By Sterling “Chip” Camden
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
Leo Laporte, the famed technogeek personality and self-proclaimed web whore, has shuttered his Google Buzz account after Buzz mysteriously dropped fifteen of his posts over about two weeks. Laporte considers this event a wake-up call to the transitory nature of social media content that’s hosted by someone else, and he vows to post all new content on his own blog from now on.
Seems like a “duh” moment to me. Ever since Twitter began to take off, I’ve been scratching my head wondering why I should post anything unique there — or on Facebook, or on Buzz, or on any other site over which I have absolutely zero control and from which I receive absolutely no remuneration. Not that I couldn’t survive without my ad revenue from Chip’s Quips and Chip’s Tips (I’d have to give up a breve every, um, month or so).
Much more important than revenue is control over content. On my own sites I decide what stays up for how long, and I backup all my content (as well as what I post here on [GAS] and on TechRepublic) before it’s even published. I won’t permanently lose what I’ve created unless a major disaster takes out the sites and my backup storage.
But there’s an even bigger worry that’s been gnawing on my brain. Blogging, at least the way I’ve been doing it, represents a medium of writing. Microblogging more closely resembles chat, which in turn mimics a telephone conversation. It isn’t meant to be permanent, or more than vaguely memorable. The medium is the message, and the message is disposable.
I’m not saying that microblogging is Evil — there’s certainly a place for chat-esque communication. What worries me are all the people who have abandoned their own blogs for this medium. Sure, it’s easier to post. Less effort, and lower expectations. Crafting a blog post to make it engaging, choosing a title, tagging, categorizing, and finally publishing it for all the world and Google to see takes time. But it also makes the content better — you think more about what you’re saying, about its general applicability, about exceptions to the rule you started to spout off. You do a little research to make sure you’re not totally clueless on the subject. Why? Because it’s going to be there with your name on it and everyone knows you had at least a couple of minutes to think about it while you were writing, uploading, and publishing it — and that you’ve had the opportunity to take it down ever since. It’s like a sign in your front yard, instead of something you said to your neighbor over the fence.
Perhaps (and I hope I don’t sound like an old fart here, even if I am one) — perhaps it’s a symptom of our throw-away society. Maybe not many people care about preserving what they’ve said. Live for today, put the past behind you. I’m all for carpe diem, but I believe that what we have been and thought informs what we will become. I agree with Leo — I’ll stick to my own blogs, TYVM.
Unleash the comments about the irony of me posting this on [GAS].