This site is home to nearly 6000 blog posts. However, this will only be my third blog post of 2014, and only my 20th since the start of 2013. Evidently, my interest in blogging has waned.
Or rather, where I blog has changed. Once, this was the only online space for every notion, idea or discovered link that I wanted to share. No matter how whimsical or thoughtful, half-assed or fully-formed, this was my one-stop shop.
Now, of course, we ‘blog’ everywhere. I use Twitter mostly to share links and silly observations, Facebook for more personal updates, Instagram for photos, Tumblr for occasional unanswerable questions, Reddit or Quora for answerable questions and nerd fights, Pinterest for a peculiar set of stored links and so on. Where there once was one mighty Mackenzie River, now there are many tributaries.
Why don’t I publish here more often?
Maybe, then, this space is now for fully-realized short essays and articles? It is, but over the past year I’ve also published on LinkedIn, Beth Kanter’s blog, Techvibes and the Vancouver Sun, among others. Why didn’t I post those articles here?
To quote The Little Mermaid, I want to go where the people are.
I wanted to access an audience that was not one I could easily reach on DarrenBarefoot.com. Social media, among other trends, has made us an a la carte culture focused on singles, not albums. We dip into this site and that, guided by our peers’ shared links and our own whimsey. Because loyalty to any individual site has lessened, there’s greater value in publishing elsewhere (or maybe everywhere).
I recently published some research results on HootSuite’s blog. My article was shared about 1500 times. Does that same article, published on this site receive that level of attention? Probably not.
Traffic owned by kazillionaires
In the early days of blogging, my peers and I had a firmly-held belief that you were always better off owning your own content, and publishing it on your own site. Changes to the way the web works have nibbled away at that belief.
I’ve talked about this with colleagues on LinkedIn and Facebook (not, notably, on our blogs). From our Facebook conversation (quoted with her permission), Alexandra Samuel asks a related question:
The answer (for almost everyone) will be that you want as many readers as possible, and not just the folks who already know you. But another question is: do we want an Internet where 98% of the traffic and 90% of the traffic is owned by a few kazillionaires, or one where independent content producers can thrive?
Which brings me to Medium, which is the preferred content site du jour for manifestos written by tech sector luminaries and all-around keeners. Buzz Anderson apparently shares my leeriness with the site:
Thinking about writing on Medium but a bit put off by the implied gravitas of it all. The format screams “I’m very sure of what I’m saying.”
— Buzz Andersen (@buzz) June 21, 2014
Medium’s reputation reminds me a little of MovableType’s about 10 years ago. It’s the posh alternative to Blogger, the site all the plebs use.
Regardless, it represents the latest bite out of personal sites like this one. But it’s also yet another site where I might publish something.
So, what do I still publish here? Short essays that don’t have an obvious home somewhere else. That sounds like I’m less interested in writing here, but it’s quite the opposite. I enjoy writing the recent articles on this site far more than the contributed articles, which feel far more like work.
Who knows, maybe my interest in this site will be magically reinvigorated? We’ll see.