robert scoble

Facebook Bloggers as Blogger of the Year??

I’ve been a fan of Dave Winer’s for years, and I’ve always enjoyed his “Blogger of the Year” post because I would normally learn about a new blogger or be reinforced about a feed in my reader. Not only that, but it was an annual reminder that blogging is a worthy endeavor in itself despite how out-of-style it is to call yourself a “blogger” or your personal site a “blog” in 2014.

This year, I was sad to see the BOTY award go to Facebook bloggers…

So, in 2014, Facebook has picked up the ball for blogging. It’s definitely not what I imagined, and I’m not comfortable with where it might be going. But for now, in 2014, the bloggers this year, that made a difference to me, came to me through Facebook.

via Blogger of the Year (2014).

I’m not disappointed out of some sense of the original blogging holding up expression on Facebook as some sort of selling out or a slap in the face to the “indie web.” Dave certainly isn’t the first to espouse the benefits of blogging on Facebook as an enjoyable experience compared to what blogging has become on a web dominated by clickbait and Squarespace sites. For instance, my good friend Wayne Porter once had a great blog (and he helped hire me to run one that he started back almost 15 years ago). Now, he posts a number of great posts and thoughts and links on Facebook. I still get to see those and frequently respond there with others. But it feels different and I don’t know why. It doesn’t feel like Wayne’s old blog any more than Dave’s posts feel like his work on Scripting.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s neat to see Batman pop up in Metropolis to help out Superman in a random issue of a DC comic. However, it never feels like a Batman comic. Batman has his own space(s). That’s where I really get to see his successes and neuroses. I want that experience in the people that I’ve “subscribed” to in my feed readers and really value as sources of quality content and information. That can happen on Facebook, and it certainly does in the case of Wayne and Dave, but I miss the good ole days of personal blogs (and I still think we’ll go back to them in the near future) as the place to read blogging.

I could argue with myself that reading in a feed reader is somewhat akin to what Facebook provides (without the wider audience). I’m altering the experience of reading Dave’s site by subscribing to it in Fever or Feedly or FeedWrangler. I’m not going to the site and seeing the way he deliberately structures content, images, outlines, and information. I’m possibly missing out on comments from other readers. That’s all true. However, Facebook seems like a different blog reading experience to me because of their algorithm. I’m presented with what Facebook wants me to see based on my previous actions and those of others. That’s great for some, but I don’t want a curated algorithmic blog reading experience.

Heck, I even miss Robert Scoble’s blog (the King of Facebook evangelism in 2014, who I blame for all of this).

Years ago, Dave started talking about the notions of rivers in blog reading. From what I remember, I’ll paraphrase him as saying that RSS Readers like the now defunct and much missed Google Reader weren’t that great for blogging because they treated blog reading like an email inbox with unread counts etc. Blog reading became yet another thing to do (or hire an intern to do) for us back in the day. Rivers of information, however, should have flowed by us. We could dip in when we needed or wanted to, but there wouldn’t be the need to read every post. Twitter helped push this paradigm ahead (I still remember trying to read every tweet that I’d missed while sleeping back in 2006). To me, it feels like blogging and blog reading on Facebook distorts this notion of a river or stream of posts and info even more because posts that you see are derived by some magical algorithm in the sky that curates what you see based on math that we’ll never be privy to know.

I’m probably wrong here, and it really doesn’t matter. The world spins on, continues to go around our star, and our way of sharing thoughts and ideas will continue to change along with our still young species. But the idea of my Batmen and Supermen blogging on Facebook makes me sad. Being able to express that here on my blog makes me happy.

Now I just hope Wayne and Dave don’t unfriend me on Facebook, so that I can continue reading their posts there.

Embargoes and The Rest of Us

Although I did win “Best Blogger” at the Affiliate Summit Pinnacle awards this year, I am by no means an A Lister. I live in North Carolina, I don’t blog 20 hours a day and I’ve never been on the Gillmor Gang (although Gillmor did comment on one of my posts a while back, which was neat).

So, I was a little surprised last month when I unknowingly broke an embargo regarding Disqus’ integration of Seesmic…

Disqus Now Has Seesmic Integration at CostPerNews: “Now, you can enable video comments through Seesmic integration with Disqus.”

I’m reminded of this because I was goofing around on Summize this morning and came across this back-and-forth between Robert Scoble and CenterNetworks’ Allen Stern:


Truth be told, I stumbled upon the new feature that morning while approving a comment and just before heading out on a flight. I thought it was curious, so I did what any blue-blooded American with a blog would do… I blogged it. I was almost late for my flight, but I thought it was a neat new feature that I wanted to share with my small yet devoted audience here.

When I landed later that day, I had a number of emails flood into the BlackBerry asking why I “went early” with the story and broke the embargo. I felt bad at first, but then I realized that I had blogged about a feature that was already there… how was that breaking anything?

If I had been aware of such an embargo, I would have definitely not posted the story until the approved time (I’ve honored dozens of them here) and really don’t see the need or gain from being able to yell “FIRST!” on TechMeme at this point (this blog has been around for a while, is comfortable in its little niche and is not meant to be on TechMeme anyway).

Moral of the story… if you’re a tech provider / merchant and you’re going to put a-listers under an embargo, don’t release the feature early so that z-listers like myself can see and blog about it.

Belated apologies to Robert, Allen, TechCrunch, etc for jumping the gun of a race I didn’t know I was running.