Creatamin: the blog for creatives

A good friend of mine, Wazir Rohiman, recently started a blog for creatives, by creatives. I met Wazir whilst studying architecture at UCT, and we’ve become excellent friends over the past three years. We share an appreciation for all the possibilities that exist at the intersection of science and design, and it is here that Wazir’s new blog excels.

Creatamin (love that name) posts inspiration, tips, interviews and thought pieces all related to living the creative life. It can be daunting for young designers embarking on their journey out in the big world. Creatamin’s posts aim to provide a platform for us young thinkers to share our opinions and get inspired by our peers.

I’m really excited to be following this blog, and I highly recommend it to all creatives, whether you’re in architecture, product design, web development, writing or fine art.

A few of my favourite posts recently published on Creatamin:

I invite you to check out Creatamin at www.creatamin.com.

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The State of the Blog

The art of blogging has come to define the paradigmatic shift in the web from a content-consumption medium to a dynamic, conversational sphere where ideas can be easily shared and everyone can own their slice of the Internet. Blogs have allowed us to write, share and discuss anything and everything, and their “coolness” factor in the early days of Web 2.0 caused many corporations to adopt them as a quick, informal communication method – a way of bridging the gap between brand and consumer, much like what’s happening in the Twitter world with a multitude of “verified” accounts from brands tweeting as a means of keeping their user bases engaged.

Newspapers realised in the early days of blogs that print media and their online offerings were struggling to keep pace with emerging blogs, and if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right? Which is what they did. However, the actual art form has come under scrutiny for whether it’s a dying medium today. Certainly, with larger print houses there is a sense that readership of content-specific blogs are dwindling, along with technological shifts, that are dictating a move away from blogging and back to more quality-focused content production (rather than the rapid-fire, continuous stream that blogging enables). In other words, content-specific blogging on news sites is not performing as well as other content, perhaps because people are choosing to consume such content from titles that are blog-first (I’m one of those people; I subscribe to numerous blogs and keep up with the world primarily through blogs rather than traditional news outlets).

I feel that blogging is an inherently personal medium. Whilst its power as a means of communicating in near-real-time with an engaged readership (and thus the ability to strengthen brands) is certainly appealing to companies, blogging has been described as “the unedited voice of a person” (by one of the form’s pioneers, Dave Winer).

This post is an example of that. I had an idea, after reading Mathew Ingram’s post on GigaOm (one of my personal favourite tech blogs) about this very topic, to discuss, with my personal opinion, the current state of the blog. Thus, this piece is a sort of stream-of-consciousness, my thoughts arranged in bits and transferred to you through the magic of the Internet and WordPress.

As an “unedited voice”, blogs offer anyone the ability to share their view of the world with the wider audience of the entire Internet. In this manner, I think that blogging will move back to basics, back to its roots as a personal medium. The growth of blogging software like WordPress, and the ease of use of such software in setting up a personal website, coupled with the rise of social media and the App Ecosystem will enable more individuals to express themselves through their own personal homes on the web. Whilst the major publishing houses like the New York Times choose to return to editorial-focused journalism citing content quality as a primary reason, blogging will continue to be the casual, conversational beast that is always has been. And this is the perfect thing that a platform of a personal nature needs.

So no, the rumours of blogging’s imminent death have been greatly exaggerated. Blogging – at least in a personal capacity – will continue to remain an approachable medium for anyone wanting to share their ideas. It will continue to prove that words and ideas have the power to change the world, allowing thousands of people each day to write, clip, share and re-post thoughts and opinions, making the collective voice of the world that much richer with each press of “Publish.”

Using Feedly as a Google Reader Replacement

Despite being a heavy user of RSS feeds, the announcement of Google killing their Reader app didn’t affect me much. While I used to use Reader a lot, since I moved to BlackBerry in 2010, I found that the lack of a single good, free RSS reader app that synced to Google Reader forced me to search for an alternative platform. That’s when I discovered BlackBerry News, a Blackberry-designed app that synced with my BlackBerry ID and allowed me to keep up with my favourite blogs and topics – except that it didn’t sync to Google’s services.

But my move to BlackBerry News mitigated my reliance on the Google Reader platform, to the extent that I wouldn’t even login to the service for months at a time.

Since Reader was axed on July 1st, and with the sudden renewed interest in RSS and reader apps, I decided to check out an alternative to Reader, just in case I wanted to stop using BlackBerry News, and also because I plan on moving away from the BlackBerry platform in a few months time and will be in need of a good reader.

That’s when I found out about Feedly. It’s a free, web-based service that is beautifully designed and also has apps for iPad and iPhone.

Feedly uses your Google account credentials to sign in, and allows you to add feeds by categories (so far I’ve got three categories – News, Tech and Business). You can read your feeds in various formats, including a Flipboard-esque “magazine” view.

Feedly has many traces of the old Google Reader design, which means that us veteran Reader users will feel right at home using it. But it’s also got some awesome new additions, such as a “Today” view that creates different “editions” with top stories collated in a beautiful interface.

I’m enjoying using Feedly, and look forward to trying it out on iOS soon.