What Is Microblogging?

In this beginner’s guide I take a look at the new breed of online applications, which focus on sharing very brief updates with your friends or the world with more regularity than you might write a blog post.

Microblogging is all about spontaneously sharing of-the-moment thoughts, links to websites, or even what you’re doing at the moment. You can think of them as a cross between ultra-short blog posts, SMS text messages, and the status notifications you can leave for friends on services like Skype, Facebook or your favorite instant messaging tool.

Lifestreaming might perhaps be described as a variation of microblogging, and has the same focus on brevity of content. The key difference is that while with microblogging you write messages directly within the application itself – as you might send a text message – with lifestreaming applications you aggregate your other content from around the web and compile it into a single stream of short bites of information.

This might include your photographs on Flickr, your videos on YouTube, links to your latest blog posts, and even your latest microblogging updates.

So how can you use microblogging and lifestreaming applications, which are the most popular, what makes them different, and why would you want to bother?

In this beginner’s guide to microblogging and lifestreaming, I try to answer these questions and more.