Blogs vs Twitter II


Had an A-Ha! moment on the Blogs vs. Twitter debate this week, late in the day Thursday catching up on the day’s twitter traffic after a mildly productive afternoon.

I’m thinking of Twitter like a stream and the blogosphere as lakes and oceans.  Fishing moving waters requires different techniques than still waters.  You have different gear, different approaches.  It would never occur to me to try to catch every fish that swims by.  Just the one that happens to be in the pool that i can reach.  just. right. then.

I am also a slow learner.  So I’m going to give an example.  The material is political, but my point is about the social media tools.

  1. First, I noticed a tweet by a Brit I follow re: a muslim cleric spouting off in support of spousal abuse.  Political topic, trying to stay away from that on this blog for now.  A quick retweet @JohnShepard, don’t think much about it.
  2. Over on JohnScout, I had written a post touching on the newly inaugurated president’s time as a Cub Scout in Indonesia.  This islamic nation has the largest number of Scouts in the world. I had referenced @JoshuaGodinez‘s blog  in that post, then saw him tweet about muslim Scouts in Scotland and their special Oath.  Hmm.  Maybe a topic for a follow-up post, so a quick retweet.
  3. Then, I noticed another headline on Geert Wilders.  For a few months I’ve seen the Dutch parliamentarian in the news.  He made a film, Fitna, about the dark side of Islam.  Many people are unhappy;  Thursday there were several tweets about charges filed by Dutch courts.  Again, at face a political topic, but Freedom of Speech and cultural issues—this is getting closer to what I’m willing to tackle at  However, by this time I was late for dinner.  So I did the re-tweet thing.

It’s not about the ends but the means. 

Perhaps the world is a better place for me not taking time to blog this political topic.  Who knows, perhaps we averted a new Crusade.  Either way, the Twitterverse is good for quickly bringing in data and sharing it.  Not alot of processing is going on in 140 words let alone 140 characters.  This blog is about 400 words, more or less.  It takes time to process data into information.

I used twitter like a stream.  Topics come, topics go, here’s the link, read it and see what you think.

News I Use

My first job was delivering the Fargo Forum and I have had a daily newspaper delivered most every day of my life from then until I moved to Minnesota four years ago.  We were renting a farm place out in the country beyond delivery service.  So I came to rely even more on web-sourced news.

Recent bankruptcies of major daily newspapers should surprise no one, given the troubles of mainstream media.  Plenty of people have wasted many electrons babbling on about the future of ‘news’.  Today I offer a simple annotated bibliography (linkfest) of some of my current favorite online general daily news sources.

Places I’ve lived this century:

  • Bozeman (MT) Daily Chronicle.  Snapshot from the Greater Yellowstone region.
  • Denver (CO) Post.  I prefer the Rocky Mountain News‘ editorial page, but I never got used to the tabloid format.  The Post is a bad habit from days gone by.  Following @denverpost on Twitter.
  • Fort Collins (CO) Coloradoan. Smaller daily from up the Front Range.  I stopped reading the website when they changed to a fancy black design.  Started reading again when I found @coloradoan on Twitter.
  • Headwaters News is a daily digest from the West put together by the Center for the Rocky Mountain West at the University of Montana.  Many years ago I worked on a project with Larry Swanson, director of the Center.  Smart guy.  The rest of everything I want to know, from here to the Left Coast.
  • Minnesota Public Radio.  One downside of my present 3-block commute is no time for NPR in the morning.  So I check out the local version online.  See what the chattering class is up to.  Following @MPR on Twitter.
  • Twin  I check the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ online page for news of Minnesota, because we do get the STrib daily at work but I don’t look at it until lunch time.  Did I mention I”m following PiPress political blog @PolAnimal on Twitter?

National News

  • The Economist is technically a weekly British publication but I have found more insight from their perch in London than most any publication stateside.  I got hooked in high school econ class, read it in the library in college, subscribed when I got a real job.  Then stopped my print subscription when I got a family—never enough time or money.  Still get the weekly email digest.  Haven’t found a Twitter feed yet.
  • Wall Street Journal.  I subscribed to the print edition in college and when I worked in economic development.  Then, also, I moved beyond daily delivery range and subscribed online.  For awhile.  I detest paying for online content.  Hate it.  So I stopped reading… until now I’m being tempted by @WSJ Tweets of subscriber-restricted content.  Sigh.
  • Yeah, yeah, I admit it.  Now and then I check out the Chicago Tribune, New York Times,  Washington Post, and International Herald Tribune.  Just not regularly.  Certainly not daily.  Too much clutter.  Plus they just tick me off.  Who needs the aggrevation?  Then again why do I follow @NYTimes on Twitter???


  • Planetizen and the blogs are usually on my noon-time schedule, catch as catch can.  Planetizen is a good national aggregation of planning and develoment headlines & commentary, often with a sceptical (even contrary) perspective.
  • First ran across Politics in Minnesota at the 2008 MN GOP convention and I’ve been hooked since.  Links a couple times a week to what folks are blogging/printing left-center-right, or completely beyond the pale. @PoliticsMN on Twitter.
  • True North aggregates many interesting right-of-center blogs across or concerned with Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.  @LookTrueNorth on Twitter. offers an interesting assortment from a national perspective.  Kind of hit and miss at the end of my morning news fix–don’t get to this source much since I got on Twitter.  Which is why I’m NOT following @thepolitico on Twitter.

There are also several other amusing political & scouting blogs I haunt, just not on a daily basis.  Many of the blogs—policy and technology in particular—are too flashy and annoying to bother with.  I don’t hang out on TV media sites much either (e.g. FoxNews, MSNBC, CNN).  Call me old fashioned but I’m not into video.  Heck, I hardly do podcasts. I’m stuck on dial-up at home and they’re too distracting at work.

There are several other news sources that might seem obvious that I either a) tried and gave up on, b) tried and never got around to bookmarking, c) tried and was quickly bored silly, or d) haven’t found and dismissed yet.  Suggestions?