In a revealing blog post, radio host and tech pundit Leo Laporte admitted to his sizable fan base that, through some glitch on Google Buzz, very few of his past several weeks of tweets had actually been posted on his public Twitter feed. Essentially, he had been errantly scribbling perhaps hundreds of 140 character messages that never made it to the computer screens of his 200,000+ followers. And the worst part, Laporte admits, is that, "No one even noticed. Not even me."
Struck by the symbolism of Laporte's admission, Techcrunch writer Paul Carr responded by lamenting the decline of the more personal, substantial online blog as netizens "switched instead to simply copying and pasting" thoughts to twitter. Before micro-blogging sites such as Twitter became popular, notes Carr, blogs (and diaries before them), "required the writer to take the time to process the events of their life, and the attendant emotions they generated – before putting finger to keyboard. The result, in many cases, was a detailed archive of events and memories that they can look back on now and say 'that was how I was then.'" As tweeting displaced some blogging, the inevitable short quips that populate twitter are mostly,"a whole lot of sound and mundanity, signifying nothing."
Carr concedes that's he's not trying to make a case against twitter, he merely points out the consequences:
To argue for a mass switch back from Tweeting to Livejournaling...in the interests of the permanent record is as ridiculous as campaigning for everyone to abandon instant messaging and return to letter-writing. The fact is people are busy...and for the vast majority, immediacy will always trump posterity.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.