Writing For People, Not Machines

As I’ve been spending more time reading blogs and publication home pages again. The content that is served up in social media isn’t holding up so well. It’s a little … loud and shallow. Stimulating in an entirely wrong way.

Like Carrot Top.

I hate Carrot Top.

The Real Interesting is still found out in the open web, where ideas and writing styles haven’t been sanded down for the benefit of algorithms.

Venture there and you’ll find headlines that weren’t written for SEO. Writing that has paragraphs. And thinking. And sometimes nonsense. Sometimes it’s long and sometimes it’s short. Sometimes it’s just an image.

But there’s and honesty and integrity to good web writing that just doesn’t work on networked platforms.

Maybe because success in the wild open web seems to come from a consistent body of work.

It’s writing meant to communicate with people, not impress machines.

but does it float?

but does it float, one of the blogs I found through Kottke’s post full of people’s favorite blogs, is unlike any blog I’ve visited before. It’s a welcome break from the literal and analytical and fame-seeking and monetizing that makes up the vast majority of the 2018 Internet. No hot-takes or link-posts or pushy algorithms or sponsored suggested content featuring things that so-and-so just did to some other thing that you won’t believe.

The format: conceptual title followed by a few screens worth of images that appear as you scroll. The effect is hypnotic. Falling through a well of imagination and half-ideas. Your brain fills in the emotion. The interpretation.

I can’t recreate it, but here’s a screenshot of a recent post that does it no justice:

Screen Shot 2018 04 17 at 11 22 29 AM

Click through for the full effect: Truth suffers from too much analysis

Indie Microblogging: owning your short-form writing

Manton Reece is launching an independent platform for microblogging:

Do you remember how the web used to work? How the web was supposed to work?

In the earlier days of the web, we always published to our own web site. If you weren’t happy with your web host, or they went out of business, you could move your files and your domain name, and nothing would break.

Today, most writing instead goes into a small number of centralized social networking sites, where you can’t move your content, advertisements and fake news are everywhere, and if one of these sites fails, your content disappears from the internet. Too many sites have gone away and taken our posts and photos with them.

Check out the Kickstarter page. It might not work. But neither will Twitter.