Thursday, 8 January 2009

Introducing Blurbs - and the Redditech "Ground Zero" blog

I started a Wordpress hosted blog quite awhile ago as I was considering moving to a hosted blogging platform. I eventually settled on Blogger, and this has been a good fit for me for quite some time.

However I have noticed a disappointing trend since I started actively blogging again. I visit many sites, either as learning resources, or just to lighten the mood of the day, but not having time to blog about them. Adding them to my links through my Firefox extension kept them historically available, but somehow lost the metadata of why I personally visited this site and found it worth noting.

I also tried to twitter about them, but with some of the long URLs of these addresses meant I had less characters in my tweet to write about why this site connected to me personally. I know tweets can exceed the recommended 140 character limit, but I like keeping my tweets under 140 characters so they can be transmitted via SMS and displayed on IM and also be catered for via websites that may host tweet feeds.
The level of effort needed for the extra step needed to render a tinyURL link for these sites also didn't quite make sense to me, since the added characters still weren't always enough.

So somewhere between the micro-blog tweet and the traditional blog post I think there's need of something newly defined...something that may have always existed in the blogging world, and which we can say we've created at least once before, but which we haven't quite distinguished and identified as least not yet. For now, I call this a blurb.

A blurb is and should be hosted within a blog, since in essence it is a blog post. However, I like to consider the 'non-blurb' blog post to be a bit thought out, somewhat edited, and perhaps including quite a bit of original opinion and/or factual content.

A blurb, on the other hand, is a post focused on a link or serious of links to more in-depth content. It is less thought out, containing just enough information to make the personal connection between the author and the content being linked to. It isn't limited to being the length of a tweet, and can indeed be a tweet for those who prefer to accept breaking the 140 character guidance limit. Unlike a delicious link, it isn't restricted to organisation by tags, but is indexed under the free form text one writes about it.

To experiment with this idea, I have reinitialised my hosted account, and created the Redditech 'Ground Zero' Blog. This will be totally focused on 'blurbing', and currently I have two categories, 'tech blurbs', and 'time-wasting blurbs'.
I have also installed the 'Press This' bookmarklet in Firefox that allows me to create a blurb about any page I visit and post it to Ground Zero in a few clicks.
I have as well as Vodpod's wordpress bookmarklet plugin that allows me to directly embed videos I may view into a blurb at my hosted blog.

I suggest others try this idea too, and decide if blurbing content is an activity you do frequently enough to justify uniquely identifying and distinguishing it from the more lengthy blog post and the much shorter tweet.