Last December I offered my two cents on what’s happening with blogging in response to Jeremiah Owyang’s provocative post that pronounced the golden era of tech blogging dead. Now, I’m not sure how people feel about that a few months on, but something that’s stuck with me is how we gather information online today. Sure, we’re having lots of “conversations,” but readers still crave destinations.
Good writers know that in order to get anyone to look at anything online, you need a hook. When we share links on Twitter and Facebook, they’re only interesting if you can tease people to click into the story. We’re all writing headlines for everything we share with the online community. To me that means we still need blogs, websites…anywhere you can put lots of words and ideas next to each other.
We like info snacking, but we’re really picky eaters. Given the amount of information that’s out there it’s only fair that readers only sample what they like at the content buffet. But make no mistake, curation takes more than the almighty “conversation.” So, writers, don’t despair: readers still crave the yummy content that’s always made the web great.
Been thinking about Hugh MacLeod’s posts on this subject this week since Jeremiah Owyang brought it up here (and followed up here) and then BOOM here he goes again with another post about what blogging means AND TO WHOM in 2012. Agree completely and I’ll add that while I love Google+ and Twitter and various other networks, I’m still reading blogs with vigor. And a hearty amen to the conversation happening in other places than the comments. Twitter really unleashes their power, for better or worse, no?
And let’s be serious: I’m still following links back to blogs from Twitter. Not everything is being encapsulated 140 characters at a time. Aren’t you?
A short story: tweets like this one bear an eerie resemblance to discourse in the music blogosphere circa 2006. I’ll add that everything went pear-shaped in music blogging right around the time folks started to notice that it wasn’t fun anymore and that first was what mattered most. It’s what drove me to find something else to do as some of my favorite critics did the very same. Once everyone’s talking about what’s wrong, it starts to hurt the product. This is why I find folks like Maura and Chris and Daphne to be so inspirational: they’re sticking it out and still doing great work. If tech bloggers start to feel that the thrill is gone, I’d recommend checking out how Maura and Chris and Daphne are reinventing what it means to be a music critic in a Lady Gaga Pantsless in Paris world.
If you’re a tech blogger or aspire to be one someday, reach out to friends and colleagues who’ve written about music or food for pay online in the past decade or so. If nothing else, they can share more than a few stories about how Web 2.0 transformed the way we blog and how that process keeps iterating to new fields every day.
I’ve been selfish about how I share things online. When I was writing regularly as a critic, wielding my blog like a bullhorn for whatever I desired, I shared with near wreckless abandon on virtually every platform at my disposal. Lately,Â I’ve turned inward, keeping cool articles and ideas nestled snugly in Instapaper, or worse, my head, like they’re some precious bauble to hold close.Â Well, that’s going to change. I’m vowing to share more in 2012.
Something I’ve come to love about the most excellent writers (call them “curators” if you must) is how they editorialize links. I think I’ve been slow to accept this because with music writing, it could be monetized in clear ways by publishing through a third party. When you read great stuff at blogs like daring fireball, you marvel at how far a link and an ounce of editorial can take you. Same is true for Twitter follows like David Carr, who just re-shared his insightful interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air specifically about this topic. Serendipity! It’s what makes the Internet fun and I think that I forgot that somewhere along the way while hoarding links and articles and ideas in Google Reader and Reeder and Twitter and Tumblr and Instapaper and all the other ways we use the web today.
So 2012 at Ramsayings will be about sharing those insights. Brace yourself.
Because the world needed another baseball blog. You can find it here, where I will be Tumbling about all manner baseball stuff, whether it’s Phillies or not. (And, yes, this is my umpteenth stab at Tumblr. This could stick only because I really like reading and writing and thinking about baseball.) If you can recommend anyone on Tumblr who is a thinking person’s baseball fan, or even someone who makes unbelievably hilarious .gifs, let me know!
Latest WordPress for iOS update reminded me that moblogging was once a Thing. I’m drafting this on my phone from my couch, feeling nostalgic.
I guess folks do this more now on platforms like Twitter, Tumblr and any photo app under the sun. Still nice to actually write something.