What Kind of Blogging Do We Want?

Yesterday we got a look at a new software service called Branch, and a discussion between several people who used to work for Blogger, and Anil Dash (who, as far as I know, never did).

Daniel Bachhuber, a friend who works at WordPress, oohed and aahed. I asked him why he liked it so much and he said a couple of things.

The discussion was focused on this topic: How do blogs need to evolve?

I wasn’t asked to be part of the discussion, but since this is the open web, and they made their discussion public, I can say what I have to say. It’s up to them if they want to include it in their discussion.

I’ve even provided the “source code” for this post — just the text with a little bit of structure, and some attributes, with an open architecture for more attributes. So they can do more than link to it. They can “include” it.

The advantage of doing it this way is:

  1. I maintain the original.
  2. It can be included in as many places as it’s relevant.
  3. If I want to update it, I can, and it would update in all the places it is viewable.
  4. Because I can update it, that means relative writing will be kept to a minimum. People can say what they think without making an issue of who’s right and who’s wrong. Because they might not stay right or wrong for very long!

In the thread Evan Williams says that Twitter has a big advantage because it already has all the integration tools people want. It’s understandable he would think that, I suppose, having participated in creating Twitter, but I don’t agree. Here’s why.

  1. When I quoted Daniel in the second paragraph, you wouldn’t believe the dance I had to do to get a link to the tweet onto the clipboard so I could link to it from my post. Even though I’ve done it dozens of times, I still made three mistakes for every action that worked.
  2. Twitter has a 140-character limit, which means that for any kind of complex thought, beyond a grunt or snark (which is likely to be misunderstood because there wasn’t room to explain it) I’m going to have to include a link, which of course must be shortened.
  3. As they point out in the thread, Twitter is a company town. The archive belongs to them, to do with as they please. I have no say in the future uses of my own writing.
  4. Finally, the strongest point — even Twitter agrees it’s not self-contained, because they support oEmbed, which allows them to include content that’s hosted on other servers. However, they aren’t even open about being open. You can only participate if you’re a “partner.” I don’t know who pays who for this, or if anyone pays, but they admit that being open to content hosted elsewhere is necessary, but it isn’t available to the people. In other words, we’ve given up all the beauty of the internet, for what exactly? What did we get in return?

Anyway, even if I was invited to participate, all I would do is post a pointer to this blog post. Because here I own the editorial tools and can make them work any way I want to. There is no 140-character limit. There’s no problem getting a permalink. I own the archive. Sure if you want to participate it’s a bit of work, you have to set up a blog somewhere. That’s okay with me. For a little bit of work you get a whole lot of freedom. That’s a good deal.

This post first appeared on Scripting News.

Dave Winer, a former researcher at NYU and Harvard, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software. A former contributing editor at Wired magazine, Dave won the Wired Tech Renegade award in 2001.
Follow @davewiner on Twitter.