Friday Favorites

Here are a few of my favorite observations from this week:

Photo Challenge

I was pleasantly surprised by how many fellow microbloggers jumped into the photo challenge. The idea wasn’t anything particularly new, but it felt like it served as a bit of an icebreaker and got people (me included) in the habit of showing up every day and interacting with others. It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone by seeing seven photos they’ve taken over seven days.

While I think we should avoid letting turn into all gimmicks all the time, I hope we can find other common themes to rally around from time to time. They don’t necessarily need to be week-long endeavors. It could be as simple as someone writing a post about an interest (e.g., “these are my top 5 albums of all time, and here’s why”) and encouraging others to weigh in with posts of their own.

What Is This? Why Am I Here?

There have been some pockets of discussion, particularly as @manton released invitations to a bunch of new users, about existential topics like:

  • What is this thing, and how am I supposed to use it?
  • Why will this be more successful than Twitter/
  • Will this ever be more than a group of techies discussing website plumbing?

These are healthy questions to ask, but one of the things that excites me about is that I can see the foundation for something big and meaningful, but its success or failure is not binary. If it never becomes anything more than a reasonably priced static website generator that embraces open standards, is easy to post to from any device, and connects me with a few people who remind me once in a while that I’m not alone writing into a void, that alone is valuable to me.

Of course, it can become much more, and I think that there is a lot that we as users can do to help it realize its potential. An easy start is just showing up and making it a fun and welcoming place to be. And then, as the general launch approaches, we can tackle issues like how to attract a more diverse user population.

I always really enjoy seeing users connect on shared niche interests. In perhaps the best example of this yet, @vasta, @schuth, and @kulturnation had a delightful exchange about apples yesterday. Yes, apples. Links were exchanged. Desk calendars were shown off. Apple picking invitations were extended. I didn’t really have anything to contribute, but I actually quite like apples myself and have saved the links to read later.

And to further cement apples as yesterday’s top trending topic, @johnjohnston posted this photo for the photo challenge.

Doug Lane @douglane