Don’t ever read the comments

In July [of 2016?], NPR.org recorded nearly 33 million unique users, and 491,000 comments. But those comments came from just 19,400 commenters, Montgomery said. That’s 0.06 percent of users who are commenting, a number that has stayed steady through 2016.

“Back in my day,” over on the RedMonk blogs we had some lovely comments from time to time. I hear Horace gets good conversations going. I’m tempted to say that niche topics – like tech industry strategy – get good comments, but of you look at the comments on my Register columns they’re a predictable mixed bag.

At first when I was writing definition pieces in DevOps, which El Reg‘s audience seems to loath, the comments were terrible. But recently – and I’m not sure why, really – I’ve found the discussion between commenters really interesting. They’re full of anecdotes (often goofy, but still helpful) and read like a transcript of IT therapy.

All that said, one of the various ad blockers use turns off most comments, so don’t see them on the web. Based on how many likes and smiles pictures of my kids get in Facebook, I think people just like the speed of Facebook and Twitter liking and reactions. That seems like a good “dial” to put in front of people instead of a keyboard.

Source: NPR is killing off comments. That’s great news!

The first time blogging won

Since The Huffington Post was founded 11 years ago, it has become one of the biggest online media organizations, known for its all-caps headlines. In 2011, the publication was acquired by AOL for $315 million, a hefty price tag that signaled the rise of digital media.

The publication won a Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and has expanded globally in the last several years. It has a robust staff that writes original articles, but it is also known for aggressive aggregation, a practice that has at times caused tension in the media industry.

The “HuffPo” and others (many in the AOL/Verizon empire now) formed a sort of apex of blogging, akin to that big wave Hunter Thompson saw out his Vegas hotel window. We don’t really even think of “blogging” much anymore, just publishing.

Source: How the Arab World Came Apart
Arianna Huffington Stepping Down as Huffington Post Editor in Chief

Tumblr not working out for Yahoo!

Originally purchased for $1bn in 2013, after failing to meet the $100m 2015 revenue goal, written down:

A bit of simple arithmetic puts Tumblr’s value after these writedowns at about $290 million. This is not only less than a third of its purchase price, but it’s also less than the value of Tumblr’s assets when it was acquired two years ago.

Source: Marissa Mayer promised “not to screw up” Tumblr, but she totally has

Blogging is a zombie

I’ve started posting a lot of stuff over in Medium, here’s the URL if you want to keep up: https://medium.com/@cote. It does well: there’s lots of evidence that people actually read and interact with the content there, unlike here.

For many years – ever since I left RedMonk around 2011 – blogging hasn’t really “worked” for me. It’s mostly because I don’t try very hard at marketing it. That said, the “lazy baseline” was low long ago when RSS existing and there was that automated channel for distribution. And there was little competition from the behemoth social sites (on the other hand, I don’t think “normals” read as broadly as they do now). Now, little, lazy blog sites like mine are don’t perform well. I look at my blog as more a system of record. Well, sort of: I’m forever on the search for something that would combine together all the content I do in one place – life-streaming they used to call it – but nothing ever seems to pan out.

Benefits

First, Medium has a great writing and pretty good reading experience. The reading experience is limited by the content people put in there and what’s available, but the actual process of finding and reading stuff is good. It’s like the problem I have with Flipboard: nice experience, but until it integrates with Feedly in this post Google Reader world, it’s missing the primary way I read “the news.”

The way you can post to other “collections”/publications is interesting. In a work context, this means I can write content on my own and then have it sucked into my work’s content whirly-gig. If you think a lot of about ownership and control of your content – and it’s life-span after whatever commercial interests were involved in it’s creation…that’s intriguing! Like, what if all my 451 Research and RedMonk content was in Medium, in my account, rather than theirs but had been published behind the 451 firewall and in the RedMonk publication.

Finally, there’s that freaking out about “ownership.” I was brought up in the first generation of web content producers and one of our taboos is posting to “other” sites. You want to own all your URLs, as it were. That’s fine for Ben, as it were, but as even he explains (I forget which episode, sorry), if Medium has just a few more features around it (I’d think a subscription for access to content feature, mostly), he’d use it.

And, hey, if Dave Winer uses it, it must be OK.

What’s going on over there

Anyhow, nothing is actually “dead,” or going away, I’ll probably just post a lot more “original content” over there. There’ll still be podcast show notes and other things, and pointers to those posts as makes sense. To that end, here’s the recent things I’ve put up over on Medium:

  1. All the taboos about working at home
  2. How Microservices Fixes The Slow Train Problem
  3. Crafting the Cloud Native Organization
  4. Day two problems
  5. Self-motivated teams lead to better software

Moved to Squarespace

I’ve moved my main sites to Squarespace recently. In the process, I’m sure lots of URLs are all screwed up. Try the search if you’re lost. Fun!

If you find something wrong, please feel free to email or Tweet me.

In the process, I switched over to cote.io from CoteIndustries.com. You know, shorter, and cooler.

So, sorry for all the mess. I’m sure after a few weeks it’ll sort itself out.

My old tumblr site will keep it’s old content (but the URLs will be from cote.tumblr.com, not CoteIndustries.com) and have cross-posted links from here.

After I use it awhile, I’ll write-up or talk about the experience, I’m sure.

Rebecca Greenfield, writing for Fast Company, traces the return of the internet newsletter to the death of Google Reader. A representative from TinyLetter told her that there was an uptick in users just as Google pulled the plug last year. Some of us switched to other RSS readers, nevertheless a number of bloggers saw their community and traffic take a hit, and posted less as a result.

We subscribe to newsletters because we like someone and take interest in their unique points-of-view. Unless I am mistaken, hate-subscribing isn’t actually a thing.

Tiny Letters to the Web We Miss

As pointed to in the last part of the quote, part of the allure of email newsletters is more perfectly “capturing” (I don’t know what more concise word to use) your audience and directly knowing who they are. There’s much value in that for people who are trying to establish their independence by building up a “captured” audience – that’s what, for example, Scoble’s value is: he’s a “channel” of “eyeballs” that follow him around. That may all sound creepy – feel free to use the word “conversation” if you want to be all Cluetrain – it’s all synonyms to me.

Also, this is another case of the cobbler’s kids wearing no shoes for me.

Yes, there are many people who blog and otherwise publicly discuss development methodologies and what they’re working on, but there are even more people who don’t. Blogging takes time, for example, and not everyone enjoys it. Other people are working on commercial products and can’t divulge the inner workings of their code.