Micro-blogging vs Mega-blogging

I don’t think “mega-blogging” is actually a thing, I just made it up to make the title sound more dramatic. But if mega-blogging were a thing, you would do it with WordPress. Micro-blogging is a thing, and a lot of people do it with Twitter.

TechCrunch drops in this fray with an article comparing the comScore numbers of WordPress.com and Twitter.com, which show an accelerating growth for WP.com and flattening for Twitter. I’ll talk about the data itself later, but first wanted to point out a point many overlook when trying to create a battle between the mediums.

New forms of social media, including micro-blogging, are complementary to blogging.

One of the many uses of Twitter is to link to and promote your blog posts. (And other people’s blog posts.) As we grow, so do they, and vice versa. I blog when I have something longer to say, like this. I tweet when it’s the lowest friction way to talk to my friends, or get distribution for something longer I did somewhere else.

It’s not really a “versus,” it’s an “and.”

Whether the Twitter team intended it or not, they’ve built a killer and highly addictive reader platform with dozens of interesting UIs on top of it.

Features like WP.me, post by email, Twitter publicize, RSS Cloud, P2, email subscriptions, and more stuff in the cooker is trying to tie these things together more because people who do one are highly likely to do another.

As for the accuracy of underlying comScore data I would say they probably are precise but not accurate, meaning that whatever flaws they have in collection now, for example for WP.com they don’t count the custom domains or RSS readers and for Twitter they don’t count API usage or desktop clients, they’re at least self-consistent in how they do things over time. Some months they show us flat our internal stats showed growth, and vice versa. Ultimately it’s not worth anyone outside of comScore arguing how they collect their data, it’s better just to use it as one reference point alongside Quantcast (my fav), Alexa, Google Trends, Nielsen…

How tweets get imported into a blog is still an open question for me. I’ve seen lots of ways people have attempted it but when a blog becomes an activity stream it becomes a weak version of all the things it aggregates, less than the sum of its parts, because of the loss of context.

65 thoughts on “Micro-blogging vs Mega-blogging

  1. Well, You are right, Twitter is a micro blogging which is a part from the Mega blogging ! so I think now a days Twitter is a complementary for Blogging in general but we cannot compare them because each one was built for it’s own purpose .

  2. Nice post there Matt, I agree with you, micro-blogging isn’t ever going to take over regular blogging, it simply, as you said, complements it and it adds another way for people to “subscribe” to your blog posts as well.

    1. Well it’s not good to write it off either, there are definitely folks including myself who might tweet things that 5 years ago I would have blogged, it’s like water flows to its most natural path some stuff I produce feel better in context someplace else or using another tool.

      1. I think this is an interesting observation (water flowing to natural path). I have both a self-hosted WP blog and a Twitter account. I often find that when I have things to blog I don’t have much to tweet and when I have things to tweet, my blog often hits a dry spell. That’s probably the only frustrating thing is that one seems to take the brainpower from the other.

      2. I find it works the other way around for me, Erik. While Twitter is a tool I use to push the content of my blog I also use Twitter as a way to hash out ideas. I’ll link to things on Twitter, find out what is interesting to people, and then go into more depth about those topics on my blog.

        I agree with Matt, Twitter and WP are complementary services.

      3. Well five years ago there wasn’t Twitter (I don’t think) so naturally, you pretty much had to post it on your blog, otherwise you couldn’t say it…

      4. it’s all a matter of what the platform does best. my biggest early critique of twitter was that if you had a thought that wasn’t worth blogging but was worth tweeting instead, it probably wasn’t worth sharing at all (i.e. the “i’m eating a sammich” tweets). but i think that twitter has evolved and i think that my early assumptions about twitter were misguided. certain things lend themselves naturally better to some platforms and not to others. is twitter going to kill rss? no, because people (myself included) still use rss to follow the blogs they care about — twitter adds to that by offering links (among other things) from people we care about that they thought was interesting. twitter vs. wordpress/blogging is not the same as amazon’s kindle vs. barnes & noble’s nook, or del.icio.us vs. digg where you’re comparing relative features. the thing that makes twitter brilliant is that it was built with a simple pretext as an open-ended platform, and how it’s evolved has been entirely based on where the users took it, which i think is fascinating and awesome.

  3. Thanks to this micro-blogging there are a lot of bloggers that stop generating content on their blogs. That means there was a lot of posts that have no “real value” and it was just content. Only that. And Matt, remember, we are just a part of the Twitter’s users. We are geeks, we are bloggers, programmers, marketing online lovers, etc. and we use twitter in a different way than others do.

    And yeah, i’m agree with “It’s not really a “versus,” it’s an “and.” But not always 🙂

    1. Guilty as charged. I use Loudtweeter to aggregate my daily twitter posts onto my LiveJournal, and as a result hardly make any “real” LJ posts at all anymore. I guess I sort of feel like I’m “covered” what with the tweets.

    2. The reason most bloggers don’t update is not because of running out of inspiration but I think it’s because they don’t want to fill their blog with “worthless” contents. And I’m beginning to think that most people “switch” just because they have little to say. Tweeting and blogging should be a “and” thing and not “versus” as they compliment

  4. I think of Twitter as a way to replace Google Reader. Also I love to blog as I only use Twitter to express my instant feeling to the world. Nice perspective BTW. 🙂

    1. Twitter (especially with Lists) has helped me to deal with determining WHO to give my attention as I battle information overload.

      Therefore, I wouldN’T want to contribute to that information overload myself so I try to keep my blog posts relevant and I use Twitter to interact with a select group of people who I am trying to engage. Micro-blogging seems to facilitate one-to-one engagement in ways that mega-blogging really can’t.

  5. It is easier to retweet than to reblog. It is easier to comment and share ideas on Twitter than it is to get similar people to view a page and actually comment.

  6. This merging of content streams doesn’t always need to result in a loss of context.

    When I have a pithy observation to make, I use my micro-journal. When I have something more substantial to convey, I write a long journal entry about it.

    The self-centredness of my (WP) journal and my (identi.ca) micro-journal ensures that pulling my micro-journal feed into my journal doesn’t disrupt the flow. It provides more of the same ideas, just more succinctly.

    This system, along with a bit of conditional styling works for me.

    On the other hand, I don’t use my identi.ca feed as a means of publicising my journal entries, because I’ve artificially decided that those who follow my micro-feed only have time for tidbits, and not detailed life news.

    1. You should read scripting.com, Dave Winer has thought a lot about exactly that and RSS Cloud is one of the building blocks in that unbundling, as you put it.

  7. >>>but when a blog becomes an activity stream it becomes a weak version of all the things it aggregates

    That may be so, but I’d like to have a private blog that automagically imports my tweets. It’s not easy finding past tweets on Twitter and such a blog would be a great tool for me.

    1. wp-o-matic works great for that. one of the least-spammy uses for wp-o-matic that i’ve found is to use it as an aggregator for your social streams from other networks. much better than using it in conjunction with google alerts to generate auto-content like all those fake blogs do.

  8. Good to see someone note that these are indeed complimentary – everyone seems to enjoy pitting one service against another, or comparing a new startup with an industry heavy weight (“Why start-up X will never be the next Twitter/Google/etc”)

    Indeed more complimentary services are needed and it’s good to see that perspective mentioned…

  9. Matt, where do you place digital curation on the publishing continuum? And how do you see WordPress coming to the DC party? TypePad, for example, has recently released Micro.
    Is DC another ‘and gate’ to blogging, alongside microblogging?

    1. Sure, I would say “digital curation” was at the heart of early blogging and something that a lot of bloggers on WP and otherwise still do, including myself. As for coming to the party, we add functionality as our users guide us or if we see something that is really fun.

  10. Matt,

    Great headline, it got me to read this post, which is what a headline is supposed to do.

    Also, couldn’t agree more that megablogging and microblogging are complementary. It’s a false dichotomy which I was trying to dispel.

    As I write in the TechCrunch post you link to above: “Blogging never really went away, and was in fact helped by Twitter, which is becoming the preferred feed reader for many people.”

    Thanks for the link and the discussion.

  11. I don’t think micro and mega should be prefixed with blogging. Blogging is blogging. Measuring up a blog is I think senseless. It is not the numbers or length that really counts, but the impact of something were we can really feel the magnitude of it.

  12. Great posting and I agree about that the two go together and are not a competition. I veiw twitter not so much as a microblog but as an activity, informational, conversational stream.

    I use the twitwall as microblog because it is fast and easy and feeds into twitter.

  13. I definitely think we are going to see some clever innovation as we mash these concepts together. Dave Winer is doing some of the most interesting stuff–gaining some control and thought over the publishing and syndication process is key. Right now the shotgun technique is creating a messy ecosystem.

  14. Hey Matt,

    Just found you today from looking through WP goodies, particularly the new P2 theme that’s being tested on WP 2.9 beta and wanted to say you’re real cool with how you o about your thing.

    I’ve just come back to innovative IT from a stint of lecturing and it seems there’s been more going on at grassroots level than I was aware of (shame on me!).

    I’ll be keeping myself up to date with your thoughts and hopefully using them to better the project that I’m working with now – In short “Thanks!”

  15. This post supported a presentation I recently gave to a number of marine industry professionals on Leveraging Social Media and Blogging. We use WordPress for all of our sites and Twitter to make announcements about blog posts, events, thoughts, etc. I liked it so much that I re-posted some of the ideas on my blog with a link to ma.tt. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. I think that both are an extension of the self… Mega-blogs are good for long thoughts and reflection.. whereas twitter is good for “Today I ate my Doritos with a fork” – the short fun stuff to keep people interested in visiting your blog. That’s my $.02

  17. We could use the following analogy to understand blog and Twitter:

    Private vs. Public

    Traditional diaries –> Blogs
    Instant Message –> Twitter

  18. Micro-blogging kinda is annoying sometimes… I have a friend who has a microblog with a hugely complicated theme… I mean, his posts are one sentence long… That’s what Twitter is for… Your blog is great. (:

  19. I find that there are two different matters completely, twitter or microbloging are rather similar for short messages such as sms, mega blogging is meant for great things, however, articles, explanations, etc., in comparison to sms those are the emails that I personally use both, which also most do in the 21st century. as they say it: for every closed, there is also a key.