Originally published on medium.com - July 23, 2015.
Could Slack be the next big thing in post-blog online writing? I don’t know, but the possibility seems exciting. Out of the box, Slack offers writing posts, formatting them with Markdown (similar to Ghost and others), and sharing a public link. And yes, animated GIFs are supported too, how could we otherwise live without them ;)
That’s really cool, indeed, but what’s missing from turning Slack into a Medium-like post-blog publishing environment, are the public interactions. As of this moment, there are no public comments, or any sort of user engagement, outside of the scope of a given Slack team. Inside the team, people can comment, show reactions, and edit the posts, but there’s little room for people outside to show their support or reaction.
I have been doing all sorts of blogging and writing online since 2004. Unlike Twitter, Medium, and a few other platforms, my patience has rarely been strong enough to keep a single blog of my own. I’ve recently moved over to Ghost and started collecting years of disparate thoughts and scribblings, but it has been difficult.
See, the problem with blogging is that it, just like email, requires a fair bit of ceremony. A blog post needs a proper title, a certain number of paragraphs, some tags, and categories, etc. All of this ceremony is important, because of the way blog posts get displayed on the front page of your blog. If you get too many posts, or ones without titles, etc, they will not get displayed properly on your front page, and consequently, potential readers may not notice and read them. That’s how blog content used to get discovered back in the day.
This rigidness of the blog post format has always discouraged me from writing short pieces (longer than a tweet, shorter than a full blog post), and publish, say 5–10 times a day, instead of once a week. Posting more often will also help me relate my thoughts to current events, instead of writing a recollection a week/month later. This is what Medium has been after for quite a while.
As Ev Williams once pointed it out, Medium is not a publishing tool, but a network of ideas and people. There is really a big missing link between writing short messages on Twitter, and composing traditional blog posts. Maybe Medium has found out the right recipe. It certainly has become easier to write there, with the barriers to entry lowered. Yet, I don’t exclude the possibility of seeing players like Slack enter the game too. IMHO, it makes total sense. Millions of users spend a significant portion during the day, sharing their thoughts in Slack channels. What better and easier way of expanding on some of these thoughts, and sharing them with the rest of the world?
I hope that the Slack team will hear my pleas, and will find the opportunity of Slack turning into an ad-hoc publishing platform, exciting at least.