Readers Crave Destinations

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.

My Two Cents on Blogging

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.

Making the Internet Fun Again

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, 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. 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.

Introducing Amortizing Ryan Howard

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!