A couple of weeks ago, more or less, I stumbled on a post by Matt Mullenweg in which he discussed the seemingly arbitrary logic governing what gets a lot of attention online. Work really hard on a piece that wrestles with something you think is important, he notes, and you may end up getting a trickle of attention. Post something offhand on a whim, and it may get a ton of exposure.
In his view, there are two unhealthy responses to this state of affairs. One is to despair and stop writing. The other is “to deconstruct the elements of what makes something sharable and attempt to artificially construct these information carbohydrates over and over.”
The third way that Mullenweg offers is to write for two people. Write for yourself and write for “a single person who you have in mind as the perfect person to read what you write.”
That’s not bad advice.
Around the same time I read another post that, together with Mullenweg’s, got me thinking about this blog. I lost track of that post, but happily Alan Jacobs recently linked to it. It was a post by Frank Chimero that concluded in this way:
“So, I’m doubling down on my personal site in 2014. In light of the noisy, fragmented internet, I want a unified place for myself—the internet version of a quiet, cluttered cottage in the country.”
That closing metaphor makes more sense if you read the whole post, which I would recommend. You get the idea, though. Jacob’s own post also helped clarify some of the thoughts I’d been having about my online presence.
So what, then?
Like Chimero, I’m doubling down on this site in 2014.
Some of you may remember that a few months ago I commented on the relatively light posting on here throughout most of 2013. Circumstances haven’t changed all that much. I’m still too busy with a number of commitments. That said, I’m thinking of how I can weave some of that work into the life of this site, something that was only possible when I started thinking along the lines suggested by Chimero and Mullenweg.
So here is a rundown of how I’m thinking about my online presence in 2014.
A while ago I created a Facebook page for this site. There I provided links to posts, but I also linked to other articles I thought worth passing along and wrote an occasional Note. Given the way Facebook seems to be handling Pages–limiting reach to encourage people to pay to promote posts–I’m thinking of pulling the Page altogether. If it stays up, I will use it strictly to publish posts from this site for the convenience of those for whom Facebook is primary newsfeed.
My presence on Twitter is pretty low-key, and it will stay that way. While I know many smart, articulate folks that thrive on Twitter, I’ve concluded that I am not one of those people. I’ll mainly use it to provide links to posts that appear on this site and to pass on links of interest. I’m sure I’ll occasionally have a few exchanges with the aforementioned smart, articulate folks too.
I will in all likelihood use my personal tumblr only to peruse content–mainly design, typography, art, and the like. The tumblr I created to catalog the Borg Complex will probably stay active. I have no particular problem with tumblr, except that it does encourage the tendency to be little more than a relay in the network. Other than that, dropping off of tumblr is mostly driven by the desire to consolidate my online presence.
And that is a good segue to talking about this site. In the admittedly selfish spirit of using this site in the way that most benefits me, I’m going to start including tumblr-style posts alongside the more typical posts. While the focus here will definitely remain on technology, you may start to see some other aspects of my interests and personality work their way in. You might also notice a few design tweaks to make this feel more like a personal website.
I should also take a moment to say that I’ve not done a very good job of responding to comments over the last couple of months. My apologies to those who have left comments and have not gotten a reply. I read them all, but regrettably I don’t always have time to reply. I hope that doesn’t discourage future comments, as I truly do appreciate the usually very thoughtful replies I get.
I hope all of this amounts to something that you too find useful, and if you’ve got any ideas related to any of this, I’d love to hear them.