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"The Twitterization of Blogs"?...

--Another one that I couldn't post it here due to another problem to do with a 'mod_security' module on the Apache sever (apparently, I don't understand what it was) - I will blog about that in the Geekzone at some point--

From what I can work out, Twitter is basically like a forwarding service that can send your messages to multiple receivers. The key innovation being the ability to send directly from your personal communication device (email, IM, phone, web connection) to a number of preset recipients (other people's phones, your blog).

As with many of these services, the recipients also need to be signed up to receive the messages (e.g. on their phone). The messages can be private (one-to-one, one to selected people) or public - i.e. onto blog, or even the main Twitter home page apparently. FYI: Twitter FAQ section

You may ask, what's the point of having an extra way to send a text to a friend? Well I think the advantage here is that you can send one text and it then goes to all your group of friends - this is easier, and maybe saves money too? Also, the message stays in one place online, so people can see what you have been up to even if they check later on or something (i.e. asynchronous communication).

I took some screenshots of the Twitter home page today at c. 13.00 (Malaysia time):

Twitter screenshot June 2007

Thoughts:
Q: Why bother telling the world that you're about to go to bed (Mewzii, Chernobyl)?
A: As pointed out by Holahan, the intended audience is more likely to be a small group of friends rather than the world. Still, I can’t imagine texting any of my friends to tell them I'm about to go to bed, only my significant other would get a goodnight message.
Twitter screenshot June 2007

Some people seem to be having a conversation - e.g. wlai or rednerrus

Q: What is this need to share one's thoughts with the world (moriza, youlsa)? Is it some indication of an alienation and hyperreality in action as the individual needs to see him/herself reflected in the 'mirror' of the worldwidemedium that is the net?

People can use it to advertise their blog (e.g. sumotv or clipmarks). It can also be used to enable rapid updates of one's blog, necessary to keep people interested enough to return regularly.

It is clearly a world-wide phenomenon. Or perhaps more Asian/EuroAmerican...

Anyway, an interesting point to note from Holahan's article in Business Week is how she emphasises that most blogs have very few readers, and are not interested in attracting the whole world. My study of the Malaysian blogosphere will have to engage with this group of bloggers, which may be more difficult, given that they are not really interested in having strangers poking their nose into their blog/life.

They are what I am provisionally categorising as 'Personal' bloggers - i.e. they blog about their own life mostly, and usually have a small audience - though some 'personal' bloggers have large audiences, such as Xiaxue, a popular Singaporean blogger. Theoretically, I am going to try to use the concept of 'prosaics' (re. Bakhtin, discussed in Morson & Emerson) to explore this aspect of everyday blogging.

One quibble with her article though - I find that journalists are always predicting the end of this, and the newest thing that... I agree, blogs will of course change, and the new means of publishing content will develop further (in particular using video) but the analytical problem here is seeing 'blogs' as one monolithic genre... Considering blogs as a medium in themselves, a personalised extension of the self onto the internet, these will become ubiquitous (though the name may well change), but the way in which they are used will become more varied as a greater diversity of people begin to use this medium as a necessary part of social interaction in the networld. In elementary schools they will be used to teach children reading and writing skills; in secondary schools they will be used for social networking; young adults will use them for more social networking, and as a form of CV; families will have family sites with photos etc. to keep in contact with family and friends, and they will have pages for their children... and the cycle begins again.

A guess: those billions who do not have computers at home will eventually get restricted access via television channels that will give space in return for channeling more advertising and increasing customer retention.

++++++++++

Works Cited.

Morson, Gary Saul & Caryl Emerson. Mikhail Bakhtin. Creation of a Prosaics. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990.
Holahan, Catherine. “The Twitterization of Blogs”. Business Week. 4 June 2007. 6 June 2007 <http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jun2007/tc20070604_254236.htm?campaign_id=techn_Jun4&link_position=link25>.

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