How Blogging grew into Microblogging

So far I’ve written about how blogging got started, its fairly interesting from a historical point of view but the story doesn’t have any quirks. Microblogging has at least some irony to it as blogging, the writing of posts and articles grew into something smaller.

With the advent of Web 2.0 social media kicked in, rather than just reading about news or businesses people where encouraged to write about themselves for friends in a socially interconnected setting, most probably on myspace or bebo.

As you can imagine writing a decent blog post about what your doing can easily take an hour or 300 words (and even then its a little short) so with today’s small attention span people rarely made the effort. With people wanting updates but not willing to read/write that much posts got shorter and shorter. When facebook and its traditional 4-6 word sentence came along everybody jumped on-board, you could connect just as easily and small updates were the focus of the main feed.

Meanwhile, blogging and content management systems soon started incorporating smaller scale posts called ‘asides’ into their feature set. On a persons blog you’d find a long stream of content and in the sidebar (hence asides) were smaller, more frequent updates to keep your interest between the main article releases.

Now there are the above mentioned social networks focusing on connectedness and blogs concentrated on content. By combining peoples ability to mini post with similar content you quickly get updates on the variety of content you choose which gives rises to websites such as Twitter and Moodmill devoted to just the 30 second / 140 character post. No longer do you have a main feed with all the drivel about causes, quizzes and games controlled by a complex set of privacy and filter settings that few understand or care to adjust but a main feed of what you do or do not want to follow.


There you have it peer pressure turned what essentially started out as an intellectually stimulating analysis of the social scene into pithy comments on day to day rituals.

How Blogging got started

The 140 character twitter update has become common knowledge, by text or web you can publish a quick little thought, witty remark or titbit about what your doing. Somewhere just outside of your full attention you’ve heard the term microblogging, if twitter is micro-blogging then what is blogging?

The word blog is a portmanteau of website and log (as in Captain’s Log), usually when anyone starts saying something enough it’ll get shortened to maximize information conveyance and to save effort. (See what I did there?) so web-log was used, and eventually it was shortened to simply to one syllable; blog! Knowing the name explains a lot, a captains log is a journal of his activities aboard ship and so a blog was a website about what you are upto.

According to wikipedia it started off with one guy talking about what was going on around campus as an online diary of sorts, heres more on that article of blogging.

It was all self hosted then, certainly no social network websites like facebook or myspace, you would have to setup your server, make your pages, and if you were really good you could use a program to do it for you, and they were very hard to use compared to today’s standards.

As time does, it passed, better programs and tools became available and people not only started writing about their lives but their businesses, the first being journalists that wanted to share a story and created news blogs or j-logs (combination of journalism and blog). Soon entrepreneurs started seeing a niche for reading news as an online business and focused entire blogs and there posts around being read to generate revenue.

This practice continues today, however not all blogs are used with good intentions. There are things called splogs (spam and log) where people setup a site on Dogs for example and leave it to grab traffic from search engines to earn money from the ridiculous amounts of advertising on it.

Despite their use by the unscrupulous sort blogging has been a great source of information online, if you look at the resources section on wikipedia you’ll often see a few blogs listed. If you are really keen to learn about a subject there is more than likely a blog out there for you, finding a really good one though is quite tricky as there are so many listed online these days.


So far we’ve only looked at blogging and articles, Thursday we’ll quickly sneak past how social networking affected blogging and gave rise to microblogging.

Mail

…I turn on my computer, I wait impatiently as it boots up. I go on line, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You’ve got mail. I hear nothing. Not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beating of my own heart. I have mail… From you.

Before there was digital post there were letters, typically inked by pen and scripted without aid of an auto-speller or software thesaurus. If you were to send something you would take your time, plan, scrutinise, write. With the advent of the personal computer everyone could send a letter blurting out their thoughts and then arranging them to suit whoever it was they were writing. The first steps of personality lost in aid of formality.

When electronic mail became mainstream I’m sure the initial messages were of substance, few people had computers and a minority of them had an account to send to so what you did send was important to them or to you as mail was a rare and special thing.

Now everyone gets at least 3 figures of messages a day, 90% being spam, half a dozen reminders from some other area of the web and a personal mail sent to you by another person. And what format does that most important last piece of mail take? Three sentences? Two? E-mail has become so common place that too infrequently does anything with magnetic content come through.

If you are going to compose a personal communiqué make it a worthwhile occasion for the recipient, make intimate anecdotes, be detailed on trivial occurrences, run your mind thoroughly over the topic without fear of wasting time because every word can lighten a persons day.