Return of the long form—Tweet thee no more?

There’s been a lot of buzz (pun intended) about the return of the “long form blog”—which is kinda ironic that blog posts are now considered “long form” content—Leo Laporte is trying to get back into posting more regularly after a snafu with his Google Buzz feed. Folks like Louis Gray never abandoned blogging, they just adapted with newer technologies as adjuncts to what they had already been doing. Even our own eponymous Raul is talking about the return of the live blog (over the now more common live tweeting. All of this has been rattling around in my head for the last few days and I until now my muse (ah, the cruel mistress that she can be) has been on giving me the cold shoulder, but I saw a bit on Californication that got stuff moving in my head. No, it wasn’t the image of writing with a cigarette and a Scotch (though truth be told, those would be pretty nice), it was the fictitious interview the main character Hank had with Henry Rollins. Hank, a writer who seems to be having issues with his own muse, decries the growing stupidity of the world. The lack of attention, lack of good writing, lack of … intellect.

In the interview Henry Rollins points out to Hank the irony of him slagging on blogger in particular since Hank’s own blog had become rather popular. Hank responded in true tortured artist fashion, and hence my self-loathing.

Now, I’m not going to write here about the ills of technology and society, what got me thinking (and perhaps made my muse perk back up), is that there are some common threads among all the recent posts about the “return of blogging”. First is the importance of permanence. Twitter is as ephemeral as a teen age girl’s fashion sense. Something is here one minute, and then when you look for it again, there isn’t even an acknowledgement that it even ever existed. Others have hammered that point home well enough, that I don’t need to continue on. The next thing that I find interesting is that we are craving a little more analysis, more meat in the posts we read. Of course 140 characters isn’t enough to say anything terribly in-depth about any given topic, but neither have the blog posts that I’ve been reading of late either.

Sure I know the more content you can pen, the more traffic you can get. However, I think we’ve all be a little guilty of just not working through the details and nuance of what something means.

No, of course not all news items are worthy of such depth, but things like Facebook Places are going to shape how society works for a long time to come. Marshall is starting to dig into the meat of what Places is going to mean for all of us. And, honestly, sometimes you need a day or two after the news breaks to be able to see the bigger picture.

As far as Twitter goes, I’m not going to make a foolish or link-baiting statement like “I’m getting off Twitter” or “I’m going on a Twitter fast for a week”, I think that’s just a tad extreme. What I am going to get back to, because for the week or two I did it I enjoyed it a lot, is working on a post a day here. That might be a lot, because I’m also going to have my hands full in short order.

But that’s a post for another day.

In the meantime, maybe we should take a cue from other folks and work on jotting down more of our thoughts in ways that will be more lasting and permanent than the 140 seconds or so it seems like a tweet lasts these days.

Or at least that’s how it feels sometimes…


  1. says

    Excellent thoughts. We’ve always treated Twitter as a conversation and content-distribution platform, not a place to explore big ideas. That’s impossible, and it’s a bit disheartening that all the smart people in social media would even consider otherwise.

  2. says

    Thank you Brian. I don’t think we should be too surprised that Twitter is settling into a more natural role as a light conversation, info dissemination, and networking. I don’t think we’ve really had time to sit back and really grapple with all the changes that have been wrought by the new technologies that have been invented.

    Even something as “simple” as WordPress…launch a fully functional website in 15 minutes or less? It still astounds me.

    Regardless, getting back to more long-form writing (I know you never left it, nor did I), will do well to help people grapple with tech.

    And if they still need help, we can always write a book about it!


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