I wanted to write professionally since I was 12. I’m glad I did that. Now I write code, and see a lot of similarities between the two. Writers and coders create tremendous value when they craft stories through their work.
That fuels my interest in the evolution of the news industry, blogging and creating on the web. We’re approaching a pivotal time on the web as social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr become media giants while new blogging platforms continue to pop up. Social media may open publishing to the masses, but the companies that run them sometimes send users scrambling when those companies get bought out or shut down.
That interrupts the stories people create on these services. It’s difficult to keep anything going long term, but even harder when the platform you’ve selected changes dramatically in different ways, whether it’s ownership, features or discontinuation. When this news breaks, we tend to focus on the platform, the publishing experience or the economics, but those don’t really matter. The words and content matter more. Just create.
Blogs (or whatever they get called in the future) still matter because they give people their own platform for creation. The platform doesn’t matter as much when it’s you, and not a service that has your content locked down.
What does that mean? It means:
- you publish on your own domain.
- you freely control your content (you can export, import, use other technologies in an interoperable way).
- you’re not attached to specific features of a platform.
- you focus on creation, not the way you create.
Yahoo bought Tumblr, not for the technology, but the content and audience. Of course, the brand, domain and people who created it matter too. It will be interesting to watch and see if David Karp can keep Tumblr’s original vision in tact as he moves forward with Yahoo. We haven’t figured out the perfect mix of proprietary and open source, independent versus funded yet, or even if there is one, but the evolution is happening. Will Tumblr let its users continue to be themselves? We’ll see.
There’s no shortage of new blogging platforms, like Ghost and Jekyll, or ones that offer a new take on extinct platforms, like Posthaven. They’ll keep coming. But it doesn’t matter if you can post from email, reblog, see all those animated GIFs in a dashboard or “Like” a post. Just tell us your story.
Just create, keep what you create close to your heart and publish it on something that empowers you and gives you control.