I like reading what people think. I know it's a simple statement, but a truism none the less. The invention of the blog, a simple platform where anyone could easily share their ideas, is one of the best things that came out of the last decade in my opinion. And whenever I run a convention or attend one, traditionally I like to search the web to find out what other people thought about it. I like reading con reports, blog entries and all that fun stuff. One of my favorite tools to use over the years has been Google's blog search.
Unfortunately, it's been a tool of diminishing returns.
With the growth in popularity of sites like Facebook and Twitter, short form posts have become the norm. And while Twitter is open to all, the types of things you get there... don't exactly express a lot. Don't get me wrong, I use these services too, but when people switch to these as their primary descriptors of events you get things like "[Insert Con Name] was awesome!" or "[Insert Con Name] sucked!" It's not exactly an in depth analysis.
Heck, my LiveJournal friends page has become a practical ghost town. I used to read many, many entries a day, both public and private, and now I just see the occasional friends only. While it's true tools like Facebook and Twitter appeal to more people than long term blogging, people who used to be more than happy to write their thoughts out in considered length have stopped doing so.
And it makes me sad. I like reading what people think. I like knowing what's actually going on with my friends who are now far away. It gives a nice sense of connection. When it comes to researching cons, I like knowing that someone liked the Opening Ceremonies of a Con, but found the cosplay intermission long and boring. It helps me understand what people think. It's like poor man's market research.
The blog is far from dead as a medium, but the personal journal blog is becoming an endangered species. I find it disappointing, but I really don't see anyway to stem the tide.
I agree with Langland, and that's exactly what I was thinking while reading this. I almost never use Twitter because the character limit is ridiculously short. Facebook isn't AS bad, but has its own limit none-the-less. Trae have you considered joining Wisconsin cosplay groups on DeviantArt? They encourage journal entries and often times you'll find entries specifically about conventions people have attended... (Obviously a wisconsin group will be...wisconsin..co-- yeah, you get the idea.) I have a feeling you're already on dA, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to bring it up.
When Twitter first arrived on the scene some time ago I was an early adopter. I had an account on the site before anyone had even heard of the service. It was advertised in a sidebar ad so I was curious. When I visited I was totally unimpressed and dropped it mere minutes after signing up.
When everyone out there started using it I gave it a second shot. Verdict? Still not worth it. As far as I can tell, it doesn't accomplish anything Facebook, or really any blog service available isn't capable of. And updating a brief status message by text message has been around almost as long as texting itself. I really, honestly, feel like Twitter is possibly the most pointless feature ever to gain any popularity on the net.
But then I don't surf the web on my phone, I don't think I even can. And I slowly, clumsily, hash out texts only on the very very rare occasion someone actually texts me. I don't get what's so much better about texts than, you know, CALLING me. But as always, cell phones are slowly becoming a manufactured need. Soon signup screens on the web will return errors if you don't enter a cell number and people will start getting rejected for employment because they didn't list one. It happened with email and cell phones are soon to follow.
Meep -- the difference is with Twitter you can follow people you aren't friends with (like celebrities, conventions, etc) without having to be authorized most of the time. It lets people put out a public stream without giving people access to their private info.
Likewise, I enjoy using it because I can have it update Facebook for me, while still creating a publicly readable set of statuses for people who I'm not friends with on that service.