This article was published on April 14, 2015

R.I.P. blogging, killed by screenshorts

R.I.P. blogging, killed by screenshorts
Owen Williams
Story by

Owen Williams

Former TNW employee

Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

Late last year, Mat Honan wrote for Buzzfeed about “screenshorts”, a rising phenomenon on Twitter where people share their favorite quote of an article in a screenshot to avoid Twitter’s character count.

What’s most interesting about the rise of these screenshots on Twitter and other social media is that they’re actually killing traditional blogging in its entirety. The easiest place to look for this phenomenon is celebrities.

Almost every celebrity under 40 that you can possibly think of has probably made a screenshort blog post.

Researching this for just an hour reveals a staggering amount of famous people making incredibly formal statements… as a screenshot of the iOS notes app. It seems ridiculous, but it’s actually a thing.

my statement – first words i typed at 6am nz time. thankyou so much for this. i'm floating.

A post shared by Lorde (@lordemusic) on

It’s not just celebrities, however, that have gone to screenshorts as their medium of choice to getting their thoughts online.

Young people far and wide have climbed aboard the bandwagon all over social media to share their thoughts, instead of a traditional medium like WordPress or even Tumblr.

When I asked on Twitter today if young people were seeing this amongst their friends, the replies said it’s prevalent for many young people. It seems that the consensus is that if you want to share your thoughts, you write it in a notes app and take a screenshot.

Every celebrity that’s screenshorting on Twitter already has a blog and site set up — probably by their agency or someone they’ve paid — but by screenshorting instead of writing a blog post; you know it’s directly from them; it’s the most personal way of sharing thoughts because it’s right from their phone.

Are screenshorts slowly killing blogging as we know it? For some things, I think so, because it’s an easier and more authentic way to reach your fans, friends or followers directly on social media than it is to spend time setting up a blog and then sharing out the link.

Sharing text as an image has other benefits too: it helps increase shareability on social media because we respond better to visuals versus text. A test by Buffer found that it leads to 150 percent more retweets than a tweet without an image. If that’s true, it’s no wonder everyone’s blogging as an image.

I’m not saying sites like BBC or The New York Times are going to start screenshorting their entire posts, but for the everyday person, it’s the new normal.

Screenshorting is less formal and more raw than any blog post could ever be.

This new wave of ‘blogging’ simply removes friction from both posting your thoughts and getting the message out there. Screenshorting puts your words right where everyone is actively consuming already, rather than on some other site.

Read next: The OneShot app takes Twitter-shared screenshorts to the next level

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.