on Google Plus, Twitter and the death of Blogs

hasty on a Saturday afternoon,

Google seems to have done something right with Google plus, there are no cows, farms, chickens or the likes (yet) on Google plus, and the way people are engaging in long conversations makes it easier to have a discussion than in other platforms. People are flocking to the new platform in excitement from the early online reviews.

Twitter is a ego-publishing thing that never was any good for real conversations. Users ended up inventing replies(@) and retweets(RT) and hastags(#) as ways to improve the mechanisms of conversation in an otherwise very “fire and forget” platform. Also, it never really provided a good way to find new content, keep a conversation flowing, and lately new followers seem to be “bots”, or “crawlers”.

Blogs are now probably dead, some say! I believe not. One of the big problems with social networks like google plus and twitter is that they aren’t content producing sites. They are content reproducing sites. This means that what ever you need to share has to come from somewhere else. Obviously this content can come from Youtube or a newspaper, but it will come from blogs many times. Content will come from people that invest more than 30 seconds writing some stuff up or sharing a link or a photograph (not there’s anything wrong with that).

It has been said that G+, twitter and the likes will kill blogging, or that they are a by themselves microblogging platforms. This ended up not being true. Some people tried to use twitter to publish 140 characters haikus or 140 characters iterated stories. It didn’t work. No one is referencing them and therefore they became irrelevant. Twitter ended up being just a place to chat, not to publish content. Even the references to twitter posts in some newspapers are just curiosities, some extra bits at the end of the real story.

These kinds of Social Networks aim at being “concentrators” of references to content somewhere else. They are a way of crowdsourcing and collective intelligence about the content that exists on other servers. An example: Shaq’s retirement, although being first announced on twitter, did became irrelevant as what people wanted was to see content with his greatest moments, his funny quotes, even is misses from the free-throw line. That content isn’t on twitter but on the newspapers, on nba.com, on blogs. The tweet where he announced the retirement isn’t important. The social network aspect of twitter (and others SN at varying degrees) doesn’t make it the place of publication.

All these SN services are competing for one thing: they want you to provide them with useful information about the web. Information that no algorithm can extract because it is intrinsic to people, their tastes, their tendencies, their trends.

People are curious, and will search and explore the limits of the web to satisfy their curiosity. These Social Network websites are a place to share the findings, not a place to create something really new. That’s why blogs aren’t in danger. When people create a post, they create a place of permanence. Social Networks are too much transitory, they evolve so quickly that anything published there is lost in the flow. Blogs on the other hand are permanent. They will give you an address for really important content (at least for the author) to stay. To be revisited. To be as a reference on a field or simply to be part of your journal. It wont be lost. Blogs and bloggers still have their space and I believe that many will return to blogging at the end of a day full of ephemeral chats.