Mathew Lowry

#B2B4ME: Back to Blogging

B2B once meant ‘Business to Business’. After the first online bubble popped, it became ‘Back to Banking’ (alongside its close cousin ‘Back to Consulting’), as legions beat a retreat to the safety of corporate life. And now, perhaps, it means Back to Blogging, and apparently not just for me.

After experimenting blogging on Google+ and/or Tumblr last year, and then LinkedIn earlier this year, I ended up with Not Very Much: the odd random thought published on Twitter or LinkedIn, and a TumblrHub, a sort of public library of shortform posts created by sharing whatever I find interesting enough to bookmark, usually enriched with brief remarks.

It wasn’t satisfying. To think, I need to write, so if I want to think in-depth, I need to write in-depth. In the past that meant huge posts that took 1-2 weeks to write as I synthesised something out of personal experience and ideas harvested from half a dozen different sources.

The prevailing wisdom was that I Was Doing It Wrong – nobody reads posts longer than a few hundred words, everyone agreed, and – much more importantly! – nobody shares them. Better to churn out a ‘me too’ post every day, repeating whatever you read last week, than spend too-much time on too-long posts.

Apart from the fact that I was blogging principally for myself, my gut feeling was always that this was wrong. My stats bore this out – my posts’ length didn’t stop me getting comments from people who had clearly ploughed their way through, and my longest posts usually got more comments.

If I’m restarting now, however, it’s because things are evolving, in both good and bad directions. The past couple of years, for example, has seen a huge wave of innovative US newsmedia startups begin changing the picture for online content, with longform content a major trend. And then Google – and now, last week, even Facebook – joined the party, punishing crap content in various forms.

Now I’m not going to be able to think about any of this in any depth by just Tweeting about it. Besides, Twitter is evolving in a direction I don’t like, while more and more people are feeling the filter bubble closing in. And apparently I’m not alone – many are reconsidering blogging as a result of all this.

So, I’m back, but I won’t be blogging the same way. For a start, I’ll keep the TumblrHub, publishing raw materials in shortform every day for possible further processing here in longform – my next post, which will summarise some of the above trends, will be my first experiment with integrating the two forms together.

And I’m going to try to widen my scope from discussing how many angels dance in the EU Online Public Sphere, or the BloggingPortal reboot (more news this month, hopefully).

And who knows? I might even write some shorter posts!

I don’t know how it’s going to work out, but it feels good to be writing again.


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