Returning to my regular blog after a self-imposed, fiction-filled hiatus, I noticed that many people whose blogs I used to read from time to time are now blogging significantly less, whereas they seem to have pretty active Twitter accounts.
Are microblogs the new blogs? Have former bloggers finally realized that their lengthy entries could also be condensed down to 140 characters? Or are people no longer interested in investing in time-consuming tasks such as blogging?
Even though many people maintain that blogging and Twitter serve different purposes and Twitter will therefore not replace blogs, I see how many occasional bloggers find the quick-and-dirty approach to sending messages via Twitter as tempting now as they found the quick-and-dirty approach to building web pages with blog software in 2004.
It's mostly about getting your message out with the least amount of effort, and I suppose that it depends on your message; whether you find blogging a burden or a necessity.
Still, replacing a blog with a Twitter feed is something like blog suicide. As easy as it is for the writer to publish random thoughts, as frustrating is it for any reader to make sense of these fragments. Twitter's tweets are more or less unreadable unless you are an integral part of the writer's Twitter network and can thus understand the allusions and inside jokes.
In addition to this, many Twitter feeds seem to serve little purpose other than to be an outlet for the writer's immediate impressions, or, in the worst case, logorrhea. Whereas blogs usually argue points, most tweets don't even have a point and exist as a mere expression of fun and excitement. I'd therefore expect that all the hype will disappear as the excitement calms down and more readers become aware of the lack of content; in the end Twitter will find its (small) niche just as blogs have already found theirs.
Strangely enough, while many bloggers who used to write lengthy entries are now twittering their thoughts in 140 characters, some bloggers for whom Twitter looks like the tailormade tool for what they have been doing for years do not switch to the new format. For example, Glenn Reynolds, whose blog I've always considered to be a microblog long before the term was coined, does not seem to have a Twitter account, but sticks to the regular blog publishing format, even though most of his blog entries have less than 140 characters and are about as disconnected as the average Twitter feed.