It's interesting that there seems to be a resurgence in tools to write online. In the blogging space we have Medium and Subtle. In the "other" space (if it is indeed other) we have Thought Streams and Ello. There are probably others, those are just what come to mind.
I've been using Thought Streams intermittently for a few weeks, and I just signed up for Ello, albeit under duress.
(I suppose you could object to me including Ello in this list. I include it because there's a little box at the top of the page where you can write something -- and publish it, if you can figure out the UI -- and because with platforms like Medium and Subtle, part of the pitch is the network. I guess in this respect Thought Streams is the outlier in this list.)
The interesting thing to me is this:
Thought Streams brought me back to writing online in a way that's very seductive. TS sets the expectation that posts (cards?) can be short, maybe only a sentence, and that takes the pressure to fully develop an idea before you write it down off. And the lack of a character limit takes the pressure to be pithy off. I have enough pressure in my life, so there's no way I'm going to write online if it adds pressure.
But if Thought Streams is seductive, it also feels a little dangerous. My email address is a domain I control because I didn't want to change it if I got tired of my provider. I host my blog (be it ever so fallow) on my own domain because I don't necessarily trust providers, particularly ones offering a free service. And making those decisions has given me flexibility over the years, flexibility I'm loathe to give up.
I don't know how well TS is doing for Eldarion, and even if it's going gangbusters, Eldarion's interests may not always be in alignment with my own. Companies have leadership changes, are sold, and make strategic product decisions all the time. "Past performance is not an indicator of future success."
And I care about my writing in a way that I guess I don't care about, say, my bookmarks. If Pinboard went under tomorrow, I'd be annoyed, but that probably wouldn't last. It wouldn't take long for a hypothetical TS shutdown -- breaking links that you hope are built to and within any successful service -- to reach the point of clothes-rending angst.
And that's the extreme case, things coming to a halt. Even TS atrophied and a better tool came along, with my work stuck on thoughtstreams.io, the switching cost is harder.
So I'm left feeling conflicted: it feels good to be writing online, and it feels like TS does a lot of things "right" (for me). And I find myself wishing I could point a CNAME at it.
I've realized as I'm writing this that I have this assumption that TS could replace the blogging tool that I've been using (Pelican, which replaced Tinkerer, which replaced WordPress, which replaced... Moveable Type??). Maybe TS is something different. Maybe it's a different kind of writing.
Is Thought Streams replacing blogging for its users? Are people using TS as a way to draft longer pieces?