Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blogging > Twitter

This is just to say that I spent November tweeting less and blogging more, and it made being on the internet more productive for me than it had been in a long time.

We read poems, short stories and novels differently, and one of the the many reasons why is because of length. What we expect from a piece of writing depends crucially on how long it is, and for good reason. Writing is hard, and we expect people to write something that's roughly as long as it absolutely needs to be. A novel, presumably, couldn't have been a short story. I'd suggest that much of the power of short poems comes from their brevity. Their length announces a sort of immediacy and clarity that ought to come as revelations. (A haiku isn't the sort of thing that's supposed to need argument or evidence.)

All of this to say is that, much to my past frustration, it's very hard to be subtle on Twitter, because the brevity of any tweet makes anything you say come off as a proclamation. That's good for a gal or guy with a lot of confidence, but I found myself just making people angry on Twitter with (what I thought were) speculative comments. These days I find Twitter most helpful when (a) I want to proclaim! or (b) I have a question.

Some more reasons why I prefer blogging to twitter for working out ideas:
  • Tweets disappear, blog posts stick around. 
  • Every comment on a post is worth ten replies to a tweet.
  • Blogging is consistent with me not constantly being near the internet. Twitter supports some of my worst internet habits.
Of course, Twitter is good for many things, and its brevity is a great deal of what makes it great. And, of course, you should do whatever you want to do. But November has been a very happy month for me.


  1. I really liked this post. I have not had time to blog much this year and most of my Twitter experience has been flying through tweets and trying to stay caught up. Although I love the interaction of Twitter (and the somewhat immediacy of it), I find that I really appreciate the comments people make on my blog much more satisfying. Although I miss being more active on Twitter, I really find myself missing blogging much more. This year, I have tried to stay more current on Twitter, hoping to keep in touch with people more. But I haven't found that to be the case. I interact on Twitter when something catches my attention, but when you're scrolling through hundreds of tweets from the day, it's easy to miss stuff. I'm just not finding it as satisfying as when I followed a smaller number and had more regular interactions with people as I had in the past.

    But, blogging, oh how I miss you! I think of blog posts and then I don't get to blogging them, either between my exhaustion at the end of the day or the scrambling to get the next day's plans together or both. When people comment on my blog, I appreciate the time that the person took to respond to my writing. When I am looking for comments to answer a question and ask for them in the blog post, I wish people would respond on the blog rather than Twitter. However, I am finding that if someone reads my post relatively quickly after I publish it, people will tweet their responses rather than post a comment. It is easier, but it loses some meaningfulness to me. Plus, as you mention, tweets tend to disappear. We may favorite them, but do we go back to them? I truly believe that a comment on a post is worth WAY more than a tweet - I think I would even quantify it with a larger number than you did. Twenty maybe? I'm not totally sure.

    Maybe, and I'm thinking out loud here, I need to be the change I want to see in my world (paraphrasing someone whom I cannot recall). Rather than tweeting responses to someone's blog post, I should be taking the time to post a comment, no matter how long or short the comment may be. If I want people to comment on my blog, I should be making a better effort to read blogs in a more timely manner (especially since my Digg reader is still huge right now!) and comment when the post moves me to.

    We, as a community, have gotten away from commenting on each others' blogs and having discussions go on in the comments. I think Dan Meyer's blog is the exception, not the rule, here. The MTBoS used to have lots of comments on blog posts (at least from what I'm told by Sam) and those discussions moved to Twitter. Maybe it's time to head back towards our origins. I'm at least going to make a better effort.

    1. I think you'd agree with me that it's not really possible to change the online habits of the MTBoS (or whatever), so there really is nothing except making your own tiny changes.

      I think 90% of why I posted this was because I think being reflective about my online habits has helped me out. I think if you're thinking about this stuff, you're going to figure out a solution that works for you eventually. And what's cool is that there are so many different sensible combinations of commenting, tweeting, emailing, blogging, chatting, etc.

      Anyway, I love when you blog, and this was one heck of an awesome comment. Looking forward to more of both!

  2. I am a long-time math teacher (started in 1987) and brand new to the MTBoS community. I am loving reading other teacher's blogs and commenting. It's like a digital teacher's lounge where I can have worthwhile conversations with other teachers across the country and around the world. Thanks so much for your blog post. Several points really touched me!

    1. Hey, thanks!

      Also, welcome to the amazing world of blogs. I can't wait to read more of your thoughts in comments (or maybe your own blog?). I need to read more blogs that aren't written by we obnoxious and cocky upstarts.

  3. My own blog Does That Make Sense? at has only one post so far - my introduction. But thanks for the encouragement and I am sure I will have more to say as I get more comfortable in this community. When I was an elementary student I wrote thousands of sentences "I will not talk in class" so I always have lots to say :-)
    If you love teaching math the years will fly by. It seems like one day I was the "obnoxious and cock upstart" who couldn't possible have enough experience to know what I was talking about. The next day I was the "old-timer" who had to be out of touch and not know what I was talking about. Enjoy the ride!!!

  4. I don't really pay any attention to twitter, but I've been reading a LOT of MTBoS blogs over the past 4 months... mostly old ones.

    Again, I've probably only read like 20 total tweets ever, but I feel like it'd be difficult/impossible to study someone's tweet archive.

    So maybe blog posts contribute much more to the pool of knowledge simply because they don't evaporate... they'll still be there for people to fish from next year.

    How accurate does this sound?

    Exposure vs. Time

    After 2 hours: Tweet ahead of Blog Post
    After 2 days: Blog Post slightly ahead
    After 2 weeks: Blog Post way way way ahead of Tweet

    1. That's not bad. Though, to be fairer to twitter, it's really good at something different than blogs. It's great for questions and quick answers. It's great for jokes. It's great for slogans. It's great for provocations. It's great for link-sharing.

      Of all those, the thing I value most about twitter is the link-sharing.