Saturday, August 29, 2009

To Cloud or Not To Cloud

Many of you have a similar web experience than mine. About nine years ago people started setting up Live Journal pages and kept a journal. People started calling that kind of journaling blogging and blog services started springing up. Around 2004 or so blogs started to show into the mainstream discussion as some journalists began the slow process of embracing blogging. In July, 2004. I became a "blogger".

Then MySpace hit and there was a flood of interest for this kind of social network with blogging features and people began to get distracted from their home base, their website, and started dedicating hours of their time to a service that we had little or no control over. As MySpace became a juggernaut, people began to search for other services that were easier to use that didn't force feed dozens of simultaneous ads down our throats. Most of us remembered when it became overly pop culture, it jumped the shark and became old hat.

The skies then opened up. Facebook changed their platform, micro blogging services began to emerge like Twitter and pretty soon everyone started moving their networking from their localized blog network into proprietary networks run by somebody else. Blogging then suffered. Look at my blog. At one point I had twenty posts a month, now I'm lucky to cram in four. Our networks have moved into the cloud and to many including me, it just feels like the natural evolution of things.

So instead of focusing on a blog post, many update their twitter, their Facebook status, check aggregate services like Friendfeed, talk about their photos on Flickr, and instead of commenting on peoples blog posts, we're all commenting on these statuses. But is that so bad?

There is a time for that kind of social, cloud networking provided there's a degree of openness and as long as we can bring that to our home service. With us going more and more mobile with smart phones as I discussed in a prior post, it's easy to talk on those networks. Mobile apps and that marketplace is probably going to be the most successful virtual business in less than a year with a vengeance. The ability to share and talk about content now is easier than ever. It's become more natural to tweet while we're out, use a location service to find friends, and snap a photo and upload it to Facebook or Flickr or Posterous or Tumblr.

And then there's our blogs. Our poor neglected blogs.

Now many of us have shared the same story as our changes have come with networking, but they've also shared this nightmare. I with a lot of people dedicated ourselves to Pownce posting daily and commenting, and building a tight community. We all wake up one December morning and that service gets turned off. That network is gone, the hours spent there over the two years of its existence and people have nothing to show for it. Pownce is a graveyard now and my content is buried there with it!

Many also have found recently on Friendfeed that their service was purchased by Facebook and people have learned that all their time spent sharing content there was also virtually in vain, so as many of us have taken off, as life goes, things go full circle and now people are returning to their nests. So now instead of trying to find a way to migrate my information away from my blog, I'm dedicated to bringing it all back to my nest.

So what are you going to see?

You're going to see stories that interest me here. You're going to see my photos here. You're going to see what I comment on here. I will do that through all of these micro bloggy cloud services, but many of us are coming home to roost. So expect to see a lot here, not just posts, but everything, right here. I don't want to be known in the social networking space by a handle, a Twitter login, or any other service. I want to be known in that space as The Lewis Show guy. I want my content back. I say we all need to reclaim our web identities.

Or at least rethink how we manage them.