Mar 23, 2011

Is Twitter the Blog Killer?

We've been using a blog for the JUA since 2006 when the term 'social media' didn't exist, Web 2.0 was a major buzz-word and there was this brand new site invading college campuses.  At that time students producing content for the web was a pretty novel concept.

Of course now students regularly produce all kinds of content.  In my media class, for example, finding a student who doesn't have a YouTube account is rare.

That being said I wonder if the concept of blogging is waning?  Are new technologies taking over the space?  Here on the JUA we are always trying to keep ahead of the curve so I pulled up some analytics data to see how this year compared to last.  Although we are creating just as much content on the site, our blog viewership is down year-to-date:
click to see full size

 Note that today's data is obviously incomplete so we may see a bump there.

On the other hand we have seen a massive up tick in student and staff Twitter use with hundreds of tweets demonstrating excellent use of tags, photos, mentions and brand interaction.  I find this not only fascinating, but also hilarious because just last year all of my students had one of the following three responses when I told them we were going to use Twitter:
  • A) Huh? Twitter?  What's that?
  • B) I don't get it
  • C) I thought Twitter was for old people
So what do you think this means - is blogging on the way out?  What should we do next year?  let us know in the comments!


Mimi Vecchione said...

I dont think it's a blog killer; it's used a lot in college and in businesses. High school isn't really a place for twitter, as most kids are in classes and update their lives via facebook. In college, students are always on the go with random schedules and thus twitter is a good outlet for being mobile.

PS - It would be awesome to meet up with anyone before you all leave, as that 7 day pass would be glorious to "take care of" after you all are done with them...

Hans Mundahl said...

Good point, I hadn't thought of the mobility / schedule point you raise.

Funny that Facebook is seen as a high school tool, when it started for college users!

Please feel free to come by the hotel tonight, we'd love to see you! We are leaving at 6pm.

vtmom said...

I thik they serve two different purposes. A blog offers much more content or content opportunity, Twitter gives less depth of information but is easier to use on the go so it offers more frequency. With Twitter updates everyone gets to be part of the day while it's happening but with blog entries we get to re-live the day as a whole in a larger picture, or better yet the days of experience. My guess is the increase in Twitter usage has more to do with you and how well you have implemented it this year (as usual when you introduce new technical things to the community, in my experience). Actually since I follow you and don't have a student on JUA I had forgotten about the blog until you mentioned it in a tweet! But I know as a parent with direct interest I couldn't get enough of the blog entries for each class adventure. I don't think one can be replaced by the other, they serve different purposes, each important and I have no doubt something else will materialise for sharing these things and will be implemented with the same thorough care and vigor you have given to everything else. Thank you Hans for all you do, our kids are very fortunate for the experiences you organise and help provide.

Hans Mundahl said...

This really makes sense - I appreciate your thoughts! You're right that a blog is like a tasty buffet where you can dip into many dishes and if you find one you like you can dig into it.

Twitter is maybe more like a snack tray :)

Thank you so much for your kind words - to this sleep deprived educator they come at a helpful moment!