It started with a question from my dear friend Jana. She was asking for thoughts on Quora Blogs, the company’s newly-released feature. My answer was this:
@janatrantow Your work, someone else’s platform.— Brad @ The Next Web (@BradMcCarty) January 23, 2013
That’s the nutshell version. I’m highly against almost every single thing out there that wants you to contribute without giving you definitive, self-managed ownership of the content that you’ve added.
But I’m also a hypocrite, because I’m writing this on Svbtle, I’m a frequent user of Twitter and I’m sure there are other reasons as well.
Interestingly, for me, it comes down to feelings that Jason Baptiste of OnSwipe managed to put into perspective quite well:
@bradmccarty @janatrantow Real platforms help you build your audience/biz.Fake platforms help you build their audience (that can be ok).— Jason L. Baptiste (@JasonLBaptiste) January 23, 2013
He’s absolutely right. There are instances in which this can be perfectly OK. A lot of the OK versus not OK decision will come down to what you as a user expect to give or get.
I like the idea of Quora blogs. The way that Quora manages to close the six degrees of separation is fantastic. There will be many people who will use Quora’s blogs and more knowledge will be shared. This is ultimately positive.
But I don’t want to be one of them. I like my work, my thoughts and my feelings to all be within my own control. I blog on Svbtle because I trust its creator. If that trust breaks, I’ll leave the platform. And that’s OK too. It’s a personal decision.
Libby from Branch noticed that I stated that I won’t use that service either. Again, it comes down to the same reasons. I think it’s a marvelous platform for discussion, it’s just not how I want to discuss things. Branch feels, to me, like trying to carry on a conversation in a cafeteria. I prefer more one-to-one communication. Even if there are 500 people reading this right now, I’m connecting with each of them individually. That feels like talking, and I like it.
I prefer to blog. I like that I can step up, write a few words and people can pass by to read them. If they have a reply, I hope that they’ll blog their thoughts as well and we can link our discussions to one another. I don’t often have the opportunity to do a real-time, threaded discussion, and Branch begs to be used in that way.
So I avoid it. But maybe you shouldn’t.
There’s merit to these discussion and blogging platforms that are coming out in droves. Many of them suck, but a few of them are incredibly good. If that is how you wish to communicate and share your thoughts, then please do.
Call me old fashioned, but I really like what I’ve been able to write because of WordPress, Movable Type and Svbtle. I’ll read Branch discussions, I’ll read Quora blogs. Then I’ll link to them. Because something about that seems very much like the Internet to me.