My Social Media Center of Gravity

I’ve discovering, particularly in this last year, that the center of gravity of my online presence has shifted away from Whatever entirely and has moved more than a bit toward Twitter. The graph above offers some evidence of that — in the last 28 days, the things I’ve said or retweeted on Twitter have gotten eight million “impressions” (the term meaning “the number of times users saw a tweet on Twitter”). Meanwhile Whatever is on track to get something like six million views for this entire year — down from 2012, the peak year for the site with 8.1 million views recorded by the WordPress stats package (as always, see this caveat about stats here). Likewise, the number of followers I have on Twitter (currently 68k) is higher than the number of unique daily visitors the site gets (the high point number for August: 23.4k).

Breaking down what the stats mean after this point gets complicated — starting with the question of whether a 140-character-or-less tweet can be meaningfully compared with a 500-word-or-more blog post — but no matter how you slice it, it seems pretty clear to me my biggest online audience at this point is on Twitter, not here at the Whatever home base.

How did this happen? I have hypotheses, which include:

1. The relative decline of the blogosphere in a general sense, as blog writing and reading are transplanted for most people by easier-to-use social media like Twitter and Facebook;

2. The UI dynamic of newer social media, which makes it easy to Like/Retweet/Share what people write on them, making for an easier spread of posts;

3. My tendency to put short, funny bits (i.e., sharable) on Twitter that in earlier years might have gone to Whatever, leaving Whatever as the repository for longer, more thinky (i.e., less immediately shareable) bits;

4. My increased travel and work schedule leaving me relatively less time for thinky/funny Whatever posts, but apparently the right amount of time for snarky bits on Twitter;

5. My relative lack of political posts this year, which are traditionally drivers of traffic (why fewer political posts? Because my general feeling this election year has been fuck all these assholes, which doesn’t make for great writing);

6. The various ways of sharing material on Whatever has increased, not all of which show up on the WordPress stats — for example, RSS reader views, which show up in some places in the stats package but not others, and which can be a significant part of readership (40% of the recent “Get Out Your Bingo Card” entry’s readership, for example), but not reflected in the site stats — because, after all, it wasn’t read on the site;

7. I can write a couple dozen tweets a day (or more if I’m exercised) whereas I rarely most more than three entries a day here, so there’s more opportunity to run up numbers on Twitter as opposed to here.

There are other likely hypotheses as well, but this is enough for the conversation at the moment.

For those of you who might be worried that this means I’m about to announce that I’m abandoning Whatever for a full-time residency on Twitter, relax: it’s not gonna happen. One, not everything I want to write online can be encapsulated in 140 characters. Two, I’m a proponent of owning one’s own space online, so when Twitter/Facebook/Google+/Etc inevitably go the way of Friendster and Myspace, I will still have a place to be online, doing my thing. Three, because six million visits here each year isn’t a thing to sneeze at, either. Whatever’s not going anywhere, and neither am I.

But it does mean I’m aware that my online presence is spread out more than it used to be. It also means that I think about the ways the two platforms work for and with each other. I will use Twitter to link back to things I’ve written here, for example; conversely, if I have a particularly interesting set of tweets, I’ll post them here for posterity. I think about how they can complement each other, so that both are useful (and fun!) for me, and for the people who follow me on either, or both.

Speaking of which, now I’m off to Twitter to tell people I’ve posted about this topic here. See? That’s how it works, people.

64 Comments on “My Social Media Center of Gravity”

  1. Incidentally, for those wondering how Facebook fits into my social media reach: Fitfully at best. I have a public page there that about 10,000 people have liked, but since Facebook keeps all of them from seeing the page at one time in an attempt to extract advertising money from me, I don’t see it as reliable and therefore tend not to do much with it.

    I also have quite a few followers on Google Plus, and I post everything there I post on the public Facebook page. That said, I don’t know how many people there get their information about me from Google Plus primarily.

  2. I find Twitter only really ‘works’, ie, gives value, if it is on most of the time, and I don’t want that. So Whatever is my first port of call, but I keep an eye on the Whatwitters column and occasionally check out recent tweets on Twitter under your name if I’m mobile (for some reason, only the blog and not the sidebars show up on my Nexus).

  3. Relieved you will keep Whatever going. I agree with Nicole about longform deep-thinky pieces. (Great description, Nicole – thanks!) After a while even the most profound concepts get trivialized on Twitter.

  4. I think you’ve managed to create a twitter account that compliments, but does not replace Whatever. I follow your twitter feed and use it to determine when to check in here. I follow Whatever to get more in-depth and thoughtful pieces (and ideas for other works to read via the Big Ideas). I think both formats have their uses and I hope you continue to use both.

  5. Does anyone else thing the downfall of Google Reader has hurt blogging in general. I find it much more difficult to keep up with the blogs I used to read daily now that Reader is gone.

  6. Don’t have a Twitter account and am not in a hurry to get one, but I do follow along via the Whatwitters sidebar because I enjoy your snark and your links to other interesting things that I might not otherwise see.

    @Sooz: next time you’re on the Nexus, go into a specific post and scroll down past the comments. On my tablet, the sidebar info starts after the final comment stuff. It’s worth a try, anyway.

  7. I followed Twitter for a while, but now I rarely open it. I have enough distractions from pointless internet ephemera without using a tool that specializes in that very thing.

  8. I think there might also be the “I don’t need to read this online or comment on it so will just read the email” faction. I typically only come to the whatever blogpage to comment – I read everything from my email.

    Silly introverts… we’re hard to count.

  9. Indeed so; I usually glance at your tweets on the Whatever page but I really can’t imagine myself invoking the paraphernalia of the full-blown Twitter state…

  10. I also wonder if the demise of Google Reader has caused issues with blogs getting less traffic. I moved to NewsBlur and read every post, however I only click over to the actual Whatever site if I think the comments will be worth reading. I have no idea if my reading in NewsBlur translates into anything for John.

  11. You’re not alone of re-evaluating your online presence. After a recent weekend at the beach I came home to a couple hundred emails and realized I’m subscribed to WAY too many things. Many of those groups also have twitter accounts and it’s easier to manage them there, so I’ve unsubscribed from the mailing lists and instead I check stuff on twitter.

    Related note: anyone else sick-and-tired of the current email trend where a group sends you emails that have a person’s name (no group ID) as the sender and a subject line that’s clearly click-bait? I’d love to start a petition to get that stopped, but then I’d just be contributing to the problem.

  12. Interesting. I first signed up for Twitter for the entertainment value, but I find more often I’m using it to cherry pick links to news stories and other info. Most days I click on Whatever to see what’s new. Today, of course, I got here from the link on Twitter.

  13. I get Whatever in my email inbox. I subscribe to your Twitter posts, but don’t get any push notices from Twitter because I fear it might be too stressful to get a notice every time someone I follow posts a tweet.

  14. Re: Google Reader —

    I think it might have had something to do with it in a general sense, yes, although from a stats perspective maybe not so much because stats suites already didn’t officially record RSS visits (or at least the ones I use didn’t).

  15. It looks like you know RSS readers may make the website bigger in terms of “who saw what” than you can monitor; I only click into things from my Reader (NewsBlur!) to read and write comments, which isn’t that often.

  16. My vote would be Whatever over Twitter as I find the latter too dominated by short attention span syndr—Oh look! Something shiny!!!

  17. I rather suspect that given the firehose nature of Twitter, that the actual “read”, as opposed to “viewed”, stats would be considerably lower for your twitter feed. I also find that I rarely check my twitter account, even though I follow very few (yes, you make the cut!), as I find that even the few that I follow is frankly more than I wish to spend time reading, given the very high noise to signal ratio. I suspect the opposite is true for Whatever, people who come here know to expect a level of quality that isn’t commonly found elsewhere, and therefor actually spend the time to read, as oppose to just skimming through quickly.

    FYI: For those missing Google Reader, I’ve found to be a reasonable replacement, though not quite as clean or bug-free as Reader.

  18. Glad to hear that Whatever will still be here — I don’t associate with *any* of the popular social-media outlets, unless you count a couple of Yahoo groups and my rare review of an Amazon purchase.

  19. @CWilliams, yes, that worked, thanks! Mine’s a Nexus 4 rather than 7 (phone, not tablet) but I assumed the same system would apply and it does :).

  20. I don’t do twitter. I have a job and a commute and a family. I suppose I could partake in twitter in evening, but for the rest of the day (barring lunchtime. hmm. what to eat), I have other stuff to take care of. In the evening, I think the world’s better off without drunken tweets from me.

    In terms of Whatever, perhaps you could publish a “best of twitter” here. You kind of do from time to time.

    Gee, I wonder if anyone will ever publish a book based on their tweets ala Your Hate Mail will be Graded.

  21. Thom:

    Looking at the stats I can see, it does appear that Twitter does note when a tweet is viewed, as opposed to just being serviced to the follower’s Twitter feed, as the number of “impressions” for each Tweet vary, but are generally less than my full 68K follow list (exceptions being heavily retweeted tweets).

  22. I get your whatever blog posts in my email box which of course also on my phone. I normally read your posts on my phone and don’t usually click through to whatever unless I am sitting in front of my desktop computer.

    I assume emails of whatever posts are not counted in stats?

    As many others have already said I prefer the blog. I love your twitter feed, but feel more impacted personally by your blog.

  23. This post has given me the place for a few thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for several months about what I have been experiencing at Whatever.

    I do not make a point of checking Whatever every day anymore. I used to check in multiple times a day to see what was getting posted and to check in on comments.

    I am not sure exactly when this occurred but occur it did.

    John, your frequent thoughtful and incisive commentary on the things happening in the world are missed. You still offer theses posts up but they are now fewer and farther between.

    It is understandable. Time moves on and we go to different places and focus on different things. You have a family, career and shiny toys with blinky lights; many things demanding your attention. Spending chunks of time on Whatever posts pulls away from those other items. That’s understandable.

    But, for a Whatever veteran who was here lurking with you well before you ever considered going to the Creation Museum, I miss what was.

    Not that what is here now is bad, it is just noticeably different, such is life.

    Also, I received my hard cover copy of Locked In and the requested smiley face you provided with your signature is darn cute. Thanks!

  24. I have great LOL moments from my Twitter feed from you – which I love.

    But I also love these longer, more informative posts you do here :)

    So, please carry on, as you were, :) I’m growing into an ardent fan !!

  25. Hi John, just to clarify: I wasn’t referring to “view” vs. “read” as in total number of followers vs. those who have actually displayed the tweet. Rather, I find that when I do venture into the twitterverse, I just skim them quickly, reading somewhat haphazardly and skipping many, as there’s simply too much to read all with an eye towards understanding and comprehension.

    p.s. I encourage you to continue, or perhaps even expand, upon your practice of copying your more amusing tweet streams to whatever. I do enjoy them, but just don’t have the time to keep up on twitter feeds overall.

  26. I echo the others who have expressed a preference for your “longform deep-thinky blog pieces” (beautiful description!). I don’t do any kind of social media, and I dearly love a good essay, so if you ended Whatever, it would leave a significant hole in my minimum daily requirement of thought-provoking and well written pieces.

    I do also have to echo Dragon’s sentiment that there isn’t quite as much of the deep stuff here as there used to be. I am not a terribly long-term veteran, but I’ve done a lot of browsing back through the archives, and it’s pretty plain that Real Life, in all its myriad forms, is consuming more of your time and attention than used to be the case. Entirely understandably, I hasten to add – pay copy beats working pro bono any day of the week, particularly with a teen in braces and upcoming college tuition to consider!

    In any case, thank you for not closing down Whatever, and thank you also for the time you take to write those thoughtful, incisive and compelling essays you share with us here. I fully realize that’s time you take away from more profitable and/or enjoyable endeavors, and I appreciate it.

  27. Dragon and the Colonel have summarized the points I was going to make. I remain grateful that Whatever remains here, and I’d visit more often if there were more of the thinky posts. I love Klee’s Twittering Machine, but Twitter is a bore. It’s no effort to retweet, but I find very little meaning in it, and I don’t like getting retweets that don’t include rethinks. If that makes sense. I remain very grateful that Whatever still exists.

  28. Twitter seems to suit your style, esp. interacting with other people and commenting on the goings on of other people and fans. The blog is handy for longer pieces, but once you adapt your style to Twitter longer posts seem oddly decadent.

  29. I tried Twitter for a while, but keeping up was impossible so I stopped. It just doesn’t fit into the way my life works. And it may be that even though I’m technically inclined (I’m a computer programmer by trade), I’m old (turned 51 today as a matter of fact).

    FYI, Whatever is part of my RSS feed in NewNewsWire and I (redundantly) get post notifications via email. I follow the link from email or NNW to your site for about 80% of the posts.

  30. I find that I’m reading some Tweet feeds more often these days, selectively, mainly because people put up links to interesting articles and blog posts about stuff that is going on. But it’s a bit like panning for gold in trying to dig stuff up; it takes up way too much time. It’s a giant PR billboard mixed with phone texting system, but it’s not really for conversations besides jokes. It’s actually quicker to go to folks’ blogs and run down the entry headlines if they’ve been blogging. Of course, I spend too much time at certain blogs too. My goal is actually to streamline my surfing the rest of this year.

  31. I’m another one who reads your posts in email, and wanders over to the actual blog only to comment.

    I’m also following fewer blogs now that Google Reader is no more. (*sigh*)

    (And, although I have a Twitter account, my apartment is in a cell-phone dead zone, which means I don’t actually tweet. Or text. Thank ghods there are still land lines. :) Also useful during the power outages; I just unplug one of the cordless phone bases and plug in the old, kept-for-that-purpose corded phone.)

  32. I check Whatever daily, but don’t use Twitter at all – too much of a time sink. I’m relieved you aren’t moving away from the blog – I enjoy your posts and appreciate the moderated conversations.

  33. Colonel Snuggledorf

    I commend to you the Random button; it’s one of my favourite features of Whatever. I’ve often wondered why other bloggers don’t use something similar…

  34. My suspicion is that Google reader had minimal impact on this, or any other blog’s actual readership. I think it was sort of an internet equivalent of the 401k, and that’s why Google (who has all kinds of real numbers) axed it.

    See, studies have repeatedly demonstrated that 401k-type programs don’t actually work all that well. In real life, most of the people who use the programs were already going to save anyway, at pretty much the same rates. You get a few percentage point increases in savings, but mostly a 401k is just a way to give money to people who were already saving.

    In the same way, I don’t think Reader increased readership – it just made it easier for the heavy readers to track everything. There were some gains at the margins, but for the most part the Reader users just see the same stuff a little bit slower now. Maybe you drop in once a week instead of every time an article hits, but it didn’t really move the breadth of stuff you saw.

  35. I also kind of sense, John, that you’re repositioning yourself.

    Ten years ago, you were *primarily* an Internet personality who had written a novel or two. (The Whatever, if I remember correctly, took off before your career as a novelist.)

    Now you’ve been successful as a novelist for about a decade. So it’s somewhat natural that The Whatever should morph into a more traditional author site. (Lately, you’ve been primarily writing about your books, tours, and author activity, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a *different* thing.)

    I also wonder this: Your chief opponent (who is not be named in this space) has definitely lost sales because of his political screeds.

    Do you think that you’ve reached a point as a novelist where political blogging is no longer advantageous to you?

    I’m not implying, btw, that you were *ever* blogging about politics simply to promote your books. (In fact, I’d suspect that the chief audience here is different from your science fiction audience.)

    But is there a point where you say, “Ok, I’ve said all I have to say about same-sex marriage, domestic politics, etc.”– and that becomes nothing more than a distraction?

    Sorry if this comment includes too many questions! You seem to be the original master of online “branding”, and I’m sure that a lot of folks would like to pick your brain on this topic.

  36. Dragon, Colonel Snugglesdorf, et al:

    I’ve definitely had fewer “views of the world” pieces recently, and yes, being busy is part of it, both in the sense that I don’t have as much time, and in the sense of because I don’t have as much time, I spend less time rolling thoughts about in my head, to be articulated later — and I don’t want to comment on something just to comment on it. It is a weird price of relative success: Less time to be engaged with the rest of the world.


    “But is there a point where you say, ‘Ok, I’ve said all I have to say about same-sex marriage, domestic politics, etc.’– and that becomes nothing more than a distraction?”

    There are definitely topics I used to talk about substantially more than I do now, which I feel have sort of run their course as entry fodder, and about which I have nothing new or useful to say. This is one reason why I’m glad I never made this a blog about one topic.

    “Your chief opponent (who is not be named in this space) has definitely lost sales because of his political screeds.”

    I don’t have a chief opponent, actually. I have some people who like to yell in my direction, however.

  37. Scalzi: 10,000 people have liked, but since Facebook keeps all of them from seeing the page at one time in an attempt to extract advertising money from me

    Wait…. what???

    I don’t know how facebook works, so this might be something everyone else but me knows.

  38. I read the blog in my e-mail without necessarily clicking it open unless I want to post a comment. This means I read Whatever every day! But I don’t necessarily click it open — maybe I should to improve your stats? I don’t do Twitter. I have enough on my plate as it is. I clicked to follow on FB but almost never see your posts there. Stupid FB! I would stop with FB completely, except for its use in keeping me connected to out-of-town relatives (which is pretty much all my relatives). So Whatever via my e-mail in-box is how I read your thoughts in cyberspace (and your books are in print form at my house).

  39. I usually read your blog through my Feedly reader. I love your books. in fact, I’ve enjoyed every one of them. You are also one of my favorite authors. Thank you!

    BTW–I am one of the really nice conservatives!

  40. I find that blogging and Twitter complement each other really well; my Twitter account (@nfinitefreetime) is where I put anything too short to be worthwhile as a blog post, and I think they drive traffic too each other in interesting ways. What I’ve found is that Twitter has completely killed my Facebook– anything that might have gone on Facebook previously now ends up on Twitter instead.

  41. Cashe,

    For what it is worth, the majority of people in Western Europe view US ‘liberals’ as having politics slightly to the right of Ivan the Terrible.

    There is a vast difference between my political views and John’s political views, and I am not an outlier; I’m pretty sure that John isn’t an outlier either.

    Nevertheless I have a high regard for JS, even though his views are somewhere to the right of Ivan the Terrible., and so I accept his integrity, which is what matters. I am happy to concede that there are lots of really nice conservatives, because from my perspective I’ve already met one ; JS.

  42. Despite Facebook’s ridiculous attempt to get ad money from me, I have to say that it works rather well for my blog about abandoned places in Japan – but you have to post on a regular basis (at least three times a week) and hope that a lot of people Like / Share. If word of mouth picks up, even small special interest blogs like mine can have tiny viral successes… :)

  43. I followed you on Twitter for awhile, and found I like you better in a longer format. Some people sing on Twitter–for me, you were just kind of annoying. But it’s a minor miracle that I have 97 followers who appear to not be spam, so what do I know?

  44. I am one more of the RSS folk who don’t have/read twitter. I use Flipboard, so I am probably not in any of the statistics. And, me too, I also only come to the site if I want to comment or expect the comments to be interesting.

    Is there really no way to track the number of RSS requests per day? I realize not everyone who pulls the feed, reads the feed, but the number would still be useful in terms of interest as well as an upper bound on RSS scope…

  45. I read Whatever on a sporadic basis – I’ve actually read more of it in the past week or so than I have for the previous month (due to a combination of firstly, a full-time training exercise covering the past month, and secondly, convalescence from flu for the past week or so). I get the headlines showing up in my RSS Ticker (Firefox add on), but mostly I’ve figured out which articles I actually want to read from the Tumblr feed.

    I tend not to use Twitter, mainly because I’ve found (like a lot of other people) it’s only really workable if you’re watching it constantly. Given I’m in zone UTC+8 (Western Australia) and thus several hours out of synch with just about everyone I’m interested in hearing from (8 hours ahead of the Brits, sixteen hours ahead of the USAliens, two hours behind the Australian t’othersiders, and four hours behind the Kiwis) it really becomes an exercise in “do I really want to plough through several hours of uninteresting stuff just in the hope of getting those six interesting tweets per day? Particularly when they’re more likely to be coming through at about god-awful am my time?”.

    Tumblr at least gives me pretty pictures of Chris Evans to be going on with…

    (I never said I was particularly deep).

  46. The Twitter “Impressions” stat is certainly a questionable one. As far as I’ve been able to work out, it’s magically calculated somehow based on whether the tweet appeared in a live, rendered stream – i.e. something the follower *might* have seen. Far from meaning they *did* see it.

    In my professional social media geek capacity, I don’t consider Impressions a valid stat & don’t use it for any kind of decision making. Far more relevant to look at favourites & re-tweets. I’m not sure Impressions is in any way a valid comparison to blog visits; not that this diminishes the points being made.

    As for Google Reader, gut feel is that it probably did make a difference – but can’t verify it! My replacement of choice is Feedly – which seems to work pretty well.

  47. It took me a long time to find my ‘groove’ on twitter. Facebook seems determined to make itself so unusable as to be drop out of my social feeds. The constant battle between ‘top stories’ and ‘most recent’ (aka how facebook worked for years and how most people WANT it it to work) has pushed me more towards twitter. We jokingly call Google+ ‘Secret Facebook’, as none of our relatives or such are on it…but it just doesn’t have the same utility for me. I may eventually jump to Tumblr just because I seem to be following some many of them at this point.

    That said, I still prefer stuff like ‘Whatever’ in blog form, as I find John’s long-form thoughts well worth reading (and excellent when I want to link to it from other locations, such as John’s analysis of the Hachette/Amazon situation). I still enjoy stuff like Polygon, Comics Alliance and other ‘magazine-length’ type blog posts.

    I think there’s space for both. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses.

  48. Responding to #5. It’s not so much a dearth of political posts per se. For me it’s more a lack of the variety that there used to be. The vast majority of posts here now are about either books, the publishing industry, or your writing career. Not that there’s anything wrong with those, but these used to be interspersed with posts on completely different topics – politics yes, but also current events in general, philosophy about random things, slice of life (i.e. the demise of your neighbors’ mailboxes), etc. The most fun ones always happened when you were procrastinating while officially in hardcore writing mode. And a lot of the sunset and pet pics have gotten outsourced to Twitter.

    As for Twitter. I read it in the same way that I used to read IRC scrollup after being away for several hours. I don’t follow very many people, so I just start at wherever I left off and read up. If it has been a few days, then I’ll just start from a day ago and don’t feel like I’m missing all that much. I’ll unfollow people that never say anything that interests me (i.e. the “noise”). To me, Twitter is a lot like having Facebook wall posts without the Facebook.

    Twitter also turns out to be highly useful for following fast-moving current events (I’ve been completely sucked into #Ferguson for almost a week now), because the “official” news sources just can’t keep up, and large chunks of what they say later turn out to be factually incorrect and factually biased (only reporting SOME OF the truth and not the WHOLE truth to paint particular pictures that aren’t really there). Using it that way, I don’t read every single post with a #Ferguson tag, as that would be insane; they do provide some helpful “top/all” options at the top which help autofilter a lot.

  49. The blog and on-line forum are well-suited to variable-length pieces and serial discussion; Twitter offers a not-entirely-satisfactory cross of Henny Youngman and a bumper sticker. (Geez, did I manage to fit that into 140 characters? Fortunately, I don’t have to care.)

    I respect (and sometimes practice) the art of the zinger, the one-liner, the pithy (or sometimes just pissy) back-of-the-classroom remark, but for me the lasting virtue of internet-mediated writing is the way it enables, distributes, and speeds up the kind of consideration and interchange that used to be found in print-world columns, op-ed pieces, feature articles, and letter pages. (Actually, those are still around, just pushed out of the spotlight.)

    I note that some of John’s meditation on mediation focuses on what amounts to audience size, the metric that seems to drive (or drive out) much of the material generated for the public space. That is why those of us living in the Outlier Zone* can’t have nice things**. But I am relieved to read that John will continue to provide a space for nice things provided by him and Whatever readers. (For the record, my read-the-morning-paper eqivalent is this blog, Boing Boing, Making Light, and a purely social music-centric forum frequented by people I actually know. These also offer occasions to do a bit of writing-in-response, just to keep my hand in.)

    * If we (that’s me and my better half) like a TV show, it gets cancelled. If we like a restaurant, it goes belly-up. We both find Mad Men uninteresting. I can’t abide Microsoft *or* Apple applications. I recently acquired our first smart phone and find its smart features irrelevant or inadequate. (It does have a pretty screen, though, and is a decent phone for, you know, making phone calls.) We still have a land line. The bright side of no longer being an active tech/biz journalist is that I don’t have to keep up with socio-technical ephemera and trivia.

    ** Actually, we have lots of nice things. We just have to sort through mountains of clutter and junk and babble-of-the-rabble to find them. Fortunately, we’re Old and wise in the ways of assembling our own environment(s) and keeping the babble at arm’s length.

  50. I think the rise of twitter is partially due to it being perfect for the smartphone. Reading a few snappy bits of 140 character snark is easy on a five inch screen; a 500+ word, thinky blog post… not so much. Twitter is also way easier for schlubs like me to interact with fancy-ass authors, like @willw, than a blog post.

    Anyway, follow me on twitter everyone, @mwlphelps

  51. Whatever for me. Twit is for tweets. But I wish there was a like button for blogs and comments.

  52. Who knows? Maybe next year views on Whatever will skyrocket higher than they ever have before. Even if Twitter becomes more popular than Whatever, just please don’t give it up. Your blog is the best

  53. Hi,

    I don’t like twitter, don’t use it.

    You don’t use it they way they wrote it to be used, you need a dozen twits to say anything.

    Hope you keep blogging, it’s more like writing something with a beginning a middle and an end. I like your “Big Idea” thing the other authors are contributing to your blog. Can’t do that on twitter, either.

    No offense meant, really. I see there’s another old above fussing just like me…

    Saw a post on a tumblr blog, whatever that is. Couldn’t leave a message without joining whatever Tumblr is, he didn’t post an email address or any other way to communicate, but he needed someone to adopt his cats, whom his SO is irrepairably allergic to. I can adopt cats, but can’t communicate with him. Sad.

    You can’t join every new fad or type of tech everyone comes up with. I won’t even try. I have accounts all over the place. Baen won’t let me reset my password – it’s months or years old, no idea what it is, can’t set up a new account with my existing email… grrr.

    Sorry to growl, having a fit with my shoulder after working all day on a new set of bookcases. 34 feet of shelf in 16 feet of wall space, times 7 shelves, 3/4 inch oak… but we have books stacked everywhere, in boxes even.

    All the cutting and routing is done, now to assemble everything…

    Keep up the good work!

    JR in WV

  54. I’ve got a probably stupid question for matx (and/or anyone else who feels like answering):

    What’s a “Like” button for, and how do you feel it would it improve Whatever? I see people wishing for one every so often, but I honestly don’t know why. I presume it’s a Facebook thing, but I don’t do Facebook.

  55. For me, it’s all about RSS feeds. I click through when I see a topic I want to read about. Though I follow you on Twitter, I rarely browse Twitter. I mainly use it for things like quick notes to people whom I know have accounts there, interacting with celebrity types, or logging in to post on websites (like I just did.)

  56. (Oops. I wish there was an edit feature.

    I should have written “who” above, not “whom”. Whom is objective case, but the word in the subordinate clause above should be nominative case.)

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