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Over the years of toyful blogging, I’ve resisted splitting the flow of this blog into separate blogs for the “personal”, other, and off-topic. Certainly, there has never been much more than a trickle to split, but it was also a sense that a percentage personal was an intrinsic and a goodness in this genre of conversational writing. However, it’s clear you shouldn’t let the air to fuel ratio get out of whack.   Recently there’s been a knocking to the personal here, not suprisingly, given my recent combustions.

Never thought of myself, as exactly headed toward MySpace or LiveJournal, but in a fashion, perhaps the time has come for something like that. During this transition, a series of fortunate events, now see me with another blog, that hardly anybody can see, but it may yet poke out above waterline.

  • I found myself writing, talking about what was up to many different people—friends, family, reconnected colleagues, new people fast becoming new friends. Lots of emails, fair amount of IM-ing telling bits and pieces of the story over and over, even as it was developing, eventually a notification email notifying hundreds in my address book … and so of course, this led to thoughts of how best to communicate about not just the personal, but in the full range of widely and narrowly, of openly and privately.
  • I listened to a podcast capture of Anil Dash’s MeshForum talk in which he shares many observations from the LiveJournal experience. Much of what Anil observed about the contrast between the professional blogging of Typepad users and the social blogging of LiveJournal users really rang true to me … and was timely.
  • Not long after, I got my requested invitation to the Vox preview, and in August I started an experiment by inviting a small set of my longest, close friends, all that go back before there was any professional or career to me. Almost all registered to read what I was writing, but none have posted. I started postings about family, a remodel, sharing the experience of the “squeezing through a straw” of this period. So far, mostly the kind of stuff that many people write in those annual letters they enclose in their holiday greeting cards, nothing deeply revealing, but tending toward the private.

Now I’m beginning to think that my Vox blog, though now all private, may indeed perhaps pull the mostly personal across and also create a space for the comfortably-shared off-topic and playful. Vox is now launched, and certainly, Mena and Ben are proud as they explain the vision of Vox. And David Hornik, is also proud as Sixapart funder and one who really does the professional/personal wavicle split blogging thing quite well.

And they all ought be proud. I’ll certainly raise my big thumbs-up to the long line of impressed. For the moment, I’ll just add two main points of feedback:

  • Given the large ratio of readers to writers (even in this space of personal), private friends should be able to read my entry w/o registering. The Open Identity systems like in fact the OpenID system that has come out of the Sixapart people itself could/should be just the right mechanism for this. (Note a commenter on David Hornik’s post also makes this point.)
  • I’m personally already wishing for a bit more control over privacy levels. Right now, you can post for family, friends, both, or public. And though the design point of Vox really demands absolute simplicity and it’d be to easy to suck here, the current switches feel big to me. Though it may take a few years for a signal from a broad and full user base, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it come quickly, given the great nuance most people do have on levels of how open or closed they are in different settings. With all the complaints about Email, many little things do work with it quite well, including the quite powerful and simple mechanism of allowing you to choose exactly the To, CC, and subtle BCC.

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