(2019-09-01) Schlagel Critchlow Blogging As Network

Brendan Schlagel: Weaving a public web, or, why don’t I blog more? Part 1 of a blogchain with Tom Critchlow on the theme of networked communities. (Virtual Community?)

how do I productively write, publish, and converse in public, in dialogue with other people? And before the how…what barriers make this feel like a harder thing to do than it intellectually seems it should be?

will anyone read or care? Will it resonate, or endure in any perceivable way? Barring that, might it even start an interesting conversation?

what things make it hard to have meaningful networked conversations, ones intended to spark dialogue and explore ideas with others?

We can have great interactions on Twitter, Facebook, Slack — but they can also be inaccessible, or owned by third parties of questionable ethics, or decay quickly.

That’s why the IndieWeb ethos resonates: a society where everyone tends their own corner of a larger garden, exchanging with others as they like. And this implies a very different shape! Where forums, Slack instances, even group chats are fairly centralized, the blogosphere is distributed. And with many scales or layers, but porous ones.

I think when we talk about “networked communities” that’s one of the ideas we’re getting at: that we can be part of multiple communities at once

Lots more we can continue discussing in this chain, from annotation groups, to reviving RSS, to community aggregators, to different types of publics.

Tom Critchlow: Networked Communities 2 - Blogging as a Social Act

*Both of these are broadly speaking introsopective arguments. Why don’t I blog more, you should blog.

I/you/me.

But maybe there’s a new line of thinking - that brings in us.*

Blogging is a social responsibility to your networks

I recently read the wonderful post reclaiming public life by Nadia Eghbal which explores the idea of “sidewalk life” from Jane Jacobs in a digital setting

The premise of sidewalk life it is that communities can only form where these hybrid not-quite-public and not-quite-private spaces exist where trust can be higher and serendipitous interactions more frequent.

*I believe blogging communities can act like “digital sidewalk life” - semi-public, semi-private affairs that foster serendiptiy, cooperation, support and sharing.

But sidewalk life doesn’t exist in busy highways (i.e. Twitter, Facebook) and they can’t sustain themselves in closed-door suburbia with no meeting places (non-addressable email lists).* (WarrensVsPlaza)

For me - most discussion around my blog posts happens on Twitter. And it strikes me that social media didn’t kill blogging - but it did kill comments.

Brendan Schlagel: Sidewalk Spaces and Positive Gatekeeping

The blogosphere does seem like an ideal candidate for sidewalk space, though maybe lacking the density for Jacobsian chance interactions? Being on a social platform like Twitter can feel like being in the middle of downtown in a foreign city you’re visiting. Staking out a claim as part of the indie web can feel like you’re surrounded by your neighbors…but/and like you’re on an open frontier where the closest of those neighbors are miles away.

So now I’m thinking: how can we productively constrain the boundaries of our communities?

Darius Kazemi has an awesome guide, Run your own social, where he shares what he’s learned about maintaining a small DIY social network for his circle of friends. One of the points he emphasizes is that this really only works when kept at a small scale. He has around 50 active users on the network, and reckons that’s near the upper limit. (2019-08-22-DontLikeFacebookTryBuildingYourOwnSocialNetworkMarketplace)


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