Of Free Expression – Blogging, Tweeting and Lilling!

My writers block and Vipin’s remark has gotten me into thinking – about the zillions of tips going around for effective blogging and gaining audience etc. In the west, blogging seems more of a profession where there are experts and there are novices and there are newbies, trying to learn.

All wonderful, in the direction of creating high quality content on the web.

Whatever happened to a casual blogger, who just has a little bit of his life to share, that would be of some interest to his friends, and of little interest to the world.. Does he end up feeling intimidated by the ‘expectation bit?’ – If you blog, you must do this, this and this.

I’d thought microblogging was a freer, but there again, the ‘usefulness’ of your tweets seems to govern the number and kind of followers you’d have.

Then I read about this 80-20 rule at The Church of the Customer, according to which you’re supposed to write 80% other centric posts, and slip in 20% self centric. The global audience isn’t interested in your life’s mundanities!

What’s with the quest of having the wittiest status message, can’t I just write what’s really happening in my life? That’s too boring you’d say! Perhaps that’s how life is, for a lot of us!

The fundamentals of this entire thing started from the ego boost that you get out of winning a follower/admirer/commenter who looks upon you to build his opinions. However, a majority of people, outside that circle of powerful bloggers, are just average people. They aren’t early adopters. They don’t try to discover new information early and pass it to their followers, to improve loyalty! They just live average lives that may not everyday be the most exciting.

Should that mean, blogging is not really for them? They should confine themselves to reading, and if they can comment, good enough. Any attempts at expression – will bring statistics in their face, the pressure to perform, or dishearten them with the lack of readers! I’d read somewhere, that blogging, really is standing on a stage, performing, and hoping there’d be an audience – Thanks to the internet, the geographic limitations have broken down, and now the quest for an audience takes you places, makes you do things.

Lots of people have stage fright – they can’t speak a word if they’re on stage. Is that what happens to me when I’m on wordpress and twitter? Perhaps!

Blogging, as the norms like it, may not be for me after all. My motivation for expressing, comes really from untangling the complex thoughts going in my head and letting it out. For years, I’ve written into a private diary, in conversations with myself, or an imaginary self that would some day be important enough for me to show my diary to them. And now I’m on LiL.

For whatever reason, LiL seems to give me that comfortable space. It’s like being with a few friends and talking about what’s happening in my life – personally and professionally, or sometimes just ranting about the little joys and frustrations that make an average day in my life.

So Now I wonder, whether the introduction of the Footprints and Treasures would again begin a race of some kind that we don’t want? People would write to be treasured and start counting their footprints.

Think we’ll hide away the cumulative stats for a while, to see how people take to it to begin with.

And while I’ve been writing in this tiny box at LiL, this no more a moment, but a rant.. and now seems like it can go to my blog!

And as soon as I pasted it into my blog, I feel this urge to edit and organize my thoughts – lest they seem like a rant. To make relevant links, highlights and make the whole thing crisper!

God save me. What’s with this urge of breaking rules all the time! Shall end up an outlier that no one bothered to listen to, because he didn’t follow the rules of speaking!

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Denting Twitter – Impossible?

The gentleman started with understanding why Pownce didn’t take off, despite being a somewhat better product compared to twitter in its fundamental definition – being a multimedia thing.

Key reasons that make it just about impossible for any new product to make a dent in the might of twitter 

First Mover Advantage – While people were trying to understand the utility of twitter, it had a free play for a good amount of time, giving it a large lead time.

Network Effects surely at play, with 3 million users and growing, twitter lovers are not going to move anywhere else for their one to many interactions

The Open API that led to the the birth of zillions of applications, to suit every taste and requirement has pretty much given twitter a Blue Ocean to have its presence on every single techie / early adopter’s desktop/browser/phone/apps and his blog too.

The ‘Followers’, in a fashion more powerful than comments/rss readers could ever do, gave a fantastic ego massaging tool to the stalwarts in the space. On this one, I specially liked the take by jayvee f. : 

i think the main reason why twitter is getting all the following is because this has been the former techTV dudes’ platform for competition. leo laporte, dvorak, kevin rose, alex albrecht and some other tech luminaries are all playing the “i have more followers than thou” game.

the irony of it all tony is that kevin rose has “switched” to twitter even though he is the principal of pownce.”

So would that be a lesson for anyone thinking of doing something in that space? 

Stay clearly away from the Goliath, or you’re writing your own obituary. 

But then, there’s a whole wide world between status updates and blogs. That’s where lives happen. And that’s where unstructured expression can happen too. And there’s a world between 3 million tweeters and 110 million facebookers! 

Twitter is a conversation tool for the early adopters and techies. Besides following certain people for interesting information discovery and showcasing my own savviness by just being there, I personally haven’t found twitter all that useful yet. You wanna follow me? I’m http://twitter.com/wanderer08.

Maybe I’m just a beginner and there’s lot more to be discovered or understood… 

Eager Learner!