Saturday, 15 December 2012

in which the porridge sets off a whole chain of thought

screenshot_69 2 I've just been reading another blogger's post about blogging. In case it all sounds a bit circuitous, it was about what has happened over the last few years.

This blog's mantra is 'fun going forward' so it doesn't spend too much time in retroactive analysis, but on this occasion it's worth a moment.

I can still remember that the original thinking behind rashbre central was to set something up as an experiment and run it for a maximum of -ahem- two years. It evolved in the period when social networking via the internet was becoming more mainstream and as a way to keep abreast of developments. Things like bianca's shack had already run their course in those days.
bianca's shack map
Now I already had previous form with the internet, including in the period when NCSA Mosaic and then Netscape ruled the browsers. I remember buying a diskette copy of Netscape in the USA in the time when it was still classed as munitions unsuitable for export.

Of course that was a world away from the more mainstream and accessible introduction of blogging. For me it became more usable when the content could finally overtake the need to type in html markup language and run syntax checks.

More importantly, it heralded internet connections between people at a more social level, without some of the chatroom issues. I started out with simple publishing and didn't get any hits at all to begin with. I worked out that interacting with others would start a process that has persisted to this day.

I also devised a few rudimentary rules.
  • Anonymity through the use of a pseudonym.
  • Nothing about 'work' except the incidentals of travel and similar.
  • Very little that linked back to home-life.
  • A general principle of one picture and ten minutes to write the text, per day.
  • Usually one, or a maximum of two ideas per post (except if it was a Thursday Thirteen).
  • Hardly any use of generic memes (I know, I broke this a few times for special occasions).
  • A back-beat of London to keep it grounded
I actually wondered if it would leave me with anything to write about.

In the course of it I discovered a vibrant community. Not so many commenters compared with the number of visitors. As I added more content, the number of references into older posts has also continued.
Facebook-Screenshot-2004
Of course, The Facebook was starting out and twitter soon followed. I was the 135th twitter follower in London (749313 globally) and like app.net was a few months ago, there was early experimentation to figure out how to use the medium.

It still seems to me to be about the difference between content creators and content consumers.

Bloggers are mainly content creators, at least if they are not moneytised recyclers of press releases and the like.

Bloggers write unique things, partly for themselves and at least partly to entertain and challenge others.

It's easy to manage time around blogging because there's a deliberate act to read or write something. Thinking as a blogger makes one a little more observational - stuff that happens could be useful in a post.
tweetstream
Twitter is far more distracting because of it's pop-up nature. I'll sometimes fire up a few conversations - like at the moment when a group of us all do the early evening saturday sweepstake. I'm past the point where I feel the need to keep twitter babbling across the screen and don't even have it fired up on my 'work PC'.

Facebook is the quaint anachronism in my collection of social software. I get it that lots of people use it, but there seems to be a poor signal to noise ratio. I can remember the days of the pointless flying sheep and those spy games, but the controllers of the format have deigned to make it more of a juggernaut. Or to put it another way, even less of a place that I visit. I keep a presence, both as the 'real me' and as rashbre on FB but maybe only drift onto it once or twice a month (except when there is a special reason).

And along the way there has been another dozen or so systems come and go. There's always the next great thing to try and so I guess many of us have userids littered across plenty of other systems.

I still keep rashbre central as a hub for my own varied endeavours. There's my links out to novel writing, photography, music, cycling and general adventures which are all from the single source.

My old rules seem to still work quite well for the content. And the friendships it has generated along the way seem to hang in there quite well, even with all the changing modes of interaction.

4 comments:

Nikki-ann said...

Blimey, whatever happened to Netscape?! I remember using it in college (yeeeeeeeeeeears ago), but I don't think I've used it since.

Pat said...

I don't twitter and only really use FB for Scrabble. Blogging looked as if it was going to fade away at one point but seems to be rallying again.

Ellie said...

NETSCAPE!!!! Blimey is right. How funny! Changing changing changing all the time! Nice to have some stability around these parts! x

rashbre said...

Nikki-ann : I think Internet Explorer happened to Netscape? Actually, I visited Netscape once in Mountain View in their shiny headquarters building.

Pat Yes there are still a lot of bloggers out there although the list does change.

Ellie I prefer to think of it as instability.