02 - A new way of blogging
Even though blogging's heyday seemed to be long gone, for many people, having a blog became the central approach for gaining visibility. Freelancers maintain blogs to show their skills. Writing is gaining popularity as a way of being regarded as an expert in a niche. Increasingly, in the developers' world, having a blog is becoming almost a replacement for a CV.
Even though blogging's purposes changed over time, our approach to it seems stuck for the past couple of decades. That is why I started thinking about new ways of blogging and collecting ideas from around the web. I believe many viable approaches serve different purposes, and therefore they must be considered in their appropriate contexts. I won't focus on larger, company-operated websites but personal spaces.
The most important thing when we start blogging is to ask ourselves what do we want to achieve. It is the only way of understanding what the best path of doing it is. If we're going to do smart performative blogging that could land us a future job, we must find the most efficient way of doing it. What type of content and where to share it.
If we are trying to create a personal space to publish our thoughts, regardless of their state, we may opt for a different strategy. Instead of performative blogging, we can create a space for performative thinking. Making it public can help us build a reputation and connections with other like-minded people.
Curation at the center of creation
Suppose we are writing content for our future selves or for helping others. In that case, the idea of putting curation at the center of creation is very appealing. Curation means that we often revise what we write. We improve past articles with the things we learned since we wrote them. It means that instead of letting the reader find our latest articles, they'll find our best ones. We can guide people from one piece to the next by carefully selecting links to related notes.
If you have an eclectic range of interests, it is OK to keep them together in the same space. I tried creating separate websites for different topics. Still, it becomes a burden hard to manage in the end, especially if it is not your primary occupation. By being mindful of linking articles together, I let readers follow the path they chose.
I crossed the idea of a digital garden repeatedly, with different interpretations of what it means. Gardens are too intertwined with the idea of taking notes but with digital support. Notes are seen as fundamental pieces of knowledge that can be stacked together to build new insights. However, I think that this idea of a garden is not for everyone.
Not all of us can afford to make our intermediate thinking steps public; not all of us take notes in our daily lives. But what a digital garden provides is a set of tools that we can use to our advantage, regardless of the path we chose. One of such approaches is the idea of a blog without a publish button.
If we agree, at some point, that our online space is a work in progress, we can lower the barrier to publishing content. We can revisit what we write, expand it, change it, erase it. Perhaps I find something exciting, and I make a quick article or note about it. It may be useful for me in the future or for someone else. Perhaps I revisit what I wrote and expand it to a full-fledged tutorial, or maybe it just stays as it is.
Be out there
Regardless of why each one may have to create online content, I believe that it is more critical to be out there than struggling to decide when to publish an article. Only by being out there, we can learn what works, with what people engage the most. More importantly, we will understand what gives us joy. Until we don't start producing content, we won't know what is more likely to keep us engaged.
And the best way to be out there is to lower the friction that prevents us from writing and publishing. It is an entire topic that I will cover in the future. Still, if you are mindful and discover what obstacles keep you from reaching your objectives, the easier it will be to overcome them. In my case, I realized I was limiting my drive to writing by setting thresholds very hard to reach. Instead of publishing 300-word short-articles, I was always aiming for 2000 or 3000-word tutorials.
Since I removed that barrier, I have been writing much more than ever before. Granted, not everything is of the same quality, nor will it help the same amount of people. Still, it gives me back the joy of creating, publishing, and engaging with people who found what I wrote interesting enough to write back to me.
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