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December 30, 2010

Expanding the Blogosphere by Shrinking the Blogs

In this era of technology, everything appears to be shrinking by the day – distances or devices. People talk about the world being a global village. Gadgets decrease in size. Very few have the patience to read a one-thousand page novel anymore – they would rather buy the abridged version. In such a scenario, it comes as no surprise that blogging has taken the same turn.

Conventional blogs used to contain properly composed entries, arranged in a reverse chronological order. Some of the entries were very-in-depth. Of course, the length of the entry itself varied from blog to blog. They could be as short as one-liners, while others would be long and excessively descriptive.

Over time, blogging has given way to microblogging. As a whole, this essentially means that posted entries will be short, very concise text. Interestingly, also with time, new terminologies have surfaced. It is now common to hear the terms “tweeting,” or “status updates.”

Back In Time

It is interesting to note how the term ‘microblogs’ came into existence. In 2005, the term “tumblelog” was given to those blogs which had a collection of small text entries, or multimedia ones. The idea was that everything was “tumbled” on one blog. By 2006 and 2007, this term eventually gave way to “microblog” which, one has to admit, is a more sophisticated way of referring to it. A Chinese website counted the total number of microblogs in May 2007 and the total came to eleven. Since then more and more websites have joined the microblogging

Of course, social networking websites were not to be left behind in this phenomenon, so they came up with their own integrated version of microblogging which allowed their users to post what was on their minds or what they were currently doing. Apart from Facebook and Orkut, microblogging features are also present in MySpace and LinkedIn.

In A Word

Microblogging is actually an excellent way to connect for people who otherwise would have no time for conventional blog entries. Microblogging provides a way whereby they can simply write whatever is currently on their minds, but it saves them and their readers from writing or reading long or boring entries. Obviously when you are limited by 100 or so characters, you cannot afford to be very wordy. Microblogging is also convenient for readers as they do not have to scroll over paragraphs and paragraphs of someone’s bad day or wait for a
heavy image or long video to load. It saves time and gives one the scoop anyway. That is probably one of the reasons why there are so many “businesses” on twitter.

Readers Digest and The New York Times are only two of the big names that post a steady flow of twitter updates for their followers. Of course, they have their own blogs too, but micro blogs have an audience of their own.

The Cons

As with every type of blogging, microblogging comes with its own drawbacks. The main disadvantage is that you probably lose out on the depth of an issue and simply scrape the surface of topics and this is precisely what can lead to misinterpretations at times. Readers have to be wary of how they treat this information; credibility and accuracy are often critical issues. Also microblogging is apparently not the domain of every individual in cyber space. Microblogging may take less time, but it certainly requires more commitment. It is very easy to lose enthusiasm and consistency with a microblog. A survey showed that only 10 percent of twitter users account for 80 percent of activity.

Businesses on Twitter have their own issues to deal with. There is a lot of potential for company information to leak out through employees using micro blogging and social networking services. This gives rise to another main issue – how is the microblogging website in question handling its security? Any laxity in this regard can have major repercussions, especially since microblogging, can lead to the compilation of entire dossiers on the lifestyle and habits of individual users.


The above cons should not deter any excited microblogger. If one does not have time to log onto a separate website to post updates, then the social networking website which is visited regularly can be used for the same purpose. Microbloggers can stick to the same guidelines of ethics that they would in the conventional blogging scenario.

On the corporate level, companies can communicate to employees in a non-technical way the potential for breaches of privacy and security and ways in which to avoid inadvertent information leaks. Microblogging services can also make clear their terms and conditions, detailing the usage of information posted by users, along with the security measures they have put in place. There is no reason the potential of microblogging cannot be explored to its full extent.

Talha has been writing articles for nearly 1 year. Come visit his latest website over at which helps people find the best scented
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