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Getting Rid of Reach

07/11/2023

The following was originally posted to my local drama blog, BuffScan, but it equally applies to my personal blog here.

Following the implosion of Twitter in July 2023 I decided to activate a loosely devised strategy of eliminating "reach" as a driving component of BuffScan and all of my blogging projects.

Until then, Twitter had been viewed as the best social media platform to act as both a direct conduit to a critical mass audience and a bargain instant-publishing host that could effectively drop content onto the BuffScan blog through the service's ability to embed a timeline.  The BuffScan Twitter feed was a superior mechanical compliment to a site like this without competing with it as the platform.

But with the shutting down of or the unexplained breaking down of Twitter's timeline embeds, I quit using Twitter for that purpose. 

Fortunately, thanks to some personal engineering here on my personally-developed Battle Blog platform, and to the fediverse-oriented "Mastodon", I found ways to maintain "instant publishing" capabilities right from the firegrounds or crime scenes. 

If there is a fire that I am in a position to report on, I have the means to put a picture of it up at this blog in seconds, right from my phone.  Straight to the blog itself, or, if I prefer, straight to Mastodon thanks to its ability to allow timeline embeds -- the thing Twitter once did well but stopped.  There's no loss of immediate publishing.

What can't be replaced however is reach.  Which is to really say, I cannot rely on serendipitous exposure to thousands of people with each artifact of content that I produce.   Exposure leads to discovery and content consumption, and in the best outcomes, leads to unsolicited shares and permanent subscribers.

For many bloggers and website producers reach has become the keystone objective and measure of their website's worth.  Not achieving it, or not achieving it right away, has despirited many publishers into quitting the craft.  Without an audience it is natural to ask what is the point.

But I am going to buck that line of thinking.  First because of Twitter's demise, which proves you can't rely on social media in any form to become a defacto content machine for your production.

And second, because specifically not relying on "instant audiences" and "instant reach" as a blog producer, I am challenged to push more interesting content that make the publication stick on encounter.  

Maybe a more eloquent way of putting it is that I want to fail because I am boring; too understaffed to produce meaningful content; perhaps talentless as a writer and editor, or quite more likely, all of the above.   

don't want to fail because I didn't copy/paste enough to a dozen social media channels, all while losing my publishing independence in the process.

My newfound strategy, after all, is what we did before social media.  We relied on word of email (forwarding and listservs if you remember any of that), and most crucially, interlinking between individual producers.  Your blog linked to my blog, and my blog linked to yours.  And people sitting down at PCs with their cups of coffee and a desire to explore, clicked from one place to another, bookmarking whatever they thought fancied a future visit.

That's how a website or blog got its traction for "realzies" and I am blowing the dust off that old playbook to make it happen again.

Had it not been for Twitter's meltdown I'd have gone along with being buried by the reality that nobody "surfs the web" anymore.  Nobody is interlinking between their web personas. 

To get right down to it, nobody is linking at all.  Hyperlinking has gradually morphed into a scary proposition that only hackers try to bait you with.  Me sending someone a link to my latest blog entry via e-mail would only likely terrify a recipient into deleting the message straight away.

I think Death of Hyperlink, The Aftermath by Hossein Derakshsan spells out this reality well enough, and is a worthy read.

There's def going to have to be some unwinding of the past decade to make this work.  But I'll take that chance.  After what happened to Twitter, we know now that we can't rely on big tech to be the revolution in our little Information Age.  

We the the real people with a thirst to communicate and explore have been that revolution the entire time.  Twitter's crumble just snapped us -- well me -- back into the game.

I'll be following up with the new ways that you can follow this and my other blogs.



  By Dave for Personal Blog.

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