If You Blogged It, It Did Happen

At the beginning of this year, I wrote a piece called if you didn’t blog it, it didn’t happen, about how your thoughts, ideas and conversations need a place to live permanently over time if they’re going to inspire a useful discourse. And while today’s social networks don’t really enable that potential, we have some fantastic examples of how these conversations can bubble up across blogs even in a world of short attention spans.

  • My brief musings about what tech entrepreneurs should aspire to, influenced by Dave Winer’s thoughts and aided by some riffing over dinner helped nudge Caterina Fake into writing Make Things, an all-time classic even in the context of her truly formidable blogging career. This in turn inspired additional phenomenal responses like Chad Dickerson‘s. From Dave to me to Caterina to Chad to dozens more people — this is exactly how blogging’s supposed to work!
  • I mused a bit on what they’re “protecting” us from when pointing out that many of the characteristics that describe Steve Jobs are exactly the traits that would keep many from allowing him the opportunity to succeed in America. Now, admittedly, I buried that point in the title of the post, but many mistook my point to be that Apple itself is somehow a bastion of liberal policies, as adequately refuted by Andrew Leonard’s piece in Salon. To be fair, I’ve been strongly critical of Apple when appropriate, so I’m not at all arguing the company is the perfect representation of progressive ideals, but rather that regressive policies would prohibit it from existing in the first place, which is relevant in a time when every viable political candidate from one of the major political parties would try to enact those prohibitions if possible.
  • It’s delightful to write a headline that you just know is going to resonate, and If your website’s full of assholes, it’s your fault did exactly that. Ad Age ran the numbers on commenting behavior, finding that readers were put off by the carelessness of many comment threads online. And, as BoingBoing noted, their smart take on comment moderation inspired a surprisingly detailed piece in the Economist where sometime BoingBoinger Glenn Fleishman extolls the virtues of taking responsibility for the comments on one’s site.
  • Duncan Davidson had a beautiful post on the thoughtlessness of social scoreboards, which I was gratified to see make passing reference to my own stream-of-consciousness thoughts on why I favorite things on the web.
  • And going back over a few different pieces in the past several years, John Battelle’s cry for an identity aggregator links to a few pieces that I’ve written about identity. There’s something particularly gratifying to realizing that independent thoughts I’ve had at various times can evolve into a coherent body of thought when seen through the lens of another person’s writing.
  • Finally, in response to an offhanded tweet of mine and a curmudgeonly request, Alpesh Shah made “We Have A Mobile Site! It’s a quick and fun Tumblr where we can all catalog examples of “newsicide”, that bizarre phenomenon where big news sites actively turn away parts of their audience by denying incoming mobile users the ability to read a story by redirecting instead to a homepage or ill-conceived mobile landing page. It’s exasperating, but maybe a good catalog of such examples can help curtail the practice.

In short, by blogging the right things, and connecting the links together when a conversation gets going, we can really make things happen. That’s still exciting.