# Jay's comment on yesterday's post about the blog's design got me thinking again about what a blog actually is.

He remarked that how you think about a blog is, at least partly, determined by if you see it as an archive or just "thoughts right now" and this goes back to my previous musings about ephemerality: the daily blank slate, as inspired by Dave Winer and Drew Coffman. Is a blog a place to check in on someone at any given point or is it an historical record?

My blog is still both but currently favours the former because it defaults to the Daily view without direct links to previous days or the archive.

Definitions are, or should be, largely irrelevant now; a blog is whatever you make it, in my opinion, and I've moved so far from what tradition would call a blog. Still, the notion of it being either an archive or "of the moment" is really interesting.

I've written before how my changes in focus over the years have meant that older posts no longer reflect who I am as a blogger or as a person. The shift from largely thematic to a mostly personal site made much of the pre-2016 blog irrelevant if you were using it to gain an understanding of who I am. In that respect there is mixed feeling about, and mixed value of, the archive.

Even since 2016 I am unsure as to the value of much of what has been written and, let's face it, who actually goes back and reads all the old stuff? I will link to various posts and be self-referential to display a train of thought over time (I could pepper this whole post with links) but most of it can be ignored and is forgotten.

I think a personal blog is like a relationship, a "getting to know you" over time experience. As Jay mentioned in his comment:

"If you want things on context day after day. Sub."

When we meet people we don't go back through their history to decide if we want to be friends based on everything that's happened before. We jump in at the "here and now" and take a chance, picking stuff up as we go along. As we get to know each other more detail will be filled in as things get shared, we start to build up a picture but it is a gradual process.

I now see a blog as the same. Old posts are like memories, stories we may recount to new friends when circumstance demands their telling. We grow together.

I agonised for days over what to put on my "required reading" page but is one really necessary? Do visitors need a potted history or are they, just like in a relationship, going to start from "here" and take a chance. If it doesn't work out we just go our separate ways.

We are social animals and it's nice to share, nice to have touch points with others. A blog is a touch point, a way of letting people know what's been happening, what we're thinking or feeling, but it is as much for the author (if not more) as the audience.

Blogs used to be very specific things, there were rules and requirements for something to be so named. Things and times change; social networks forever altered everything we knew about connecting online and it is only natural for blogs to alter as well. Blogs are not set in stone, beholden to ideas from 20 years ago, they can and should adapt to the current zeitgeist and beyond, be disruptive rather than conformist.

Blogs should be as individual as the person writing them - their appearance and how they work as well as the content.

  1. jhull says: #
    this Jay...who is it? I clicked the link in your post and it says it’s not available...