I thought I’d try an experiment

My life is now such that I don’t have the time to do long-form, thought­ful blog­ging. When I have time to think about big ideas expressed in well-chosen words, it’s as edi­tor at Friends Jour­nal. I have a rather long com­mute but it’s bro­ken up with trans­fers, I often have to stand and I usu­al­ly don’t have a lap­top on me. What I do have is a smart phone, which I use to keep up with Quak­er blogs, lis­ten to pod­casts and take pictures.

Despite this, I can usu­al­ly write a few para­graphs at a time. Kept at steadi­ly those could amass into blog posts. But the finishing-up effort is hard. I have a 2/3rds com­plet­ed post lav­ish­ing high praise for +Jon Watts’s new album sit­ting on my phone but haven’t had the chance to fin­ish, pol­ish and pub­lish. So what if I seri­al­ized these? Write a few para­graphs at a time, invite com­men­tary, per­haps even alter things in a bit of crowd-sourcing?

Any feed­back I’d get would help keep up my enthu­si­asm for the top­ic. This infor­mal post-as-chat was actu­al­ly the dom­i­nant ear­ly mod­el for blogs, one that fell away as they became more vis­i­ble. It’d be nice to get back to that. The medi­um seems obvi­ous to me: Google+, which allows for extend­ed infor­mal posts. So I’ll try that. These will be beta thoughts-on-electron. If they seem to gell togeth­er, I might then pol­ish and pub­lish to Quak​er​Ran​ter​.org, but no promis­es. This is most­ly a way to get some raw ideas out there.

Google+: View post on Google+

  • First mini-post done just before we descend into tunnel

  • So are you going to do these on Google+, your blog, or both? I like the idea. Weren’t blog posts sup­posed to be rather brief “back in the day” (besides the writer who was post­ing chap­ters of a work in progress).

  • The idea is to do it on G+, where there’s more com­ments and where it’s easy to do. I did write a few para­graphs this morn­ing on the train but it was set to lim­it­ed audi­ence so it didn’t get out. I’ll try it again lat­er. My idea is that if there’s engage­ment I can cut and paste them into a longer piece to pub­lish on the blog.

  • I love this idea. Espe­cial­ly since I, too, don’t have time or ener­gy to write or even read blogs any­more. I’m read­ing, except for books and The New York­er, in 140 char­ac­ters or FB posts.

  • Check it out else­where on my G+ stream. Here’s a ques­tion I’m not sure of: should I post every 2 para­graph instal­la­tion as its own post and rec­om­mend peo­ple hunt around for the whole thread, or should I write follow-ups as com­ments. I’m doing the lat­ter with this first exper­i­ment, though I’m won­der­ing if the con­vo won’t be as vis­i­ble that way. I don’t care about wide-spread vis­i­bil­i­ty: this is unedit­ed and if I like the end prod­uct I’ll give it the more vis­i­ble plat­form of Quak​er​Ran​ter​.org; the vis­i­bil­i­ty I’d like is the core inter­est­ed friends who might have inter­est­ing com­men­tary to offer…

  • I like the idea of doing sep­a­rate “posts” on Google+. You might want to briefly refer back to pre­vi­ous relat­ed posts. I under­stand the adding your com­ments to the first post as “adden­dum”, but I ini­tial­ly think these are com­ments vs. the next part. But, this is all so new so I’m only giv­ing first impres­sions. BTW, I don’t know if you had any­thing to do with it, but the FJ site is look­ing nice­ly updat­ed (although I haven’t seen it late­ly, admittedly).

  • An advan­tage of sep­a­rate posts is that they would tweet out. I’ll experiment. 

    Thanks for the FJ com­ple­ments, I’ve been help­ing on the con­tent end. Most of our ener­gy is going toward a new WordPress-powered site. Most of my atten­tion is on the edi­to­r­i­al infra­struc­ture: see­ing how far we can use GDocs – for edits with authors, copy­ed­i­tors, for auto-posting to the web­site, and for auto-syncing with InDe­sign (so that we can make last-minute changes in GDocs to show up in the print edi­tion). It’s a lot of changes for an orga­ni­za­tion where most of the editorial/production process flows were set up pre-internet, but I hope it helps us be more top­i­cal, use vol­un­teers bet­ter, and free our time for more active arti­cle solic­i­ta­tion and exper­i­ments like video.