I need a new kind of blog. It needs have some specific features. Many of them inspired and copied from Facebook. See, I like Facebook in some ways. In others, not so much. Let me back up a bit and tell you how and why I use the Face in the first place. I like to share. It’s as simple as that. But I like to share in a few different contexts. Some things, like photos, I like to share mostly with just my friends, some photos just my family. Same goes for videos and sounds (though FB does a poor job of making that easy). Some things, like my mini reviews of books and movies and links to important things in the news I like to share as well, but to a wider (maybe even public) audience. Of course I like to connect with others and see what they are up to (wall/status updates) as well so that’s another reason I use FB.
In fact, that was the original reason I started on FB and I would argue the only reason to really use it at all. The reason I share so much there is because of how easy it is. Every tool I use links to FB and every person I care about is available to comment on things. And I love that it’s not anonymous. I like knowing what my friends think (and knowing that others can see who said what).
But there are issues. Most of them related to three things: Privacy Levels, Content Exposure and Sharing. Let me explain what I’m talking about.
Privacy Levels: I’m not talking about advertisers mining my posted stuff for info, or people figuring out my email address, etc. These issues don’t concern me. I can write about 10 pages on that stuff but it’s not important to this conversation, so I won’t. What I’m talking about is having levels of privacy that would enable me to decide if a given post (or class of post) is available for viewing by different groups of people. And yes, don’t even start to say it, I know this exists in FB but the system they have is a) cumbersome, b) complex, and c) incomplete. I simply want to have a fully public space to share (right now I use Google reader sharing to solve this for RSS links) and the ability to mark some things with a privacy level so only certain groups can see. This is hard to do in FB. I would need to make my profile public and then have lists of users and then take extra steps to mark each non-public post. But doing this on FB would ruin my non-sharing (i.e. Social) experience.
Content Exposure: I use this RSS plug-in on Chrome called Feedly. What this does is take my Reader account and revisualize it as sort of a magazine, exposing things that I would never have seen otherwise. Sometimes there is an old post that pops up on top, sometimes ones that have been marked as liked more than others will pop up in a prominent location, etc. I would like to see my FB posts displayed to the public in sort of the same way. The central problem here is that some things I post are more important than others. I want some control over what people see from my group of posts. As an example, say there is a post on my Wall pointing to this blog post. After a week, it will be gone from view on my wall. This content will never get exposed again. In addition, there’s also the chance that the post doesn’t even make it to main FB news feed at all. And who these days looks at peoples profiles directly anymore?
Sharing: The FB Friends news feed is cool, but there is a big problem with it. There are some people I really want to follow. I want to see every post they make. Others, not so much. And I also need to be in FB to see it. This problem was solved way before MZ entered college. It’s called RSS. Why can’t each persons wall be RSS exportable? Why can’t I just read all of these in Reader? Choosing who is more important along the way?
So, What I want is this. I want to stop sharing things on FB. I want to just make it a place where I post photos and status updates and connect with my close friends in a nice, safe walled garden that’s totally private. For sharing I want a blog where I can share links, photos, videos, reviews of movies and restaurants. But I want all my tools to connect into it. So when I post a review on Yelp, it shows up on my blog, or a video I like on youtube will show up on my blog. And I should be able to post to it from my phone, or the web or anywhere I find something interesting.
Yes, I could probably pull this off to some extent with current tools and technology, but then how do I build my readership? On FB I have this machine helping me expose myself (albeit to my friends). I wouldn’t have that if I left FB. I know that each of you checks FB every day like your email. How many of you would check my blog daily? This is why I stay. But the FB experience is pretty terrible for what I want it to be and I don’t think I’m alone. Someone needs to address this.