but does it float, one of the blogs I found through Kottke’s post full of people’s favorite blogs, is unlike any blog I’ve visited before. It’s a welcome break from the literal and analytical and fame-seeking and monetizing that makes up the vast majority of the 2018 Internet. No hot-takes or link-posts or pushy algorithms or sponsored suggested content featuring things that so-and-so just did to some other thing that you won’t believe.
The format: conceptual title followed by a few screens worth of images that appear as you scroll. The effect is hypnotic. Falling through a well of imagination and half-ideas. Your brain fills in the emotion. The interpretation.
I can’t recreate it, but here’s a screenshot of a recent post that does it no justice:
CJ Chilvers runs a great blog. Especially when he writes about blogging. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. He linked to a post from the IA Blog about some people ditching social media and returning to blogs:
There seems to be a weak undercurrent of old and young bloggers like us that feel sentimental or curious and want to bring back blogging. Blogging won’t save the world. But, hell, after two weeks now, we can confirm: it feels great to be back on the blogging line. If you are one of those old or young bloggers, please join in. Drop Facebook, drop Twitter and drop Medium for original thought. Own your traffic. You can use them to engage in discussion. But don’t get lost in there. Write daily. Publish as often as you have something to say. Link to other blogs.
The why is clear: social media is messing us up as people and as a society.
It feels good to get away from algorithmic feeds, stop reading about the daily dismantling of liberal democracy, and look for what’s interesting in the open waters of the Web. Write about things. Share things. Read beyond the headlines. Read other people’s thoughts on the world. Thoughts that aren’t overcooked into two-dollar advice listicles on Medium. Speculative thoughts. Weird thinking. Writing that isn’t trying to sell something or kickstart someone’s career as some sort of guru. Be reminded about the greatness of Kottke.
I’ve been writing here again and I can feel it making me better at my work. I’m finding more interesting things out in the world again. I don’t have to worry about being attacked by Russian MAGA bots. And I generally feel better about the Internet.
I had a streak of writing and posting going. Over 30-days. I liked that I was posting everyday. What I didn’t like was putting it off until the end of the day. Trying to publish something worthwhile is difficult through closing eyelids.
That shouldn’t be a deterrent.
The amazing thing is how hard it is to maintain that habit, but one or two days missed turns into a streak that is even harder to break. It’s not just because it’s easier to not publish than it is to sit down and write.
It’s because once time has gone by, the pressure to write something good enough to signal the return to form, or to be the one post that will appear over the next day or two, grows everyday. The bar raises itself by the hour until the next post starts taking on the weight that the third book in the bible trilogy would carry.
It’s like day old Jello with skin across the top.
This post is here to break the seal. To get back to it. Quiet the nagging voices and shoo away the paralyzing thoughts of grandeur.
My favorite online writing is written by people who post often. Not long posts. Not overly serious posts. Not posts that over-estimate their importance to the world. This post from Kelly Conaboy hits the point right, square in its filthy mouth:
Blog, You Idiots!
We need good things to read. We need them steadily, from people whose voices we enjoy. Short things. Commentary about a topic the writer has a greater interest in than you do. Something funny. Something very stupid. Not some big, long, boring thing, just a little thing that you read and enjoy. If aggregation, less aggregate-y.
Related: Medium is much better since The Awl arrived.