This weekend, I spent part of my Saturday night at #HomeHer with some fellow DC-area mom bloggers. The gracious Jodifur hosted a bunch of us rowdy, socially deprived broads that didn’t get to soak in the fabulous BlogHer ’11 vibes in San Diego. Amidst the gratuitous stuffing of faces (the spread was unbelievable), the shameless baby loving (Baby Dulli was in full effect), and the modeling of Jenny’s red dress (more on this another time), we had a fleeting moment of substantive conversation – much to Jodifur’s dismay – when we started discussing whether the rise of Twitter means the end of blogging as we once knew it.
Waaaay back in 2006 when I started blogging, it was all about the comments. There were blog carnivals and memes and people took great pleasure in visiting their friends’ blogs and leaving comments, and bloggers lived to receive comments from readers. National De-lurking Day was a big deal and a sure-fire way to drive traffic to your site was to leave comments on other people’s blogs. Others would read your comment and visit your blog and vice-versa. It was a time of pure, unadulterated…commenting. The conversations on the web were taking place in the Comments section on blogs. Word.
And then came Twitter.
Suddenly, you could share your thoughts and get (and give) instant feedback. No need to login to leave a comment, or heck, to even bother reading an entire blog post. Looking to find out what your bloggy buds are up to? Why visit their blogs when you could just hop onto Twitter and check your real-time stream? Slowly, but surely, I observed the blog conversations moving to Twittersphere. What’s also funny – and I will be dating myself by saying this – is that Twitter used to be an extension of blogs. Now, it’s not uncommon to have Twitter users who don’t even have a blog. This is still very peculiar to me in light of the context in which Twitter arose for my blogging community. I (kind of) love that Twitter has become mainstream and that it has become the place for conversations on the web.
But where does that leave us bloggers?
I’ve been floating this question to several of my blogging comrades and there seems to be a consensus that commenting is down across the board. Sure, the major bloggers still receive a boatload of comments, but for the most part the regular jane doe bloggers are seeing less engagement on their sites. On the flip side, the bloggers that I’ve talked to are admitting that they are blogging less. The need for a blog post seems almost excessive when you can just Twitpic the kid’s birthday party or Facebook your horrendous experience at the DMV. [There's also the fact that people are now reading blogs on their smartphones or via blog readers where the chance of commenting is lessened.]
What I think Twitter is forcing us bloggers to do is to be more deliberate about our blog posts. I see blogs becoming more resource-oriented (i.e. Top 5 Beauty Products for Summer) as opposed to anectodal (i.e. You’ll Never Guess What My Co-Worker Said to Me Today!) Those anecdotes are finding themselves on Facebook and Twitter. And that’s ok, because social media is nothing if not about evolution.
Do you think Twitter has had an effect on how your blogging habits have evolved?