Editing your voice

Six words that have stuck me over the years come from Dave Winer's piece in 2003 discussing what makes a weblog a weblog; those words are:

"The unedited voice of a person"

They have stuck with me in that I have always referred to my current blog as an ongoing conversation with myself and refused guest posts because of it.

But they have also haunted me.

Looking back at my first proper blog on the old randomelements domain it was unedited; I wrote about anything and wasn't constantly trying to post well crafted, long form thought pieces. Most of the posts from the earlier years were short, often informational and now wouldn't look out of place on Facebook.

I started posting there in 2003, on a self hosted SharePoint server that really wasn't designed for such a purpose. Many updates were incredibly meta detailing the ongoing process of trying to make SharePoint look and work like more traditional blogging software.

The site was rebranded at the end of 2007 followed, after increasing frustration, by a move to WordPress in 2008 coupled with the intention of concentrating my writing mostly on a single topic, hence the name: Social Thoughts.

But the rebranding was a double edged sword. On one hand, it gave needed focus and got me involved in some very interesting discussions but, on the other, it drove me towards a more journalistic writing style and a desire to get things just right or they didn't get posted.

The focus cut me off from some of the other things I should have been writing about, and this is why Dave's words also haunt me:

I was editing my own voice.

Sadly, I still do.