The Twittersphere and the Blogosphere

Some Twittersophical thoughts about the Twittersphere and the Blogosphere:

Twitter reminds me of the early blogging days around 2001 where most blog posts were trivial and personal and only occasionally did one write a substantial post that resembled a magazine article. Even more so in the late nineties when i first started blogging. My first blog (Andrew’s Tea Salon,1997) was more like a personal update log which wasn’t very different than today’s Twitter, although much harder to post and almost impossible to find. That trivial landscape changed when the old-media book people turned up with blogs that celebrated the online-essay but shunned the personal bite-sized trivia post. When the blogosphere started leaning towards lengthy impersonal magazine-inspired content, bloggers felt guilty about clogging up space with trivia like what they ate for breakfast. The Twittersphere, on the other hand, provided a guilt-free environment for personal tidbits and the 140 character limit kept the long winded article writers at keyboard’s length. Trivia was back in vogue and blogging was saved from the threat of word-pollution.

– Twitter is more volatile than early blogging. What took days to trickle through the early blogosphere now takes hours on Twitter.

– Twitter leans on blogging like early blogging leaned on email. You are reading about Twitter on my blog in the same way that early blogging was promoted and discussed with the more reliable, more widely used technology of email.

– Brits love Twitter. Twitter worked without a glitch until the Brits brought it down to its knees last week during the Stephen Fry/Johnathon Ross episode. The Twit scoop was buzzing this morning with UK-flavored tweets, [see image below] but then the Americans were sleeping so maybe that will change later in the day. I expect Brits (like Stephen Fry who has over 100k followers) to excel in Twitter more than they did in blogging. Americans like blogs. This blog’s readership is composed of 50% Americans and only 4.4% Brits.

Picture 16

TwitScoop does for Twitter what Technorati has been doing for blogging. Sudden bursts of hotness, popularity or fame [like Ted Haggard on the previous post] were accounted for and graphed by Technorati long before the sluggish Google found them. Twitscoop does the same for Twitter, like the graph above [which reminds me of Grok] and this graph below of the most popular word in the last hour.

Picture 18-2

TweetDeck gives me a dashboard to rule my Twitter universe. It makes it easy to keep track of tweets and it makes it a whizz to respond to people either privately or publicly. Download it. Really!

– Twitter will favor the phone and that opens it up to a much larger global audience who do not have computers. Thats fantastic. I was trying desperately to blog through my phone in the early days. In May 2002, a geeky friend was developing some software that would help me send the first blog post by phone. The app came too late for that, and mo-blogging later became quite normal. But Twitter seems custom made for phone use from the beginning.

– Twitter’s color palette of light blue, grey and white are the same colors preferred by Henry Ford for his manufacturing plant, or so I read in a book on Ford motors. Apparently they provide an ideal working environment.

OK – that last one was more like completely useless information. I will stop here.

Oh yeah – wait – Yesterday I started a separate Twitter that is dedicated to the global emerging church. Its called Twemerging and it might totally bomb – who knows. It will be a regular stream of emerging church related tweets which will relieve my regular Twitter followers, many of whom are not Christian, of being updated on the particulars of my missional enterprises. I would like others to contribute but i havent worked out a satisfactory way to give easy access [and avoid spam] to those who want to participate. If anyone knows, please tell me. I am hoping it will have a more global slant than the blogosphere which favored the rich, connected, educated West and ignored the majority emerging church – those underground, off the radar, too poor to afford computers and living in non-Western countries. Practically speaking, this might take a while to get going.

Ahhh . . doesn’t it feel luxurious to exceed 140 characters? My Twitter name, btw, is also TallSkinnyKiwi

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Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Steve Hayes says:

    How the mighty have fallen!
    Google follows the trend, Technorati now takes a month or more to catch up.

  • Talkrhubarb says:

    What about the use of # keywords? I’m sure you could make some up and start using them. Retweeting, and adding those keywords if missing will help to bring people into the conversation.
    If and when Twitter has local SMS access numbers for many more countries, then it will be truly globally egalitarian since “Txt is cheap”. Making use of SMS will be very helpful in broadcasting individual local perspectives globally.

  • It remains to be seen how well Twitter will fare in relation to blogs, but Twitter is certainly more phone-friendly, so that’s a plus for the move toward mobile. I like the “twemerging” idea, too, for creating a channel separating the personal from the cause. That’s something we’ve done for our university @MissouriSandT so that my personal tweets, and those of other communications staffers, can be kept separate from official communiques.

  • jason says:

    Twitter rocks..I have connected with a lot of people through thing you did not mention was how you can immerse twitter with your Facebook updates, etc.

  • marko says:

    what? i thought you’d jettisoned “emerging”! shouldn’t your new twitter feed be “twissional”?

  • andrew says:

    Hi Marko. The rumors were exaggerated. We did jettison the “emerging” name for that particular global network, as readers suggested we should. They will find another name. But the name is still quite widely used around the world (more than missional, actually) so i think its a better choice.

  • victoria says:

    This post was very insightful. thanks!

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