Key Takeaways

  • Twitter Articles may be a way to publish long-form writing to your followers. 
  • Personal blogs might make a big comeback. 
  • Blogs allow for better conversations and add much-needed context.

A smartphone on top of a cardboard box, with the Twitter bird showing on the screen.

Twitter’s planned new Twitter Articles feature could mean the rebirth of personal blogging. 

Twitter’s 140-character limit was probably what propelled the platform to its planet-wide success. Even when that limit doubled to 280 characters in 2017, it didn’t mess with the formula. Then Twitter’s Evan Williams started Medium, which promised to be a kind of Twitter for longer articles. But that never really achieved the tech of either Twitter or William’s first publishing success, Blogger. Twitter Articles, though, might be able to do what nobody else has done since those early days—relaunch personal blogging as a thing. 

“This is a game-changer for long-form writing. Now, Twitter can be used as an interactive platform and has the ability to share content in real-time with readers who have accounts on there too,” king of social media Robert Stern told Lifewire via email. “This will open up many opportunities that were previously limited by blogs/websites where you need subscribers or followers before your post goes live. Anyone can now publish their ideas/innovations/opinions and find like-minded and similarly interested people.”

The Decline of Personal Blogging

If you wanted to share something on the internet before Facebook and Twitter took over, you’d have to make a website. Then we went through a few early social networks, but one trend stood out: Blogging. It might have been a LiveJournal, a Blogger blog, or even a WordPress site, but the idea was the same. You’d write about something—anything—and people would respond by writing on their blogs or commenting on yours. 

"Anyone can now publish their ideas/innovations/opinions and find like-minded and similarly interested people."

This led to some great conversations, and because those conversations were spread out and happened at a slower pace, they had something that the ultra-fast pace of Twitter can never have: context. Blogs were a part of a wider, open ecosystem that enabled conversations to evolve. Twitter, on the other hand, is almost context-free, and a single tweet can be blown up to mean anything. And blog posts stick around for a lot longer than a tweet, which is gone off the bottom of your feed before you even see it. 

Medium was a decent stab at making a place where anyone could write longer articles and has now matured as a newsletter and ersatz blogging platform. But it never took off like Twitter.

Twitter Articles

Twitter Articles, if it does turn out to be a way to publish long-form articles to your followers, could really shake things up. If you have a few thousand followers, that’s an instant audience for your blog. You can, of course, post a link to all your blog articles to Twitter, but presumably, Twitter will keep everything in one place. And the killer feature is that readers will be able to comment on your articles right there on Twitter. 

It all depends on how it works. If Twitter Articles are designed to stick around, kind of like how Instagram Stories stick at the top of your feed, then it could be useful. But if it lives in the same ephemeral timeline as tweets, then all that extra effort writing a long post would be wasted. 

A neon sign that says #tweettweet against a wall covered in parrot and jungle themed wallpaper.

“A time-sensitive story or news piece based on a trending topic will draw a huge audience if it’s published on Twitter, but as soon as the trend loses traction, any feature that’s published on Twitter will just fade into the background,” online marketer John DiBella told Lifewire via email. “But if the same feature was published on WordPress, it could be pinned or stuck to the home page of a site which will make it much easier to find.” 

If it plays this right, Twitter could be in a position to bring back personal blogging and even supplant WordPress and Medium. It already has the comment and conversation part sewn up. It should allow these longer articles to live on the wider web and not just as part of a timeline. Doing so might create a killer combo of reach, context, and interaction that would be hard to beat.

Source