What is blogging?

Adam linked to a post he wrote 11 years ago in which he argues that the basic currency of the blog is the thought “that’s interesting” - that's all:

Everything you post to a blog is something you find interesting and want to share with others, be it a link, an article, a photo or a video.

This tied in nicely with an episode of the Micro Monday podcast, a podcast about the micro.blog community, in which he talks about the good old days when a personal blog was just that.

As I wrote in 2017:

A personal blog has one focus: the person

Adam mentions and bemoans the widespread move to a more journalistic style of blogging which, incidentally, happened to me in 2008 when I started to focus primarily on social media. I've written in the past about how I wrote pieces for various magazines (yes, paper ones) so the journalistic style came quite naturally but, looking back, probably shouldn't have.

It didn't exactly suck the fun out of blogging but certainly the spontaneity.

I made a move away from this to a degree when I rebooted the blog and started microblogging here but it's never been truly, well, personal. Not how a personal blog should be.

I think I've always conflated interesting and personal and come up short; sadly playing the comparison game that vexes so many about social media.

Call it an inferiority complex, a belief that my life isn't interesting as I don't do that much. But, as Adam says, it's the ordinary lives, the "random glimpses into humanity" that pique your interest, not just the grand gestures.

Still, it shouldn't matter how long your posts are just that they pass the "interesting" test. That, in itself, can be a problem: we can try too hard which removes the spontaneity leading to what Adam described as "a host of desperately over-written blogs."

I have been as guilty as the next person in my time. In fact, for most of the time since 2008.

So, what is blogging?

I always return to Dave Winer's "unedited voice of a person" with the caveat that it should be free from self-editing as well as external. There are always going to some things we won't, or shouldn't, put online but second guessing ourselves in order to fit an agenda or image is as much to blame for losing that spontaneity.

There is a place for focused long form but the honesty of the personal blog should not be sacrificed at its altar.

  1. glenpiper says: #
    @colinwalker Outstanding post. I concur that the personal element has dwindled over the past 15 years, as monetization subsumed a more conversational approach.