When Twitter first became popular with niche crowds in 2007 it seemed to take hold initially with bloggers. People had been steadily blogging for 2-3 years and this crowd seemed to bifurcate.
On the one hand were the blogs that “blew up” and became real businesses like TechCrunch, GigaOm or TalkingPointsMemo. On the other hand were everybody else including those that tried to make a full time of it like Robert Scoble as well as those that did it as a side job like VCs, CEO’s and start-up entrepreneurs.
So Twitter was initially billed at a “micro-blogging” platform. It seemed to save all of the bloggers from coming home at the end of the day from whichever conference they were attending and have to turn in long-form content like a journalist. Suddenly it was about very frequent commentary in a bite-sized format. Whew. Now we could all sleep more. Or could we?
So with the meteoric rise of Twitter now forecast at 45 million as of August 3rd, 2009 (and rising fast), has Twitter Killed the Blogger Star?
I would argue it’s the exact opposite. I believe that Twitter has sparked a resurgence in blogging. Here is some anecdotal evidence:
2. Robert Scoble has also started blogging again as outlined in the link in point 1. The same article refers to several other people who are coming back to blogging: Liza at Maui Blog and the futurist Chris Saad.
3. Bill Gurley, a well known VC from Benchmark Capital, seemed to have a 2-year hiatus from blogging and has now picked up the pace
4. My LA VC colleague Peter Lee of Baroda Ventures has started a blog about VC
5. I have started blogging again having taken a hiatus since 2007 (actually, I was initially embargoed by Salesforce.com who didn’t want me blogging after they acquired my company).
So what gives? Here’s my view:
- When Twitter started gaining hyper traction in early 2009 many people signed up and/or returned to use it again having had failed attempts at getting excited by Twitter in 2007 (I am in the latter category)
- With an onslaught of new users everybody was scrambling to figure out whom to follow
- It quickly became clear that Twitter had a built-in popularity contest. How many users followed you was (gasp) publicly available
- Initially people would follow people who already had a lot of followers. Why? Because Twitter used to list the pictures on the right side of the page by people who followed you with the most followers. Therefore, the more followers you had the more you would accumulate. They were criticized this and began to randomize them.
- Initially people thought that all you had to do was give funny Tweets and people would follow you.
- Over time it emerged that the currency of the Twitter world was links and people began creating mad links to anything: NYTimes stories, TechCrunch stories, funny videos, anything.
- As many tech and VC professionals began to realize that Twitter wasn’t just a fad they realized that links to other people’s websites was like free lead gen for somebody else’s brand. If you wanted to build up your own profile on Twitter and in the Internet economy you needed to have something original and interesting to say yourself.
- And guess what? It ain’t that easy to say interesting things in 140 characters! (photo credit: here) Thus, Twitter reinvigorated the Blogger Star. And I’m loving the renaissance. I’m enjoying reading all the new content created in the tech / VC industries. I’m enjoying the creative process of getting my own personal thoughts down in writing.
And I’m enjoying being part of the two-way conversation again as I was from 2005-2007. Thank you, Twitter.
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(Cross-posted @ Both Sides of the Table)