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What We Write And Where We Write [en]

What We Write And Where We Write [en]

[fr] L'environnement dans lequel on écrit quelque chose change ce qu'on y écrit. Le blog n'est plus aujourd'hui l'endroit où on va "vite publier quelque chose" -- Facebook a pris cette place.

Lately, Loïc has been writing “long stuff” (“post-length stuff”) on Facebook. I enjoy reading him. Here’s his latest post, on meditation. Maybe because I’ve linked it I’ll be able to find it again in the future, but otherwise, chances are this post, along with all the other status updates we’re publishing on Facebook today, will be lost forever in the corpse of the real-time stream.

Oh yes, Facebook is giving us search, but there are two reasons I’m not holding my breath:

  • we have search in groups already, and as you’ve probably also noticed, it sucks
  • Facebook status updates are a mess of re-shared stuff, “in the instant” messages, photos, funny things, serious things, more cat photos… will search allow us to say “find me all Loïc’s status updates which are longer than 500 words”?

Anyway. Ben dropped the “blog” word, I piled on, and an interesting discussion ensued. My suggestion was that Loïc copy-paste what he was publishing in Facebook into his blog (once he’s retrieved the password ;-)). This made me think of what Euan has been doing recently: he publishes both on his blog and in Facebook. I don’t know where he writes first, but the content is in both places.

Long ago I remember reading about some people who wrote their blog posts in their email client, because it helped them get into the right brainspace. I suspect something like this is going on with Loïc, who hasn’t blogged in a long time. Facebook is where the audience is (not in a marketing sense, in a “not talking to an empty room” sense). Facebook is where we’re expected to write a few lines, not full-blown essays. No pressure.

I’ve been feeling that kind of “pressure” for years on my blog. Look at what I write now. And look at what I was writing a year or so after I started blogging. My blog, initially, was this space where I could just spit out something and be done with it. Over the years, things changed. Now, a blog post has to be meaningful. It has to be worthy of the big bold title that introduces it (no mystery there, when I started blogging blog posts didn’t have huge bold titles). It has to be illustrated. It has to be well-written. It has to be thoughtful. This can be paralysing. The rise of “professional bloggers” doesn’t help.

What I’ve been doing with #back2blog and to some extent The Blogging Tribe is try to resuscitate this mindset. Just blog something. But the landscape of tools has changed.

Now, the space where you go to “just share something” is Facebook. “Everybody” you know is already there. They don’t have to fill in their names to comment. They get notified when there is a reaction to what they say — and so do you. You think of something, you start writing, and oh, you’ve written 6 paragraphs. This happens on Facebook now, not on your blog. And I’m guilty too.

More than once, I’ve found myself writing stuff on Facebook that could be a post on this blog. So I’m going to follow my advice to Loïc next time that happens, and post it here too. And move this blog off this email-less server so people can get comment notifications.

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