Goodbye Blog. Hello Letter.
"The medium is the message." - Marshall McLuhan
A couple of years ago I decided to give up traditional blogging and move all of my writing activity over Tumblr, while using Facebook and Twitter for distribution. At the time I reasoned that Tumblr (and the broader social web) was a new medium which would inspire me to write at length more often, to better form my ideas, and to engage in intellectual public debate with those that were interested in what I was talking about.
I have often missed the early days of blogging (circa 2002 and onward). Back then I was often inspired by the medium to write down my thoughts early and often. Over the years individual blogs have waxed and wane in signal quality depending on the overal information dynamics of the Internet and the social web. In those early days, there was an abundance of high signal, long from content. Intellectual rigor was the priority and people generally took their time to put together high quality posts in an effort to further the debate on a variety of issues.
Over the last several years hence, the quantity of public information on the Internet has increased substantially. Recently, Eric Schmidt, of Google, remarked that “There was 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003.” He continued, “Now that much information is created every 2 days.” We are creating more than ever across this ever expanding medium that we love.
Information is subject to the same simple economic rules of scarcity as anything else. Information by definition is scarce. When you publish information to the public Internet it faces an immediately diminishing marginal utility curve. Almost immediately the information becomes commoditized. My preference is to create premium information for those of you who take the time to read my thoughts and ideas.
And so, the quest continues to find the right place to express one’s ideas and opinions in the medium in a way that inspires. A blog is no longer that medium for me.
I believe that pay walls are, in part, the future of premium information and content on the Internet. While I believe deeply in the public, open, and democratic side of the Internet, I also believe that it is time that we start creating more premium information for those who want to subscribe.
Inspired by the work, and a similar move, of my great friend Sam Lessin on a new premium information platform he calls Letter.ly, I will be moving my long form activity there. I believe that this new medium is powerful in it’s simplicity and in itself is an inspiring idea.
You will still find the same kind of content here on my blog that you have always seen. But, my intention is to create a new premium information stream that would be valuable for you on a weekly basis.
Hope to see you there.