the twitter effect

Rereading Alan’s post on his blog hiatus, where he takes a month off of posting on his blog to comment elsewhere, I was struck (as always) by the patterns in activity he described. I decided to take a closer peek at the activity on my own blog – I’ve been thinking a lot about discourse analysis lately, so it’s at least partially non-navel-gazing.

Here’s the graph for the first few years of life for my blog. It started out as a private, personal outboard brain, then kind of took off with a life of its own.

a pretty graph, about nothing

Interesting. This blog’s heyday was 2005-2006. A lifetime ago, in intartube years. Then twitter happened in January 2007. It would be _really_ interesting to run some latent content analysis on both posts and comments, to see if they’re different BT vs. AT. Are the activity patterns different? Is the content different? Linking patterns? etc… It’d be completely nonscientific, but fascinating nonetheless…

10 thoughts on “the twitter effect”

  1. Could create a graph with NeoJ and use some java NLP toolkits for analysis if you were up to it. I don’t think it’s just twitter, the web itself is changing due to trends and fads and blogging may be classified as a trend or fad — only time will tell.

    1. agreed. there’s definitely a changing pattern of discourse – it’s not just twitter, but a shift from individual to communal spaces. distributed, etc…

    2. also, it’s not valid to try to extrapolate anything from this to a broader context. this is just for what’s happened on my blog. it is likely different on other blogs, and for people in different online communities.

      1. It would be cool to have a scientific answer but most people I talk to were profoundly impacted by Twitter and other social sites/services, and those changes are only increasing. When you look just at comments – conversations are mostly happening outside our blogs, from Twitter to FriendFeed and now Buzz. While Twitter has helped generate traffic, it also reduced my posting frequency. The link graph has been hugely affected because people Tweet instead of link, etc etc.

        These tubes will never be the same. Good thing or no?

        1. I am a big fan of the ownership argument, so I would say not a good thing. The less control we have over the medium, the less freedom we have to do with it what we want to…

  2. It’s hard to say which direction the internet is going. The US government seems to be starting a discourse of scaremongering to assert more control over the net, they intend to stop their “hands off” policy and I think that this can only be bad:

    At the same time Google and Microsoft seem to want to own every aspect of the internet. I was sort of creeped out recently because Google has added realtor search to its map product, and so now not only do they know the outside of your house, if you ever put your house or room up for rent, they also know the inside of your house as well. Google’s CEO has said that if you don’t want people to know it, perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it on the net, but there is a difference between putting it on the internet and every aspect of your life being stripped searched by Google at every corner. Anyone who uses jquery or any of the javascript libraries cached at Google is further exposing their visitors to the all seeing eyes of Google. Google goggles is even more creepy because I can only imagine people taking millions of pictures of everything which are geocoded in Google’s cloud. Let’s just say the implications are easy to get paranoid about.

    It seems to me that the very nature of the net is under threat from both corporations and governments as they attempt to exert the same sort of control over it as they did television and radio back in the day. The whole net neutrality thing I thing was only the opening salvo. Under the surface the war is brewing that will fundamentally alter things in such a way that I don’t think things will go back.

  3. Interesting version.
    Do you think all blogs had traffic decrease starting from 2007 and why traffic in 2009 was almost like in 2004? Any ideas?

    1. not a clue. I don’t have access to anyone else’s logs. if I had to guess, I’d say that traffic as a whole is up, but spread out over more sites, with some performing role-specific tasks (twitter for banter, etc…)

      1. and facebook too… they coincided with each other. It seems like fb and twitter killed delicious too as no one really shares bookmarks any more and I remember you were big into that D. Flickr also got hit by fb. Also the economy went down too so a lot interest in this stuff declined than when it was high times and millions to be had from some arbitrary web project.

        1. Reddit and Digg took some traffic too so instead of people commenting on blogs, they started commenting on social link sites I guess that probably ate up delicious too… Also, for you D I think your priorities may have changed too instead of blogging investing more offline time in real life.

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