While responding to an observation from Ben Werdmuller, Om Malik asks, “Is reverse chronological ‘stream’ still a valid design principle?” I believe the answer is complicated.
As with most folks commenting on Om’s blog, I have been a follower of his writings for a long time. And also been a blogger since updating one’s blog, and visiting others to look for inspiration was a multiple-times-a-day activity. It still matters for all of us who have consumed the stream of blog posts. Or at least we understand it.
I generally follow blogs through RSS, where a stream is meaningless. But I would still follow a linked post to a new blogger that I don’t know about. I then browse through the stream of posts to see if the blogger’s topic and writing interest me. If it does, I subscribe to his RSS. So the stream is important for me for discoverability.
But the people who haven’t ever consumed such a stream of blog posts may not find it helpful. The algorithm has spoilt us with the “recommendations” – the links to the other stuff on the platform.
So we as bloggers should serve the same. Recommend stuff to the reader on our platform, our blogs. On our home pages. And around our posts. But instead of letting AI decide, let’s curate these recommendations manually. We have all the tools that we need. Tags/Categories. Let’s add a few layers if required.
I have already started doing this with my blog. I have modified my home page to take readers to specific sections of the blog. I have separated posts prominently. I want to introduce a few more sections on blog and around posts. This is all still a work in progress, though.
Another tangential thought. We have stripped our blogs of all the fun in our quest to get minimal. Do you remember the tag/word clouds? Posts by date? By category? Or most commented? Let’s bring them all back. We had more than one way of presenting our blogs to the readers. Why did we stop that?