Brent Simmons is right: It’s weird to see people bemoan the decline of blogging and do it on Twitter. You can blog! You can blog for free if you want! (Though the best options require a few bucks.) Get over your social-media Stockholm Syndrome and start doing the thing you know is better. Cross-post to Twitter or Facebook if you must, but own your turf and tend your garden. Now that you can register your own domain name at micro.blog you have no excuse: it’s easy-peasy.
I am still hoping for a Blogging Renaissance, but lately I’m thinking that one necessary element of a true renaissance will be to get the readers of blogs on the same page as the writers. Everyone who writes a blog for a while knows that one of the best things about it is the way it allows you to revisit themes and topics. You connect one post to another by linking to it; you connect many posts together by tagging. Over time you develop fascinating resonances, and can trace the development of your thought. Venkatesh Rao has thought a lot about this in his series of posts — he calls it a “blogchain” — on blogs as “elder games.”
But this is not typically how readers read blogs. Not many people read this blog, but those who do typically just read the most recent posts — three days back, max. I add links to earlier posts, but almost no one clicks on them. People don’t click on tags either. And I think that’s because we have all been trained by social media to skim the most recent things and then go on to something else. We just don’t do deeper dives any more. So one of the things I want to be thinking about is: How can I encourage readers of my blog to seek some of the benefits that I get from it?