Writing versus Posting?

Surely writing has been in flux and evolution since our earliest etchings, and the advent of the internet has only ushered in yet another transformative epoch to the practice. So how does the post-to-share structure of social media change the act of stringing words together? I am wondering: is there a difference between ‘posting’ and ‘writing’ online? Obviously posting text involves writing, but how does the broadcast-this-now proposition of the internet shape the act of writing itself?

Here’s a question to frame the proposition: are you writing or posting?

The distinction may not be as subtle as it seems. Or maybe I’m splitting hairs. Either way, since leaving social media I find myself thinking much more about the act of writing as something distinguishable from the act of posting. I am ‘publishing’ here on my blog, yes, but this intuitively feels much different than submitting these words to Facebook or Twitter to distribute on my behalf.

Perhaps the difference between posting and writing is this: when you post something to Facebook, you inherently hope to find an audience; you wish the algorithm and potential recipients to ‘engage’ with the creation. By contrast, when you write a book or a blog, your write for readers — people who have already made some intentional decision to interact with you and your ideas.

Posting words with the intent to find an audience for them versus writing something for an audience are two distinct activities, I hypothesize. Granted, maybe the difference is all in my head. What do you think? Would you describe a difference between posting and writing?

Living in the crossfire of an ‘attention war’

Daniel Nesbit proposes a metaphor shift from ‘attention economy‘ to ‘attention war,’ in part because “viewing the landscape as one of war instills the right mindset for those caught in the crossfire.”

Invading forces want to not just have our share of attention, they want to own it. The war of attention is a battle over resources: who gets to dominate, where and when… We have to defend our territory (our attention) appropriately.

The wartime conflict metaphor conjures notice of the collateral damage, particularly the innocent civilian ‘causalities’ — all the co-opted time, all the defrayed mental resources, and all the cognitive and psychological externalities absorbing the actual cost of this rampage.

Building an Audience, Building a Message

Having a message to spread but lacking a means to share it is infuriating. Having a means to spread information but lacking a meaningful message is vexatious.

Do not build your audience in preparation of one day discovering something meaningful to say. Rather, build your insight and perspective in preparation for a future audience.

Your respect for the time and attention of those who will one day loan you their precious attention begins now.