When Apple News debuted, I was intrigued to learn that virtually anybody can submit their own blogs for inclusion in the service. Why not allow Bitsplitting, the Red Sweater Blog, and Indie Stack to be part of this service? For reader who enjoy Apple News, it could serve as a kind of substitute RSS reader.
Apple did, in fact, accept my news sources, and for the past several years these articles have been available through the service.
I guess I’ve dropped the ball a bit as a blogger, though, because this week I received a terse email from Apple:
Dear Daniel Jalkut,
We noticed that you have not published to your Bitsplitting channel in three months or more. Your channel will be removed in one week.
The Apple News Team
Regards, indeed. Apple will drop me in one week if I don’t publish something, or maybe even if I do; the wording is ambiguous. I’m a little annoyed at this, but I’m also a little annoyed at myself for not blogging more frequently, so I guess I’ll just say: “thanks, Apple News!”
Update: Manton Reece notes on Micro.blog that there may be a less encouraging rationale for Apple’s crackdown on inactive publications:
@danielpunkass If you hadn’t heard, Apple News dropped RSS support for new blogs, and it sounds like they rarely approve personal blogs anymore. Weeding out inactive blogs could be the first step to removing them altogether.
Over on Twitter today, I was inspired to ask people to write “just one blog post” today:
Later, it occurred to me that after 10+ years on Twitter, I am privileged to have a substantial following. I thought I would take the opportunity to help promote some folks who don’t have as much immediate reach:
I tagged all my retweets to those responses with #LongLiveTheOpenWeb. I think it turned out to be a pretty cool cross-section of bloggers, and I sort of editorialized the kind of blogging that people were doing.
I think people neglect to write blog posts because the feedback loop is not as tangible as the onslaught of (sometimes mechanical) likes or faves that you can receive on a social network. With blogging, you need a little faith that you will gain an audience. And on the open web, you never know who might come along and expand your audience.
I was intrigued to read that Basecamp’s (née 37 Signals) Signal v. Noise blog has moved to Medium. David Heinemeier Hansson argues that Medium is “just the right mix of flexibility and constraint,” celebrating its web-based editor, the network of users, Medium’s demonstration of concern for its customers, and Basecamp’s admirable desire to get out of the business of maintaining their own blog-hosting software.
Hansson lists the ability to use one’s own custom domain among the user-friendly changes Medium has made. “By offering custom domains, we’re ensured that no permalink ever has to break, even if we leave the platform.” Indeed, this is a valuable improvement. But it got me thinking: for a blog like Signal v. Noise, with hundreds of posts spanning more than a decade, how would Signal v. Noise’s existing permalinks be preserved? Does Medium offer some fancy permalink customization for imported posts? Is there some ability to upload static HTML content to reside alongside newer, Medium-native posts? Surely a company as obsessed with the web as Basecamp would be concerned about this. How did they solve it?
It took a little poking around and scratching my head to realize that solved the problem in a novel way that doesn’t exactly get them out of the blog-hosting business. Signal v. Noise is now hosted on two domains:
- https://signalvnoise.com/ – The previous home of the blog, hosted and managed by Basecamp themselves, continues to host the backlog of archived posts.
- https://m.signalvnoise.com/ – The new home, hosted by Medium.
So when any new Medium post is linked, it points directly to the “m.signalvnoise.com”, and is handled by Medium. When any older post is linked, it goes directly to “signalvnoise.com” and is handled the same as ever. The one change? When the main page at signalvnoise.com is visited, it redirects with a “302 Found” response to the Medium site, getting a casual visitor on track to viewing only the latest posts.
I continue to admire a lot of the work Medium is doing. I agree with the Basecamp that their web editor is among the best I’ve used. For my tastes, it can’t touch the experience of a native Mac app, but of course I’m biased. Hopefully Medium’s API will continue to evolve and make Medium a more viable platform for folks who share my preference for a desktop editor.