The Writer in Me: When to Use Twitter/Google+/Blog/Networking

Where I write

This post may come out strangely garbled and maybe a bit incoherent, since I am really thinking through some things as a writer in online spaces. You may just want to skip over me in your RSS reader. Or maybe I am no longer even in your RSS reader. Which is part of what has me thinking of the ways that I find myself writing these days and why I use Twitter for one kind of writing, Google+ for another kind of writing, and this blog for yet another kind of writing. I’d include Facebook, maybe, but I’m not on Facebook. (Maybe that kind of writing is silent protest writing for privacy reasons? Yes).

Here’s what I was thinking about: how do the platforms I use shape the way I write and the reason that I write there?

This question came about the other day because my brain got a bit confused. I had something to write about and then I began wondering: is this a blog post? Maybe it is better suited for a blast on Google+! Wait a second. Maybe Twitter is the way to go. Or the iAnthology space? Arrr. It’s true I could have done all four and spread the idea around like a slab of peanut butter.

But … I decided maybe I should just step back and think about why I was having this rush of confusion about where to write. Maybe I should articulate some reason why I use each of those sites Here, I am trying to create a mental path for myself as an online writer.

I blog … because I want to develop an idea further, without worrying about constraints of space, and constraints of media sharing. I can write as little or as much as I need to to make a point. And this blog is my virtual home — a sort of breeding ground for ideas and sharing. If ever I had an anchor in online writing spaces, this is it. But I have to say, it seems as if fewer people are reading this blog or if they are reading it, they are no longer commenting. I suspect this is part of a larger trend away from blogs. I’ve seen other bloggers reflecting on it, too. And some of them are shifting away from their blog space. I’m not ready to do that. I still like it here. It feels a bit like home.

I tweet … mostly to share resources and links and items of interest that I have stumbled across. I used to do this with the blog but don’t all that much anymore. That aspect — “Hey, check this out! It might be of interest to you!” — has mostly disappeared from my mindset as a blogger. But Twitter, with its short bursts and quick spread of information, is ideally suited for sharing of links and more. (I do still experiment with Twitter as a writing space of 25-word stories and short poems, etc., but not as much as I used to.)

I Google+ (note to self: need better verb for what we do there) … as some intersection of those other two spaces. I’ve been using Google+ enough now to see that it does allow for more writing than Twitter but less than a blog post. Whereas I used to use this blog as a place to ask questions of followers and try to get conversations going, I now find that Google+ is more likely the space where I will wonder out loud about something and hope someone joins me in a bit of inquiry.

I network … at the NWP iAnthology because I want to be part of a larger group of writers. Unlike the other three, I know I am writing with others and not in some virtual vacuum. This shift is important, and hits home on the idea that collaboration and connections with other writers in a space we share together has many benefits (which is why I suppose so many folks use Facebook. Too bad Zuckerberg and company are out to make billions off our privacy data.).

The nagging question I had in my mind this morning was: would I be better served with one single space that does all of what I have written above? I don’t know. One hand, navigating three different spaces on three different platforms for different reasons feels like a lot of juggling. On the other hand, I find these differences – in the “feel” of each space and the use of each space — keeps me fresh and alert for different possibilities. Sometimes juggling is a beautiful thing, right? Sometimes, we drop the ball.

If you hung with me this far, thank you. I appreciate you being here in this space with me.

Peace (in the platforms),


  1. I like reading about the process. Do you ever use FB? I don’t use it much for educ conversations but my posts do go there automatically. I guess that’s where family and friends get to see my blog news.

  2. This is such a provocative post, Kevin — why do we write what we do where we do? Because I do use FB (and I know the privacy sucks, but sooo many teachers use it, as do my former students), I’d sub FB for Google+, which I belong to but rarely check. Just too much virtual :).
    I also blog, as you know, and have pretty much the same agenda you do: more space, more control. But I’ve noticed that since I now blog not on my own URL, but for a website, it’s a bit different. I consider what I want to say. My old blog was, as you note, more of a home.
    Still thinking about all this. Good post ~

  3. Kevin,
    I’m not sure fewer comments means fewer readers. I read a number of blogs regularly, but rarely comment. One reason us time — a thoughtful comment takes time and I am usually squeezing the blog reading in between classes it waiting in line. I often intend to come back and comment, but usually I don’t. Also, I feel the bloggers I follow are masters of their craft — I am not always sure I have something of worth to add or share.

    Thank you for this post — I am trying to think through these spaces myself and guide my high school students as they find their own writing spaces, digital and otherwise.

    I appreciate you sharing here.

  4. I’m trying to figure out what my relationship will be with Google+. I don’t tweet, but I do use Facebook (and obviously I blog). I’m unsure of how to make Google+ fit into my life in a meaningful way. I’ll look forward to hearing more about how you are using it going-forward.

  5. Hey Kevin,

    I hope that you shared this post with your students. This is exactly what Ralph Fletcher talks about when he says that students need a purpose and a space to write. If we want students to blog or tweet and we don’t explain to them the different genre expectations of the two, then we aren’t helping them become digital writers. If we ourselves can’t articulate why we are using different platforms, then how can we help direct our students.

    I haven’t been using google+ and I only use facebook when I have to, but I wanted a reason or purpose for why I stick to blogging and tweeting. Thanks for helping me think through those reasons!


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