Wednesday, February 9

Boundaries in blogging and tweeting

I came to blogging at the latter end of its prime (2003) and came to tweeting late (last month). Since moving my blog, I've tried to reinvent myself as a blogger (a little, since who I was with Sugarpacket was not a bad thing!). But now that I am also tweeting, I'm having issues regulating myself.

Sometimes I read a great article, watch a video, or see something offline and think (as I have conditioned myself over years of careful blogging), "Wow, I should blog this!" Now, though, I have an internal battle... I wonder, "Should I tweet this or blog it? Can I do both? Will anyone read the blog if I tweet this? Should I blog it and then tweet my blog?" (And then I thank goodness that I'm not on Facebook and don't have that as a third option to consider for sharing my thoughts with the world... This conundrum is difficult enough!)

Am I only conflicted about whether to blog or tweet based upon my past history with blogging? I suspect this is part of the problem. My blog was always a personal dais, a blank slate of exploration in writing, a think-tank for scholastic endeavors, and a pseudo water cooler for discussions. Having to move my blog, having to begin again, was a dramatic (and somewhat melancholic) leap into the cold(er)-hearted world of online communication. I knew I was sheltered at—I had a lot of control over my blog, I knew how things worked, I was given readership, and my expectations about how a blogosphere works were consistently met. Now, on the other side, I'm learning that my readership is essentially gone, it's up to me to build (or retain) readership, and the person I built to stand behind Sugarpacket doesn't matter to these readers because they may not know, want to know, or care to investigate who I am/was with that blog (despite this post being littered with links to it—ha!).

But at nearly the same time I moved my blog, I introduced myself to another medium for communication, one that I had been reluctant to adopt for several reasons. Now that I'm on Twitter, though, I'm seeing some of its merits. It's quick, just-in-time delivery of multimedia with limited effort, time, or dedication. Conversely, blogging takes a little longer, might not be as immediate as tweeting (especially since tweeting can be accomplished from a cell phone, which could be cumbersome at best for blogging), and requires, in this blogger's opinion, more effort, time, and dedication.

People used to do liveblogging of events. Now they livetweet (and clog up your Twitter timeline!). People used to post thoughtful blogs about articles or events. Now they tweet and retweet links to extend a massive reverberation of tweet-tweet-tweet across the globe.

What I don't like about tweeting? It seems a little more direct (in-your-face) than blogging. Tweets can't be edited (or I haven't figured out how to do that yet). Identity building appears to take a much longer time (or is there truly any identity construction taking place by piling up links and tidbits of conversations fit for fortune cookies?).

I still prefer blogging. Tweeting has its place, but I'm still learning how to carve out that place in my online life. I haven't quite figured out the balance or the boundaries between blogging and tweeting.


  1. This is because you're a writer who probably cares more about making meaning than "identity building." Many on these social networks do not care about such things as a coherent point or a logical argument. I think the difference in media is one of audience expectations, not writing intent. Maybe that will help you figure out the boundaries a little. To me, tweets are blurts -- mostly nonsense, sometimes profound as poetry -- or just links shared -- but ultimately I think of it as the "running sidebar" to my blog, where tweets are reproduced, and nothing more.

    Good new blog! Keep it coming.

  2. Thanks, Mike! Glad you enjoyed the post. I would argue, however, that meaning making and identity building go hand in hand, both rhetorically and (perhaps especially) in application to online social media. These days, now that I both blog and tweet, I'm forcibly reconsidering audience expectations (which is admittedly something I thought I had pretty well figured out on Sugarpacket, whether because of my readership or my past struggles with identity construction).

    I feel another post coming on, but first I think I need to get my hands on some research about Twitter, social identity construction, and audience development and expectations. Like and reader/writer relationship, it's worth investigating since we're bound to fill both roles at one point or another!


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