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A New Way of Blogging

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. It means that Wikipedia is not a blog because its authors are not at the center, but newspapers and personal websites are blogs. Therefore, discussing how to blog must consider the type of website that is behind. For this article, I will focus on personal websites , such as the one you are reading right now.

For many people, one of the first objectives that brought blogs to their attention is to lower the barrier to writing . Writing is a habit that can be nurtured through practice. I focused too much on managing content, which made me forget the most crucial aspect of having a website: push articles out as often as I wanted, with as low friction as possible. In other words, I wanted to create a low friction working environment.

Once we acknowledge that the goal is to write and make it public, we have to ask why we are doing it. There are as many reasons for having a blog as people on the planet. One of them is, for example, to grow your online persona with smart performative blogging ). We could also share specific knowledge by creating Digital gardens and personal blogs ). Or we want to keep a temporal log of what we are doing, such as an online diary.

Of all the options, the last one that implies a reverse chronological order of our articles, such as in a newspaper, is what I consider the traditional blogging way. A visitor will be exposed to the latest writings, not necessarily to the best ones. Breaking the chronological order is, therefore, what I regard as the new way of blogging.

Curation at the center of creation or breaking the chronological order

Keeping our articles in chronological order may be rooted in the origins of blogs. The idea was to have a log of the things we were doing and thinking at every moment. With time, it evolved into the concept of the stream of information, which eventually permeated into social media and their feeds.

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. Suppose we are not a newspaper dealing with the most pressing issues of the day. In that case, we are free to breake the chronological order . Ideas pop up at different stages; we create links between thoughts perhaps much later than when 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 (sometimes) am proud of. Sometimes, the links are to half-baked ideas that I want to discuss with people to better understand them.

If we are writing non-fiction, there is a high probability that what we write is connected to what we have already published. By this process of linking to previous articles, we will find ourselves revisiting older content that must be updated and maintained. And this is the beauty of this way of blogging. Nothing prevents us from tendering these notes, from keeping them up to date.

And that is one of the central principles of the new way of blogging . Articles are not fixed pieces of content in the same way that Wikipedia's articles are not static. They improve over time. Some people like to refer to these ideas as a digital garden . Each article is regarded as a note that branches into others. Although I initially liked the picture, 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 articles associated with this approach. However, I believe that the idea of a (public) digital garden is not for everyone. Therefore there must be a solution for those seeking to start blogging, but not necessarily to start learning in public .

Suppose we cut the noise around the principles of digital gardens. In that case, 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 begin branching out. 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. I usually 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 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] (https://stackingthebricks.com/), which I quoted earlier.

In the end, although the premise of not having a publish button looks romantic, I know of very few people who manage to live by that standard. It is easy to say, not so easy to do. When reading this kind of assertions, it is essential to keep in mind that these people usually are selling themselves in a niche. Therefore their claims are a way of distinguishing them from the noise.

Streams or Gardens

Choosing a style of blogging will come down to deciding why we do what we do. We may want to push new content weekly because that's what our readership is expecting. We may be building a body of work that focuses not on novelty but on quality. We may be using the blog as a way of documenting a learning process. For example, Nadia Eghbal published several blog posts while writing the book Working in Public . 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. We may just produce new pieces in a continuous stream because that 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

Blogs are evolving because the needs of the people are changing. If you ever applied for a job, chances are the recruiter searched you on Google. What if that person first finds your own crafted space, with your thoughts, showing your true personality instead of your Instagram holidays pictures.

Blogs used to put pressure on the continuous generation of content on the stream. There is an alternative to the curation of the existing content and not just on the creation. This aspect is where most opportunities exist by showing different ways of navigating a website or building meaningful connections between the pieces we have already published.

I think it is undoubtful that the only way of being happy while maintaining a blog is by having a shallow entry barrier. Suppose we must take care of too many aspects such as adding pictures, changing fonts, tuning colors. In that case, we may delay what we were actually after. Getting our words out as quickly as we feel confident doing must be the guiding principle.

This approach to blogging is not functional to everyone, especially for people and companies with higher profiles who need to maintain a certain quality and editorial line threshold. I am reflecting on those topics in the following articles:


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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.
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