TwitterMania – Repersonalizing Communication

The entire point of this blog is to provide an extension for my passion in all things technology that in the last four years can more often than not be narrowed further to web based consumer tools. While I am aware of the latest and greatest, I am not usually an early adopter because I will rarely embrace something until it has proven its viability to live beyond flavor of the year status. I also fancy myself a writer. I deeply respect quality writing and have grown concerned about the degradation of this craft that began with Generation X and I believe only gets worse with each group that follows.

On its face, microblogging appears to have little utility. How can anybody get excited about a medium that only lets you use 140 characters to communicate? What worthwhile discourse can be achieved with such limitations in place? This had been my stance for quite some time.

However, a new environment this year began to take shape in the blogosphere. The blogging elite, those trusted early pioneers that trail blazed a new industry began consolidating and merging with traditional media outlets. In many ways this proved the ultimate success for the format, but whispers throughout the interwebs grew stronger and with greater frequency that the personalization and community building that was at the heart of the nascent blogging culture had disappeared. Then the unthinkable happened. Weblogs network founder Jason Calacanis retired from blogging. The crux of his reasoning was this:

First, please don’t take this as a condemnation of blogging. I love blogs and always will. However, I’ve done my part and I’m looking to strip it down. I’m looking for something more acoustic, something more authentic and something more private. Blogging is simply too big, too impersonal, and lacks the intimacy that drew me to it.

Calacanis answer was to go backward and develop a small, intimate community through an email newsletter. This may work for his needs, however how is this void to be filled for the masses?

Microblogging, the hip new social communication vehicle. Not entirely, in that it is not really that new, but it may finally be hitting critical mass. 2008 presents the nexus for full blown mainstream adoption of the “game changing” renegade publishing format known as blogging and a more social, mobile and personal tool known as microblogging. While there are several companies in this arena, the clear king of the movement is Twitter.

I have known about Twitter for nearly two years, but I just could not make sense of why anyone would use it. That said, the rabid support that is demonstrated by Twitter fans is on par with those of Apple, and the noise generated by its followers began to pique my interest.

I took the leap and have suggested to friends that I cannot remember my life preTwitter. Its similar to how I view the importance of message boards, email and latter instant messaging. All four use the internet to remove the barrier of time and location to allow users to build and maintain communication with friends and family as well as develop relationships with individuals you have never met face to face.

The power of microblogging is now clear to me, but does it mean the death of “standard” blogging? A recent Wired article argued just that, but I think WordYard provides the best refute to this claim. I agree that the blogosphere longtail will become a bit shorter because of microblogging, but the blog is here to stay. It gives anyone a voice (without space limitations), an incubator to develop writing in a digital age and a personal journal for those with less ambitious ends that only desire a place to communicate with friends and family. Oh yeah, but did I mention microblogging is awesome…

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