Online Networkings Future In The Past

Social media was supposed to be awesome. Until it wasn’t. 
In another recent act of backlash against social media, Glenn Reynolds (a.k.a. Instapundit, Blogfather) deleted his Twitter account and published the story online. (I credit Cal Newportfor the link to the USA Today op-ed.)

I like what Reynolds had to say in general about blogging. But I also like Twitter. So allow me to blog about it (and publish this post link in a Tweet – a bit of irony?).

Walled garden vs wild landscape

Reynolds wrote:
“The ‘walled garden’ character they [social media] create is the antithesis of the traditional Internet philosophy of openness.”
Agreed. I tried to explain that earlier this year in Celebrating The Blog. Instead of ‘open,’ I called blogs ‘independent.’

Unaggregated personal blogs were the nexus of online networking before social media arrived. The early web and blogosphere was like a wild landscape of opportunity, but it didn’t attract everyone like the wall-garden of social media.

I think it’s safe to say that more and more people these days are pointing out that there are a lot of weeds inside the garden, choking out any of the benefits. No wonder they’re climbing out in search of greener pastures. Will those pastures be a return to a thriving blogosphere, or is there something else on the horizon?

Click the link and interact

“To read content on blogs, readers had to go there. To interact, bloggers had to read each other’s sites and decide to post a response, generally with a link back to the post they were replying to.”
I’m quite fond of these blogging basics and their simplicity. In the web’s nascent days, it was all about hyperlinks; they were everywhere. It’s how connecting, networking, and interaction happened before everyone mindlessly scrolled a social feed or stream.

This response I’m typing starts with a link back to Reynold’s article. It’s not just for citation reference; it’s so you can click and go read Reynold’s op-ed and understand the context of what I’m communicating here.

The blogosphere is about links. Social media is about likes.

Now that social media has consumed the masses, people don’t click links so much anymore, I guess. We scroll feeds. We click ‘likes.’

I revolted against Facebook, deleting my account more than once. I also deleted Twitter once. But I always return.

To me, there are still enough positive benefits in using social media. But I am aware of the negative stuff, so I keep my usage in check (moderation is key). And I also get why people are burned out on social sites like Twitter, which has been called it a vitriolic dumpster fire. (But how do people really feel?)

Back to the blog

“This isn’t a call for banning Twitter. But it is a suggestion that maybe our time is better spent elsewhere.”
-Glenn Reynolds

Having deleted his Twitter account and praised the benefits of the blogosphere, Reynolds seems to suggest that’s where our online time may be best spent; that sounds good to me.

Before I started Jason Journals, I seriously debated between committing to Blogger or WordPress as my blog platform. I still love Blogger, but WordPress won me over.

Individual blogs reflect individual persons

One feature of WordPress is the Reader. It aggregates individual blogs or topics you follow into a stream with ‘like’ and ‘comment’ buttons. It’s convenient and useful, but I’ve considered giving it up. Instead, I may only visit individual blog sites – like old times!

What I like about this idea is the draw of unique blogs. I described this on Celebrating The Blog. Basically, individual blogs reflect individual persons. But social media strips everyone’s personality.

I love Reynolds’ ending:
“Since I got off Twitter, I’ve filled the downtime I used to fill with tweeting by going what I did pre-Twitter, reading novels on the Kindle app on my phone. It’s better, and I’m happier.”
Likewise, besides blogging, I love reading on my Kindle. In fact, I have a blog post in draft about it; that’s for a future post.