Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Is Twitter Replacing Blog Interaction?

Originally this was going to be a Fine Line post, but then I realized it’s not really controversial, more like an observation over the course of several months. I want to talk about something different, something I’ve been wanting to discuss since summer started. And a conversation I was having with Val, Erin, and Mishma on Twitter a few nights ago really gave me the motivation to finally write this post. We were talking about how we feel that blogging has kind of lost its spark and that people don’t find it as fun. And that Twitter has become the biggest way to interact within the community, which has both positives and negatives for sure, but has it changed blogging too much? Has it become the, I don’t know, better way TO blog and make your mark?

Over the summer, I noticed a lot less interaction on blogs. Not just on mine. For me, I was gaining more and more views, but the commenting was very...lacking. I definitely wondered, a lot, whether my posts just weren’t fun to read anymore or not giving people much to think about where they would WANT to share their thoughts in a comment. But when I was talking about it with Shannon, she mentioned something about the blogging COMMUNITY being in a slump. That maybe it wasn’t me, but blogging in general. There have been a lot of hiatuses, people quitting. Replying to posts via Twitter. And certainly I’ve done that myself. I’m currently IN a semi-break, AND I’ve done the quick way of commenting on a post in 140 characters. It takes way less time and energy, and there is a quicker turnaround for discussion.

But with the fast interaction and pace of Twitter, it’s easy to ignore blogs. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Twitter is (mostly) a wonderfully positive platform that has made it better for people to interact with and become friends with others. It’s helped author/publisher and reader/blogger relations. It makes the huge community feel like a fishbowl, where you don’t get lost in the shuffle, such as your blog does amongst the hundreds out there. And one of the great parts about it is that it can help you grow your blog, as no other platform does. You start making more friends; they comment on your blog; you gain followers. Stats aren’t everything, but they are one of the only concrete ways of measuring success here. And Twitter can help you succeed far faster than if you don’t join. Trust me, I know that from personal experience.

But sometimes I wonder: is Twitter replacing blog interaction? And that makes me feel bittersweet, because then it’s like: what’s the point of visiting and commenting on blogs if you can do that via 140 characters in a couple seconds instead? I’m guilty of this. No one can deny that it’s way easier and takes less time, but it’s kinda saddening when you get more interaction because of tweets than because of your posts. For me, I want my blog to be something people WANT to visit and comment on, even when they’re busy or forever behind like I am. Sure, Twitter is AWESOME, but it’s not my blog. It’s not what I want to be successful at. It HAS helped me immensely during this blogging slump because I’m still talking and discussing books with people, just only on a platform I can handle right now. But when I figure out how to move beyond this slump, I wonder how much others will notice?

Maybe I’m making this out to be more than it is, but I’ve talked with quite a few others about this, and they seem to share similar thoughts. Most of you know that I’m pretty obviously addicted to Twitter, but I definitely got quieter over the summer. I cleaned out my feed to keep the negativity to a minimum (which has been just plain AWESOME). And maybe it’s because of the smaller feed, but the interactions on there have been awfully quiet lately. It’s SUPER different from last year, and I feel like that’s in part because 2014 kinda seemed like a turning point in blogging. And since 2015 started, things have shifted. I can’t even really explain this, I don’t know how to. I just know that sometimes I think the direction of blogging is evolving, and not in a good way.

And maybe THAT’S why blog interaction has been less and less. Certainly some bloggers seem to never lose comments or views; in fact, they just gain more (not that these people don’t deserve that, mind you, because they absolutely do). But for many, especially some really popular ones, I noticed a decline in interaction. Definitely Twitter has been a big reason, but to tell you the truth, I couldn’t even begin to explain the whys or hows besides that. So am I going to stop Twittering? HAHAHAH ARE YOU KIDDING OF COURSE NOT. I’m much too addicted, and it’s a platform where I can spend time interacting with MORE people than if I just stuck to visiting blogs. But I don’t want that to just be my go-to. Commenting is one of my favorite parts of blogging, and I want to spend less time scrolling through my feed and give myself more energy for visiting the coolest kids on the block.

Twitter isn’t necessarily replacing blog interaction completely, but I think it could potentially change much more about the way people blog, and I’m not exactly sure how much I’d like that. But I want to know YOUR thoughts right now. Do you feel that Twitter has almost kinda become a substitute for commenting? Has it IMPROVED blogging, ruined it, somewhere in-between? Basically, I want to know if it’s not just me wondering if blogging and Twitter no longer just complement each other. Let’s talk!

20 comments:

  1. I'm kind of useless at Twitter, so I do a lot of commenting on blogs, but I know exactly what you mean - it's hard to write a lot of comments on other blogs! I want to share my thoughts, but I suck at nicely putting things into words, it's just kind of hard. And I can imagine that if I used Twitter properly (and not just every few weeks) it would be an easier option. People want the easy way and as Twitter has become more popular and more people go on there, I guess that is just the easier way to communicate. And whether that's a good or a bad thing, I really don't know....

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    1. It is SUPER hard, especially if you want to make sure your comments are thoughtful, which take even longer to write. And that's why I think people love Twitter so much, because it's so much faster and more convenient, especially if you're someone who is always really busy. But I don't think it's a bad thing, even if I've thought it. I just think sometimes it's part of the reason why blogs receive less interaction.

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  2. I have recently been trying to comment more. I never really was very good at it because there are SO many blogs and it is easier to hold a conversation on Twitter. I totally see what you're saying. I have mixed feelings about it. I think it's easier to build friendships on Twitter and to be honest, I have pushed/encouraged/whatever you want to call it more books on Twitter than through my blog. And for me, I'm more likely to be swayed to read a book on Twitter than blogs. I'm trying to change this and read more reviews especially for books I'm on the fence with.

    I do love getting comments on posts because I'm still fairly new and don't get much traffic. So, it's appreciated so much when it happens!!!! I've only been at this for a year and don't have much view of how things have changed.

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    1. I have mixed feelings too! Because, on the one hand like you said, it's easier to build friendships on Twitter AND you're probably more likely to pick up a book because of the shouty all-caps tweets on Twitter than a review full of fangirling (at least I do). A lot of books I don't even hear about until I see everyone talking about them on Twitter.

      I love getting comments too, and so it always makes me feel a little down when I don't, and when my Twitter becomes way more interactive than my blog. But I also think much of it has to just do with the fact that I'm terrible at commenting myself and don't do it nearly often enough. Or consistent enough. I want to do better at that, because I love leaving comments on people's posts, especially if I really enjoyed it and have something to say. :)

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  3. This is such an interesting question!!!
    Hmmm. I don't think that Twitter has really started taking over as the main form of commenting for MY blog but I can totally see how it's so much easier to reply to a post there! I know people have commented on my posts via Twitter and it does spark more of a conversation, which I think a lot of people like. It's easier and quicker to reply to something on Twitter because I can reply RIGHT AWAY instead of waiting until I have time to write out a full blog post comment or saving it for when I'm reading to go on a comment spree and clean out my feed. I know that so many of us wish that comments on our blogs would spark conversation and I think that's a good thing about Twitter. Someone will see a comment and join in the group conversation whereas on my blog, I've really only ever seen people leave their own comment and they probably aren't reading comments from other people. It's also so much easier to SEE those conversations on Twitter (where you can follow tons of people and it scrolls by you) instead of following a blog and only seeing that convo when you click on it and check.
    I still do get a fair amount of comments, though! And I'm about to say something that may be a bit controversial but nevertheless, I think it CAN be true -- I think Twitter comments can be more genuine. A lot of times I comment on blogs because yes, I truly do enjoy reading the posts, but since blogging relies so much on maintaining relationships and making your "brand" known, a lot of times in order to GET comments, you have to go LEAVE comments (that's not always true but I've noticed that leaving a comment for someone new helps bring them to your blog). Example -- let's pretend someone left this exact comment for you: "Hey, nice blog post!" If it's on Twitter, it's like "Hey cool! Thank you, random commenter!" If it's on your blog it's like, "Huh, that was kind of short. I mean, thanks for the comment but did you even read it? That's all you have to say?" (And I'm not trying to imply anything but I know a lot of us feel like that when we get super short comments on our blogs. I feel like it's become this standard to leave a long, meaningful comment. And sure, that's when I leave comments (when I have a lot to say) but I feel like I CAN'T say something if I only have one sentence of feedback.
    Very long story short, I think it's just more convenient to leave comments on Twitter and less pressure to write your heart out, especially if you don't have time! I"m not saying one way is better than another, although I would be upset if Twitter took over as the main place of comments, simply because it's so fleeting! If someone comments on my blog post, I can always go back and see it. Readers can always go back and see what was said. On Twitter, POOF it's gone!
    I could probably go on but I'll stop haha! It's so interesting to think about!

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    1. I always love your comments, Brittany. You have a way of reading through everything I write, and then bringing your own perspective into it that I don't always see on my side. So THANK YOU for this long and thoughtful comment!! I so appreciate you taking the time to do it.

      I totally get what you're saying in the first paragraph. It's definitely so much quicker and easier to discuss a blog post or jump into a really thoughtful conversation on Twitter. And that's even where all of my acquaintances turned into friendships!! People commented on my blog, sure, but it wasn't until Twitter that we really became closer. And I think that's what's so great about the platform is that it gives you better access to do that. And then more people can discuss at the same time (because yeah, not many people read over the rest of the comments [I do but only when I want to see what others are saying] since it just takes up even MORE time).

      As to your second paragraph, I also need to keep reminding myself that if I spent more time commenting on others' blogs, it would probably want to make people visit mine and leave their own. I just don't do it enough, and I know that. I can't even get through my own blogroll often enough to start finding new blogs to follow and comment on. And that's on me, no one else. I understand what you mean about long and meaningful comments becoming the standard. Definitely a short tweet makes me happier than a short comment that doesn't make it seem like the person didn't care.

      I think a lot of this post is due to my own hangups. I can get really insecure, and self-conscious, about posts if they don't receive a lot of traffic. And, I know this is stupid, but sometimes I think people like me more because of who I am on Twitter, and not how or what I blog about. And it's cool that people apparently find what I say on there so interesting that they don't unfollow me (even when I binge-watch a lot of TV shows), but it is sometimes disheartening when the tweets get more attention than my posts. BUT THEN I also again have to remind myself that I do the same exact thing. I follow a lot of people on Twitter whose blogs I've never visited or commented on. It's just so much easier to talk to them on there, and at least this way I'll still be interacting with them. So I do love Twitter a lot because of its convenience.

      But do think commenting has become a lot less... interesting to people, though. At least, it feels like BECAUSE it's a super slow process (it takes me a few hours just to get through a COUPLE of blogs), people don't want to do it as often. So I know Twitter isn't replacing the interaction, and it's helped it in so many ways, but I think sometimes makes people forget that you even blog, if that makes sense. Haha.

      Anyway! Thanks for commenting, lovely!

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  4. I think Twitter is a great portal, entrance way to blogging. That's where a lot of my entry views come from, and I've met such wonderful bloggers through Twitter who now frequent my blog and vice versa. I think that around the end of summer everyone is readjusting to school, less lax work time, etc... and there's just so much going on that there will always be a slight slump in that time. Plus Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are coming up, so it's a busy time!

    Twitter is quick and easy interaction that I utilise during the week because I just don't have time to commit to blogging during the week. My mind is fried from hours of school and then homework, so Twitter is a great way for fast conversation.

    I think there will always be blogs and blogging will stay dominant. Twitter is the entryway, but with 140 characters you are severely limited. I notice that promotions are geared towards social media a lot more than they used to be, and Twitter is just a buzzing place in general. I think Instagram is the next one to watch out for in terms of "replacing" or affecting traditional blogging.

    My comments aren't as high right now, but I think that's probably because I haven't commented back in awhile.

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    1. Yeah, I don't think it's going to replace blogging or anything about it. I just meant, in terms of commenting, it might become an even more convenient way to discuss a post. I just think commenting in general is down (but not on all blogs, which are probably the ones who make it a priority to always respond and comment on others' blogs, in which case I want to know how they always find the energy for that because my God it takes me forever just to get through a few blogs and then I'm depleted of energy afterward).

      But yeah, I love Twitter. I just sometimes wonder if people would even noticed if I stopped blogging because they only seem to know me through that social media platform. Then again, I have to remind myself that I do the same thing. It's kinda a cycle that just keeps going round and round.

      I know it's not going to replace blog interaction at all; maybe it just makes it easier for everyone until they FIND the time to do their commenting and visiting, like how you use it during the school week and then do your blogging on the weekends.

      This post was just me basically wondering if I was overthinking everything, which let's be real, is probably the deal. :p

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  5. I feel you. I recently took a break from Facebook and Twitter, and I'm still on the break from Facebook, but I felt like I had to go back to Twitter. I felt like I was not only missing out on promoting my blog, but that I also was missing that connection with the community. Almost all of my posts get comments, but nowhere near the amount they did 2-3 years ago. I feel like a big part of that is because *I'm* not commenting on other blogs as much, but also because, like you said, a lot of the interaction has moved to Twitter.

    I do like the interaction there, but yeah, I wish there was more blog interaction. I'm going to try to start commenting on a more regular basis, so hopefully that will help. But it does seem like the community is changing.

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    1. YES to your first paragraph. I feel so behind when I miss even a few hours on Twitter (but recently that hasn't been bad since I feel like it's been extremely quiet on my feed lately). I'm going to be trying harder to comment as well. I don't want Twitter to my go-to, you know? I want to spend less time scrolling the feed and more time on blogs. And I think that would help bring more interaction onto my own. :) Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

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  6. Interesting! I definitely use Twitter to respond to blog posts sometimes, instead of commenting, but that's just because I'm already logged into Twitter or someone has CAPTCHA or something making it hard to comment on their blog.

    I've noticed fewer comments on my blog too, even as page views go up, but personally I've been trying to be more active commenting on blogs. I know everyone finds comments encouraging! Maybe we just need someone to host a comment-oriented event!

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  7. Yes, I have noticed that Twitter seems to be more and more popular. I always feel like I'm missing something by not being on Twitter very much. I'm probably the only person who gets stage fright online lol. It can just be so overwhelming. I haven't been able to blog as much lately, so I haven't noticed that less people are on blogs, but maybe it wasn't all my fault for the drop in comments.

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  8. YES. All of this. I'm actually in the middle of reevaluating my blogging. I go on a lot of Twitter hiatuses (like right now) but rarely ever feel as slumpy when it comes to my actual blog. Taking a break from all the social stuff on Twitter actually tends to make me feel better mood (blogging and in general). I wrote out some goals recently and the first one is to spend less time on Twitter and more time on the blogs. It makes me feel really good to comment a lot and read comments on my own blog, and I want to do that more often. I love Twitter and the level of interaction there, but I don't want that to take over blogging for me.

    Anyway, to your questions. I do kinda feel like Twitter has substituted commenting. I've received less comments and usually when I go blog hopping, I notice that a lot of others have been receiving less as well.

    I'm not sure about the second question . . . Twitter has done so many great things for blogging, so it definitely hasn't ruined it. It may be taking more focus away from blogs than anyone intends, though.

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  9. I do both. But I can tell you it is immensely different than it was when I first started doing this in 2009. Back then Twitter was a tool for promoting posts and following authors and for a lucky few communicating but it was a very closed community. I was very much a blogger watching from the outside looking in on Twitter and my attempts to join in to conversations with other bloggers or Authors back then were largely ignored. But my blog always had lots of supportive comments. It was a community and I felt like I couldn't let those people my community of readers down. When I finally chose to step back from book blogging for a while I never expected it would be for two years but it was. Coming back so much has changed. I was starting over from scratch yes but I immediately had support from so many bloggers on Twitter. It was unbelievable. The friendships I've made in the six months I've been back doing this feel like some of the closest friendships of my life. And I'm nearly 40 with a life full of wonderful friends. The blog comments have come back too. But it's different I think because you don't necessarily interact with all of those followers every day where some people on Twitter you might. And Twitter has spawned chats that has spawned projects that has spawned more friendships in ways that blogging doesn't. Does it mean blogging comments are obsolete. Absolutely not. I still love hearing what my readers have to say and responding to them. There's some great back and forth there. And I have a little bit of a different audience on my blog than I do on Twitter. Older. More educated perhaps. More thoughtful. Up for a good intellectual debate. Whereas my Twitter followers tend to be younger more fun and playful. But then again. How serious can you get in 140 characters. There's a need for both. And I don't think that will go away anytime too soon. I think we have a stronger community than ever before. More communicative. More open. And I see some great things coming out of that!

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  10. I'm probably not the best person to make an observation since I'm not really a heavy Twitter user. Personally, I *prefer* blog comments. Yeah, Twitter is quick and easy and instant... but I like the freedom of blog commenting. I like being about to chat at length, to have a "real" conversation, to get as wordy as I want. I like to think I'm a fairly active commenter, too. Obviously I don't comment on every post of every blogger that I follow, but when a topic speaks to me or there's a book I love or just something that catches my interest... I absolutely comment at the blog. And I really hope that's not going away.

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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  11. I think it's a halfway thing - I've definitely seen less interaction on my posts. I mean, I kind of expected it with my reduced posting schedule, but not THAT much of a drop. I've been a lot more active on Twitter, now that I think about it. Like you said, it's easier to connect and chat quickly with more people.

    If I'm going to comment on a post through Twitter, usually I'll just give my first impression and let the blogger know that I'll stop by later for a full comment. I don't like leaving comments with my phone, and sometimes it takes me two or three days to get to my computer in order to sit down and go through Bloglovin' to find all the posts. I just like to let the blogger know that I saw their post and liked it, and I'm not ignoring them :)

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  12. I don't think so, but this is definitely a great question! I've been using Twitter a lot more often lately to follow other authors and bloggers, occasionally fangirl over a beautiful upcoming YA. I think Twitter (and all the other social networking sites) are great tools for bloggers but I always prefer traffic on my blog as well.

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  13. So. I like this post, and I think it is a great discussion. I also like that I was mentioned, because I am a narcissist like that ;)

    ANYWAY. Twitter. I think it has... evolved. I don't think it necessarily takes away comments from like, regular visitors, but I DO think that it elicits fewer comments from close friends. I mean, look at it this way: When you and I were first chatting, I would leave my comments here. Now, we can go back and forth about it on Twitter all day ;) BUT I wouldn't be doing the same thing with someone I wasn't as close to- I would just leave my thoughts on the actual post. With my close friends, I DO try to do both, but I also then don't feel *as* bad if I miss a day or two commenting.

    So my answer is both, for the first question. It has, in some instances, but then overall, not as much. Now, question two is also both. It's positive in the sense that I think we have become MUCH closer as a community, which probably helps bring in comments anyway. BUT it has become negative in that people sometimes don't even KNOW your blog anymore, only your Twitter handle. That is the one thing that concerns me for sure. Fabulous, fabulous post!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

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  14. Yes I think so! I mean I know some people see my posts, then favorite it for later, or retweet it on Twitter. Or they will reply back and say "Hey I love this post, and so and so blah blah". So yeah. It is a much faster way for discussion, and also to get the blogger's attention. Because who ISN'T on Twitter anymore?

    Plus, I feel like commenting back has become more of a chore for some people, and it's getting harder and harder for bloggers to find the time to do so. Oo now that I am thinking about it, maybe the bigger question is whether Twitter is replacing blogging in general. Why post about something if you can just shout it out on Twitter? Hmmm.

    AWESOME POST HOLLY BOOLLLLLLLLY :)

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  15. So interesting!! I've never thought of it this way, but I think you are right.

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Comments always make me smile. :) Seriously. Even if you comment on the post weeks or months later, it makes my day! So don't hesitate to leave your thoughts even if it's been a long time since the post was published. I'll try to reply to you, especially if you ask a question, but sometimes life happens. But I do read and appreciate every single one of them because I know how hard it can be to find the time or energy to comment. So a heartfelt THANK YOU for brightening my day when you do. <3