The past, present and future of blogs.
Especially if you are a designer, an artist, a photographer, a writer, a blogger, a creator of any kind, owning your work is as important as ever. Social media platforms might be great for distributing your content and creating a network of like-minded people around you. But they will always be ephemeral, transient, and impermanent – not the best place to preserve your thoughts, words, and brushstrokes.
The more I look at this “issue” the more I’m convinced the solution is already right there and it’s called the web. Want to have an unblockable, unbannable user profile? Buy yourself a domain and get a personal website. Want to have a space where you can say and do whatever the fuck you want? Get a webspace and put up a blog.
I’ve come to believe the best way to look at our Mars program is as a faith-based initiative. There is a small cohort of people who really believe in going to Mars, the way some people believe in ghosts or cryptocurrency, and this group has an outsize effect on our space program.
Maciej lays out the case against a crewed mission to Mars.
Like George Lucas preparing to release another awful prequel, NASA is hoping that cool spaceships and nostalgia will be enough to keep everyone from noticing that their story makes no sense. But you can’t lie your way to Mars, no matter how sincerely you believe in what you’re doing.
And don’t skip the footnotes:
Fourth graders writing to Santa make a stronger case for an X-Box than NASA has been able to put together for a Mars landing.
Every time I’ve thought “this is a niche subject or random thought, no one will be interested but I’ll publish anyway” someone will let me know that it was the EXACT train of thought they were thinking or thing they were looking for.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a site that’s not run by an amoral billionaire chaos engine, or algorithmically designed to keep you doomscrolling in a state of fear and anger, or is essentially spyware for governments and/or corporations? Wouldn’t it be nice not to have ads shoved in your face every time you open an app to see what your friends are up to? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that when your friends post something, you’ll actually see it without a social media platform deciding whether to shove it down your feed and pump that feed full of stuff you didn’t ask for?
Wouldn’t that be great?
A directory of blogs, all nicely categorised:
ooh.directory is a place to find good blogs that interest you.
Phil gave me a sneak peek at this when he was putting it together and asked me what I thought of it. My response was basically “This is great!”
And of course you can suggest a site to add to the directory.
This extract from Baldur’s new book is particularly timely in light of the twipocalypse.
Do you still miss Google Reader, almost a decade after it was shut down? It’s back!
A Mastodon server is a feed reader, shared by everyone who uses that server.
I really like Simon’s description of the fediverse:
A Mastodon server (often called an instance) is just a shared blog host. Kind of like putting your personal blog in a folder on a domain on shared hosting with some of your friends.
Want to go it alone? You can do that: run your own dedicated Mastodon instance on your own domain.
This is spot-on:
Mastodon is just blogs and Google Reader, skinned to look like Twitter.
Eventually, it becomes second nature: jot down some thoughts and hit publish. Until then, think of it like starting a running habit. The first few days you run, it’s awful and you think it’ll never feel any better. But after a few weeks, you start getting antsy if you don’t run. If you’re not used to writing, it can feel like a slog, but it’s worth getting over that hump.
A lovely collection of blogs (and RSS feeds) that you can follow.
(Just in case, y’know, you might decide that following people on their own websites is better than following them on a website controlled by one immature manbaby who’s down with the racists.)
Your easy guide to starting a new blog.
A blog is an easy way to get started writing on the web. Your voice is important: it deserves its own site. The more people add their unique perspectives to the web, the more valuable it becomes.
I like the way this work-in-progress is organised—it’s both a book and a personal website that’ll grow over time.
Well, now I’m really glad I wrote that post about logical properties!
We’re not there yet. So how do we get there?
Well, I don’t know for sure – but articles like this are very helpful as we try to work it out!
Blog your heart! Blog about something you’ve learned, blog about something you’re interested in.
Excellent advice from Robin:
There are no rules to blogging except this one: always self-host your website because your URL, your own private domain, is the most valuable thing you can own. Your career will thank you for it later and no-one can take it away.
There are some tasty designs in this archive from Sainbury’s.
Dave laments the increasing number of complex jobs involved in front-end (or “full-stack”) development.
But whereas I would just leave at that, Dave does something constructive and points to a potential solution—a corresponding increase of more thinsliced full-time roles like design engineering, front-end ops, and CSS engineering.
Are you a web dev that’s into progressive enhancement, accessibility, design systems, and all that good stuff?
You should come and work with me at Clearleft.
I have days were I can write a well researched blog post in a few hours. And I have days were I don’t feel like writing. Or I want to add one more thing but don’t know how to speak my mind. So this is a reminder to myself: just hit publish.