Not enough places to post

Maybe the best dialog in any movie is in Chinatown when the character played by Faye Dunaway explains the relationship between herself and her daughter to the character played by Jack Nicholson. I’m not going to spoil it in case you haven’t seen the movie, but if you have, you know what I’m talking about.

That’s why I feel, at the same time, that there are:

1. Too many places to post and

2. Not enough places to post.

Let me explain. :-)

First, about not enough places.

Suppose I have an idea that’s very concise but not so concise that it can easily fit into 140 characters, without sacrificing clarity or being widely misunderstood. Sure I can put a link in it, but very few people will read the piece. Just the other day, a smart guy, Angus Davis, gave me grief on Twitter based on not having read the piece I was linking to, and thinking that the teaser was my main point. Well, the main point could never have fit in 140 characters and stood any chance of being understood.

So for that, something between 140 characters and the length of the post was probably ideal.

A picture named chinatown.gifThere is no such place. That’s a problem.

But then there are too many places.

That’s why Google doesn’t want to put a posting API on Google-Plus. They’re afraid, presumably, that it will just become a dumping ground for tweets posted elsewhere. Thereby creating a problem of dilution for discourse on the Internet. Assuming the best intentions for Google, really, a post should live in just one place. From that one place you should be able to find all related content. Replicating this stuff without a protocol is not very loving of the Internet.

I do have various solutions to this.

I want to unify all the different ways I post stuff. And I’m getting pretty close to that. I still have a blog for long-form stuff. No comments there. Then I have a threads site that’s for one-paragraph ideas that invite discussion. There’s no limit on the length, but I keep them short, in a self-imposed way. I want people to get to know what a “thread” is in my world, and feel like they’re not diving into a longform blog post when they go there.

But how to embed these ideas in other sites, where they legitimately belong, without violating the one-place-for-every-post rule? Well, there’s an answer to that too.

I’m going to keep beating the drum on this. Maybe no one else will support the protocol, but then it will form a marketing platform for my software, which will be open through it. Open vs closed. That means that eventually competitors will support it. That’s how these things work.

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About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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