Asking people why they don’t do something often leads to a general explanation: I don’t have time. Robert Putnam found that when asking people why they didn’t get involved in community organizations was invariably told by respondents that they had not time, that commuting, work, house work, and child care were taking up all of people’s time. But when he researched where people’s time was going, the answer was glaring: television watching steeply increased starting in the ’60s to an all-time high in the ’90s. Almost 5 hours a day in the US, crowding out community involvement almost totally.
So, you can’t really trust people’s folklore about why they do and don’t do the thinks that they do and don’t do. You can, however, examine what they are actually doing, like the Pew folks do.
And the most important and unexamined aspect of the move from blogs to streaming applications like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr is their streaming nature. Streaming and the open follower model is an evolutionary advance over the primitive social structures of the old school blogging era. People are moving from the slower, less social model of interaction embedded in the blogging model, to a much faster, and much more social model of interaction in streaming applications.
And this is only the wavefront of the transition to a web of flow, away from the web of pages: that’s the deep background story here.