Forgiveness for the inconsistent blogger

Khoi Vinh captures the anxiety of a lapsed blogger in this lovely sentence:

What I really need is to write a blog post that clears the decks, one that owns up to how starkly impersonal my posts have been for months now, and essentially gives me permission to start trying to write again.

Everyone should give themselves the chance to try again.

Medium and the evolution of blogging

I’m a fan of blogging. I like the process. I like the idea of posting something regularly. I like how RSS and social components allow the information published through a blogging platform to spread through the Internet’s nooks and crannies.

But I’m also kinda bored of reverse-chronology layouts and the headline-body-comment structure. Those methods are fine, and they deserve to stick around, but can’t we do something different already?

I’m not talking about something dramatically different. What I want is to see blogging’s evolutionary step — what will this form look like in 10 years?

That’s why I’m intrigued by Medium. The category pages — dubbed “collections” — are organized differently (example):

Screenshot of Medium's 100 word stories collection

It’s tablet-friendly, that’s for sure.

It’s also not defined by time.

If you’re a news site, time matters. You want the latest up front because “the latest” is what you’re all about. But how many of us run news sites? Hell, how many of us want to run news sites?

I have to imagine many people out there are focused on a topic or an idea. That thing may be tied to time, but time is not necessarily the defining characteristic.

Medium, like Flipboard and Gawker, is about showcasing “the big thing.” I like that.

Medium is also trying to break away from the post-comment hierarchy. Dave Winer picked up on this:

Users can create new buckets or collections and call them anything they want. A bucket is analogous to a blog post. Then other people can post to it. That’s like a comment. But it doesn’t look like a comment. It’s got a place for a big image at the top. It looks much prettier than a comment, and much bigger. Looks are important here.

That’s really interesting. What if we made the post and the comment equally important? What would that look like?

I don’t think Medium’s current form represents this vision, but the idea is intriguing.

And even if Medium doesn’t usher in the evolution I’m looking for, the fact that people are talking and experimenting in this space suggests good things will happen.

(I acknowledge and embrace the hypocrisy of complaining about traditional blog structures in a traditional blog post.)

Hey, journalists, this is why you need a blog

A phenomenal post from Jason Fry at the National Sports Journalism Center: When I started Faith and Fear in Flushing with my friend Greg Prince in the winter of 2005, I’d been at The Wall Street Journal Online for nearly…

A phenomenal post from Jason Fry at the National Sports Journalism Center:

When I started Faith and Fear in Flushing with my friend Greg Prince in the winter of 2005, I’d been at The Wall Street Journal Online for nearly 10 years. But despite all that time as a Web guy, I’d adopted some rather unhealthy attitudes. I was studiously uninterested in knowing how many readers read my columns, and only took a passing interest in their reactions to them. I thought that my job was to be a thinker and a writer. Worrying about traffic numbers? That was somebody else’s job – and a lesser calling.

This was arrogant and dumb, and a few weeks of writing Faith and Fear showed me that. On my own blog, the numbers were of immense interest to me. I pored over them every day in an effort to figure out what posts were connecting with readers and what posts weren’t. I was singing for my supper, and it made me a better columnist. If a column was well written but didn’t seem to connect, I wasn’t happy with it. I no longer dismissed Web traffic as not my job, complained about writing promos for my stuff, or gave reader comments and emails short shrift. And I realized those folks on the business side were critical to our collective success, and could teach me things. [Emphasis added.]

I’ll add this: journalism’s biggest mistake was allowing business apathy/hatred among the editorial ranks. That’s a far more egregious “sin” than publishing free Web content.