I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where I live online. I don’t really mean where I hang out — Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr — I mean where & how I express myself in all my various aspects. (And obviously, by extension, how we all do.)
That probably needs a little explaining, so some background:
I started blogging about 10 years ago, on Typepad. That was an interesting time for me personally — I was just leaving my own startup, Reactivity, I was exploring a ton of interesting things online, playing a lot of World of Warcraft, starting to get interested in Firefox & Mozilla, which I would join a few months later.
And then I saw Joi Ito’s blog — it was sort of a revelation to me. It was a collection of his writing, of course, but also had the music he was listening to from last.fm, where in the world he was from Dopplr, his WoW info in some detail, and the conversations he was enabling via comments. It was amazing to me — because in a lot of ways it represented Joi’s online persona. But it was a little difficult then to piece together all of that in a way that looked good, and reflected a real personality. He had it custom built. And I hacked together my own, with a little help, on top of Wordpress — that’s what eventually evolved into john.jubjubs.net, which is nominally alive, but not very active. (And I’m considering mothballing it now.)
As I got more interested in Twitter and more involved with Tumblr, plus Instagram, I moved most of my activity over to those platforms. Connecting publishing to audience was a revelation, and the reblogging/retweeting semantics provided interesting amplifications that just weren’t really possible previously. Not to mention the quick hits of each of these — so quick to post a quote, or an image, or a picture of where I was, or to reblog someone else’s great content.
And now I tend to write on Tumblr, Medium, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc etc, and to post photos primarily on Instagram and push them to Tumblr, Twitter & Facebook, depending on the subject & the context.
But I don’t feel like I have much of a home anywhere anymore. I feel spread out on the web, diffuse. Tumblr for some things, but not a lot of them. Medium for others, but not really for posting pictures from a Stanford baseball game.
And then when you think about native expression on mobile & tablet, not much help. You’ve got things like Storehouse & Steller, for better native storytelling, but they don’t really scratch the itch. Maybe about.me?
This feels like an extremely important thing to me. For better or worse (I would argue mostly better), we’re living more & more of our lives online — feels like we need a new, modern, accessible place to call home that’s natural both on the web and native.