Blogging

How many microblogging sites can there be?

Last time I was on Identi.ca I noticed that most of the messages were being posted from Ping.fm. This means that people are effectively are broadcasting there but who is listening? Possibly no-one.

Tomorrow the Today Programme on Radio 4 is going to ask whether Twitter is replacing blogging. I know that because they Tweeted about it.

Twitter might not be the best service or the first but it certainly seems to have hit some critical mass where it is now crossing over into the mainstream and before long it seems likely that it will be synonymous with microblogging in the way that Flickr and online photos are.

I’m currently following Stephen Fry’s wildlife documentary making on Twitter and even John Cleese is on there. When you have that kind of penetration I think most of your rivals can run up the white flag and retreat to the niche areas where they excel.

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Blogging

2LDNR

How long should a blog post be? The consensus is pretty clear: damnably short. My previous article about microblogging was meant to be a quick review of current state of play in microblogging but as I was writing it I was constantly aware of how long it is.

One thing that has changed blogging a lot is that more often than not no-one is subscribing to your newsfeed. Instead they arrive at your site through Google search, link sharing sites or (in the case of WordPress) tagging. If someone hits your site because they were searching for “cool insects in a hot tub” then they want to read some stuff about insects in boiling water.

So for the benefit of those people the next couple of articles have been broken down into individual topics rather than being grouped together as a review of “the new hotness”.

Since I am on the topic though, 2LDNR is serious the most annoying chatspeek (not chatspeak) acronym around. Why waste my time telling me what you haven’t done? Just smash your face into your keyboard and hit post like you would have done anyway.

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Blogging

Microblogging

I was annoyed at the Twitter outage last night (apparently caused by IM’ing) as I wanted to gripe about Play Greenhouse (they only allow passwords between 4 and 10 characters long, preventing me from using a passphrase style password). Of course that outage was followed by a database crash today. While I appreciate the good communication the Twitter folks have via their blog the service is extremely prone to outages.

I have only been using Twitter for a month (if that) and already it is already a really useful service for me. It’s handy for keeping up with what’s happening in a “distributed” (or perhaps just disorganised) company. But it also useful for publishing stuff too.

There are a lot of times where you want to make an observation or just note something interesting rather than getting into a detailed description of something. To date that kind of thing has gone into a note-taking program like Google Notebook, Sites or BasKet. Now with Twitter if something doesn’t seem personal or esoteric I might as well throw it out there. It also works the other way round, if something doesn’t fit into the Twitter limit then it probably is worth a paragraph in its own right in a “proper” blog post.

While Twitter was down I went to have a look at the alternatives: Jaiku has been bought by Google and is in one of those awful please wait while we spend months silently integrating modes. Pownce seems like a whole different service, the ability to transfer file links etc. strikes me as being more akin to Google Chat and certainly more than I need for microblogging.

If Jaiku had been available from my Google account at that moment I would have switched without question. Until then I guess I have to wait for Twitter to sort itself out.

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Blogging, Web Applications

Twit or Twitter?

The last couple of days I have been struggling as to whether I should join Twitter or not. There’s a lot of buzz around it but how cool can your web app be when it features on the Today programme? The other issue is that I couldn’t find that many people using it.

However last week when I discovered that The Slip was available and the only place I had seen the news was in people’s Tweets (isn’t Twits more accurate though?) I knew I had to get on-board.

The secret of Twitter seems to be that you have to follow cool people’s Tweets for it to work. You also have to follow only a couple of people with twitteria, otherwise you’re going to drown in their search for meaning.

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Blogging

Why I don’t Blogger much any more

On the weekend I tweaked the blog a bit and I decided to replace the useless archives widgit with the sexy new tag cloud. No-one ever used the archive links so I think it is a more helpful tool to let people find things on the blog they want. Having done that I thought I would go over to Blogger and do exactly the same with some of my older blogs.

Nothing going. Blogger has introduced blog tags (after WordPress categories but before WordPress tags) but looking through the widgits I cannot add a pre-made simple tag cloud.

It is a story of stagnation and one that makes Blogger more and more irrelevant for me. It was the first blogging site I signed up with and I love loads of other Google applications. The people who make things like GMail and Calendar should be pointing out to the guys at Blogger how quickly they are falling behind in both function and utility.

WordPress has a vast amount of information on who is visiting your blog and why, what pages and posts are popular and what people are searching for when they visit the site. Google Analytics could do exactly the same job but you have to do the hard work yourself. You have to put the Javascript into Blogger and check the stats in Analytics. Now naturally there are privacy issues in joining up these services but if I want to view an integrated set of data on my blog (as I can in the market leading software) surely it should be made easy for me to do.

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