A year ago saw me trying to explain microblogging (when the Twitter Fail Whale was but a guppy), after having got the blogging presentation finally right. The Twenty20 Cricket World Cup was the rage, and I simply joined the dots: Twenty20 cricket is to 50-over cricket as Twitter is to blogging. It’s shorter, more intense and has engagement value. Not to mention the constant innovation required to get over the limitations — all the inventive shots come out of the bag.
To extrapolate, Test cricket is like web publishing. By this I mean a non-blog, static page where you are simply disclosing, informing, reporting and presenting. More traditional skills come into play here, namely proofreading, supporting diagrams and possibly running it by the organisation’s legal beagles or the human remorses officer.
After the IPL and the constant ineptitude of cricket’s governors, one may think that all must be abandoned and channelled into T20. Witness the recent Test, South Africa against England at Lord’s: five days’ batting and no result.
In this instance, I think Test cricket comes to the fore. Few other sports demand the mental endurance to bat for two days to save a Test. I used to be bored stiff by the format, but as I get older I appreciate the weighs and balances of battles within battles.
Think of the ICC as the board of a company, or the marketing department. Old-fashioned web publishing (we publish, you consume) may seem dead compared with the sexiness of microblogging, Qik, Seesmic. These guys were only recently introduced to blogging and now you’ve given them a 140-character text field, no supporting images and TinyURL. An example of a knee-jerk reaction was the creation of an annual report blog. You really oughtn’t to create dialogue around a historic document that, by definition, cannot change.
Just as Test cricket brings out various strengths and delights, static web pages do too. Microblogging is a different tool for, sometimes, a different audience. I think we’ve just scraped the surface of presence and microblogging being used in the workplace.
| this article originally published July 2008, Techleader