Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blogs are Little Islands

You are not blogging enough. You are pouring your words into increasingly closed and often walled gardens. You are giving control - and sometimes ownership - of your content to social media companies that will SURELY fail.  - Scott Hanselman, Your words are wasted
I enjoy blogging.  I've been doing it since April of 2007 (that's 5 years at the time of this writing!).  For me, it's a great way to work through problems and ideas.  It's kind of a "learning out loud" thing.  And lately, it's been just a way to have some fun with writing.  That's why I'm still doing it, but it's not why I originally started doing it.

I first got into blogging because I wanted to be a part of the community of tech people who were on the interwebs learning from each other and arguing with each other.  That didn't happen, because it turns out a BLOG is not a community.

Blogs are little islands, owned by little dictators.  They've all got large towers built right in the center with mega phones mounted on top, and they're shouting out to sea.  

There's this weird aggregator of shouts out there somewhere, we call it Google.  It archives your shouts, so people searching for a solution to a problem can have a chance of finding the echo of something you yelled long ago.  Of course, that echo has been bouncing around for awhile, and it's probably not terribly accurate any more.  Because of that, we don't shout solutions to problems any more, we do that on StackOverflow now.

But we're all still shouting, so it must be because we want someone to shout back.  But if you even hear my shout, and if you do bother to shout back, the chances I'll hear it are slim.

So instead, maybe you'll fly by my island and drop a leaflet on the beach.  I might pay attention to that, and if I do, I'll leave a leaflet for you on my beach in response.  But you'll never see it, it's my beach and you're not there.

If we're really going to talk, you'll have drive your boat over to my island and stay awhile.  But what a big decision that is for you!  Why would you spend your tourist dollars on my island when there are so many other islands to choose from?  And some of them are much larger, and have many more tourists!

Every island starts out abandoned, with just a lone dictator.  If that dictator is willing to shill for tourists through aggressive marketing, he might attract a bit of a crowd.  But the dictator will still be the dictator and the tourists just tourists.  That's not a great format for interesting conversation...

The little islands model just isn't conducive to building community and having great conversations.  Twitter isn't either, but for different reasons.  And Facebook?  Well it's Facebook.  G+?  *cricket cricket*.  If there's a solution to this problem I don't know what it is.  But I'm pretty sure the solution isn't blogs.

1 comment:

  1. I really agree with you on this one, it's only the Scott Hanselmans or the Jeff Atwoods of this world that have communities around their blogs; for the rest of us, our blogs our little islands, which sometimes are of help to other people.

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