We tell all kinds of stories in a million different ways. Language is flexible enough to live on paper, ride on air waves, or get digitally accelerated to any corner of the globe. And that last ability creates language in many forms: images and text on blogs, websites, or social media.
The blog is where we at Write.as spend much of our rumination. We believe the format can (and should) be more than “just a blog.” But instead of a full-blown website, we want a beautiful, portable digital work.
We've gotten questions from users since the beginning asking how they could see others' posts. We've always planned to explore what a community of pseudonymous writers would look like, but we've also known the amount of work that comes with that territory. How do we provide a safe place where people can speak freely but grow from their interactions? And if we did create it, what could we do better than what already exists?
Most of these questions remain unanswered. We don't want to be another social network filled with impersonal likes and reblogs. We want to help people connect over writing, and form the most human bonds they can, even if it's happening over a wire.
So while we contemplate that, we're taking tiny steps towards that goal. It started last month when we created a Twitter account called @readwriteas. And today we're proud to launch the read.write.as site, as well as public blogs for publishing to it.
Right now, you'll need to be a subscriber (starting at $10/year) to publish. If you already are, you'll simply go to your blog's customize page and choose Public for your blog type. From there, any posts you publish (or have recently published) will go to read.write.as for everyone to check out. We'll also pick some interesting ones to send out on the Twitter account.
This is all still an experiment. With it, we hope to lay the foundation of a future community here on Write.as. If you're reading this, you're at the right place to help form a new tiny culture on the web — and we can't wait to see what you do with it.
As Tropical Depression #9 nears the Florida peninsula, we look back on our northern summer and reflect. What new insights did weeks of 100 degree weather bring us? How did our code fare in intermittent power outages from a summer of short-lived squalls?
Well the sweat of the summer is finally starting to dry, and even the deadly subtropics couldn't stop us from our code. It also didn't stop you, the writer. Write.as users collectively published over 1,200 posts this past month, and almost 100 new blogs were born!
This is great news, but our 2.0 features (blogs and accounts) have been delayed in getting to the mobile apps as we've gathered feedback on the web. Still, waiting has led us to some exciting new plans for features like static pages and offline support that you'll see soon.
Until that day, we have the Write.as of today — built on yesterday with its eyes on tomorrow. Here's what we did in August.
User Guides. We've summed up the basics in a set of simple guides. If you were wondering how to add links or photos to your blog posts, the guides have that. If you want to know what neat things we do behind the scenes, they have that too.
New paid plan. We took some of the Pro features we didn't want to keep from everyone and moved them into a smaller $10 per year “Casual” plan, so more people could enjoy them (and they are!).
“Read More” links. For those longer blog posts, now you can add a “Read More...” link to keep your blog home page cleaner.
Easily move posts between blogs. Subscribers can reap the benefits of having multiple blogs under one account. Once you have more than one blog, two clicks is all it takes to move posts between them. 💥
Microformats2 support. Every post and blog has information embedded in it that makes it friendlier for search engines and other sites to interact with. Now we also support microformats2, as the first of many steps towards more modern interactions with other places on the web.
Blog post embedding. Post embedding is back, and now works for blog posts. Just add /embed to any post URL and get the code to put it on any web page.
View counts on blogs. Page views are a good way to see how much your writing is reaching the world. So we've started counting page views on blogs like we already do on posts. For now they'll only show up in the API, but in the future you'll be able to see them online (and get an accurate number).
Reading Write.as. We've been thinking about ways for writers to share their posts with new audiences. So this month we started with a new Twitter account called @readwriteas. We're looking for stories, poetry, and thoughts you want to share with the world for us to send out, keeping you anonymous if you want. Anyone can submit their posts by tweeting them with the #readwriteas hashtag, or DMing us to submit in private.
This is all pretty exciting, but we really can't wait for everyone to see what's in store for mobile. If you'd like to get an early peek at the Android app (releasing first), join our beta and send us feedback when it's out. Then look for our iOS update coming later in the year.
The other week we talked about how important identity flexibility is to us. We explained how each Write.as blog is like a lightweight identity, independent and never linked to the others. And while Pro users get 10 of those blogs / identities now, we know that sometimes you just need a spare or two.
So today we're happy to announce a new “Casual” subscription plan, featuring some of our best new features. For $10 / year you can:
Publish up to 3 blogs
Make unlimited cross-posts to Twitter, Tumblr and Medium
Use a custom domain on your blogs
Export your entire account as JSON
We hope this plan will fit even the most occasional writer who still wants to directly support a product they love. And if it still doesn't fit you, let us know why so we can improve it. Enjoy!
We speak differently to the various people in our lives. Some conversations go deep, like ones with good friends that keep you up until 4 a.m. Some wade in the shallows of “this heat we're having,” like with a stranger on the street. Some swim in one part of the conversational sea, taking care to avoid the others, like when your parents want to know about your exam grades — or love life.
We're connected to (literally) an entire world of people on the internet, an entirely new — yet not all that different — experience. Instead of having every online service expect us to socialize as our one “true” identity, it should be easy to have a distinct, private identity for each online situation. Your conversations with friends should be private enough that your family or boss doesn't see them. Your published thoughts should only be seen by who you want. You should be able to speak your mind.
That's what we believe, and that's why creating multiple blogs on Write.as is so easy. Each blog is a lightweight identity, independent and never linked to the others. You can also move posts freely between blogs, or turn them into anonymous articles. And as we add more community features, you'll be able to fully interact as each one of your blog identities.
So to make this even more useful, today we're bumping up the blog limit for Pro users to 10 blogs, with more to come as we hear about people hitting that limit (let us know how many you need if you do). Enjoy!
Update August 1: Don't need 10 blogs? We've launched a smaller plan, too.
Write.as does a lot behind the scenes to intelligently extract meta data from plain text and put it in its correct spot. For example, creating a post like the following example will automatically put Hello there in your browser's title bar, and This is what I think as your post's description for when you share it on the web:
This is what I think.
Since we also support Markdown on blogs (and will soon on anonymous posts), you can also begin a post like the following example to put Better Sharing as your post title:
# Better Sharing
Write.as does a lot behind the scenes...
Today we improved this so it works really well, and even added some new meta data (to blog posts in particular) that make your posts stand out when you share them on social media or chat applications like Slack.
We hope these changes will encourage more sharing, as well as more readers for your blogs and posts 😊
We're excited to announce our first version 2 update outside of the web application: our Chrome extension! This update has a bunch of new changes.
If you have an account on Write.as, any posts you make with the extension will automatically go to your account. From there you can continue editing, or move it to one of your blogs. If you've been using the extension for a while, you can also sync all the posts you've published over time.
The extension still works great if you don't have an account, too! We've added a new font, wrap, that's just like the Monospace font on the web where words wrap instead of scrolling horizontally.
Drop us a line if you have any feedback on the updates — we'd love to hear it. See you later.
It's been a great month for Write.as! Since our soft launch earlier this month, we've seen the most new posts of any month in our 17-month existence — many of which now live with other posts on new Write.as blogs.
We've been working hard on polishing everything up since our launch, and lately have made a few minor improvements we wanted to share:
Better post URL generation. Write.as automatically generates URLs for your blog posts, and now we've made them smarter, so your links are always descriptive but concise.
A better writeas.com experience. If you originally picked writeas.com for your blog URL, you should have an easier time editing and getting to your posts now.
Tagging when cross-posting to Medium. Now any hashtags you include in your posts will automatically be added to your Medium post as tags (they'll also show up in your cross-tweet, if posting to Twitter).
Better text on hi-res displays. We made some simple changes to make text look beautiful on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and any other high-resolution display.
As we approach July, you'll see new documentation on all the extra things you can do with Write.as, plus some updates to the Chrome extension and more. See you later.
We want everyone to see what our best features are like before committing to a Pro subscription. So now we're giving everyone 3 cross-posts per month for free! Now you can get your writing out to your Twitter, Tumblr, or Medium followers even easier.
Once you've created a Write.as blog, simply go to your Blogs page and add the channels you want to post to. They'll show up in the Write.as editor for new posts, where you can choose which ones to publish each entry to. We cross-post what makes sense for each channel, so places like Twitter get a short summary with a link to the post, where Tumblr and Medium get the full content, including any title or hashtags you send along.
If you use up your cross-posts, you'll get more at the beginning of each month. But you can also remove the limit by upgrading (and you'll get other useful features, too).
Look for more channels soon, and as always, let us know what you think any time.
We just released a few features on the web:
Create a blog
Sync posts you've written to an account (if you want)
Markdown support on blogs
Customize your post's font on the web (like in our apps)
These will be free to do forever. But we also added a Pro plan that will give us income to keep improving the product. For $4 per month, this is some of what you can do:
Cross-post to Twitter, Tumblr, and Medium
Create multiple blogs
Use a custom domain on your blog
Post via email
We fixed some things and made some minor changes:
Fixed the text editor size on Firefox
Moved to Piwik Analytics from Google Analytics, which we host and control. It offers better privacy for you and respects Do Not Track
We're still polishing some things, and want to hear from you on what you think so far. Keep an eye out for our app updates next, keep up with our roadmap on Trello, and we'll let you know when we've made a little more progress.