My Manila Bulletin Blog-O-Rama column this week talks about the unstoppable rise of the so-called microblogs. If you ever wonder where your favorite bloggers are, most likely you can find them in sites like Plurk & Twitter.
What you can find here? Mundane details such as what we ate for lunch, gossip in cyberspace and all sorts of chatter that would otherwise be worthless in a blog. Ask me to write a movie review worth writing about and I am likely to squirm. It’s quite hard choosing my words and forming them into coherent paragraphs. But somehow it all seems so easy announcing “It sucked! ” on Plurk or Twitter. Both of these sites show that more facets of our life can now be made public (or less private) if we choose it to be. And if they gain visibility, the microblogs can be great influencers of public opinion. What they lack though is the substance that both new and traditional media brag about.
Just a few of my thoughts on the rise of microblogging:
1. All bloggers can be microbloggers but not all microbloggers can be bloggers. You see, blogging takes so much time and pressure, but it is exactly the opposite with the micro version. You can say “must go to gym now!” and that is perfectly acceptable. While blogs seek to change the world, microblogs seek to trivialize it and that’s what makes it accessible and convenient to most people.
2. Microblogging as a primary form of social networking. Something about Plurk and Twitter takes me to high school once again, when the success of my slum book was judged by how many people wrote on it. The fun in the game is determined by the number of people you have in your circle as “friends” and “followers” or “fans.” It is more of a popularity contest really, and some people have attained online celebrity status just by making a career out of being in the social networks. Hah.I have to admit, there are people in my circle that I don’t know from Eve, but I can’t resist adding them for the sake of “quantity” and “diplomacy.”
3. Microblogs as a major source of information. In my few weeks in Plurk, I was able to learn the latest gossip in cyberspace and what the rest of the blogosphere was talking about in terms of happenings and events. Somebody posted about job openings in his company which is useful (who can refuse jobs these days??). Furthermore, I like these social networks slash microblogs because they enable me to know my casual acquaintances in a different light – their opinion on things and what’s happening in their life that I wouldn’t be able to know otherwise. I realized that being on these sites is also a good form of market research, as what one publicist was doing. Float an idea and immediately get a feel of people’s reactions to what you plan to promote or advocate. Invading the microblogs might as well be a public relations frontier in the near future.
Just a few last things to say: microblogging can be addicting. I mourn the loss of my precious time going through my Plurk timeline just to read about what people bought at the mall or what happened to their pets. I am amazed that I can post about what the fried rice I ate for breakfast and get seven replies. This has never happened in my blog – ever! So I am updating away because in the great world of microblogs, I am Someone, and the petty things I do, like “eat an apple!” mean Something. Go figure.
Add me in Plurk 😉