the movement of content

fly on book

 

One of the problems I have with writing here at brip blap tends to be the question of “what to write?” I’ve never made this a blog that covers the subjects that many personal finance blogs cover: what credit card should I get? Should I invest in an IRA or a Roth IRA? I don’t think anyone who reads this blog is looking for the answer to this type of question. You’ve probably already formed your own opinions on that and there’s no need for me to add to that internal discussion. There are many other, better blogs looking at the details of picking the best high yield savings account. I wish I was one of them – those are lucrative subjects – but it’s not to my interest and I don’t really want to write about those topics. Not that there’s anything wrong with writing on those subjects – there’s a place in this world for writing for money, just like there is a place for working for money. People who can write well AND write for money are blessed (I’m looking at you, Stephen King and John Grisham).

So when I think of what to write, I think “what should I write that (a) entertains me and (b) entertains others and (c) might be profitable.” C is a distant consideration. I leave C to guest writers and sponsored posts. B is much more important. I do like it when people enjoy my writing and comment on it. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t, I think. So I do write to that. But I’ve realized over the last year that A is the most important by far, especially in combination with B. Why? Because of Facebook and various other social media.

Many bloggers like the “sense of community” and “feedback” they get while writing, but I felt this sense and this feed much more back in 2007 before Facebook and Twitter took hold. I don’t feel it much today.  Today real conversation doesn’t take place on blogs, or on websites – it takes place on Facebook or Twitter or a few other key social media sites. I used to share links heavily on this blog, but whereas a few years ago this was the first place I’d share them, now I’m more likely to share those links on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or other networks. I’m more likely to engage with commentators on Facebook than I am even on my own site, because of course I spend time on Facebook, not here on brip blap. I participate in forums rather than on individual blogs. I’d argue that even the huge blogs – the Lifehackers, the Consumerists, etc. – aren’t really able to hold onto “regulars” anymore. I read many blogs, but I seldom comment on them. I might share links from them, and comment on them – but it’s going to be on a social network.

So the movement of content has created a question: where should content live? I like having brip blap as its own independent website. But is that the future of sites like mine? Or will they eventually move to Facebook, or some other social platform, where most of the readers and “likers” are already engaged and focused? I think they will. My blog exists in Facebook already, for example. You can read it in Facebook, comment on it in Facebook and never leave Facebook. That’s fine. If I integrate my personal account with my brip blap page at some point, you’ll see a wild flood of extra content – my “brain dump,” so to speak – appear. A lot of my content has moved to social networking. I’m posting my thoughts bit by bit rather than in long drawn-out posts like this one. It’s probably the future. There will be long-form writers forever, of course, but many people are transitioning to a short-form style of reading that won’t want to read 700+ word articles.

I’ve shifted my reading over the past 5 years. I still read books – but on a Kindle, that promotes “disposable reading” (I give up on books rapidly if I don’t like them). I don’t read blogs as much as I used to (my RSS reader accumulates them for search if necessary). I don’t write as much here because I spend a lot of time writing elsewhere – emails, Facebook, Twitter, forums, etc. Content is constantly being produced by people like me and you, but it’s shifting and changing. After a brief “golden age” of people scattering across the web looking for content we’re again reconsolidating. It’s neither good nor bad – it just is. Content is moving to where the readers are.

Photo Attribution Some rights reserved by MR photography.