by Doc Searls Friday, July 1, 2016

Only Dave gets blog headlines.

That was the case when he got many of us started blogging, late in the last Millennium. And it's still the case today.

Since writing itself is a discovery process, headlines should be the last thing you write, not the first.* They're icing on journalistic cakes. Or, with blogging, cupcakes.

Wordpress discourages that.

So does Medium, which turns the first lines of comments, which become "recommends," into headlines (such as here). Very odd and non-intuitive. Stop that, @ev.

Twitter and Facebook discourage headlines, period. Facebook also discourages linking and graphics (almost always choosing to show a graphic other than the top one in a linked page with more than one graphic in it).

Here in 1999.io, I write the headline after I've finished my first posted draft. I can see how the post looks and reads, and then add the headline.

By the way, that's exactly how headline writing has always worked in good newspapers. (In the biggest papers, in fact, headline writing is still a job in itself, done by experts other than the reporter.)

* Or the first, which you can revise later. One thing I don't like about Wordpress is that the headline you write first remains in the URL even if you change it later. So if you start with "Why dating sucks" and end up with "A fine romance," the URL will remain ~/whydatingsucks rather than ~/afineromance. That's why my post, An invitation to settle matters with @Forbes, @Wired and other publishers still has the url http://blogs.harvard.edu/doc/2016/04/15/get-it-right-forbes/. "Get it right, Forbes" was the original headline. (And, looking back, it was probably the better one. Oh well.)