Over the past few years the Internet especially has seen an increase in the shortened form of the written word. Micro-blogging is now actually a real term, defined as the combination of blogging and instant messaging. Blogs went from the publication of teenagers’ diaries, to a popular and successful way to promote businesses, newspapers and articles, to short and sharp burst of wit, humour, or opinion.

The leader at the forefront of micro-blogs has to be Twitter, which at first started off as a tool to fuel our obsessive need to update the world on our day-to-day activities and of course, stalk people, has introduced people everywhere to the limitation of 140 characters. Tweeters often use these few characters as diary updates and a way of staying connected with friends. However, these short bursts of information are also used successfully for promotion of businesses, traditional blogs (full-length), or affiliate marketing. The main difference in micro-blogging and the traditional blogging, apart from the obvious word count, is the way the all micro-blogs are connected. News spreads through Twitter like wildfire, about everything from breaking news on world events to the divorce of our favourite celebrity. This creates a vast network of micro-blogs all connected to each other, meaning that, twitter especially, is more socially driven than isolated full length blogs.

So, what are the pros with micro-blogging? There must be some with the amount of people and businesses currently indulging in this rage. Shorter posts are more likely to get read, if the information you want to communicate can be condensed into two or three sentences, why not save some time, for both you and your reader? The integration of photos and videos is a lot easier, many posts consisting just of the photo or video. I even read an article about the use of twitter in education. In an attempt to keep up with the younger generations some teachers have turned to micro-blogging and social media sites to connect with their students, sending out updates, learning materials and assignment reminders as a way of transforming sites like these into educational experiences and learning tools rather than distractions.

But is this increased use of micro-blogs just a way to promote full-length blogs? Or will 2012 see the written word condensed even further?