To blog, or not


I've twice failed to start a blog. The last attempt being around 15 years ago while at university, and is presumably now consigned to the depths of the Internet Archive. Since then I've joined and posted to Twitter, Facebook and the like. But my usage has pretty much stopped. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have fallen into the App Library on my phone; Twitter remains on my Home Screen, in a cut-down form. (Mainly people I follow to try and keep up to date for work.)

While I've never shared that much about myself personally, I've never done so professionally. Yes, I have a LinkedIn profile (which helped me find my current job) and a GitHub account (where I've released, and contributed to, open-source projects), but I haven't shared what I do, what I've learnt, what I believe in.

I read blogs all the time, but not as Web logs. I generally see something interesting linked on Twitter or another post, or while researching some topic. I've tried RSS readers before, but find curation more useful. This means I don't often see pieces I'm interested in until weeks, months, years after they're published. But that's ok, I'm looking to learn about the topic at that point, rather than chancing upon it.

blog noun
a regular record of your thoughts, opinions, or experiences that you put on the internet for other people to read
a website on which one person or group puts new information regularly, often every day

This feeling of commitment has always put me off starting. I don't want to write that regularly, let alone every day. And this won't necessarily be new information either; it could be an addition to, or evolution of, an existing work. Unlike paper, the Web is free to change over time. (Responsibly, of course.)

I'd like to step back to the original definition of the Web, and merely add some documents to the universe. This site/blog/miniverse is a set of simple HTML documents (2, and counting), containing links to other documents. This is a simple, yet immensely powerful, starting point.

WordPress, Medium, Hugo, Jekyll, and an ever-increasing list of tools provide no end of features and abstractions that I don't need. And, in the end, rigid structures like chronological ordering that will probably shame me into pretending it never happened. And even if it does make sense to start curating in some form, it's unlikely to ever be worth automating: adding another link to a list is hardly onerous. So, I'm proudly using the Mstack. (Or the Web, as it used to be known.)

I'm also not that interested if you are reading this or not. I'm not tracking you with Google Analytics; I can't even see the server logs (it's a good thing that Netlify charge for access). I'm not promoting Tweets and Likes, nor trying to show how popular this is (or not). I have wondered about making use of, but I'm holding off for at least the moment. I'll tweet about it (to my 159 followers 💪), but I don't want to go further than that. I don't need any of this to 'go viral'; I'd much rather it be of genuine interest to a few people, even one, than be glanced over by many. Receiving feedback or evaluation from a fellow human, be it a Tweet or a link in a blog post, holds far more value than some number.

And so, my (non) blog begins. I have a couple of ideas for topics, but beyond that, we'll see where this takes me.