A blog is a journal edited by one person. Most blogs would allow to post replies. This frequently leads to exchange of ideas with readers which can themselves be bloggers. These bloggers are likely to have the same interests and would in turn cross reference with other blog, creating a network or community of blogs. A blog network can grow organically, or being actively weaved, as described by Angus.
An on-line discussion forum belongs to all participants. Participants are frequently screened to be registered to the community. They exchange ideas through a platform, and other members reply to the treads/questions
When investing the two formats, looking to the practical implementations of the two platforms, I arrived to some conclusions. In general,
-Blogs tends to convey ideas which are much more in depth than forum, probably because the feedback is not frequently as fast from other people
-There is a tendency to have more intense discussions in forum.
-Sometimes loudest people take over a forum. This can lead its demise as the other participants get less interested into visiting the forum. This can be counteracted with effective moderation of the forum.
My preconception about Twitter is that it at first feels like a tool for people with short attention span.
A reservation I have into to using it is that it would be an other source of information to have to cope with. I am at the moment spending up to 45 minutes at work every morning reading, filtering, deleting the information arrived overnight through emails, RSS, and update on web site such as blogs. On top of that count the "urgent" information requested from students via IM system, and you realise that the back ground eNoise is already quite high…
So what would Twitter bring me? Twitter is well described be Sarah Steward on the FC09 blog.
There is not doubt that Twitter is probably be a good way of pushing information out towards other people. However, I feel that I could not effectively cope with an other source of information coming in, especially as I frequently could get it via other existing tools. I feel that it is much more efficient to gather information via limited set of tools such as RSS, eMail, and Update Scanner. In fact I have rationalised my information input replacing most RSS by U.Scanner. Updates. Update Scanner works in 99% of cases, when RSS is not always implemented on interesting sites.
Let's get back to Twitter. If the people I am trying to push information to via Twitter are in the same situation as me, can I expect them to collect information via this tool, or should I instead pass the information via existing tools? You know by now what solution I would prefer. I will however try to use Twitter in a course I will be delivering next year, and get the feed back from the students. I might get surprised!