Today I saw this photo in facebook that is being widely circulated — I saw it on Danny Sullivan’s updates:
And I started thinking — what is a status update — or a microblog? In essence a microblog is a report/story/narrative related to a micro-event. The event could be an article I read, a personal event like a party, or a meeting, or something that happened to me. People like to share their experiences and opinions. Microblogs became so popular because they gave people a mechanism to spontaneously share their experience or opinion. Initially this was using text, but soon it started using media like photo, video, location data or something similar.
People have always — and yes I mean ALWAYS — been in storytelling — using photos on cave walls to oral stories, to text to photo albums, to movies, and now to multimedia. And these stories usually spanned over many events and many people. This required collection of data related to those events and then editing this data for presentation based on the audience. Since creating stories takes time, usually people do that only for important topics.
Now if we think about status updates and similar related things as in the above figure, it is clear that people really want to share the experiences of simple events and want to do that spntaneously with least effort — or using a current popular term – with no friction. Status updates and its variants provided early tools for this spontaneous micro-story telling related to an event.