“Middle-form” Blogging

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Marco Arment and Andy Baio and Jason Snell and Gina Trapani have all written about returning to “middle-form” blogging—blogging that’s longer than a tweet but shorter and more casual, like it was back in the day. Sentences, not paragraphs; dozens or low hundreds of words, not thousands. (Worth noting that some, like Frank Chimero—who wrote my favorite blog post I’ve read all year—have been doing it this way all along.)

This seems like part of how the web-making community is pondering and preparing for a post-Twitter web. Part of why we have Twitter is as a place to put short, casual thoughts, reserving our blogs for longer, more finished, more published texts. It’s like: in order to blog, we need to live up to the standard set by the real writers who use the blog format to publish articles, essays, and other #longreads—like blogging is a grown-up format and we are not grown-ups, or like it’s an indulgent format and we’re too grown-up to spend a thousand words analyzing the latest Apple event.

What these have in common, I think, is that what we post to a blog should be for everyone, and what we post to Twitter is for our friends, and it’s more fun to write to friends. But in the beginning, that’s what blogging was—a simple, casual form. We wrote to our friends (or at least to our small, weird communities) because that’s who was there.

Now, the sense of our voices getting lost in the endless stream of tweets is yet another thing that’s crept up on us as Twitter has grown. Tweeting is still convenient, but the convenience seems less important if it also feels like we’re talking to no one because our friends have been joined by the whole three-ring circus. Everyone’s talking but we’re not sure anyone is listening.

Anyway, count me in. I (and my Instapaper queue) welcome our new middle-form blog overlords with open arms. May the dark reign of #longreads be finally broken.