For the last year or so I've been working on something big, which I've been stubbornly keeping a secret. I know that this has been annoying to readers, but I felt that skirting around the issue was slightly better than avoiding it altogether. Of course, it's also been hard for me to keep it a secret, since I really love talking about what I'm working on.
We're not done yet, but the light at the end of the tunnel is in view, so I figure it's probably a good time to introduce what we've been building.
The project is called SETT, and it's a new blogging platform. Over the next few weeks I'm going to talk more about what specifically we're doing, but first I want to talk about the problems we're solving.
Bloggers care about one thing: audience. We want to reach as many people as possible, and we want to connect with them in a meaningful way. None of the current blogging platforms are optimized for either of these goals.
There are two methods of interaction between a blogger and his audience. First, he can stand on his pedestal, as I am now, and speak to his audience. But let's not kid ourselves-- this isn't a conversation. It's a lecture.
The second method of communication is through blog comments, which are universally understood to be a disaster (hence the sprouting up of better-but-still-bad solutions like DISQUS).
I don't know how many active readers I have, but I know that when I ask for feedback in a yearly survey, I get several hundred responses. Most of the responses are quite detailed and clearly the product of considerable thought. This says to me that my readers care about my message and want to be part of a community, not just a mass of passive readers. If that's true, why does every post average only 20 comments or so?
I think the reason so few people comment is the same reason I rarely comment on blogs, including my own: there's essentially no point. We all know that as soon as the newest post becomes the second-newest post, no one is reading the comments anymore.
If a post gets more than 30 comments (let alone 100), blog readers usually won't even skim the comments, because it's just too daunting. I actually read every comment on my blog (I probably have about the biggest blog possible where that's still an option), and I'd actually like to respond to comments, but there's really no guarantee (or even likelihood) that the person I'm responding to will see my reply.
Beyond blogger-to-audience blog posts and comments, there's a critical method of communication that's absent from every current blogging platform: user to user communication.
The internet has a huge number of strong cohesive communities that we're all familiar with, like Reddit, Hacker News, Fatwallet, Slashdot, Something Awful, and OfftTopic. None of these are centered around blogs. This is because blogging doesn't allow user to user communication. Forums, although hindered by a number of inherent problems in the platform, are the quintessential community sites. Their only tool is user-to-user communication, which speaks to its utility as a community builder.
Our process in building SETT was to approach every decision with the mentality of "in an ideal world, how SHOULD this work?" As a result, we've improved blogging in almost every aspect. Even for bloggers who don't care about community, SETT is probably the best choice.
These many improvements, though, are secondary to our primary goal of enabling conversations and communities to thrive on blogs. Our overriding belief is that the nature of the blogger has changed over the past ten years, but that his tools haven't.
It's time to build a revolutionary blogging platform that retains enough of the old to be comfortable and familiar, but pushes the envelope forward a sufficient distance to fundamentally change what it means to be an active blog reader.
When I first came up with this idea and we brainstormed what it might look like, we had only a foggy idea. We knew we wanted to integrate certain concepts, but we weren't sure exactly what the end product would look like. Over the past year, as we've carefully crafted and molded each part of the platform, our vision has slowly come into focus. We're not done yet, but it's finished enough for me to now see what the future of blogging could look like, and I'm excited by it.
If my account of what's wrong with blogging resonates with you, you're going to be very excited about SETT when it's released, whether you're a blogger or a reader.
There seems to be no way to delete a sett account once one has been created. Please, how do I get rid of this thing? I am already happy with a blog on a different platform and have no desire to keep a sett account, which created inadvertently. Most platforms allow users to get rid of accounts they are no longer using. What's up with Sett? I am also unable to delete or modify posts. Is that by design? Not good.
The proposition reads rad. I do like that p2p stuff and am definitely looking forward to seeing how the idea will evolve.
Interesting idea to make something that connects more with the user.
So when can I/other people start using your platform?
And I'm one of them who reads your response.
At last... what is your response on how you should compete with people starting to use google+ as blogging platform?
PS. your blog is great
I think my first comment disappeared....
Just wondering how this is different from Tumblr and Wordpress....
It will be interesting to see if the followers come as quickly as predicted. Would be great. Maybe then it would be worth the monthly fee...
Time will tell. Should be a fun experiment. Thank you.
Will try it out, but not sure how it differs from say Tumblr except that very quickly (over 300 subscribers) I would have to pay $12/month.
Excellent blog and I must say that your blog platform is excellent too, although I discovered it very late (so to speak).
Did you code it from the ground up or did you base some of it from prior codestacks, or ? I'm generally just curious about these things, see.
I wish you all the luck - and by the looks of it your platform seems to have attracted a lot of users.
SETT.com looks great. You'll let us know when we can try it out right? I'm just glad about redditish comments. The other features look awesome too. Well done!
Can't wait for you to unleash SETT on the world, Tynan... I've been with WordPress for years now and recently they have been swiftly dropping in my estimation. It'll be nice for them to have some competition. And I'm glad you have incorporated an "import" feature given how much content I have with WP. I really want SETT to succeed for all of the reasons you mentioned above though.
Hey there Tynan,
Not sure if this is too late to get a reply on but I was wondering where you learned web design? I read in a previous post that you dropped out of college, but did you ever go back for web design, or did you learn in a course or something? I'm still working through your old posts, so forgive me if this question is redundant.
I'm not sure if I mentioned some of this already, so I'll explain what's happening with LN this year.
LifeNomadic.com is no longer a blog. We've decided to make it a resource site for nomads and hardcore travelers. We're working hard on it now and it will be up very soon.
Instead of blogging on LifeNomadic.com, we're blogging on Gadling this year. Gadling is the most popular travel blog on the internet, which means that our articles will be read by millions instead of hundreds. This gives us more incentive to produce really high quality posts and videos, and to make them more often.
At the advice of Tynan, I have decided to switch blogging platforms. Back in June I started using Blogger, and there really aren't many bad things I can say about it. It was over those past couple of months that I realized my passion for blogging, and really started to find my confidence and voice as a blogger.
That said, I think SETT's architecture and potential are far greater than that of Blogger. It's a platform more readily designed for sharing and discussing, and I'm confident that Tynan will continue to make improvements and make SETT the platform to beat. So, I'm taking a chance and moving everything over here.
I look forward to sharing my adventures with you, and hope you enjoy what I have to offer. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a body-breaking workout to get to.