Saturday, April 04, 2009

Blog or Twitter? Twit or Blogger? Will Ever the Twain Shall Meet? Hmmm...

I've been blogging now for over three years and I really like doing it - it gives me an outlet to say what's on my mind - literally the things that make me go Hmmm... But there is a new sheriff in town and that sheriff is Twitter.

I've been twittering (tweeting? the language is so cool :-)) for well over a year now, but until recently it's mostly been "Home after work", "it's raining out", "off to do laundry" - after all, the primary question that Twitter asks is "What are you doing?". But in the past few months I've noticed a change in how many of my friends (followers, followed?) are using Twitter. They are using it to share information, send links, talk about conferences or meetings they are attending (live in real-time too - very cool) and generally using it for lots more than just a "What are you doing?" tool.

Twitter has become a microblogging tool - a way to blog in 140 characters or less - now for those who know me, and for those who read my posts you know that getting me to say anything coherent in 140 characters or less is a herculean task :-). I'm like Blaise Pascal (or Mark Twain, or T.S. Eliot - someone said it...) - "If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter". I was never one of those students who EVER had to worry about not hitting the word count on an essay assignment, and talking for 30 minutes is easy - it's the 5 minute speech that takes so much time.

For me that is the conundrum of Twitter and Blogging. It's easy for me to answer the "What are you doing?" question within the 140 character limit, but how do I say anything meaningful? That is a skill that I need to learn and to follow the example of several of my friends and colleagues who do an amazing job of saying meaningful things and sharing great stuff (stuff is the universal technical term) with Twitter.

I really like the real-time "live" nature of Twitter. When I attend conferences I blog the days events - keynotes, sessions I attend, things I did or noticed - it's my way of absorbing the day and reflecting on it (and a great way to share the experience too). With Twitter I can do that as it happens - now that is so cool - I just need to develop some concision (yes it is a word :-)).

The other piece that has made Twitter more relevant to me as an information sharing and discussion tool is the technology I'm now using. I've gone from a simple digital text-based SMS cell phone to an iPhone using an application called Twittelator Pro that gives me an easy way to "tweet" no matter where I am. With these tools I can connect live from anywhere. I'm off to a couple of conferences this Spring (one as a co-presenter - CNIE), and I plan on tweeting from both theoughout the day, and then blogging each evening on the day's events - to me the perfect combination of tools...

So is this the end of blogging as I know it? I don't think so - I will still write scads on things that make me go Hmmm... I will never be able to do that to my satisfaction in 140 characters or less. I still have the need to be wordy and verbose (sorry it's in my nature), but I see Twitter as a valuable addition to my tool set of information gathering and sharing and I can tell you that from now on when I tweet (yes I am a Twit :-)), it will be more than answering "what are you doing"? With Twitter I will be able to find and share information in real-time - then I can use my blog to expand upon (and dare I say pontificate) on those subjects that still make me go Hmmm... in more than 140 characters...

(Images - Twitter logo from and Blogger logo from

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