Grow your online persona with smart performative blogging
There is one type of website that I always found intriguing: the hybrid between marketing and personal. What happens when you are trying to sell yourself . Tom Critchlow openly talks about this. He is a consultant, and you may decide to hire him based on what you read on his website. This quote is very descriptive of what developers perceive generating content must be:
At some point people will start asking you for help because of all the stuff you put out. 80% of developers are "dark", they dont write or speak or participate in public tech discourse. But you do. You must be an expert, right? Don't tell them you aren't. Answer best as you can, and when you're stuck or wrong pass it up to your mentors.
If you are in this space, performative blogging can speed up your career, your network. Can be used as leverage to create new opportunities. And in that case there is a very slim boundary between a digital garden and a regular promotional website. Sure, it can be an experiment on learning in public where you share as you increase your knowledge (this works particularly well for technical people). But it can also be tailored to your goals. This is what Monica Lent preaches in Blogging for Devs .
Whether you are an established person in a niche, or you are trying to grow your online persona, you have to be mindful about what you post online and how you present yourself. I have seen people separating between blog and notes. Andy Matuschack does this by having his notes on a separate subdomain. Still, he operates in the realm defined as " thinking better " and his notes are a manifestation of what he believes in. I haven't witnessed it, but it looks like once the notes evolve to a stable state he publishes them in the form of articles.
In a related space to Andy Matuschak , Anne-Laure le Cunff has Mental Nodes which is only a justification of the articles published at Ness Labs . Her blog is a clear example of performative blogging, since it is the open door to come into the (paid)-community she built around the articles. They are just teasers to lure you in. I think she did a great job at nailing down exactly what and how to attract a tribe.
A different approach is Tom Critchlow's Wiki . It is really a public knowledge management system. Each page has little connections with other pages, but if you use the search bar, you'll find plenty of information. His homepage does not follow the idea of breaking the chronological order . Since he spent some time thinking about these things , I believe he reached the situation where he feels comfortable.
The final mention is to the website of Joel Hooks , one of the founders of egghead.io . He has a superb combination of personal branding (the first thing he mentions is egghead), with lists to articles (the best he's written) and finally a call-to-action to sign up to his newsletter. I must admit that I modeled this website on some of his articles.
Do you like what you read?
Get a weekly e-mail with my latest thoughts, reflections, book reviews, and more.