Blogging Futures: Opposing Paragidms

This is an entry in the blogging futures course blogchain. If you have thoughts, add a post to the chain!

Both CJ's and Tom's contribution to this chain raise a question of social infrastructure:

But what do those doorways look like for blogs? What does it mean for others to contribute to our blogs? What could that look like?

Community of Gardens

So here’s a prompt, a call to action or a request for blogs - where’s the new infrastructure layer across blogs that helps the New Blogging scenius attract and retain a New Blog Reader scenius?

New Blogging 2 - Open Blogchains

Historically I can think of two major ways that blogging has developed new tools, platforms and standards. Blogger, Medium, Wordpress, and Tumblr, or RSS, HTML5, and (if we go way back) hyperlinks1.

In recent years though, both of them seem to be falling short of the infrastructural needs of the medium. Medium hasn't really offered a new vision of writing online, but neither has WebMention.

Part of the problem is that these tools can't keep up with the possibility space of internet publishing. All of the sites that are currently in this blogchain are built on their own stacks, and have their own solutions for commenting2.

More important than the divergent tech stacks is the divergent nature of these blogs. Half the fun is that these are spaces to get weird. That I can do anything with my site. I don't think that's a problem, and calls for a universal solution would but a dampener on that creativity, not to mention being pretty tall order. If I want to require that every comment to my site be in meter I damn well should be able to!

Models not tools

A third possible paradigm is one in Darius Kazemi's runyourown.social, of social solutions to social problems. We have a pretty powerful base set of tools for creating relationships, email, links, and to a certain extent social networks like twitter. What's missing is a mental framework for experimenting with social structures the way we experiment with content, and a set of models for thinking about creating doorways.

This open blogchain is a really cool start, and since it's built using Glitch I can easily throw in the embed app that makes it work here as well.

This kind of thing could easily enable all sorts of weird comment sections, or connective tissue between sites. What's needed to enable it isn't a single tool or platform, but a shared culture and approach to designing little tiny social shims.

What would a set of norms for blog participation, like this set of norms for voluntary groups, look like?

I hope some of this rambling is useful to my fellow course participants! I'm excited to continue the conversation and see where this Blogging Futures takes us.


  1. I think there were "blogs" before the world wide web, in the form of people's home directories and all, but I might be wrong.
  2. Submit.as, Disqus, and this blog which once had a very hacky custom built solution.
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