From the beginning of blogging in the late 1990s with LiveJournal, Blogger and other services, the trend toward fragmentation by niche specialization began to slowly progress, with many bloggers coming to form communities of bloggers around specific causes or identities.
From the beginning of YouTube in 2005, we have seen the gradual fragmentation of video hosting community websites into a multitude of niche hosting services, a number of which also double as blogging communities.
Since the rise in prominence and attention of microblogs, many of which have become integrated into social networking websites, a number of server software packages, such as StatusNet and Diaspora, have been developed in order to support the development of microblogging communities outside of Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.
However, one question comes to mind: is it as possible for niche microblogging services to be developed for high-ideological-threshold communities in the same way that blog hosts and video hosts have been fragmented?
The growth in traffic to blog and video hosts can be attributed in part to the function of search engines such as Google; for example, Google’s Video service largely gave way to Google Video Search, which gradually increased in the number of video hosts included in its aggregation of video (helping in the diversification of the video hosting market in the process), while Technorati played a large, early role in the aggregation and popularization of blogs, blogrolls and other features of the “blogosphere”. Currently, Google’s “Realtime Search” is playing a large role in the indexing of microblog posts on a limited number of social networking websites, including Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and Google Buzz.
What may dictate how microblogging will fragment into competing, niche-specific microblogging services may not necessarily be the usefulness of the services to their users, but rather the ability to communicate to users from competing services (i.e., between Twitter and Tumblr).
How specialized microblogging services may benefit CNN or some other major news outlet – that is, where such organizations can establish their own hosted microblogs – beyond their own employees has yet to be seen; blogs and microblogs are already extensively used by the same organizations to great effect, although the microblogs of employees are usually hosted on Twitter rather than being self-hosted.
Distinct trends may emerge out of the fragmentation of microblogs in order to increase the relevance and efficacy of stories and information which is broadcast through such means.