Strong opinions, weakly held

On Twitter and blogs

Alex King posts about lowering the noise on Twitter. He suggests that Twitter change “What are you doing?” to “Say something interesting,” which works for me.

The truth of Twitter is that it is many things to many people and the beauty of it is that you can mold the Twitter experience to your own tastes. If I want to follow people who treat Twitter like a shorter-form blog, I can, or if I want to follow coworkers who keep everyone abreast of what they’re working on up to the minute, I can do that as well. Ultimately we all get to decide who’s interesting to us, and limit our Twitter experience to only those people. As Russell Beattie points out, that’s a powerful thing.

The thing I like about Twitter is that it’s much more conversational. I don’t know who reads my blog unless they leave comments, and most people whose blogs I read probably don’t know that I do so. On Twitter there’s a reasonable expectation that people who are following you read your tweets, and that there’s a decent chance that someone you address directly will read your tweet as well. It seems like that relationship makes it much easier to build a community quickly, as you find among LiveJournal users or Vox users if you use those sites.

We had that type of community when there were many fewer blogs. Many moons ago, it seemed like basically everybody read everybody else’s blog. I could pretty much guess who would link to my posts as I made them. If I could come up with one innovation, it would be a way to ease building communities among bloggers running their own sites the way you can with Twitter and other sites where everyone is swimming in someone else’s pool.


  1. I’ve treated Twitter more like “say something interesting” all along anyway. I only discovered Twitter a few months ago and I am not like some, updating every moment (“I’m eating a Big Mac,” “I’m getting off the plane,” “I’m going to bed,” etc). I usually only do one a day or so, but I like being able to be even more personal than I am on my blog.

  2. It would be very, very easy to do this and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why it’s never been done. What I do in my own blogging system is expose a ‘neighborhood.xml’ file where the blog author can list those other blogs that she decides are “near to her” ie her neighbors. If people don’t want to introduce a new file format an extension could be introduced into atom.

  3. ocean, do you mean something like the Friend of a Friend Project? Although FOAF could perhaps even more wide-reaching than just ‘blog neighborhoods’.

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