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On blogging


as reclaiming ownership

"It’s hard to remember this now, in the era of professional Instagram influencers, but there was a time, not too long ago, when many ordinary people just . . . had blogs. From about 2002 through 2006, once the Internet had stopped being the exclusive province of people with real technical expertise, and right before the dawn of widespread social-media use, WordPress and Movable Type made it possible for civilians with only a tiny bit of HTML at their fingertips to launch their own small publications. They wrote about bands and books and their love lives, often with no real goal beyond recording their daily existences."

— Emily Gould, An Unabashed Appreciation of Smitten Kitchen, the Ur-Food Blog

"The early waves of web activity were remarkably energetic and had a personal quality. People created personal 'homepages,' and each of them was different, and often strange. The web had flavor."

— Jaron Lanier, You Are Not A Gadget

"[T]he way that our writing and personal data has been used by social media companies has become more obviously problematic—not that it wasn’t problematic to begin with. Which is why it’s once again a good time to blog, especially on one’s own domain."

— Dan Cohen, Back to the Blog

as engine of creation
"The idea is that having a container can inspire you to fill it with art. Whenever I’ve been creatively lost over the past five years, I’ve always come back to the blog, and asked myself, 'What can I fill this with?' It’s kept me going, kept me making work."

— Austin Kleon, Five Years

as mode of research
"For some time now I’ve been thinking of writing a book about John Ruskin. And I still might. But I’ve been led to consider such a book by gradually gathering drawings and quotes by Ruskin on this blog [...] Suppose that, instead of architecturally writing that book, I simply contented cultivating my Ruskin garden? [...]  More images and more quotations, more reflection on those images and quotations. What might emerge? Well, certainly nothing that any scholar would cite. [...] But I would certainly learn a lot about Ruskin; and perhaps the sympathetic reader would also."

—Alan Jacobs, the blog garden

and as thinking.
"I’m encouraging each one of you to have a blog. Not to have a blog to make money, because you probably won’t. Not to have a blog because you'll have millions and millions of readers, because you probably won't. But to have a blog because of the discipline it gives you, to know that you're going to write something tomorrow. Something that might not be read by many people—it doesn't matter—it will be read by you. If you can build that up, you will begin to think more clearly. You will make predictions. You will make assertions. You will make connections. And there they will be, in type, for you to look at a month or a year later. This practice of sharing your ideas with people who will then choose or not choose to share them helps us get out of our own head because it's no longer the narrative inside. It's the narrative outside, the narrative that you've typed up, that you’ve cared enough to share."

— Seth Godin, via Tammy Strobel