My friend Sameer and I are having a conversation on Facebook. The conversation started with Sameer thanking me for writing content on the unwalled garden i.e. the open internet. We are chatting about that, WordPress, Automattic, and a few other things.
And it hits me – why are we chatting about the unwalled garden in the walled garden? The reason of course is that Facebook and the like have brought many if not most of my community into a single place. They see what I write, I see what they write, we talk about it (or like it or whatever).
Over the past two decades I’ve written on many forums. I spent years on Posterous before it died – unfortunately the export function wasn’t 100% successful and I lost photos. I lost more information when Path went away. I blogged on Tumblr for years and then it hit me that really, I needed to control my own content. As an early WordPress user I decided I could self host (did that for years) or do the easy piece and use Automattic. The key though is that I own the content and can move it around.
But comments and social interactions just don’t work correctly on this distributed system. There needs to be a common, simple aggregation much like the Facebook Feed. It pulls from everyone I know, it follows simple permission rules, and the app that goes with it would support all of this. WordPress could do this but just hasn’t yet. I’ve seen WordPress Reader but that isn’t quite right – that is more about long form reading and not short form content.