Does anyone else get the feeling that blogs are so 2004? Or maybe 2005. Increasingly, Twitter is becoming the social medium of choice for me. I'd rather say it in 140 characters and be done with it than expand it into a blog post. I'm also not reading blogs as much either. My blog friends are now all on Facebook or Twitter, and I learn what they're up to that way. FB and Twitter are sort of like friendlier RSS feeds, which I never really got into.
As blogs have become money makers for their owners, the quality has gone down. Today's blog posts and titles are all about SEO. (Search engine optimization, for those of you who still think blogs are about sharing a slice of your life.)
I remember the good old days, when my post about Bonnie Franklin, star of One Day at a Time, generated hundreds of Google hits from searchers looking for "Bonnie Franklin nude". (Dude, get some counseling. Valerie Bertinelli, I could see. Even Mackenzie Phillips. But Bonnie? Mom? That's the sort of perversion that used to get you on daytime talk shows.)
Yeah, the good old days, when blogging was exciting and new. I'd wake up every morning, mind buzzing with trivial thoughts I figured I could string together into a blog post. It was a brave new world, all of us meeting in cyberspace and journeying together like a modern Beat Generation, riffing off each other's thoughts and posts link by link. The writing was good. Punctuation mattered.
Now we just desultorily RT@ and update our Facebook status. Why bother to flesh out a thought that can be completed in 140 characters? There's even Twitpic, so much faster than TypePad for images.
But is all this harmful? It is the duty of a blog post to examine such things, after all, so here goes:
Back in the last century, I remember grousing to other moms of tots about the dangers of Sesame Street. I believed it shortened our children's attention spans, with its constant jumping from skit to skit, Big Bird to Cookie Monster to catchy maths tunes. Mr Rogers was more my speed, with his long, slow sentences and coherent 30-minute explorations of a single theme.
Fast forward to now, when different media rule our screens. My Twitter page takes me from the Final Four to breaking political news to someone's breakfast, with the occasional plea for coffee, all on one screen. My mind is flung from one topic to another like Elmo on amphetamines. Twitter is to blogging what Sesame Street was to Mr. Rogers. There are no stories on Twitter; no slice of life. Only snippets of snark. Random thoughts. Links. RTs.
My mind shudders. I type, "Must cut out caffeine" into Twitter and try to concentrate on a Facebook quiz.
One day Twitter, referred to by the Ancients as "microblogging", will be replaced by some sort of "nano-blogging". Words will be replaced by character clumps. The equivalent of keyboard grunts, as our collective consciousness perceives meaning from fewer and fewer strokes.
In the future, those of us blogging pioneers, who at the turn of the century embraced the new media with our keyboards blazing, will be called upon to tell our stories. We will, of course, be warned to keep them under 140 characters.