And the conversation continued on Facebook…

by Yule Heibel on February 26, 2014

DublinTower…well into the night. (Actually, over the course of a couple of days.)

The conversation I mean is of course the one I started with my Feb. 20th post, Online conversations: some observations.

Here’s a sample of some of what transpired on my Facebook wall in the comments:

  • Yule Heibel A PS of sorts: when I made this FB update yesterday, I was rushing out to an evening event I was getting late for, and my update here was hasty. I should have mentioned the key people who were (still are?) in one way or another the pillars in my blogosphere: There’s Dave Winer, whose introduction of blogging to Harvard’s Berkman Center made it possible for me to start blogging in the first place: thank you! There’s Chris Locke (aka Kat Herding) whose gonzo marketing/philosophy Entropy Gradient Reversal newsletter I somehow got subscribed to, which in turn connected me to so many other great people, including, in no particular order: Frank Paynter, Elaine Frankonis, Tom Matrullo, Betsy Devine, Maria Benet, Mike Golby, David Weinberger, Shelley Powers, Jeneane Sessum, Joseph Duemer, Euan Semple, Dean Landsman,…holy cow, there are no doubt a ton more that I’m not calling to mind right now. Then there were other channels and connections Julie Leung, or Boris Mann and Roland Tanglao, e.g.), Vancouver’s Northern Voice conferences (blogging!), which in turn let me connect to even more people (Stewart Butterfield, Marc Canter, Robert Scoble). All of you have enriched my life and provided food for thought worthy of a university and a village (a university in a village?), and there’s no doubt that social media (even if it’s not “just” blogging any more) built that.

    But it has changed. And what hasn’t changed is that it’s still all about connecting and being heard (or seen). Way back in …oh, was it 2006 or 07?, when Mark Lise and I organized the first Victoria BC Demo Camp, Andrew Wilkinson (who was on Tumblr before any of you even knew it existed, and who’s no mean wordsmith himself even as he deals mostly in pixels for business) asked me why I would bother blogging. It’s so sad, he seemed to suggest, when it’s all just tl;dr and doesn’t even generate connections and feedback. For him, Tumblr is much better. But, yeah, some of us are just wordy and we keep trying to connect the short bits into something long.

    And now, maybe in yet another iteration, long-form writing is back, as you can see via all the platforms springing up around it – Medium, for example. But I don’t want to write on Medium because a) I distrust my abilities now; and b) it’s again a third-party application, one that furthermore asks its users to work for free (may as well do that on my own site) even as it seems to be creating a hierarchy by paying some chosen authors (and I can’t take the ego-bruising of once again being the unpaid peon while others climb a food chain that to me seems to be just a well-greased, slippery pole).

    It’s definitely a complex landscape. And here’s a thought: it’s not just technology that disrupts. Sometimes it’s people who disrupt the reign of technology, too.
  • Dave Winer Let’s do it again Yule. We’ve learned a lot, and we know why we need to keep our independence, even if it’s easier to dump our ideas into Facebook, if they are to have any value, they have to connect to each other in a predictable way, not subject to to the profit-seeking algorithms of Facebook and Twitter, at least some of which involves keeping the governments happy. We had a great thing going ten years ago. I never gave it up, and have been working on new tools for independent writing, all along. I never stopped.
  • Yule Heibel Indeed you didn’t, Dave. I just read the post on Medium by Andy deSoto about your new product, Fargo. Good stuff! (Can Fargo work on mobile/offline so that it can at a later point be uploaded to Scrivener, I wonder?) And I also read that article, which I saw in your and Euan’s stream just now, about how the FB news feed works now (algorithms). Yep, it’s important to *own* one’s words.
  • Dave Winer That’s great that you read Andy DeSoto’s piece. His theory was that more people would see it on Medium. I guess he was right? In any case, if you want an offline outliner, we have one: It stores stuff on your computer using a new HTML feature called “local storage.”

  • Yule Heibel Great, thanks! (Actually, I saw the link to the Medium piece in your FB stream, which I suppose confirms FB’s importance as a feed for info/links. I get Medium’s email updates, too, tho’. Will see if DeSoto’s piece shows up there.)
  • Dave Winer Aha, I would have pointed to his piece here whether it was in Fargo or Medium (and of course I would have preferred he use Fargo).
  • Kat Herding so much truth in what you say, Yule. for one thing, I miss the seriousness of blogging.

    Kat Herding's photo.
  • Kat Herding a bit more um… seriously, I do use Facebook – between the one-liners and funny graphics – as an aid to what I once immodestly referred to as research. while FB has never had any sort of search function worth noting (and this is pretty mind-blowing for a system of its size) it is possible to download all the stuff one has put into it (on one’s own wall/timeline anyway). I do this occasionally so that I can use other grep-ish tools to mine this material on my hard drive. it’s hardly ideal, but it’s not like all my ranting and raving is totally lost in the bowels of Facebook’s foul digestive system. FWIW:

    Kat Herding's photo.
  • Kat Herding also, I return to certain theme’s with some frequency here, notably: news and views about Hindu nationalism. while this is not the same sort of conversation one might spark up via blogging, it has resulted in some quite interesting and (I think) useful social exchanges. despite Doc Searls‘s “markets are conversations” and my implicit underwriting of that #1 Cluetrain thesis, I never allowed comments on my blogs (being inherently a closet Fascist) so the social interaction here on Facebook has taught me quite a lot, and yes, now I’m totally addicted.
  • Dave Winer Kat, wow — if 1. Facebook search doesn’t do much and 2. People post to Facebook instead of blogging then 3. The knowledge accumulation process stopped when all the bloggers started using Facebook. I never thought of it that way until now.
  • Kat Herding yeah, the lack of search sucks deeply, and much is lost – not least, the ability to link back to even recent posts of one’s own.
  • Kat Herding the “Graph Search” Facebook rolled out to much clueless media ballyhoo is clearly implemented to the advantage of advertisers, not us mere peons. for the record: I piss on it from a great height.
  • Kat Herding but to reiterate, anyone who has not downloaded their account might want to try it.
  • Boris Mann Hi Yule Heibel — awesome to be name checked, and so lovely to see you are on your own domain. Might I suggest cut/pasting that long chunk of THOUGHT either as a postscript or into the comments, so that your content lives on in your own space. See you on the web, surfs up!
  • Dave Winer Maybe what’s needed is a 12-step program with sponsors to get people blogging. When one of your associates posts something great on Facebook, your job is to post a comment reminding them to put it on their blog, like Boris Mann just did.
  • Kat Herding re search, I’ve never tested this before, but these results are pathetic. my FB privacy settings allow search engines to index my stuff, but this Google search finds only two hits. the reality is that I’ve mentioned Hindutva *many* times here.

    In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries ver…See More
  • Dave Winer

    Okay so people who used to blog now prefer to post their observations on Faceboo…See More
  • Maria Benet Have you seen this? More

    “The more you blog, the less you are building”
  • Yule Heibel Love these comments – you’re blowing my mind here, so much great stuff to think about.

    Yep, Boris, I’m going to update (and/or cross-post) this stuff on my blog (more work, oh yay… haha), just haven’t had time yet (and am not going to get to it tonight, either!).

    And Maria, yes, I saw that arrive in my inbox via Medium’s weekly email, but I haven’t read it yet. How.Ever. First thought: the author is talking about blogging if you actually have something to sell (i.e., you have a startup that presumably has …uh, *a business model*??)? (As I said, I haven’t read the article, but that’s my impression from the lede/ email.) Well, neither you nor I have something to sell, at least nothing we’ve defined and/or declared. There isn’t anything we’re trying to sell via our writings on our blogs. So… The suggestion that blogging is a stumbling block to success only holds water if you actually have a plan. I would love to have a plan. But in over 10 years of blogging, I, dummy-supreme, have failed to evolve a plan. I think I’m utterly and totally planless, in evolutionary terms mere noise, not signal, at least in a world where signal is defined by sales. Hence, blogging cannot possibly be a stumbling block to my success. For one thing, I’d first have to define my success (my “signal” in a world that’s for sale) and then attempt to jostle and jockey for position amid the noise. It’s war out there, isn’t it? My privilege (ha) lets me stay above the fray. But the price. The price…
  • Kat Herding btw, since I was talking about the FB-enabled full account download, I did it again today. unlike past downloads, this one included NO LINKS in my posts, and no images. the images are probably in the separate folder provided, but no longer associated with the posts they originally went with. in other words: next to useless. this despite a 250 megabyte file – and that’s ZIPPED. these people apparently can’t get *anything* right. fuck them. still, I have lotsa fun here.
  • Kat Herding btw, I had no plan when I blogged this stuff on my Entropy Gradient Reversals blog, but then I sold it to what is now Basic Books for $50,000, which I think is not so bad for not having, you know, like, a plan.

    From one of today’s most original, outspoken, and outrageous writers comes an ex…See More
  • Jon Husband << This saddens me. It should sadden you, too. It seems I don’t value my means of content production, …and, well, I don’t value yours, either. >> To the heart of the matter. Thanks for this post, Yule.

Then, in addition, Jon Husband took the conversation to his Facebook wall, while on Scripting Dave Winer wrote a couple of Facebook-and-blogging (or should that be vs.?) posts here, here, and here (and a more technically oriented post here).

Another interesting branch sprouting from this conversation: what to do about links to articles? I’ve been posting them to Facebook or Twitter, although for years (since the service started), I’ve posted my favorites to Diigo, from when they’d end on my Berkman/Harvard blog once a week as the Sunday Diigo Links Post. Well, the other day I realized Diigo wasn’t working for me: I couldn’t bookmark anything, which also meant that I didn’t have anything lined up for that automatic “links post” last Sunday. The ever-intrepid and fiercely independent Boris Mann knows it’s better to retain control of that stream, too, and he just posts all of his goodies to a special links blog, here. Might be worth emulating.

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