Does Twitter Make Blogging Obsolete?

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Andy Serwer is the managing editor of Fortune magazine and he is so busy with Twitter and Facebook status updates that he has announced the end of blogging -- for himself and, it would seem, the world. As newspapers and magazines drown, are blogs really just the next inland city to be submerged in the wave of communications technology?


No. And obviously, Serwer doesn't believe his own headline. He's announcing the end of blogging on a blog. And his article isn't really a blog post. It's an 800-word column about how he has no time to blog, which is like a meter maid telling a homeless person she has no change. Not to be ageist or anything, but it's a middle-aged argument that every child suffers from their parents: communication technology, so many gadgets, can't count them all, the future the future, blah blah blah. But let's take this more seriously.

When you wade through the histrionics of the title and first few paragraphs, Serwer settles on the right idea of what the explosion of communication avenues can do for us -- it gives us more to read, not less. Many bloggers tweet not out of sense of masochism but self-promotion. Nobody tweets an article saying "Don't read this!"

That reminds me of the the Daily Beast, one of the latest and flashiest news aggregators, which uses the tagline: "Read This, Not That." That's obviously dishonest. The Beast, like most everybody, hardly ever tells you not to read something. The role of communications media -- blogging, tweeting, aggregating -- is to extend the circle of engagement, not build walls. Online, even to disagree with an article pays it a kind of favor. If the Beast is really a sprawling hydra of infinite appetite for interesting stuff, its slogan should be: "Read this. And That. And That Other Thing Too!" I don't know if Google or the Daily Beast makes me feel dumber or smarter. Like Serwer, it fills me with the sense I'm OK with knowing more while strangely "falling further and further behind."

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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