Dave thinks that blogging is coming back. I’m not sure we can resist the strange attractor that is social media.
Case in point is the excursions I’ve made back into twitter to carry on some conversations that started outside. Then the algorithm puts some interesting material in front of me. The next think I know, I’ve posted on Twitter, rather than here. Mark Bernstein could have written a paragraph about the phrase he was interested in and given some interesting context before asking his question. I would have seen it in my RSS feed and written a few paragraphs about how we carried medical info at the bedside before smartphones and always on high speed connections.
Instead, I see Mark ask a question to the room and I answer right there. Let’s not forget that Twitter and Facebook at the start were microblogging platforms. Like our little websites but hosted and widely available without web hosting, technical hurdles, RSS feeds or audience building. The @ and the # were tags and the algorithms did the rest. Conversations were right there in the comments and the network effects did the rest. The attention economy was born and blogging became performance.
Websites became tools for monetization through advertising or promotion. SEO and driving clicks through enticing headlines were how most of this worked and the dedicated information sites kept up as hobbies by enthusiasts gradually faded out, replaced by the monetized, optimized big audience websites. I see podcasts now going the same way.
I’ve tried to write here as a creative outlet. I’ve written some nice content here, I think. I have a first draft of a book based on my work here that will eventually have some public exposure. But the bulk of my effort has been personal, in notebooks or text files. After all, if I’m not going to monetize and not going to work to get the attention, it doesn’t seem to fit the online world the way it did at the turn of the century when blogging communities were born. I don’t need the income and I don’t aspire to be one of the current crop of internet intellectuals. You know who you are, intellectual dark web.
Hence my return to casual blogging. Notes of the day for the web. Images I’ve made. If I’ve found it interesting, maybe others will too. We casual bloggers can have some conversations day to day that, again, others may find interesting enough to join in. I’d prefer not to get too much attention here if I’m really being honest.
But some kind of return to blogging? The net just seems so big and sites so self contained in the search for clicks that its hard for me to see the folks I enjoy now on Twitter going back to daily journaling on the web. Those social media sites, walled off from search are only accessible from within. I’m afraid the walls these gardens of microblogging erected are just too high, too strong at this point. Can a desire for independence pull enough people out?
A principle of Deciding Better is to start with understanding real options. And a little reflection will show that real options are only those next actions available to you. Waiting for some one else to do something or some event to transpire is deciding not to decide. One must start with real available actions. The world will respond and that, in sharp contrast, is not under your control.
So, I’m just seeing what casual blogging feels like now by doing it. Long form, short form? I think I’ll just see what each day brings for now.