R.I.P. The Blog, 1997-2013, by Jason Kottke. “Blogs are for 40-somethings with kids.” Guilty, as charged. Yet, like Jason, I plan to continue writing/posting online.
I blame the death of blogging on its success. Web content has become so common that it’s virtually worthless. The continuous flow of the new is a stream. If you miss something, don’t worry. More effluent will be flowing by whenever you look…
I guess I need to remember that I joined MySpace and Facebook in 2006, and Twitter and Tumblr in 2007. Let’s not forget identi.ca, Plurk, and FriendFeed around the same time.3 Yup, that was years after starting blogging and years ago.
So, what’s the next big thing in social media? Where do you spend your online time?
With a new year nearly here, it’s time to resolve to behave better on Twitter, Facebook, my blog, and whatever other social media gets invented this coming year.
Ask, don’t tell. I’ll try to remember that I don’t know everything and act accordingly. I might even learn something.
Leave more comments. Bloggers put a lot of effort into their craft. A thoughtful comment can be the best reward. I know I appreciate comments.1
Respond. When someone comments here, I’ll respond. Same if someone @replies on Twitter or tags on Facebook. Not all responses need to be (or should be) in the public stream.
Less posting. That’s right — less. Less stupid stuff, less politics,2 fewer links that die. And maybe a little more long-form blogging, though no promises there.
Less snark. Yeah, snarkiness is fun, and even funny sometimes. I’ll just do less of it. Or do it better.
Less complaining. Facebook will do what Facebook will do. I’ll just quietly sit in my corner blocking apps, ignoring page requests, and offer only helpful suggestions.
No drive-bys. Tweets and status updates I disagree with are not an invitation for debate or correction. People have the right to be wrong — even me.
More IRL. Online social media is fun and a great way to meet new people, but it’s no replacement for shaking someone’s hand, sitting across the table, and talking. More Tweetups, Ignite Portland, etc. I recently made my contact information easier to find if you’d like to contact me. Just check my Contact link.
Understand Twitter. Okay, that one’s impossible.
Are you making any social media resolutions? If so, what are they?
Oh, that was almost a pitiful plea for comments, wasn’t it? ;-) ↩
Yesterday, I started “Impolite Company” to write about political issues. This and the next few posts will document the decisions I made and the steps I took in creating Impolite Company.
First on the list is the name: Impolite Company. I wasn’t looking for anonymity. I just needed another blog to segregate my political posts from everything else. I decided to use politics.blogan.net and went as far as creating the subdomain, installing the WordPress files, creating the database, and starting on the theme before I realized something better was needed, that I wanted a new domain name.
Here are factors I considered in choosing ImpoliteCompany.com:1
I wanted a “dot com” domain. That’s what people expect. When I say “blogan dot net” people look confused and disappointed. “Dot net?” they ask. I suspect they probably forget and go to the wrong site. Getting a dot com domain name was non-negotiable.
I wanted the domain name to be common words spelled correctly — no web 2.0 spelling with missing vowels near the end. I didn’t want a made up word that no one would know how to pronounce and no one could remember how to spell. I didn’t want a combination of words that could be divided differently to yield an unfortunate meaning (e.g., “therapist” or “the rapist”).
The length wasn’t particularly important. By now, people are used to multiple words in a domain name without having to add “all one word” when saying it. I hope people don’t type the domain name more than once, anyway. Put it in your favorites list or subscribe by RSS.
I used to believe earlier in the alphabet is better. This is probably becoming less important now that most bloggers have abandoned displaying alphabetical blogrolls. I do believe blogan.net benefited from being early in the alphabet.
I wanted the name to have some significance to the topic of politics. Although I imagine some would argue I failed on this point, Impolite Company is good enough for me. If you need an explanation, Impolite Company has an about page for you. It helped that I’d recently written on the topic, too.
I found both InPoliteCompany.com and ImpoliteCompany.com were available. Impolite had the meaning I wanted and got it. The other name might still be available if you want it.
My political blog, Impolite Company, is open for business. There’s not much there yet, but that soon will change.
It’s been a while since I started a new WordPress blog. There’s a big difference between starting a basic blog and one that has those features and capabilities I consider necessary. Domain names, styles, comments, and feeds, oh my! That sounds like a topic for another post.
In the mean time, drop on by Impolite Company, leave a comment, subscribe to the feed, and prepare to join in the discussion. And for those of you who don’t like politics, relax in the knowledge that I won’t write politics here on blogan.net.
Inspired by Rafe Needleman’s content overload, I graphed my current Internet content plumbing with an eye to simplifying and improving it.1
I have two blogs: blogan.net and Exerslog; their content goes to FriendFeed, as do the comments I write on blogan (they are filtered from the entire comments feed by a Yahoo pipe). I don’t regularly update Exerslog and it no longer inspires me to exercise. Instead, it adds unnecessary overhead to activity I’d rather encourage and makes me feel guilty when I don’t update even though I have exercised. Time to shut it down, at least for now.
I used to write about others’ posts I read that I liked. Then I discovered Google Reader’s ability to share posts. I find Reader’s sharing easier than writing a blog post. The titles of the posts I share show up on the sidebar of blogan’s main page. I also pipe the shared posts to a Tumblr “tumblog.” I don’t like Tumblr because it makes the shared posts look like I wrote them. Google Reader provides a shared items page, so I didn’t need Tumblr for what I was doing. Good bye, Tumblr!
Unlike Rafe, I don’t use ping.fm to stuff status to various microblogging sites (Twitter, Identi.ca, Pownce, and Yammer) because I’d rather not start a conversation somewhere I won’t be watching. Instead, all my microblogging accounts pipe to FriendFeed, where I’d like the conversation to take place. Does this work? No. Time to get rid of the extra microblogging sites I don’t use.
I’ll keep Twitter because it’s where my social graph is. It works will with Alex King’s latest beta of Twitter Tools, which filters out @replies before displaying my tweets on blogan’s sidebar.
I have some miscellaneous sites: Amazon.com wishlist, BrightKite, and YouTube) that go to FriendFeed. I have virtually no activity on them, they self maintain, and it’s not worth documenting them, and not worth the effort of deleting their feeds from FriendFeed. Ignoring them is bliss!
I have a Pownce site that aggregates my blogan and Twitter streams. Pownce is another site I ignore and it can be removed.
Finally, LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace are special cases. I don’t particularly like them, but I have a lot of friends on them so I don’t want to ignore them. They don’t play well with the rest of the Internet, though; getting feeds in and out of them can be difficult. Even in the case where it’s possible, it’s not necessarily advised. For example, I have Twitter update my status on Facebook. The cultures on Twitter and Facebook are different; noisy chatter that’s acceptable on Twitter might be considered obnoxious on Facebook. I think I’ll remove the linking. Likewise, I can’t think of a reason to pipe my LinkedIn activity to FriendFeed. These three sites go back to being the islands I hate.
This is what my Internet content plumbing looks like now. This captures at least 95% of my online content reading, creating, sharing, and other social networking activity.
Hat tip: Steve Rubel for tweeting Rafe’s article. ↩
There’s one question you need to ask yourself before you start blogging:
Do I want to blog?
That’s it. End of story.
Forget about some narrowly-focused questionnaire that makes blogging sound hard or serious or demanding.
Do I want to blog?
Suppose the next time you’re in a bookstore you see a journal. You think to yourself, “Journaling might be fun. I had a diary at summer camp. Ms. Provansha made us journal in high school composition class. I wonder if I might like it now.” So you buy the journal. You take it home and you write in it. Or not. No big deal.
Now imagine going to that same bookstore and seeing that same journal. This time a poster next to the shelf of journals challenges, “4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start Journaling.”
Can I write well?
Am I passionate about a particular topic?
Am I willing to purchase the best equipment to write?
Can I commit to serious writing?
Um, let’s see… No, no, no, and no. You leave the journal on the shelf and exit the store thinking, “I guess I’m just not cut out to journal.”
Shame on that bookstore. Not everyone who buys a journal is angling for a book deal. Likewise, not everyone considering blogging is planning to chase the advertising dollar.
Dear journal. From the the time we left the house to now, a lot has happened. We left our house at 2:18. Then we drove over to the fredmeyer parking lot and stopes at Panda Express. There I got a pandabowl with rice and orange chicken. After that we got on to highway 26th. Heather and Melissa decided to watch What Happens in Vegas. While they watched that I read a little of my book Hedge Hogs in The Closet. Todd just fell asleep. We drove for a hour and fifteen minutes then stopped at starbucks. We all used the restroom and got a drink. I got a grande double chocolate frap, Todd got the same as me, Heather got a tall iced chai, Melissa got a tall chai tea frap, and mom got a vente iced chai. After that Heather and Melissa finished there movie and started another called Step Up Two while me and Todd played ds downloads on Super Mario Bros. We drove another hour and a half then stopped at a shell gas station and went the bathroom and filled up the gas tank. We left the gas station at 6:45. Heather and Melissa finished Step Up Two and Heather started the movie 21 and bored of it and switched to just reading a book. We drove another forty five minutes and entered Washington. From then on we drove untill we reached Grampa and grandmas house
I think I might be raising another blogger. His domain name is ready when he is. ;-)