The decrease in RSS in favor of lifestreaming and micro-posting has, according to some, turned the Internet into a wasteland of incomplete sentences and bad acronyms. A far cry from what was once a watering hole for both the established and budding writer, today’s wordsmith may find their online writing experience saturated in services that seem to encourage the familiar saying, “less is more.”
Here to reinstate the power of creativity -- and, you know, actual writing -- is none other than Jason Shellen, the guy responsible for a little thing you may have heard about called Google Reader. His new steeze? A “content encouragement” tool called Plinky.
Yup, you read it right. The creation of such a thing signifies the existing belief (within team Plinky, at least) that the Internet has been suffering a creative drought. And with as much as we and every other tech site have been covering the continuing spawn of quick-take services like Shout’Em, thisMoment, Yonkly etc., who can really blame them, or anyone, for coming to such a conclusion?
For true writers, perhaps even more disturbing than the actual shift in trend is the resulting shift in the way we’re beginning to think.
With Writer’s Block seemingly spreading like wild fire, consider the possibility that our brains have begun to grow accustomed to writing and reading blurbs rather than meaty paragraphs. It may seem ridiculous to some of you, but the reality of the situation is that there are a substantial amount of people who are beginning to lose their imaginations to character limits and the appeal of letting media aggregation rather than their own words tell the stories of their lives.
Plinky, the self-proclaimed “web enabler,” attempts to get our creative wheels turning again via a daily writing prompt. Designed to be inspirational, the prompts range from silly to serious. For example: “If you were a famous rapper, who would be in your posse?” and, “When did you realize you were an adult?”
When posted on Plinky, users’ answers then show up in a main feed with the option to be plugged into third party services like Facebook, Blogger and Twitter.
Plinky Screen Shot
Don't Get it Twisted
Plinky isn’t like homework — these assignments are cool.
“We wanted to develop something that was really fun, and I wanted to see answers to things I wanted to know from my friends,” Shellen said. “Plinky is to inspire people, and make them create content and look good doing it."
The good-looking service is also good at looking out when it comes to undeniable trends, too. Rather than go gung-ho with the back-to-the-paragraph thing, Plinky cleverly incorporates many of the services that are behind its raison d’etre, along with popular trends like social networking.
Answers to prompts can be images as well as text, and Plinky’s social interactions include a stream of responses that are publicly viewable, the ability to follow other users, favoriting responses and comments.
A Blurb Nation
At the close of its second public week, Plinky already has quite a hefty following. Helping lead the way to a writer’s utopia is Jason Shellen himself along with a gaggle of other prolific Internet writers, and their answers to the prompts are a delightful read.
Unfortunately, Plinky has already defended the claim that it’s just another micro-blogging tool on the micro-blog of all micro-blogs, Twitter. As far as we can tell, the service is going to be great for those of us with the drive to use it as an inspirational tool, and it very well could promote a resurgence of interesting and readable content on the Web.
However, it’s undeniable that for those without the patience, Plinky has the potential to be just another venue for sentence-long content. It will be exceptionally entertaining sentence-long content, but blurbs nonetheless.
To sign up yourself, visit www.plinky.com. Let us know what you think and how you’ve decided to use the service.