A Macroblogging Renaissance
I’ve recently come back to using Twitter and have been engaging some of my friends (@David, @Bridget) in conversation about the state of blogging. Over my time in web tech, I’ve embraced a number of values that often (it seems to me) run counter to the prevailing thoughts about publishing on the web. I’m going to run with those as I get back to putting words on the page.
Blogging has gotten more business-oriented since its inception. I suppose it was inevitable, but I was deeply saddened as people sharing the reality of their lives and having vibrant conversations shifted to “content generation” to “build your brand.” Business ruins things. It never fails.
Since I’m not in this to make money, I can get back to the basics of what blogs are about: sharing ideas. It makes me crazy that the vast majority of content I come across is someone working really hard to sell me something. Maybe it’s their brand, often their startup. There is a fetishization of entrepreneurship that’s grown in the last twenty years, and the dogma of it taints the creative work of sharing experiences and ideas like an oil slick on otherwise clean water.
My philosophy for this site is:
Simplicity: This not only covers the design, but also the approach to getting my words out into the world. I’ve moved from using Wordpress to Jekyll, and all the security issues that come with having a site with a database go away. I don’t need to worry about keeping all the plugins up to date: this is flat HTML. It’s a very simple process with a very simple goal: sharing my words with the people who will read them.
Authencity: I’m not a brand. Never have been. Nothing turned me off as strongly as when blogging shifted from a medium for expressing oneself to a way of branding and marketing…whatever. There is a place for long form content, free of ads, created for the good of those who read it. Free of brand or analytic/stats baggage. You put your words out into the world, and that’s about it. I’m not trying to sell myself, I’m trying to share my world with you.
I’ve looked into some of the IndieWeb philosophies and processes for sharing content across sites and owning your own canonical content. At this time (and I’m willing to be persuaded otherwise) it seems like a huge headache. Overly complex, mostly unusable unless one is a software developer, and it still has problems in the area of privacy and security. On top of that, people seem to want to build their own microblogging sites and then push that their stuff out into the world, and that’s uninteresting to me.
My good friend Mike once said, “When I only microblog, I only have micro thoughts.” I’ve found that to be true. It’s one of the reasons I took time away from social networking over the last few years to work on longer form content privately. I was exercising those macrothought muscles, and it turns out that I truly enjoy that sort of workout. I’m much happier with my state of mind and my ability to express myself than I was three years ago. So I’m having what I’ve (somewhat jokingly) nicknamed a Macroblogging Renaissance. It feels good to be doing it in a way that matches my way of thinking, instead of trying to game the system (SEO), sell you something (Branding), stalk you (analytics). I want to keep this up in a way that aligns to my values.