Blogging has gone through many phases in the 15 plus years since the term weblog was first coined. From plain text posted manually in an html file to automated platforms like WordPress, a very simple idea has become very complicated.
And now it looks like things are going to swing back to the simple end again.
The Next Web has a post up this morning which looks at the growing fad for posting screenshots on Twitter as a way of getting around the micro-blogging service’s 140-character limit. (Here are a couple examples.)
They describe the new fad as being the death of blogging:
Late last year, Mat Honan wrote for Buzzfeed about “screenshorts”, a rising phenomenon on Twitter where people share their favorite quote of an article in a screenshot to avoid Twitter’s character count.
What’s most interesting about the rise of these screenshots on Twitter and other social media is that they’re actually killing traditional blogging in its entirety. The easiest place to look for this phenomenon is celebrities.
Are screenshorts slowly killing blogging as we know it? For some things, I think so, because it’s an easier and more authentic way to reach your fans, friends or followers directly on social media than it is to spend time setting up a blog and then sharing out the link.
I wouldn’t say that this is killing traditional blogging; if there were such a thing, it would be plain text and images posted on a webpage, and that effectively died out with the rise of blogging platforms with automation, fancy features, rich layouts, etc.
No, the “screenshot as post” trend is just the next iteration of one type of blogging. It was inspired by the limitations of Twitter’s 140 character limit, just like services such as Twitlonger.
And like those services, the screenshot post exists only as a result of Twitter’s limitations. It makes almost no sense to use them outside of the Twitter ecosystem; Facebook, for example, doesn’t enforce a character limit so there’s no reason not to post the complete text of an article. Tell me, have you seen very many screenshot posts on Facebook? (I have not, but then again I don’t use FB much.)
Curiously, the screenshot post can also be found on Instagram, where it makes even less sense. Why would you post a screenshot to an image sharing site? That’s not why it exists.
Do you use tweet screenshots much? Do you have a tool you can recommend?