The New Water Coolers

Some folks are revisiting the Twitter vs Blogging thing tonight.

Fred Wilson says we are in the era of conversation.  That saying blogging is journalism and Twitter is not misses the point.  He says we will get our news from blogs and Twitter in the future.  I think that’s true to a point, but not for the reasons Fred talks about.

Tony Hung says that Blogging and Twitter are both journalism.  Part of this is semantics, but I don’t agree.  Not unless graffiti is journalism.

As I have said before, blogs and Twitter and bathroom walls are platforms for the distribution of content.  They are not a new species of content.  The gathering and accurate reporting of news is the lynchpin of journalism, not the medium in which that news is delivered.  There are blogs and print media and maybe even bathroom walls that are journalism.  And there are ones that aren’t.

So I don’t think blogs and Twitter and all those butt-ugly MySpace pages are going to magically turn into a distributed, global Wikipedia maintained and fact-checked by our collective online consciousness.  The platforms don’t make the content any more than the bottle makes the wine.


Rather, I think blogs and Twitter are the new water coolers.  The places around which we share all sorts of information.  News, gossip, humor, photos, videos and music.  The bloggers who are fair, accurate and accountable will get more mindshare, just like the best story tellers get more ears at the water cooler.

There will be journalism.

Over time, more and more journalists will move to a blogging platform.  The main obstacle to that migration being the difficulty in taking the subscription (as in pay to read) model along with them.  As this inevitable migration happens, people will claim that blogging is reinventing journalism.

That’s not true.  It’s the journalism, or more accurately the journalists, that will reinvent blogging.

And you need not have a fedora and a old school press pass to apply.

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