In an article this week, the New York Times declares, “Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites like Twitter” using some recent surveys that appear to show that most young people (specially under the age of 18) are drifting away from blogging or reading blogs in favor of Facebook and Twitter. In other words, these young people’s attention span can be summed up in 140 characters or less, or one sentence FB update. I don’t know anything about these surveys or how accurate they are, but they do suggest a trend in how young people spend their social interaction on the Internet. Does it mean that most young people have an ADD to bother reading or writing blogs? Rather than read a 800-word article or a 2,500-word essay in the New Yorker, young people are happy with, “I’m going to shopping!” tweet or FB update. Then again, who can blame them to read or write blogs when their lives are already full of such obligatory assignments from school?
The whole point of a blog is to express one’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes and opinions on everything that matters to the individual. Whether they do it in a long form style such as a blog entry or in a 140-character or a couple of sentence on Twitter/Facebook update is beside the point. Perhaps the only difference is that unlike a blog where virtually everyone on the planet can read and comment on what you write (anonymously or otherwise), Twitter and Facebook let you control this environment – the people who can access it. Every ologist wants to define people’s behavior on the Internet but that’s precisely the problem. The Internet is an evolutionary space. It is how people use it that continues to evolve – as it should. Chatrooms, IMs, personal webpages, etc all used to be big. They’re still very much around; it is only how the Internet has evolved to allow people to use them in an slightly different way or for different purpose. I use these three different platforms – blog, Facebook, and Twitter – for different purposes. Rather seeing them as competing platforms, people ought to see these services as complementary to each other on an individual’s social life on the Internet.