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Big B blogging

But what is lost by following big B blogging? By chasing audience we lose the ability to be ourselves. By writing for everyone we write for no one. Too often I read things otherwise smart people have written for places like Fast Company and my eyes glaze over. Personal identity is necessarily watered down. Yes those places have large audiences but they’re shallow audiences. They don’t care about you at all. Your writing washes through their feeds like water.

Instead - I think most people would be better served by subscribing to small b blogging. What you want is something with YOUR personality. Writing and ideas that are addressable (i.e. you can find and link to them easily in the future) and archived (i.e. you have a list of things you’ve written all in one place rather than spread across publications and URLs) and memorable (i.e. has your own design, logo or style). Writing that can live and breathe in small networks. Scale be damned.

When you write for someone else’s publication your writing becomes disparate and UN-networked. By chasing scale and pageviews you lose identity and the ability to create meaningful, memorable connections within the network.


Matt Webb’s “Social Attention” prototype

Right now the web is either fully social, like when you’re collaborating in Google Docs, or it’s a solitary experience. There’s very little between. Yes you do sometimes get moments that are almost social, like when you read a product review on Amazon or a comment on a blog post, but it’s like walking into a room that somebody’s just left: there’s a note on the table, and the door on the far end is closing shut.

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And yes, I know that Medium and Amazon Kindle share text highlights, but that happens only once it has been highlighted – I want something that lets you see life on the other side of the screen. Especially because it becomes suddenly more useful when you’re coordinating with someone else in a different channel. And, yes, of course there are more fully transparent systems like live cursors or annotations… but this is a blog and not a chatroom. I want the patina of fingerprints, the quiet and comfortable background hum of a library.