Friday, 30 May 2014

Social media has wrecked my blog*

I am a lazy blogger but it's not my fault. Twitter and Diigo are to blame for my indolence, and Blogger has a part to play in it too. 

You see, it's so easy to just tweet a link, perhaps with a (very) short opinion, or save it to Diigo and get that site to sweep my curated links and comments onto this blog once a week, that I have gotten out of the habit of writing longer thoughts here. 
Classic example: 

 
This is in the Social Journalism group on Facebook - it's not a secret group although you need to request to join, so I don't thing screengrabbing the image is bad form. 
I read Ian's post and thought he made a very relevant point re verification, cynicism and the requirement to check something out because it seems too incredible to be true, but I couldn't link to it because FACEBOOK.  
That meant I couldn't tweet or share it either,
So I was about to give up when I suddenly thought "I could put it on my blog" - and it was a true OMG moment; I really had forgotten that my blog was there for such things. 

In addition to the other social channels taking over, I actually don't like Blogger much as a platform, but I continually fail to find the time or energy to relocate to another one. See? Again, a lazy blogger. Both these things really need to change.

So how to get out of the habit of tweeting and bookmarking, instead of blogging? Does it even matter, in the scheme of things? 
I started the blog six years ago to test social tools and ways of storytelling, and it gradually morphed into a 'thoughts about changing journalism' (I meant that in both senses btw) and now it's a linkroll of things I find interesting to read, because I tend to forget about it for other things.

Apparently, I'm not alone in this - Nieman Labs says the blog is dead and cites 2014 as the year of its expiration. The Atlantic goes further, and says that the Stream of online organised information is now The Thing - fresh and now are what matters. 
That must mean the River of News is at an end, not so much dried up as diverted into a backwater. (Dave Winer's reference to RSS, which I see crops up in the Altantic's comments, incidentally).

But, although I'm a lazy blogger I enjoy being a blogger, and while I enjoy and celebrate the nowness of the Stream, the River is also important to me. 

I think there is room for both; in the same way we're grappling with how to present longform journalism to readers in a way that is compelling and engaging (which, in English, means they stick with the story rather than going off to look at a list of 19 Things You Did When You Were a Teen That Will Make Your Teen Cringe!). 
At the Manchester Evening News and the Liverpool Echo, we've worked with Shorthand this month to create two immersive stories around football - here and here - which taught me a lot about the ways we should structure longform. More importantly, both articles were sharp reminders of the idea that if it doesn't work on mobile, don't bother doing it - swathes of work was cut from the MCFC story because they simply didn't make for a good mobile experience. 

So, two things. I need to be less lazy about my blogging and I need to work on my relationship with Blogger, or find a new partner. New month, new attitude... new home?


* The title of this post is of course provocative and wrong - after all, blogging is social media as far as I'm concerned - but it was the best way to describe this post in a pithy headline.

 
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