Results tagged “blogging”

Morning nostalgia

I am having a deeply nostalgic day right now. Not only am I provisioning a new blog – just as I used to back in my days as RBI's blogmeister - but today is a day of note, as this tweet suggests:

More on that later.

Of course, there are differences. I'm provisioning a WordPress blog on a WPEngine server, rather than a Movable Type blog. And I'm doing the work sat in my home office, with a cup of my own coffee, not the in-office Starbucks.

Beach working And it's for university work, not a B2B blog.

But it's a brief, nice throw-back.

Blogger at work Fascinating read in the wake of Andrew Sullivan's closure of The Dish, in which Ira Stoll explores the present and future of blogging:

And while the ability to produce opinion quickly can be abused, blogs provide the kind of connection and curation that is necessary to understand a world with so much news and information. Successful blogs use hyperlinks to send us out into the web; the blog is guide and greeter. A great blogger can be a personal information concierge, and is likely offering that service for free. Blogs are often bargains.

It doesn't say anything fundamentally new, certainly nothing we haven't known for years, but Stoll brings a historic context and an eloquence to the argument that's compelling.

Marked: a blogging platform

Competition is good. For far too long WordPress has had too little competition as a blogging platform. This is no knock on WordPress: I'm a big fan. But competition drives innovation, and I'm always keen to see new ideas flourish, especially in blogging and publishing platforms. That's why I was an early backer of Ghost, and remain a keen user and observer as it develops towards the 1.0 release.

And it's also why I just backed Typed:

I'm a big fan of their Markdown writing app of the same name, which is great for getting long-form writing done in a distraction-free way. Plus, they're a local business to me, and I like supporting local businesses, as the coffee shop I'm writing this in can attest:

Blogging in Tom Foolery

I have a friend working at RealMac, whom I've spent some time in the past discussing blogging platforms with. (I'm now wondering if there was an…agenda…behind those chats. ;-) ) He gave me a heads-up about this a couple of hours ago, which is why I'm right in there at the beginning.

Mobile era blogging

Using Typed on an iPhone

I'm doing increasing amounts of blogging directly from mobile, and that's almost certainly the future for many people, as mobile switches to being our default mode of accessing the internet. Typed is designed to be mobile-friendly from the outset, which is one of the reason I'm so interested in new blog platforms. The mobile interfaces for existing platforms, including Movable Type, which is what lurks under here, and retrofits on top of platforms that emerged long before mobile become a thing. They're good, but not as intuitive as they could be.

I'm really interested to see what kind of UI ideas emerge in platforms built for the mobile age, both with my blogger and journalist hats on. The mobile phone is one of the most profoundly useful tools to emerge for journalism, and I'm really excited to see what happens when our publishing platforms start supporting it as their centre, not an add-on.

Backing Typed

Full details of what Realmac have planned for Typed are on their Typed Indiegogo page. It's a flexible funding project - which means that it will go ahead, however much funding they get. But there's some pretty good deals there on access to the platform for periods of time, so take a look, if it sounds like something you'd like to publish with.

Ben Smith, Buzzfeed's editor in chief:

Indeed, the strongest new news outlets and the most nimble elements of the old ones have also co-opted and professionalized the tools and ethos of bloggers — fast, direct publishing; an informal voice; a commitment to transparency. We’ve pulled in some of the adaptable stars of that era. And we believe those people, tools, and values can serve our unchanging commitments to immediate, well-told, fearless, compelling, and independent journalism.

Nice piece, which really clarifies that the blogosphere (and how long is it since I last wrote that word*?) of the mid-2000s is long dead, but blogging itself has inserted itself deeply into the DNA of today's innovative web publishing.

*A quarter of a decade, as it turns out.

The Post-Blogging age

Blogging from Tom Foolery

Chris Cillizza, commenting on the reaction to Andrew Sullivan's departure from blogging:

But, again, a blog isn't any one thing. For me, the idea of a blog — or blogging — that works is reported analysis told through a variety of textual and visual mediums. You could call them — as newspapers tend to do — "analysis" pieces and run them as articles. You could call them — as the graphics world does — data visualizations and run them as infographics. The bigger point is: It's journalism, on the Web. It doesn't matter what word you ascribe to it.

His is a pretty smart take on the idea that blogging has evolved towards ubiquity, rather than died away. One could argue, and I'm tempted to do so, that we are in the post-blog age, but not in the sense of blogging having finished, but in the sense that it not longer makes sense to think of it as a separate category.

Blogging is just part of the language of publishing on the web.

sully-cartoon-2.png

Disconcerting news this evening. Andrew Sullivan is quitting blogging:

The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book.

Sullivan has blogged at an almost frenzied level for a decade and a half. I suspect that he's not capable of blogging at a more relaxed pace, even with a team around him. If it's all or nothing, it sounds like it needs to be nothing - and that's good for him and his family, even if it's a loss for us.

Sullivan was blogging years before I started, and has been a profound influence on me from very early on. I always kinda assumed that he'd be there long after I hung up the keyboard - but that doesn't seem to be the case now. A world without Sullivan blogging seems like an odd one.

I hope The Dish will outlive his blogging life. His recent holidays have proved that his team are capable of keeping it going while he was away. I suspect that there's a viable business there even without Sullivan at the helm, leading from the front. But we'll see if that's something he wants.

So, thanks for the last 15 years, Andrew, and the best of luck with all the rest of the things you want to do.

Death of blogging?

The one thing that this isn't is any sign of the "death of blogging". You only have to glance a Tumblr and the growth in fashion blogging and the explosion of Medium and all the rest of it to see that, as Kevin Marks wrote in 2008, blogging is like air.

Or, to put it another way, blogging won. Everything from your Facebook newsfeed to a Pinterest board has something of the characteristics of the medium. Blogging is so deeply entwined with the web itself that we don't even really need the word any more.

One Man & His Medium Blog

I probably don't need more places to write - but I've decided to give Medium a go, for a little while at least. My first post is up, exploring the brief bout of Blogger's Block I just went through.

Adam Tinworth

Thoughts on the Medium experience to follow sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Medium: welcome

Simon Owens has written a really nice piece exploring what Medium is trying to do. In essence, it's melding the long-form blogging of the mid-2000s with the social network effects of the early 2010s to create a viable audience for in-depth material:

But as I began to read the blog and then later spoke to Evan Hansen, a senior editor at Medium who was the initial instigator behind The Message, I realized that it was more than just an arena for early 21st century Web 2.0 nostalgia, but part of Medium's larger goal of bringing back the web we lost. "I think people do miss the longer stuff," he said in a phone interview. "And we kind of walked away from it and went into the shorter, more disposable media, and we lost something along the way. I think that Medium is capitalizing on that feeling. The place for longer writing has been lost, so we're creating that again."

There's part of me that sturggles with the idea of giving up my own site to publish on someone else's platform - but that network of potential readers is so very, very tempting...

Time to have a play perhaps?

Let's try this again

Well, hello, blog. I'm sorry I've been neglecting you. I've been terribly busy, you see. We're right in term time at City University, which always keeps me busy - but added to that, I've recently landed the biggest contract I've had since I went into consultancy, and it's for one of our national newspapers. Time is at something of a premium.

Plus, my daughter has learnt to open doors and turn on light switches, which means that I'm currently woken by the bed lights going on at about 6.30, with a cheery 2 year old saying "sleeping time is over, Daddy". And that's the good mornings. On the bad ones, she's affectionately poking me in the cheek. 

Little does she know that sleeping time ended when she was born.

So, writing in the evening is not exactly a great idea right now. 

But, the thing is, I promised myself I wouldn't do this. I would not neglect the blog (and the networking) when I got busy. And sometimes I just have to write myself back into blogging.

And that's exactly what this post is. 

Hello. Again. 

Blogging is dead #4

Lockhart Steele remembers the fun:

I sat on the roof of my apartment building last week with my old friend Jonny Porkpie, talking to him about this idea I had to relaunch my personal blog. Jonny, thinking it over, didn’t encourage or discourage me. Instead, he asked, “Should I relaunch my blog too?”

Which is really the perfect reply. Back then, we’d had a ton of stupid fun linking to each other’s blog posts for no other reason than that they existed and that it amused us greatly. Who wouldn’t want back in on that?

Blogging is dead #3

Fred Wilson:

There is something about the personal blog, yourname.com, where you control everything and get to do whatever the hell pleases you. There is something about linking to one of those blogs and then saying something. It’s like having a conversation in public with each other. This is how blogging was in the early days. And this is how blogging is today, if you want it to be.

Blogging is dead #2

Elizabeth Spiers returns to blogging:

In the days before comments on blogs, you could generally have a thoughtful conversation online without everything degenerating into madness and chaos simply because responding to a post required that you wrote a post on your own blog and linked back. This created a certain level of default accountability because if someone wanted to flame you, they had to do it on their own real estate, and couldn't just crap all over yours anonymously. So in the spirit of old-school blogging, I'll approve comments here, but am much more likely to engage if you create a blog post of your own and link back.

Blogging is dead #1

Brent Simmons:

My blog’s older than Twitter and Facebook, and it will outlive them. It has seen Flickr explode and then fade. It’s seen Google Wave and Google Reader come and go, and it’ll still be here as Google Plus fades. When Medium and Tumblr are gone, my blog will be here.

Maria Popova

Here's a fascinating interview with Maria Popova, curator of the truly excellent Brain Pickings blog.

Some choice highlights:

I can’t speak for others, but I’ve found in myself a tendency to retreat deeper and deeper into my existing interests as a form of self-defense against the abundance of demands for my time and attention. Again, it takes a certain discipline not to do that and to continually expand one’s ideological comfort zone, as it does not to scatter oneself too chaotically across a multitude of diversion.

And, on journalism, this:

Every nonfiction writer is essentially a curator of ideas – whether this means the selection of academic and clinical studies to be cited in a Malcolm Gladwell-style pop psychology book or the snippets of articles highlighted and contextualized in a day’s worth of Andrew Sullivan’s blog. At their best, journalists – writers, editors, “curators”, or whatever we choose to label them – help people figure out what matters in the world and why. The label under which they do it is irrelevant.

One of the most thought-provoking interviews I've read in a while.

Photo by Ryan Lash for TED conferences, and used under a Creative Commons licence

This is why I blog

My desk, today.

Nick Crocker:

To know what you think, write it down. Forcing myself to write something down, to structure it, to let it see light is the best way for me to clarify what I actually think about something.

It's from a list of 30 things he's learned, and unlike most such things, it's pretty good.

Euan Semple captured what happens after that:

Secondly, by sticking it out there magic happens. People either reinforce your idea, modify it, disagree with it or just take it in and mull it over. All of these are worthwhile. Just being seen to know things and be thoughtful about your work is good for your career. But beyond this your ideas get tested, they get expanded, you can adapt. This is a powerfully evolutionary idea. We get to test and improve our thinking in real time.

So, this is why I blog.

Martin Belam:

And despite the die-hard afficianados, RSS is no longer a key content distribution channel.

Of course, with some amusement, I read this in my RSS reader of choice.

He's right in that RSS never became a mainstream means of consumption (indeed, I'd argue that it never really was a key content distribution channel), but wrong in that, for those of us who live or die by the information we find, consume and process in various ways, it's still a vital tool.

And one that's not as small as you might think. From a recent post on The Digital Reader, marking the year's anniversary of the demise of Google Reader:

In 3 weeks Feedly grew from 4 million users to 7 million, eventually growing to 15 million users and 24,000 paying customers in February 2014 and earning the crown of leading Google Reader replacement.

15 million (on one service alone) is a decent chunk of die-hard aficionados.

Mary needs to be shorter

Mary Hamilton:

It’s something I’d like to do more of here – sharing interesting links with a paragraph or two’s analysis.

Gah.

Why would anyone do that? :-)

(Other than providing useful, contextualised links for people, which is where blogging started. It also makes a great "outboard brain" notebook of reference links…)

Sunset over the Adur

I just wrote a post for NEXT Berlin which has provoked a little more reaction than normal. I admit - it's a more touchy subject than most, encompassing both a missing plane, and thus many lives at risk or lost. And it takes a side-swipe at the obsessions of the tech business right now. But despite the not entirely positive reaction, I'm pretty pleased with it, because it encompasses a lot of what I believe about blogging, both in terms of process and in terms of exploring ideas.

First of all, on the process front, it reflects one of my cardinal rules of doing blogging well: connect the impetus to blog with the action to implement as soon as possible.

I was procrastinating slightly about posting, because I wasn't massively enthused about the subject I'd come up with, and then I came across Mary's Facebook post, and the appropriate neurones leapt up of the cognitive couch, brushed the metaphorical pizza crumbs from their notional chests and went to work.

Why did this get me interested? Well, it invoked two of the things I feel strongly about:

1. Get out of the bubble

This is a serious one. I've talked before how I find the intra-journalist discussion about the digital future amazingly dull compared the the conversation happening at the intersection of journalism and everything else. That problem - the echo chamber of like-minded people talking to themselves is everywhere, and it holds us back. When you only look inwards, you keep finding the same old answers.

I feel that the internet of things - as a concept - is locked into that right now. Lots of people borrowing ideas off each other, but basically ending up with the same bunch of products.

This is one of these stories where two worlds come together to make a very interesting possibility. Mash together aviation - and its obsession to safety detail - and the efficient communications skills of the internet of things movement, and you have a very interesting potential partnership. If I could introduce the problem from one side of the fence to potential providers on the other, how could I resist?

Was the timing wrong? I don't know. If you have this conversation long after the event, then you get no traction for the ideas. In a sense, I was taking my cue from the aviation community, which certainly seemed to think that this was an appropriate time to discuss these matters.

2. Time for tech to grow up

The move to mobile and apps is great and everything - but isn't there more than this? It feels like the grand tech juggernaut has ground to a halt and has got utterly distracted by finding new ways for us to play games and chat to each other in increasingly simplified ways. Both of these are admirable things in their worn right. But is that really what we're going to use all this great tech for?

OK, I'm overstating the case. Interesting things are being done outside the startup/apps/VC economy, but you wouldn't know it from the the tech press right now. I think that needs to change. I think we need to puncture that happy little tech bubble, and start looking more deeply at how it really impacts life outside that sphere.

But right now, it's past 11pm, I have to be up early in the morning to deliver a day's training, so I'll leave further exploration of that idea for another day.

This is the seventh in a series of one-a-day substantive posts I'm going to try to write through March.