31 August 2011

Welcome to Moody's Microblog Daily Digest

I joined Twitter on 1st January 2010 as an experiment. I wanted to see whether this trendy thing had any real merit, or was simply the latest fad that would come and go. I was was soon disabused of my prejudices about it being just for posting about what you had eaten for breakfast. Indeed, I discovered that the presence or absence of such culinary info was a very quick way of deciding whether someone should be unfollowed or not.

I was particularly impressed at the many different ways that people used Twitter. For some, it was truly an online diary, recording what they did, often in exhaustive (and exhausting) detail. For others, it was a way of passing on news far faster than traditional outlets. And for some it was evidently a real microblog – a way of publishing extremely short piece of information with optional comments.

This turned out to be the way that I felt Twitter was most useful, and my own use soon conformed to this model. I realised that it solved a problem with blogging that I had been wrestling with for a while. I frequently came across stories that warranted passing on, but which looked decidedly thin when posted to one of my blogs. What I wanted was a quick way of saying: “hey, take a look at this – it's good/bad/stupid/funny/horrible” without needing to come up with anything more detailed in terms of analysis. What I wanted, it turned out, was Twitter.

As my followers there (and later on identi.ca and Google+) will know, I soon lost control completely, and started posting dozens of microblog posts a day. Indeed, I have had several people unfollow me because they say I post too many interesting links, which stops them working....

But for all that I feel my microblogs work well on their own terms, there is one huge problem. I have apparently posted some 43,000 of them in the last 20 months (really? How posts fly by when you're having fun...). Quite a few of them have useful information that I like to refer to. But it is a truth universally acknowledged that Twitter's search function is pretty useless. Even though I have supplemented this with bit.ly, which has its own search feature, it frequently happens that I can't find that super important link I posted a few months ago.

This is not just frustrating, it is becoming a serious problem. It means that the not inconsiderable effort that I put into choosing my links and commenting on them is effectively going down the digital drain.

So, in an attempt to preserve at least some of the more interesting posts, I have set up a new blog called, with stunning originality, “Moody's Microblog Daily Digest.” As its name suggests, each day this will provide a digest of those microblog posts that I think are worth keeping. These will be posted in an entirely minimal format, simply a paste of the microblog content – don't look for any prettiness here.

This will, I hope, have two advantages.

First, it will allow Google's not inconsiderable search engine capabilities to index stuff on the new site. That means any post should be retrievable by me and anyone who feels the need. Secondly, it offers an alternative way to deal with the Moody flood: not only will it be a pared-down list of microblog posts, but it will be one-per-day (I aim to update it during the day, and then close it at the end, although I'm not sure if that will mean multiple appearances in RSS readers...) This might help those who find that you can have too much of a good thing....

Obviously, I'll be reviewing how things go, and would appreciate any comments along the way as this latest experiment progresses.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+


Anonymous said...

There are several Wordpress plugins that collect daily or weekly tweets and create a blog entry. They avoid manual work and repetitive RSS updates. Don't know for Blogger, but maybe they deserve a try for Wordpress ;-)

glyn moody said...

thanks for the suggestion. the other issue here is that I want to try to filter out the more ephemeral stuff, and I think that means it has to be done manually...