When I started meshedsociety.com, my plan was to publish 3-4 articles each week in addition to a weekly list of curated links about the tech and digital world. But quickly I had to give up that ambition. One reason is that it costs time to write thoughtful pieces that are valuable and interesting for readers. And I simply have so many other things to do that I lack that time. Also I try to reduce a few “musts” from my life. There is little to be gained from being a workaholic.
But another reason for why I write less than I planned is that the weekly link list format (here is the most recent one, #32) turned out to be a great vehicle to put my thoughts about many of the most exciting, polarizing and world-changing digital developments and trends into words without having to create dozens of individual blog posts.
Let me explain.
Here is the thing about many online texts: They are not necessarily needed. In most cases, at least a few similar pieces have been written already. Particularly (but not only) when it comes to the technology press (including blogs), many pieces are referring to and are built on existing articles and debates. Writers discover a piece that catches their attention. They create their own post around it, summarize the key points and usually add some personal perspective and maybe one or two additional points of reference. Somewhere in middle of the text they (hopefully) link back to the original post. If they are pros, they make the whole piece look like they had the idea to it and found the linked article during research. In reality of course, it was the linked article which inspired them to pen the whole thing.
In not too few cases, the actual enhancements of the original thought concepts, ideas and information items are only 5 or 10 percent. The rest is just a rewriting of the initial article. I do not want to judge this practice too much. I have made use of it many times as well. I also think there are benefits from a reader perspective. Some knowledge and information sticks better if readers are hearing about it multiple times at multiple locations.
However, for myself I have realized that whenever I want to comment on something engaging I have read, I might simply add the link to the weekly link list and annotate it with 2 or 3 sentences including my take. It saves me a lot of work, it reduces “duplicate” content (and I do not mean in the SEO way) and it puts the link and the original content into the spotlight.
That approach naturally won’t work for the online media publications that are depended on massive reach and millions of page impressions. And it does not mean that I will completely skip creating full-length posts. But right now I am just very happy to have found a way to satisfy my constant urge of broadcasting in a way which lies somewhere in between a 140 character tweet and a full-length blog post.