Digital strategy for the world we live in

You Don’t Send Me Link Love Anymore

You hardly talk to me anymore
When I come through the door
At the end of the day

Ah yes, the deep tones of Neil Diamond and a recent email prompted a touch of reminiscence. You see, back when I started blogging, it was a different world. Blogrolls were important. They were a recognition. A mark of respect.

And a link! Well, linking to someone meant something. It was far more than a cursory tip of the hat acknowledgement. It meant more than a tweet. Sure, there’d be traffic, but there was something more involved. Something greater than just one blog linking to another blog, one writer doffing the hat to another. We were building communities. We were creating trust. And we were learning with every word, link and click of the mouse.

But then a funny thing happened. The community exploded. We stopped our childlike exploration of everything and anything. We narrowed our vision and our attention to those who reciprocated. We sharpened our word axes and dialled up Twitter. Some of us fell out of blogging – or just became too busy with the business end of this new social world to find the time to write. Communities and constituencies had formed and moved.

Even in my own writing I link less than I did. I riff-off others far more infrequently. It’s not that I don’t still read the folks in my blogroll – like Olivier Blanchard, Drew McLellan, Neil Perkin, Mack Collier or David Armano – it’s just that they are in my RSS reader (and yes, I still use Feedly). And it’s not that I don’t watch CK’s video on innovation or dig through Julian Cole’s Facebook stats and insights. It’s that this social world is a whole lot bigger now.

And while there are still some very big fish in the pond, it seems we’re all now swimming in an ocean. Try boiling that!

5 comments

  1. Gavin, intriguing, considering my latest blogpost (http://wp.me/p1XYS-mS) and my decision to put my twitter account on hiatus. I’ll almost forgive you the Neil and Babs, despite my Mam and Dad forcing it into me almost daily for many years of my childhood.
    I’ve been writing a lot thanks to Twitter and your good self, but of late I think I could’ve been writing more (amongst other things) if not for Twitter.
    Something needed to give.
    As I said in my Happy new years post (http://wp.me/s1XYS-downtime), I’m striving for balance in 2011, I don’t want to go too far the other way, but it’s all part of the discovery process

  2. @Gavin Very spooky! I read your post and got a little shiver of recognition. I look forward to what comes out of your discovery process!

  3. Gavin, thanks for hitting “pause” as we slip slide our way into what comes next in the social media world.
    Are we up against a human social constraint?
    I think of when I pastored and the dynamics of a growing church.
    At 50 to 100 parishioners people “felt” like they knew everyone, even if they didn’t exactly know much about everyone.
    But once the church would grow to say, 500 parishioners, people would say, “I can’t know everyone” and lose the desire to reach out to others, especially new attendees.
    You observe that when “The community exploded. We stopped our childlike exploration of everything and anything. We narrowed our vision and our attention to those who reciprocated.”
    I see a parallel…or think I do.
    Regardless, you’ve got my mind racing. Way to go!
    Keep creating…nudges like this post, Mike

  4. Brilliantly written and so true. So much has changed from the crazy early days.
    You remind me that the real power of those days wasn’t being seen as an expert. It was in the relationships we formed. Relationships that have continued on. Even though the linking has stopped. Maybe it shouldn’t. Oy!
    Ive also noticed a decline in commenting on anything but sensationalistic posts. But what if part of this is the tools?
    I read this on my iPhone on Instapaper. There was no way to easily schedule a comment when my device went back online. In the early days people built tools to encourage sharing and monitoring of comments and conversation. As it goes mainstream has the focus shifted to consumption and monetization?

  5. Gavin,
    I’ve been pondering this as well. I recently went through my blogroll and was dismayed at how many old blogging friends have faded away or moved to Facebook and Twitter – I miss having access to their thinking as opposed to their sharing a link now and then.
    But even among the diehards who are still blogging regularly — you’re right, we seem less “interwoven” than back in the early days.
    Sean’s right of course — the relationships live on. But I do miss the frequent contact and connection.
    Drew
    P.S. And thanks for the link!