is it really more of a self-selected community without room for the random stranger to drop by? Because frankly, that does seem to me to be one of the great beauties of blogs. You just never know who might show up.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Gerald So said...

Seana: There isn't as much freedom to comment with Twitter as there is with a blog that allows anonymous comments. You can view Twitter profiles without joining Twitter, but you need to know a person's screenname and surf directly to that page.

There are utilities that let you track all Twitter updates for certain words, but you can only track and reply to these updates if you've joined Twitter.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Gerald: Thanks. I did wind up tweeting a post manually because Twitterfeed had for some reason posted the fourth installment of my online story but not the fifth. Since this happened just before I was about to post the sixth installment on my blog, I was left scratching my head and trying to figure out what logic Twitterfeed used in picking up blog feeds. Maybe none. Maybe this was just a screw-up.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"Gerald So said...

"Peter: The speed at which your updates appear varies. Currently Twitter has disabled the general people search engine. I can only guess that it was being abused."


I'd selected the most frequent updates, but what puzzled me was the order, not the speed. Twitterfeed wasted little time picking up the first blog post I made after I signed up. It was the second one it picked up that puzzled me.

It's a shame about that search-engine thing. I'd love to be able to see if several bloggers with whom I correspond are on Twitter. Searching for fellow crime-fiction readers, writers and thinkers might be an option if Twitterfeed or Twitter will let me do so. But it's early days yet. I still have lots of exploring to do.

I did notice that a fellow blogger found me on Twitter very soon after I'd joined up. He must have used a search of some kind.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Gerald, you're the Twitter king. I might investigate tracking updates for certain words. And I'll try to figure out how to use Twitter to get word about my blog to people who might not otherwise have discovered it.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Gerald So said...

Peter, if I were the Twitter king, I would have found your screenname and followed by now. :) Can you e-mail me with that info? Thanks.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Done, Twitter prince.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Mack said...

Seana I have no idea why Zonealarm would have a problem with Twitter. I work on the IT side of the library and would be interested in the message Zonealarm gave you. I can run it past our network people who are very good.

It looks like Peter's original post to welcome bloggers back from Twitter has mutated. :) Since I first posted a response I've added 7 new contacts.

Seana - Twitter seems to work in both the social and marketing aspects. One person I follow mentioned on his blog how he got a burrito from Panchero's Mexican Grill and posted that on Twitter. Then Joe from the restaurant responded via Twitter that they are "glad you're enjoying lunch." Some people might think it creepy but this guy liked that they were reaching out to customers and returned several times to spend more money.

As for myself, I've had authors respond to something I've written about their books and that personal touch does have an effect whether in blogs comments or Twitter posts.

I started following one person recently because I contributed to a film project she was involved in and I wanted a reminder to check out any new projects she starts. Her Twitter profile led me to her Flickr account. Connections.

This discussion has me pumped to explore the possibilities of Twitter.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

Thanks, Mack. It's become obvious that the only way to really understand Twitter is to sign up myself, but I'm kind of feeling a bit maxed out on the social networking stuff right now. Still, I may try it in the future if I start to feel drawn to it by what you all come up with here.

Zone Alarm checkpoint gives tinyurl.com a high risk website warning because it claims the site has been known to download spyware. It may be that the Twitter program itself looks like spyware from ZoneAlarms point of view. That's all the info I have from them.

v word=eadig, which is either eating with a cold in the nose or with a shovel.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, eadig, pronounced rather than written, is what one does online when one cannot excavate in person.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"It looks like Peter's original post to welcome bloggers back from Twitter has mutated. :) Since I first posted a response I've added 7 new contacts."

I suppose that could mean more contacts for me, too. The Web may grow dense beyond anyone's ability to diagram it, but the more one is part of the Web, the more one can become, er, part of the Web.

"I've had authors respond to something I've written about their books and that personal touch does have an effect whether in blogs comments or Twitter posts."

That has happened to me often via blogs, a positive effect, I'd say. This sort of thing probably helps authors market their work if they know how to get their names out there.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"I'm kind of feeling a bit maxed out on the social networking stuff right now."

Insofar as Twitter resembles chat rooms, it offers opportunities for wasting time heretofore unequalled in human history.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Mack said...

Seana, if you decide to give Twitter a go, I'm Max46 there. I can't guarantee pity posts unless that includes the amount of coffee I drink in a day or my desire to be home reading a mystery with the cats but I can be a starter followee/follower.

If anything comes of my interest in analyzing the use of Twitter by authors and mapping social media, I'll let everyone know.

considering its modest beginning, this post has had a remarkable life, 77 comments.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And I am DBeyondBorders and also my real name.

78 comments now.

December 20, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

Thanks, Mack and Peter. I'll certainly look you up should I give it a go.


Meanwhile, this Alternet news post Greek Riots in the Age of Twitter certainly demontrates the political possibilities of the form, anyway.

December 21, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for that somewhat unexpected article. I rolled my eyes when I got to the familiar pronouncement about traditional media being outdated in an age when news travels so fast by text message and so on. But I rolled them too quickly.

The article went on to say, much more politely than I will, that the difference between between mob hysteria and news is not always easy to define. The article put this more gently, quoting someone as saying that in a world of content, context is king.

I quite liked that because "content," that amoral, valueless term for anything that fills space, has long alternately worried me and made me furious.

I haven't read the article carefully, but fill in "cell phones" for "Twitter," and the piece was just like the ones that appeared after the riots in France a few years back,

December 21, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

I was a little disappointed that the article was less about Twitter per se than it seemed to be, but it did give a good example of its broader usefulness.

The content/context distinction is a good point--made not on Twitter, but as it happens, by a journalist.

December 21, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

As it happens, I've found another example to cite in the content/context argument. I gave the Daily Kos a fairly thorough read last night for the first time.

I found this stimulating but wearying. The viewpoints were congenial, the strength of the opinions bracing, and the commenters by and large intelligent. But it was a gathering of the converted. Everyone agreed with everyone else, not a perfect recipe for the democracy these folks think they are championing, and fatiguing to read. Newspapers may be bland and limited, but at least they pay lip service to the idea of offering a range of views. And what will the righteous Kosites kick around when the mainstream media die?

One of the Kos articles also made an extremely common mathematical error, the sort of thing good copy editors are trained to catch. But then, copy editors are so mainstream media. (I wrote to the Daily Kos about this error. I will let you know when I receive a reply. I will not hold my breath.)

December 21, 2008  
Blogger seanag said...

I do think the problem of the sameness and general consensus of self-selected communities is a big unanswered problem of the current era. While newspapers and magazines do tend to hew to a certain predictable part of the political spectrum, a lot people who are not that close to that cast of mind may still read them, and send a pointed comment to the editorial page, which others are then quite likely to read and comment upon in turn. It's not the same with the niche market internet media. But I don't know what the solution is.

December 21, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

My sentiments exactly. I invoked the editorial page in a discussion today. An editorial might be lame, and letters disagreeing with it might be from whack jobs, but the forum creates something like a debate. Even such a fine Internet site as the Daily Kos, on the other hand, looks like a vigorous, eloquent debate with just one participant.

In this light, one might see niche media as an unfortunate reification of an instant-gratification, Me decade mentality: I want to read only what I want to read, written only by people who agree with me. We will suffer if this media model becomes prevalent. How much and in what ways, I can't say.

December 21, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You did mention solution, didn't you?

Whatever the solution, I would hope that readers of any news, politics or opinion blog treat it not as they would a newspaper, but more as they would a section of a newspaper or a specialized magazine, that they don't make it their exclusive source of information.

December 22, 2008  
Anonymous John H said...

Peter,

This thread caught my eye earlier today and the response has surprised me. I'm an IT pro but this social networking stuff has passed me by to a large degree so I looked into it.

My 18 year old son doesn't bother with Twitter because he thinks it's stupid. He uses Facebook though to keep track of his out of town cousins and friends. He is quite up to date on what they are up to. It's almost like he talks to them every day.

My wife also uses Facebook extensively for the same reasons as my son. It's an easy way to keep track of people that she doesn't see very often. She has rekindled a number of friendships with childhood friends that she thought were lost to her.

She got a little embarrassed when I asked about Twitter. Turns out she follows 1,000 people and has 700 people following her. She was at a lose to explain the high numbers and was getting tired of people going to get coffee. To start with it was a marketing experiment. She said she might twit tweeting.

February 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I started on Twitter because of a service that automatically send notice of new blog posts to Twitter as tweets. In effect it's a marketing tool.

February 11, 2010  
Blogger Mack said...

I think Twitter can be an effective marketing tool. If Roger Smith hadn't started following me I probably wouldn't have known about his first book Mixed Blood and wouldn't have bought it and Wake Up Dead. So Roger made 2 sales that I know of off of Twitter.

February 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's how I use it, with an occasional conversational aside thrown in. I don't know Twitter's history and evolution, so I don't know how its first users used it.

If I ever seem critical of new technologies, my target is the inflated claims made on their behalf rather than the technologies themselves. I liked the Rap Sheet's post because underlying it is the belief that blogging is just writing -- that the new medium in this case is not the message.

I think Roger is tweeting these days as Billy Afrika as well as under his own name. Someone is, at any rate.

February 11, 2010  
Blogger Mack said...

And as Roxy Palmer is also tweeting. You've read Wake Up Dead - having Piper or Disco De Lilly tweeting would be interesting.

February 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Mack, I'm not sure the world is ready for Piper tweeting. Nor am I sure it should ever be.

February 11, 2010  
Blogger Roger Smith said...

Peter, Billy Afrika and Roxy Palmer came to me and demanded that I allow them to tweet. Roxy was very persuasive and Billy had a gun, so what could I do? So far Piper is resistant to micro-blogging, which is a mercy.

February 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I shudder to think how persuasive Piper might be. If he did to Twitter posts what he did to Wake Up Dead, the posts would wind up with a lot fewer than 140 characters.

February 12, 2010  
Blogger Roger Smith said...

Hah, I like that!

February 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

On second thought, he doesn't resort to persuasion.

OK, no more spoilers.

February 12, 2010  

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