A few days back I read an article by a prominent blogger Anil Dash.In that article he urged the web publishing platforms to stop producing web pages and instead focus on producing consumable streams.In his own words
"Users have decided they want streams, but most media companies are insisting on publishing more and more pages. And the systems which publish the web are designed to keep making pages, not to make customized streams."
There is some truth in what he says.The success of facebook and twitter prove the incredible demand of web streams.Digg is another application that filters the most interesting content from across the internet and generates a stream that is read by millions of users.But if we look at the most of the user generated content it is still in the form of orthodox web pages.For the publishing platforms of user generated content there are three schools of thought
The first one is represented by medium.It agrees with Mr. Dash and gives it’s users’ a system that produces consumable streams.Along the way medium has introduced more innovations.One of them being collections.Collections allow the writers to classify their content into groups.The folks at medium are adding new collections on a daily basis and as the content on their application grows they will become more meaningful.In a way the collections are a natural evolution of twitters’ tagging system.
Personally however I am not a big fan of collections.I like to read a wide variety of interesting content, which medium produces on a daily basis.But I have hardly clicked on collections and browsed through the classified articles.I am not criticizing the idea however, since I am sure that there must be users who only like to read about the stuff that they fancy and might have subscribed to some of those collections.
Unlike Anil Dash I am a big believer in web pages.They might be hard to maintain for the one who is making them but they give a sense of uniqueness to a website.I believe that the design of the website goes a long way in establishing a relationship with the reader.This is where I feel that medium falls short.
Despite several criticism launched at Svbtle I actually quite like it and often revisit several times a day to either absorb a few design tricks or to read an interesting article.It gives the user ability to map custom domains to their writings which is a big step in personalization.The design changes like medium are quite limited but I guess that would not be too hard to implement if Dustin chose to do so.But I understand that he is of the opinion that the current design improves readability, with which I agree, though I also feel that decision should be left to the users especially if they are paying a monthly fee.
Kudos button has been bashed around a lot.But personally I like it.It looks slick.The animation is smooth and it uses html 5 local storage in a clever way which brings a smile to my face.
throwww is relatively new but it has a few neat ideas that I really like.One is that it allows any body to just drop in and write their thoughts.There are no hassels.Then there is a respond to article feature which is a really neat idea and the one I think should be implemented in the commenting platforms of today to spark a meaningful discussion.It is simply a response to the article.But unlike comments the user is given an opportunity to sort out his thoughts and write a complete article instead of leaving a single line comment.
Well to be honest I am not entirely sure where brislink is headed.I want the users to own their content.Which is why instead of providing them tools to blog on brislink I give them a script to paste on their blog and then track the posts.But seeing the success of these platforms and the epic editors that the oopen source community is building I will probably intoduce a way for users to directly blog from brislink.One thing is for sure though, the online publishing is witnessing a revolution and I feel proud to be a part of it.