That Buzz you heard was Google zapping your posts

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].

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7 Responses to That Buzz you heard was Google zapping your posts

  1. It's been my same feeling for a while.

    Twits and updates work well to minimize the noise when something new enters your social circle… to them, I say thanks for killing chain mails and similar time consuming traps.

    If something really matters, though… anything goes, but not those streams. :)

  2. Putting all your eggs in one basket is silly of course. You don't invest in just stock, you get stocks, bonds and hard assets. Social media like that too, some content goes to twitter, some to the blog and some somewhere.

    I'm always looking for things I can host/control myself on my own servers, which is one reason I love self hosting my own blog, it gives me the control.

  3. I have to say i agree. I've been wavering away from my facebook account, and towards my long-neglected livejournal account recently. I was struck last week when i wrote a short (to me) rant on my facebook wall, only to be told it was too long! That was the straw for me, so i've started spending more time on LJ and less on FB. But by the gods it's quiet over in LJ land.

    I admit that a livejournal account isn't much better than a facebook account in terms of control and backup security, but i still prefer the structured long-form writing style it encourages.

  4. I'm agree but Leo Laporte is not agree with you. He deleted is account because of some crappy bug not for is opinion about blogging and keeping is own idea.
    I think there is big difference between you and him… But I can be wrong :D

  5. This whole article seems whiny to me.Blogging alone is a horribly ineffective method of content distribution, and therefore not suited for the majority of users who rely on built in social distribution scripting which can pressure friends into reading, and track who's reading what and when.Yes, blogging offers more control over your content, but only to an extent, frankly, unless you own your own web server, site, and hand wrote every EULA and TOS you, as the content provider, are being forced into agreement with — you're never TRULY in control. Any popular web platform (for example, vBulletin) *technically* has restrictions on what admins can do with their platform, although they don't enforce them with a flurry of lightning bolts. Most web hosts have EULAs and TOSs which prohibit you from posting a variety of content that they might have conflicting interest with, or which might (in some way) reflect distaste on to them.That may not SEEM like much, but the simple truth of the matter is that if you're seeking complete total control – you'll not find it on the internet. You are not entitled to anything. I get that the internet is supposed to be the last frontier of freedom on Earth, but the simple fact is that not only are you constantly governed by more local, state, federal, and international laws than most of us will EVER be aware; You're also buried up to your eyes in legally binding Terms Of Service agreements, End User License Agreements, and you are always at the mercy of User Submitted Content, Your URL Provider, Your Webhost, and even your ISP.That stated: To think you have control is asinine. Which brings us back around (full circle) to your original claim that Blogging is superior to Microblogging. Frankly, all the internet is intended for is the exchange of content (ideas, media, etc), and since control plays a factor of 0 in the world (because I mean, come on, who here doesn't realize by now that they can copy and paste microblogged content onto their computer and effectively "back up" that content in a word processor or (if you're feeling special) a spread sheet? The simple fact is, that while control is an asinine concept from any angle of approach, blogging as opposed to microblogging does not make you a better or more serious author. It does not make you more memorable (as I assure you that 20 years from now, an insanely small amount of the content we find ourselves submitting to this garbage disposal we call the internet will have any matter or tangible impact on history. So I protest that in the grand picture there is absolutely no difference, and what you elect to be the better choice for you as an individual does not affect the effectiveness of the alternative — therefore, by the elements which you elected to base your decision off of (and a realistic approach to the concept of control), there is no difference between Blogging or Microblogging, except to say that one may work for you, and the other work better for someone else — so to write an article which comes of as whiny seems… Well… Whiny.