Why a blog?

I've spent a lot of years writing blog posts. I've taken almost all of them offline now, largely because I wasn't very confident that I'd said anything particularly valuable with them. Maybe that was a mistake, and maybe I'll put them back up at some point. At times, blogging felt like a release of pent-up creative energy. At other times, blogs were just a soapbox for me to get up on and yell at the world. When I started blogging back in 2005, a blog was the best way to do that. I'm not sure that's true anymore. Most people don't seem to think it is. Blogs aren't going away, but they are being obviated in some ways. No one looks at blogging and things "way of the future" anymore.

So why start blogging again? After so many stops and starts, you'd think I would have gotten it through my head that maybe it wasn't worth it anymore, that the function it fulfilled for me was now available to me elsewhere. Why a blog?

What actually got me thinking about writing online again was Twitter. I joined Twitter in 2008. I've tweeted over 25,000 times, and have almost 500 followers. Not gargantuan numbers by any means, but enough that I felt like I had a little bit of a platform and enough people listening to me that it might make sense to put my energy there. And there is still something compelling about the simplicity of Twitter as a publishing platform. It's a low-effort, high-reward system, where your only real goal is to be timely and concise. There's a lot to say for Twitter. Despite that, I've noticed that over the last year, I have shifted from being a creator on Twitter to being a consumer. I tweet with far less frequency than I used to. It wasn't a deliberate decision I made. I just stopped.

I think what's ultimately turned me off of Twitter is its unrestrained nature. Twitter has become the sort of noisy bar where everyone is shouting about their own thing, and the only way to hear what anyone has to say is to ask them to shout over the rest of the crowd. And inevitably, the people who shout loudest are the people whose opinions you least want to hear. I used to check Twitter to find people saying interesting things. Now, I just find it emotionally exhausting. It's become a giant collection of avatars loudly proclaiming their agreement/disagreement with whatever happens to be top-of-mind in that exact moment. It's become a way for people to associate themselves with causes; to define their identities in the eye of those they value; to indulge in our worst impulses instead of our best.

That's not to say that there's nothing good there. Twitter is still a great way of disseminating information, and there are a lot of people on it with interesting things to say. But because of the way it's changed over time, or perhaps because of the way I've changed, I'm much less eager to be a participant in the conversation. Instead, I've been content to just sit back and listen.

The reason I've turned back to a blog now grows directly from that. There are things that I want to say and ideas that I want to explore. I have no grand overarching vision for this space. It's just a collection of things that I want to think about. I'd just like to do them in a place that's a bit quieter and with more flexibility than 140 characters provides.

Why a blog? Because here, I can just say what I have to say.