Blogging is great and it will never die. That’s why I keep coming back to it and you do too.
Dave Winer, the blogfather, once said:
“A blog is the unedited voice of a person.”
That’s a concept worth reconsidering in this age of AI ventriloquism. If I went in for tattoos, I’d have it inked in cursive writing on the back of my neck1.
Because online, in spite of everything, despite all the cynicism and exploitation, advertising and automation, I’m still looking for genuine communication. I’m seeking some kind of connection, some marker that says:
“I was here, and so were you.”
It’s the voice of a person connecting to another person. Not a machine, not an algorithm, but a person. A person with a body, not a corpus, not a pretence but a real presence.
But why keep doing it?
Here I present two good reasons that will cover many use-cases.
Publish to find your people
First, I keep coming back to it because blogging is a long-winded search query to find your tribe. It’s a calling card, many words long. The tldr; version of the message is:
Hardly anyone likes what I like, but that’s OK because now there’s two of us.
Austin Kleon drew my attention to this, so it must be true.
There might be a bit more to this, though. By publishing, you make something that never existed before. It’s not impossible that through it people might find themselves. I’m not saying every post is going to be a revelation. But in my experience the right word at the right time can work wonders. There are a few writers I feel like that about. Perhaps you know of some too.
Publish or be damned
Secondly, it’s a miracle that you can publish your unedited voice so easily. You’re a one person media company - and that’s amazing. When I think of all the functionality crammed into a blogging system like micro.blog, or Wordpress, or Substack, or even Blot or WriteAs, and how previous generations could hardly even dream of such publishing power, I almost feel a duty to make use of it. Imagine a time traveller recently arrived here from the past2 looking at us and saying, incredulously:
“So you can do all this at the press of a button, and what? Right now you can’t be bothered?”
That’s right. Sometimes I can’t be bothered.
And then the feeling passes.