Twitter vs Blogs, Revisited

Twitter LogoAfter a week of Barcamp and Web2Expo Berlin, I have to take a look back to what I’ve been writing about the relation between Twitter and blogs. (If you like to read up on the discussion, you can find my posts on Twitter here, the most relevant posts here being probably on inattentive trust, my reaction to Chris Brogan’s Newsbies Guide To Twitter, and the post on Microblogging vs the Good Old Blog.)

So what has changed since, do I blog less when I twitter more? Definitively. But the Berlin Web2Expo week with its Barcamp, Web2Expo, warmup and afterparties and the general expo frenzy made me think that maybe it’s not just a quantitative thing, i.e. it’s not just a matter of available time. Rather, blogging and twittering seem different tools for different communication goals.

In my blog I sort of try to develop ideas, or look more thoroughly at stuff. There’s feedback, but it’s more of an output thing, and it helps building some sort of archive, or knowledge base. Twitter, on the other hand, is where I go for shoutouts, but also for advice. My Twitter network (shall we call them contacts, friends, co-tweets?) gives instant feedback, it’s the folks I ask because they know more than I do. There’s a lot more input at Twitter. (Add me here.)

On a side note, there’s also a very different etiquette on Twitter, and it’s far from solid yet: Your Twitter stream is often very personal. Does that mean: No work here? Or all work, since that’s a big part of our lives? We’ll see, it’s an area we’re still experimenting with.

But what really got me thinking is how much easier it is to meet your online folks face-to-face if you know them through Twitter (or similar services, for that matter). Although we hadn’t interacted otherwise before, dotdean, nero and I quickly set up a loose cooperation between the inofficial (but recognized) Web2Expo group tumblelog BerlinBlase; I met the faces behind the screen handles kosmar, paulinepauline, Igor and jkleske; just to name a few. If you “know” each other through Twitter, you just have the simplest conversation starter, and already have a basic understand of how those people think.

(Although it does sound kind of funny, or sad, to hear yourself say “Haven’t we met on Twitter?” But that’s how it goes with new media.)

As Twitter is a classic Web 2.0 service, it gets “better the more people use” it. It’s not the kind of application that really shows its brilliance on the first glimpse, but over time. When I look for information on certain topics, my Twitter network is the first place I go.

But maybe we need a terminology for Twitter-related social interaction that doesn’t sound quite as nerdy.