Integrity and Identity

I started publishing online when I got my hands on Macromedia Dreamweaver 4.0. My first website was made of a column of flash-based buttons (which animated on hover and click!) and the links directed to various pages containing information about the music I liked and other interests. I moved to hand-coding each individual page - change the name of one file, and I had to correct the hyperlink in every other page on the site. At one point, inspired by Metal Archives, I expanded on the music section by having individual pages of every band I liked. As the only moderator, I dutifully updated the pages as new records were released. Unfortunately, I was not diligent in backing up those projects. It would have been interested to revisit them, if only to look at my taste in music at the time.

In 2007, when I was in Stockholm and some friends and I were in the midst of putting Hej!2007 together, I became particularly interested in blogging. Our small-ish conference was soon picked up by various blogs and publications, until it eventually made the front page of a local daily. So I bought my first domain and set up Wordpress. Soon, I didn't know what I was doing. Page views and comment counts became more important than they should have been. I'd also spend a lot of time thinking about widgets and sidebars. My site used to have 2 sidebars, and with category lists, calendar, login links, lists of recent posts and comments. Most of my work felt mediocre by my own standards.

So I took the whole thing down.

I went to Tumblr instead. The shorter visual format felt like it'd work better for me. And it did, for awhile until I started looking at likes, reblogs and comments. Quantity again took precedence over quality. I'd also hooked up all those web services I'd signed up for to feed posts regularly to my tumblr blog. In one particular month, I had published over forty posts! Most of them were terrible.

Fast forward to today and my self from 2007 would be uncomfortable with this design. But it is much closer to what I've come to expect from a blog. I'd been inordinately focused on what was possible, and not nearly enough on how best to serve my own needs.

The preceding paragraphs are but a circuitous way of getting to this point - that blogs should serve the author first, and the readers second. Then and only then, when you're inviting others to take a look, make sure the experience is clean and clutter free. Writing is inherently personal. Write and hold yourself to an appropriate standard. Mine are admittedly higher today than what they used to be.