Twitter, screengrab AFC
Part two of a two part series inspired by Edward Winkleman‘s thoughts on the passing relevance of blogs. Part one explains the use value of Twitter. This post discusses the mechanics behind the buzz of blogs and Twitter.
Not too long ago headlines about blogs ushering in a new era in publishing graced the front page of countless magazines and websites. Two short years later that hype disappeared and twitter buzz has reached such a fury people now predict the end of the blog. Sounds like a variation on the “print is dead” or “when will facebook go the way of myspace and friendster?” story right? It’s not, but the story is just as confused.
At the root of this story, blogs and twitter are seen as an answer to solving an annoying Google problem outlined in our first post; it doesn’t index breaking stories fast enough to be a useful tool the moment that story hits. To some degree an RSS feed answers this problem, but they aren’t searchable in and of themselves. Since twitter is, the tool finds its most useful function as a search engine. In fact, over the last couple of months, the number of referrers to Art Fag City via Twitter has increased by a level of magnitude, particularly versus referrals from other blogs.
Does this mean blogs aren’t important? No, though certainly from a standpoint of referrals they aren’t as critical. But then neither is Google and I haven’t read anyone wonder about their relevance relative to Twitter. That’s because Google continues to do what it does best; sort out the most relevant archived links on a subject. Similarly, timeliness isn’t the only thing blogs had going for them; the importance of editorial imprimatur, curatorial expertise, and actual content, will continue to keep blogs, or at the very least their authors working.