There was a time, over 13 years ago (!), that I wrote and posted a lot of content on my little space of the web. It started with
educer.org, and finally this site—
Keeping track of the content has been ridiculous sometimes—at some point I thought it was a good idea to have like 4 different sites going at once, but I'm more or less satisfied that most of what I've written over the years is still alive on this site.
Part of the fun with maintaining my own piece of the web used to be exploring new technology and "designing" the layout. This led to posts like "Ta-Da", which covered the redesigns as they were published, with pre-Google Chrome hot takes like:
If you don’t like Firefox, I’ll figure out the IE problem sometime tomorrow.
At the time, feed readers were alive and well and the internet was somehow able to maintain a community across a distributed set of blogs. People commented and linked to each other, and we all knew what was going on in the world.
Before this site was on WordPress, I used Blogger, which had this crazy cool feature where it would send your site's generated HTML over FTP to your personal server. This was great because you then had ownership of the site.
Of course, WordPress was always more appealing because the level of control was that much more involved. Not only could you style your site, you could adjust the PHP and HTML powering the output.
One of my frequent objectives in the 2011 era was to see how many dots I could connect. I wanted Tweets, YouTube video favorites, Goodreads data, liked Instapaper articles, and everything else feeding into WordPress so that the content I created remained mine.
It's that curiosity and desire for ownership that led me to the WordPress community.
Once I started contributing to WordPress, I ended up staying busy working on it rather than with it. Once Twitter really got rolling, I got busy Tweeting rather then blogging. And for the last 6 years I've often felt disappointed in how I've lost the drive to sit down and toss out random thoughts in larger than 140 character segments.
In my "Specific focuses and vague goals for 2017" post from last year, I hit on what I'm missing:
I preach sharing your work to everyone I talk to at WSU, but I don’t necessarily practice it so well myself. I’d like to spend more time stopping to explain some of the stuff I’ve done so that I remember and so that others may find it useful.
After that realization, I proceeded to press publish only 6 times in the next year. 🤦♂️
So here we go again. This time I'm going to frame the approach in a somewhat different way.
I've spent the last week working on my very own WordPress theme, writemore, which forces some of my mental state back to a time where I was more connected with the look and feel of my site. I'm hopeful that by writing more I'll also be able to find bugs and contribute to the future WordPress editor, Gutenberg.
I'm also encouraged by other things I've seen in the last several weeks that favor a more open and distributed web.
- I use Feedly almost daily now on my phone, but I'm also looking forward to trying out Brent Simmons's new open source feed reader for macOS, Evergreen.
- Things like Micro.blog are interesting looking and good open web people like Daniel Jalkut are looking to use tools like that over Twitter in 2018.
- Stop using Facebook and start using your browser is great advice in the age of automated news curation.
So with that, here's to a new year of blogging and a new year for the open web.