This article is not really for other people. I'm writing it to clarify my own thinking.

There are so many ways to use the Internet to publish your content to an audience. You can:

  1. Send emails or instant messages. I include listservs here.
  2. Create web pages on a standard server, using vi, SeaMonkey, DreamWeaver, FrontPage, or any of the many common html editors.
  3. Use social media, like FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, Google+, or LinkedIn.
  4. Use wikis, like MediaWiki. Wikipedia is obviously the most well-known instance of a wiki, but there are many others, including personal wikis, like mine.
  5. Use blogs, like WordPress or BlogSpot.
  6. Use message boards, like Usenet (a.k.a. "net news"), Something Awful (and other general conversation forums), and even product support forums.

Except for the first one, all of these outlets have the same net effect: they allow you, the publisher, to serve up a web page. The differences between them have everything to do with the goals they optimize for. For example, message boards and social media is optimized for group communication; wikis and blogs are optimized for archiving information. There are many other areas of optimization which differentiate them; more on that later.

It is theoretically possible to do any kind of publishing with any of them. For example, wikis are optimized to be information archives. Yet, in Wikipedia's "talk" pages, you see a wiki being used as a conversation forum. Conversely, product support sites often use message boards as an information archive, something Wikis are optimized for. It is easy to see the imperfections in those kinds of cross-usages - using a message board as an information archive often requires reading through long exchanges to get the latest info, while using a wiki as a forum often leads to improper indentations and placements of comments, making it difficult to follow threads of conversation.

I've been thinking about all these things lately, trying to decide which outlets to use. I have dipped my toe into many different kinds - pure web pages (created before most of those other outlets became popular), social media accounts, my own wiki, my own blog, and my own message board. I don't use any of them very much, mostly due to a lack of time. But I do occasionally want to put something out there for people to see. Most-recently, I wanted to publish a small rant about LinkedIn. I initially put it in my wiki, then moved it to my blog. I'm still unsure where it "belongs". I don't imagine that there is a "one size fits all" solution, but I see some people go overboard by essentially cross-posting everything they write to FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, BlogSpot, Google+, Tumblr, etc & etc.

In practice, what I use hardly matters given my lack of free time to create content. It's not like I have a huge fan base, hungrily waiting for my next pearl of wisdom. But my OCPD compels me to obsess over it. Who knows - some day I may become prolific.

Things I am likely to (want to) publish:

How inform audience of (new) content?

Organization of content

Other nice features

What's the upshot? Well, take this article. How should I publish it? I've decided to put it in my wiki, and include a pointer to it in my blog. I feels "wiki-ish" because it sort-of represents the current state of my thinking on the subject. If I further-develop my thinking next week and want to make some refinements, I can update the wiki directly. Thus, the wiki is always the latest-and-greatest. The history function can illustrate the evolution of my thinking. As for the blog, it represents the "announcement" of the content. If I make a major update, I can even re-announce it.

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