Friday, 12 October 2018

Old Blog Renaissance

As you may well be aware, Google+ is disappearing next year (at least as a public social media platform). It will be a shame to see it go - but there are undoubtedly benefits. Life is all about trade-offs. G+ had its good points: it made networking easier, and was more informal - there's no question a lot of products have come into being that would not have done without its existence, because of the ease with which it facilitated creative partnerships. And it was a great way to get players for online games - the biggest advantage of all.

But there were opportunity costs. A lot of my G+ feed seemed to be perpetually clogged up by political discussions, vaguebooking, and other "noise" (the polite way of referring to it). More importantly, I think a lot of online discussion about traditional D&D and other old games migrated to G+ around 2012-2014, and blogs suffered as a result. We lost a lot as a consequence - blog entries may be slightly more detached and staid than G+ discussions, but they are also longer and more carefully written, and more thoughtful. Social media saps nuance and rewards pithiness at the expense of real engagement.

I also think G+ had to a certain extent run its course for me anyway; I had started to visit it less and less, because discussion there was it seemed to me becoming less and less about games and more and more about peripheral subjects. I also think - although I don't have much evidence of this, just a vague sense from looking at traffic sources for my blog - that the platform may have been slowly dying off as a place for "OSR"-types to congregate anyway; there recently seems to have been more vitriol and more shameless plugging of product and rather less interesting chat, and I have certainly been getting fewer hits from it than I would have done in, say, 2013.

So I'll be sorry to see G+ disappear, but I think there will be a welcome rebalancing, now, in the favour of the blogosphere. The beginnings of this are I think already developing, and I must say I feel like my blogging habits have been slightly reinvigorated this week. Onwards and upwards: the future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.

8 comments:

  1. I only use G+ for your Yoon Suin crowdsourced content. Any thoughts on whether or not you will move that stuff to another locale?

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    1. Probably - not sure where yet though.

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  2. I’m looking forward to this rebalancing, but as part of it, I think we need more signal boosting and curation. We need well known OSR bloggers to link off to great posts from newer or less well known bloggers.

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    1. Great suggestion, Wes. I don't have a G+ presence, and my feed really slowed down the past few years. I'd love to get some new blood.

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    2. Absolutely agree. It's time to bring back the decentralised blogging community

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    3. You might want to look into either Ramanan's OPML file to subscribe to ALL of the blogs (http://save.vs.totalpartykill.ca/blog/osr-opml/) or pick and choose from the Google Sheet that's going around (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10qvE1s62UA55pleTW54RAZZw-oJQV8yYGZb_UtYo9TE/edit#gid=0).

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  3. I can't say I ever used G+, myself. I generally either follow certain regular blogging announcements like GURPSday over at GamingBallistic or directly visit blogs, as I do yours. I might be missing out, but OSR bloggers generally seem to support each other with cross links on sidebars and such. All of that said, I can't see G+'s retirement as a detriment to the community. If anything, it may shift discussions toward the more thoughtful.

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  4. I tried out Google + a little bit, but found it somewhat lacking. I prefer blogs for the vary reason you stated, well thought out articles.

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