The risks and rewards of public blogging



I have had an internal debate about whether or not to have a public blog. I enjoyed writing in blogs since long before Facebook and Twitter came to replace them. I enjoy having the space to express myself and share some of my interests in a way that is discoverable for others who may be interested in what I have to say. To me this has always been the magic of the internet.

In the early days, blogs had the flavor of a missive. Each post was a well-considered personal essay on a subject of the author’s interest. Microblogging changed that culture by introducing the short-form post which encouraged quips, jabs, and memes. With only 140 characters, there are severe limitations on discourse. And so today platforms like Twitter have become battlegrounds of thoughtless name calling, self promotion, and knee-jerk politics. Journalists and activists are harassed from one extreme or another. Online armies of deranged Twitter users swarm to defend perceived slights against celebrities. William Gibson himself could not have predicted our dystopian present.

Therein lies the biggest benefit of public blogging. I can control the context in which my writing is interpreted, preventing unwanted context collapse. I know that my writing will be read only on this website. It won’t be shared and pass around on Facebook or Twitter. I can write as pithily or as long-winded as I need to, depending on what subject I’m covering. And I can include all the details needed to make myself understood.

Ideas require nuance, and some things are worth saying publicly. Nuanced subjects require a nuanced approach. And nuance just does not work in a micro-blogging format. It does not work as a Facebook post. Ideas are better expressed in person, but if that is not possible, then in long-form prose.

So I will continue to write here. I will document some of my thoughts about my various interests with the hopes that somebody will find them useful or enlightening.

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