May 30, 2020

A return to basic blogs

Objects that do one thing tend to do so better than multipurpose ones. This is why a knife cuts, fork lifts, and spoon scoops. Could one tool serve all three functions? Yes, but none well.

The expanding nature of blogs diverted them from their innate purpose. The humble weblog was a useful addition to the web as that alone. Like most new things, though, folks played with what else it could be. While such exploration is necessary it led blogs to a bad place.

Blogs became a tool for establishing reputation/influence. So, folks concentrated on building audiences. They added analytics to measure their audiences and engagement. Once quantified, they could introduce ads, sell courses, or negotiate book deals. Today’s blogs are bloated and in a sorry state. Even WordPress, the essential blogging tool, has transitioned into a full content management system (CMS).

What if we stripped all the gimmicks away from our blogs and returned to their original purpose? If nothing else, we could remove the promotional aspects, and concentrate on solely the writing. In our dopamine-centric state, this is unlikely to happen en masse. Nevertheless, I’m going to post some notes and see how doing so feels—free of all the hoopla.

I have a blog and a Twitter feed—but, I’m not writing on either at the moment. Instead, I’m posting this where no one will read it, and I’m not sharing it with anyone.

This is an experiment. In it, I’m removing the part of blogging I find problematic: promotion. This task is time-consuming. It also gets in the way of the writing process and the resulting content.

So, I’m using this space solely as a tool for posting my observations, notes, and contemplations. It’s an attempt to find an efficient way to jot down what’s on my mind.

This means avoiding posts aimed at any form of persuasion. I’m not taking a position or trying to change anyone’s mind. I’m also not using this to build a personal brand or promote a product.

Since I don’t need to influence anyone, I can skip writing click-bait headlines and adding decorative illustrations. (Preparing OG images used to take an embarrassing amount of time.)

If I don’t need an audience, there’s no need for sharing buttons or widgets. I also don’t need to seed“ a post by posting it to Reddit or HN, with hopes that it’ll attract new readers.

I’m not looking for validation, engagement, or community. So, there are no likes, gold stars, hearts, or commenting. This last part is particularly nice because it gets me around the guilt of not replying to positive comments. It also means avoiding mean ones that would have previously ruined my day.

Analytics? Nope. Pageviews? Don’t care. SEO? I always hated the notion.

Subscriptions? I guess someone could use the RSS feed, but I’d rather they didn’t. Subscriptions add pressure. I used to worry that posting too frequently might offend someone. I also felt that posting infrequently seemed neglectful. I don’t want anyone’s email address or permission to send them notifications.

I write because my mind is perpetually gnawing on some problem or idea. Getting these down helps clear my machine for other topics. In this way, I see writing like taking a poop or squeezing a zit. It feels good to get it out.

Promoting one’s writing starts as an ancillary task, but grows. Soon, it takes more time and effort than the writing itself. That’s the reason for this experiment. I want to get back to the part I previously enjoyed so much—without all of the cruft that got in the way.

I’m looking for the most efficient way to jot down ideas and relate them to one another.

I’m not sure why I’m posting this online—instead of in an offline journal. For some reason, pushing it to the web feels somehow more real. I also seem to pay a little more attention to clarity and syntax when I do.

BTW: The tags below are for me to see how my articles/thoughts link together.

blogging promotion writing

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