Jeff Cann writing about the Facebookification of blogs details how he unsubscribes if the author strays down this path:

"When bloggers begin to Facebook their blog, I unfollow. When they post memes and link songs and write cute little updates like “Have a great Christmas y’all!” I drop them. When my reader is overrun by six posts in a row by the same blogger, none of them actually a blog-post but simply links to other bloggers’ posts, I shut them out."

Ironically, he wrote about finding a job so thinks he is stepping over that line.

It's an interesting take on the expectations surrounding what we put on the web and the implied social contract we have with our followers - something I first wrote about 9 years ago.

When we follow someone or subscribe to their feeds and newsletters we do so based on an initial impression of who we think they are. We might see a couple of shared items, hear some good things and even go back over a few posts to see if they are consistent.

We can take a part and make an assumption it's the whole, becoming disillusioned when we find out that's not the case.

Now, I can see where Jeff is coming from: if someone who has historically produced regular, meaningful thought pieces suddenly starts posting rubbish their audience is going to be upset or, at least, wonder what the hell is going on.

I've never followed people who link to others without comment - I want to hear their take, their thoughts and opinions - but when we try to judge what a blog post actually is we start treading on thin ice.

Does a blog post need to be over 500 words? Does it need to be an essay that makes a specific point?

A personal blog is just that, personal, and the blogger can write whatever they want but it comes down to framing? But what about non-personal blogs?

If a blog is, and has been, about politics and the author suddenly starts posting cat gifs then, yes, questions are going to be asked.

Problems occur when the framing is changed without warning, when the audience no longer gets what they (perhaps think they) signed up for. That implied social contract, the thing that linked author to audience, has been broken.

Still, people and their interests change over time. What they do and how they do it will vary and the intersections between them, those serendipitous crossroads, will no longer align.

It's only natural.

  1. EddieHinkle says: #
    That’s very interesting. I’ve been so entrenched in the Facebook/Twitter reposting world that I initially found it very strange to be unable to repost something in micro.blog. I however, have actually started to really enjoy that fact. If there’s something I want to say, I should at least have one sentence worth explaining about it and link to what I’m talking about.
  2. Colin Walker says: #
    Spot on! And I hate it when articles have sharing links at the top or even on the page that just shows the headline. You should have to read it before you can share.
  3. Colin Walker says: #
    Let’s Face it, you can like or retweet something without actually knowingly what it is. I’ve always wished that these options weren’t enabled until you’ve at least clicked on the link that’s been shared.
  4. dgold says: #
    For me, there's one slight disconnect in Micro.blog that makes this more difficult than it should be. When I 'bookmark' something on my blog, I always give a short precis, or explanation. When it arrives on m.b, that precis vanishes, robbing context.
  5. mjkaul says: #
    I like your response to Cann, whose post is quite imperious. Quite a few—myself included—simply blog to record their intersections with culture. Sometimes, that’s posts; other times, it’s links to essays or music that I’ve found engaging.
  6. mjkaul says: #
    Of course, it’s his prerogative to follow or unfollow at will. But I’m always going to push back against an indictment of “Facebookification”.
  7. Colin Walker says: #
    It’s a tough call sometimes. I can see his point for topic specific blogs where things change unannounced but personal blogs are definitely a different matter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.