...the best writers left their websites for jobs with established media companies; established media companies asked these writers—along with many who really shouldn’t be in these jobs—to make content sound blog-ish; cross-site discourse fell off, with the power to shape a conversation aggregated among sites from which so much content now flows down a hierarchy; memes and traffic-generation schemes quickly eroded what had once been innovative ideas; a shared conversational tone predominated, suggesting that certain content was supposed to sound certain ways; a once open and growing system became a series of echo chambers as writers and readers congregated in various places where they could feel good about participating with each other. Websites have grown incredibly stale as a result, and most with passable content have lost differentiating elements.
Worst of all, as these changes crept across the internet and cemented a way to do business, so to speak, they reinforced the notion that everyone can be an expert while staying at home and living life behind a series of screens. [emphasis mine]
Eve Batey and Justin Beck were very nice to ask me to talk to them about why I decided to leave social media as a career and go back to waiting tables and writing. The conversation was recorded for their media podcast Punching Down.
Eve and Justin came all the way to me in the Mission, and Justin even brought beer. And not cheap Miller, neither.
It only took one Day Beer to get my big mouth moving.
You can listen to me talk Nashville is Talking, what happened after I flounced out of WKRN in a huff, how my work translated in San Francisco, how taking that job in New York was a mistake and why after a short stint in San Jose I said, "Fuck it. I'll just wait tables and write."
You might like this conversation between a bunch of internet "fogies" (see also: innovators) discussing the evolution (or devolution) of blogs and social media and the owning or renting of platforms and whether or not we are all just writing a bunch of crap.
I first learned of our new social media overlord's existence on Twitter, where I get most of my news. And my immediate reaction was, "Oh, fuck."
I ignored it for a couple of days. Stuck my fingers in my ears and sang LA, LA, LA. Didn't want to see it. Hoped it would go away.
Soon I was getting notifications that I'd been added to these cultish-sounding Circles and I knew I had to shake hands with reality. Google+ is here.
It may not be here to stay, but dammit, it has parked its ass on the couch with a beer and your remote and it isn't hitting the door anytime soon.
Okay, fine, I admit it. Once I started getting notifications I wanted in. I like being FIRST! at new online servies, even if I discard them like an OK Cupid date if they don't put out. I wanted my wristband into the potentially happening new party just in case the venue became overrun.
I got my invite, walked past the rope, took a look around the club, saw a few familiar faces and a lot of white space. Then I left.
I'm scared to go back.
Google+ is, I fear, a part-time job I desperately don't want to take. But if I want to eat, I will. As a blogger, marketer, outreacher it is essential that I stay abreast in social media, new and old. I enjoy it, so really, no complaints, but with Google+ I am afraid it's going to be a huge project that ends up sucking major time.
My attention is already splintered by the likes of Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, and shall I go on? Will Google+ supplant all of those? Or will it become one more digital commitment?
I don't know. And I'm frightened to find out.
[Image via cambodia4kidsorg]
Then: "What is a blog?"
Now: "What is Twitter?"
Then: "Why would anyone want to read your blog?"
Now: "Why would anyone want to read your Twitter updates?"
Then: "You really think people care enough about your opinion that you should have a blog?"
Now: "You really think people want to read about what you are doing all the time?"
Then: "Blogging is for egomaniacal exhibitionists."
Now: "Twitter is for egomaniacal exhibitionists."
Then: "Blog is a funny word. It sounds stupid."
Now: "Twitter is a funny word. It sounds stupid."
Then: "Blogging will be the death of legitimate, long-form journalism."
Now: "Twitter will be the death of legitimate, long-form blogging."
Then: "I would never have a blog."
Now: "I would never have a Twitter."
Then: "Heyyy, I finally got myself a blog, check it out!"
Now: "FormerSkeptic is now following you on Twitter."