Why, in the future, everyone will be blogging (again), and it’s not just what Winer said.

Winer writes:

I predict a return to blogging as people discover the power of being able to finish a thought, and to link to another site without going through an intermediary. Once again people will discover the power of Small Pieces, Loosely Joined.

…and I think I agree that people will return to blogging — as I am doing — rather than Twittering, but for a series of reasons more complex than he avers:


This (above) is how I blog.

There are a variety of routes to navigate this diagram:

  • I post a blog entry; this generates a tweet
  • I tweet, this generates a blog entry
  • Either of the above routes involve tweeting, which updates my Facebook status
  • All tweets which were not generated by the blog, are rolled-up in a daily digest blog posting

…those are only four basic rules (for clarity I am leaving out blogs.sun.com, LiveJournal and LinkedIn, which sit under the “Aggregators” node) – but even if I have only two points of insertion (Blog/Twitter) I then have many places which I must “monitor” for comments; Facebook is the worst offender since I cannot (?) get ATOM feeds of status responses, so I must rely upon e-mail alerts, “Referer:” strings, GoogleAlerts / Searches and my memory; and then I anywhere I participate in a “conversation” I must continue to monitor them in order to pass feedback … juggling an ever-increasing number of chainsaws.

Again FB drops off my radar fastest, because I only truly use it as a distribution mechanism for Tweets, alas so many of my friends are there that quite lengthy comment-threads can occur, but not to be seen by anyone other than the permitted.

Friendfeed tried somewhat to address this, but it’s become just another silo. The problem is one of “silos” – data goes into one place but gets replicated everywhere (thank you, Dave) and then I/we lose track of it. A solution (possible the solution) to this is to disintermediate – have all my content on my blog, and have everything else be distributions of references/links back to it; but that risks being boring, think “truncated / partial content RSS feeds” and you’ll know why it’s boring.

I think the dispersion of data is part of the reason I have such a downer on Activity Streams which I see as the technological blogspace trying to ape Facebook’s “Status Updates”, rather than the other way round which is how I currently use Facebook. The specifications of Activity Streams are cute, and possibly even useful; but the direction in which they point implementors — further fragmentation of your digital footprint, the real extent of your “identity” as Adriana has explained — scares me.

So I believe that what you really will need is a Mine! – your own, literally your own personal silo. You decide who gets to see what. You hold the master copy for everything, and replication tends to wither away. No, it’s not going to replace Facebook or Twitter for everybody – if you’re reading this and thinking “this will never apply to me / I don’t have cascaded blogs / feeds / replication / what’s an aggregator / how will I back this up?” then you’re probably not my target market, and that’s OK.

But then, how recently did you get a blog? In the future, things might change…

More, later…

8 Replies to “Why, in the future, everyone will be blogging (again), and it’s not just what Winer said.”

    1. Kevin, absolutely, you’re right – they are ATOM extensions to implement what I think will be a really useful grammar, and I even forsee using those extensions in the Mine someday.

      However: most conversations I have ever heard about Activity Streams have centered around using them to federate the individual in-to and out-of silos, and *that* is what scares me; the DiSo project had a lot of impressive high-falutin’ talk about WordPress widgets and other enablers so that people can extend ***their*** platforms to share Activity Streams in what I believe to be a identi.ca-like federated model… but I hear way more people talking about Activity Streams and how exciting they are, and what an enabler they are, than I do about what they would do for the individual becoming a platform (ADDITION: … and the exciting possibilities of that.)

      Maybe it’s the company I hang out with, but this lack scares me.

  1. Oh, and, thank you – if I can squeeze my status-responses from Friends back *out* of FB and back into my world, somehow, that will be really cool.

    Yet another hack I gotta do/find/plagiarise.

  2. The goal for the spec process is to enable an individual’s server and a site with millions of users to be using the same format, and for clients not to even care which it is (though they are clearly more likely to implement support for the spec if sites with millions of users already do).

  3. anywhere I participate in a “conversation” I must continue to monitor them in order to pass feedback … juggling an ever-increasing number of chainsaws

    Backtype mostly resolves this. It doesn’t to my knowledge manage to resolve the facebook issue but all other commenting around the web is monitored and captured. In addition, using the backtype plugin on my wordpress blog any comments on any of my related posts, be it via twitter, friendfeed or other outlets is added to the comment stream within the body of the blog as if the comment was made on the blog. For useful reference it also tells the reader where the comment originated.

  4. as you will guess much of this makes no sense to me at all, however, on my very simplified non-technical level this seems what you are trying to do:
    – limit the number of places I need to go to send out and gather in ideas:
    – create enough space in your life that you can contribute something new into the places where they will help people
    If this is the case, I need to come round for tea again!
    Also, from my very limited experience, and circle, Twitter has proved pointless… partly because I don’t think or reflect fast enough for it to be interesting!

  5. “I then have many places which I must “monitor” for comments; ”

    How do you do this montoring? e.g. for posts where you have commented. Do you subscribe to every comment feed where you make a comment? What happens if they only offer an all comments feed, rather than a comments feed for that post? Or is this how you desire to work, not how you manage it at present.

    I don’t manage to monitor where I have left comments and so I often lose replies. I could subscribe to comment feeds, but that seems such a faff and I think I’m slightly scared of having many, many comment feeds. Plus the issue with feeds of all comments etc.

  6. >How do you do this montoring?

    manually. it’s rare for a blog to offer per-post feeds, and rarer still for me to follow them, but it sometimes happens.

    99% of the time it’s a “until i forget or cannot be arsed” thing.

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