The Social Media Grafting Process

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

I’ve been very busy with community-related stuff since I got back from my hols.

For one thing, I’ve also been taking a long, hard look at the attempts of gaming company Blizzard to retrofit social networking concepts to its massive online game World of Warcraft. You can see my analysis of that over on my WoW blog, but be aware that it’s written in a very gamer-centric way. I think it’s an interesting model of the dangers of getting community wrong as a corporate entity, in a way that many publishers do when they try to add “community pixie dust” to their existing content sites.

Talking of retro-fitting, I’m finding the efforts to recreate blogging in a social network’s image fascinating. Six Apart have been banging on about this for a while, and the new Typepad is very much a blog-centric social network. But it’s been displaced in traffic terms by one of the new social-centric blogging platforms, Tumblr. Posterous is going though huge growth, too. (Rather ironically, in many ways these services resemble evolved version of Livejournal, the very first blog platform I ever used, back in 2001).

I’ve got a gut feeling that the wheel of innovation is turning away from the self-install blog platforms (of which WordPress is the predominant example) towards the hosted services. Posts like this are becoming more and more common:

Personal yak-shaving over the weekend was mostly tidying up a bunch of non-SVNed WordPress installs that were woefully out-of-date (for various values of woeful) that were busy guilt-tripping me. Next time, it’s hosted software all the way (Tumblr, I’m looking at you).

And has been interesting seeing Posterous rather cheekily marketing itself against most existing blog platforms with posts and e-mails like this:

We’d be crazy to declare war on WordPress. It’s the most popular blog platform in the world — gazillions of bloggers have custom WP installations with plugin functionality that Posterous won’t touch anytime soon.

But WordPress isn’t for everyone, a fact supported by the thousands of WordPress users who have switched to Posterous in the last two weeks. So we thought we’d let some of them tell you why they switched.

I’m seeing more and more interesting new launches on hosted platforms, and I have some thoughts I want to explore about how publishers can work alongside the networked communities on these services (hello, New Yorker on Tumblr. And to test and explore that, I’ve been busy signing up for, and reactivating accounts:

One Man’s Social Blogging

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Feel free to follow me on any of those networks if you play there, too…

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 25. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.