A New Way of Blogging

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reflections with low consequences, based on input gathered from other online sources, and conscious practice. Associated risks are not fully developed

I define a blog as any website that delivers value through written content from well defined authors. This means that Wikipedia is not a blog because its authors are not at the center, but newspapers are blogs , as well as many personal websites. Therefore, discussing how to blog must consider the type of website that is behind.

I will focus on personal websites , such as this one. I do believe that for many people who ever considered having a blog, the first objective is to lower the barrier to writing . I focused for too long on how to manage content that forgot the most important aspect of having a personal website: push content out as often as I wanted, with as low friction as possible. In other words, I also wanted to lower the barrier to publishing (related: low friction working ).

Once we agree that we actually want to write publicly, we have to ask why we are doing it. There are as many reasons to have a blog as people on the planet. A valid reason is as a marketing strategy to secure our next job (see: Grow your online persona with smart performative blogging ), or perhaps we want to share our knowledge (see: Digital gardens and personal blogs ), or we want to keep a temporal log of what we are doing, such as an online diary.

The latter is what I consider the traditional way of blogging, in which each article is temporally organized after the previous one. Even though this approach may work for some, it was definitely not working for me, and hence, the need to define a new way of blogging .

Curation at the center of creation or breaking the chronological order

Keeping our articles in a chronological order may be rooted into the origins of blogs, where the idea was to have a log of the things we were doing and thinking at every moment. It is possible that the idea of a stream of information permeated into social media channels and the way we interact with content online.

And the damn reverse chronology bias — once called into creation, it hungers eternally — sought its next victim. Myspace. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest, of all things.

But it does not mean that all we do must be organized in the form of a log. If we are not a newspaper dealing with the most pressing issues of the day, we are free to breaking the chronological order . Ideas pop up at different stages, we create links between thoughts perhaps much after we have developed the original concepts. And the web is perfectly capable of dealing with these forms of organizing content.

The distinction will come down to how you blog - some people blog in much the same way. For me however blogging is mostly performative thinking and less captain’s log. So I am looking for a space to nurture, edit in real time and evolve my thinking.

I believe that for websites such as this one, curation must be at the center of creation. Each link to another note is carefully decided. The home page shows some links to things I've written and am proud of, or half-baked ideas that I want to get out to discuss with people to understand them better.

Rarely on a blog we will write articles without any connection to what we have previously written. For example, I tend to think about the same group of topics over and over again, and sometimes feel like writing something. It is only natural to wish to link between articles, and in that process we may find outdated content that needs a revamp or a revisit.

And that is one of the central principles of the new way of blogging , in which articles are not static pieces of content in the same way that Wikipedia's articles are not static but they improve over time. Some people like to refer to this ideas as a digital garden , in which each article is regarded as a note that branches into others. Although I originally liked the idea, the more I reflect on it, the more confident I am that the two things are very distinct.

Digital Garden or New Type of Blog

I first came across the idea of a digital garden as a way of learning to thinking better . I've read countless of articles associated with this approach. However, I do believe that the idea of a (public) digital garden is not for everyone, and therefore there must be a solution for those seeking to start blogging, but not necessarily to start learning in public .

If we cut the noise around the principles of digital gardens, the core message is to have a website in which content can be discovered by following links. This, I believe, is the most powerful teaching we get. Once we start writing, new ideas will start branching out and it should be as easy as possible to develop them further without compartmentalizing ourselves in articles .

We don't need to publish half-baked ideas if we don't feel like it, but editing the content should be a part of maintaining a blog. That is way, sorting by latest article wouldn't make sense, simply because the latest may not be the best. What I normally do is to push whatever I write online, but the main page links only to the things I am more proud of.

A Blog without a publish button

One possible approach to blogging is how Tom Critchlow puts it:

The distinction will come down to how you blog - some people blog in much the same way. For me however blogging is mostly performative thinking and less captain’s log. So I am looking for a space to nurture, edit in real time and evolve my thinking.

For him, blogging and thinking go hand in hand. He uses what he publishes online as a way of sharing thoughts and letting them evolve over time. He is a consultant and, therefore, his job is thinking . In the process of sharing the content, he can grow a following and expose initial ideas to others. However, his main page is a chronological order of posts, and so is the homepage of [Stacking The Bricks] (, which I quoted earlier.

Streams or Gardens

Choosing a style of blogging will come down to deciding why we do what we do. You may want to push new content weekly because that's what your readership is expecting. You may be building a body of work that focuses not on novelty but on quality. You may be using the blog as a way of documenting a learning process: While Nadia Eghbal was writing the book Working in Public , for example, she published several blog posts and discussed in podcasts. That was her way of sharing while building knowledge, building a following before releasing a book.

The most important thing to remember is that a blog is a personal space, and we are free to do whatever we want with them. We can have a home page with the latest posts, we can link to what we find more interesting. We may want to review articles periodically, to ensure that the entire website is consistent, or we may just produce new articles in a continuous stream because that is what gives us joy (or more exposure).

In any case, being aware of the choices is what gives us freedom. And if you have a bit of coding knowledge, that freedom is fundamentally limitless (see: how i built this website ).

Where to next

In the previous sections I've explored how can we blog in a new way, that may be better suited for people who don't care too much about the continuous stream. People who like to create links between thoughts, between articles, and like to keep a consistent body of knowledge. In my particular case, my focus was (and still is) writing more, publishing content online more often and expose my thoughts to other people and see whether they engage or not.

Of course, this is not functional to everyone, therefore I have also reflected on the following:

Aquiles Carattino
Aquiles Carattino
This note you are reading is part of my digital garden. Follow the links to learn more, and remember that these notes evolve over time. After all, this website is not a blog.
© 2020 Aquiles Carattino
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