(This is an updated post to the original. WordPress App for iPhone didn’t save my post the way I’d originally intended it to. I had to update this post and republish using my laptop, defeating the purpose of the article. I’ve am grateful I remembered most of this post. There’s nothing like losing your content and having to start from scratch.)
I’ve been carrying this iPhone for well over a year now with the WordPress iPhone app installed, but I rarely pull it out to post to any of my blogs. Amazing technology hangs on my belt, but I’m not using it!
Usually, I’ll pull up my Facebook or Tweetdeck app for the iPhone to publish my random thoughts, keeping my 1,500+ friends on the FB and over 700 followers on Facebook updated. But there’s only so much one can say in 140 characters or less. The concept of SMS texting and status updates have changed the dynamics of interpersonal communication. I recently heard a report on WNYC radio in New York City about a young girl who posted 14,528 texts in one month. While that’s an anomaly, companies like Twitter, Jaiku, and the defunct Pownce responded to the demand for applications to post quick, short updates using mobile devices. While each company provides the ability to post updates on a website, most posts come from mobile handsets, which provide a constant connection to the web.
My girlfriend recently checked out You Are Not A Gadget for me from the Bronxville Public Library. I’m not even 20 pages in yet, but have already been introduced to author Jared Lanier’s belief that the use of status updates have had a negative affect on interpersonal communication. Whether that’s true or not depends on how we value social media tools in our daily lives. Our children are being trained to communicate in short bursts of information, communicating in acronyms and hacking punctuation to create smiley faces and frowns as a substitute for words. Young people have always created new forms of communication. There isn’t much different in that regard, but we race to understand it and try to limit it, without even really comprehending its affect on us.
While I’m pro social media, one can’t ignore that communication has been irrevocably altered. While some argue SMS and status updates are disrupting the art of writing, which will lead to the decline of Western Civilization as we know it; others say that technology innovation makes improvements to our lives that we have yet to fully understand. Why use so many words to explain simple concepts? Status updates are brief and too the point. Once the wheel was invented, people chose to drive over walking. I’m sure there are those who argue nothing beats walking, but others embrace progress and use the new tools to their advantage, speeding by who they consider the walking fool. To each his or her own in this world. Let the chips fall where they may.
For bloggers, it’s easy to fall prey to the allure of SMS and status updates. As I use the WordPress App for iPhone, I realize there are three distinct issues for those who want to publish long form text on mobile devices. The first issue is screen size. It’s very difficult to view what you’re already written that is hidden behind a scroll. You can only really see a few lines of text, which impacts your ability to quickly refer to what you’ve already written.
The second issue is typing for an extended period on a mobile device. The size of the keys in portrait mode are difficult to master. Constant spelling errors abound. And, WordPress on the iPhone doesn’t identify spelling errors. You have to be on point and make sure there are no mistakes.
And third, I’m here (I was here, I’m back at the hotel room now trying to salvage this post) in at the Four Points Sheraton in Raleigh, NC attending Wordcamp Raleigh. It was pretty easy for me to pull out my iPhone and tweet, Facebook my status, and use FourSquare to tag my location. I’m here at the listening to Jeffrey L. Cohen from Howard, Merrell, and Partners give a presentation on business blogging, which reminded me of a conversation I recently had with my girlfriend, who asked me why I post status updates instead of using my blog as my outlet. She knows that if I publish to my blog, Twitter Tools will post an update to Twitter, which is linked to my Facebook profile. Why not publish my thoughts on my blog and drive traffic, instead of ignoring the site in favor of the others?
The answer lies in the time it takes for someone to blog at a conference. If I were just attending Wordcamp Raleigh as a blogger to cover the event, things might be different. I might have more time to sit down and publish an extended post about what I’ve learned. But, I’m attending as a business owner. I’m not only taking in the sessions, I’m also networking and talking business.
With Jeffrey and my girlfriend’s comments on business blogging in mind, I thought I’d pull out my iPhone, fire up the WordPress app, and do what I tell my clients to do all the time. It took me about 3-hours to fully complete this post. And, once completed, while I thought my post was saved correctly, somehow I lost the entire post and had to go back and remember everything I wrote to recreate the original intent.
I consider myself an expert on WordPress, having blogged and constructed sites on the platform for the past 8-years. Today, when it comes to blogging over mobile using WordPress for iPhone, the key word is “FAIL.”
That sure won’t happen again! Maybe an iPad will solve the problem.