Not alone and not un­read, but the ground un­der­foot ain’t steady. An in­stance of Ho­mo eco­nomi­cus wouldn’t be do­ing this  —  no pay­day loom­ing. So I guess I’m not one of those. But hey, when­ev­er I can steal an hour I can send the world what­ev­er words and pic­tures oc­cu­py my mind and lap­top. Which, all these years lat­er, still feels like im­mense priv­i­lege.

A lot of good writ­ing is on Medi­um, which has learned its blog­lesson­s. Shortish-to-longish for­m: check. Some­thing fresh ev­ery day: check. Fol­low your faves: check. But on my phone, an ir­ri­tat­ing goober at the screen’s foot says “open in app”, try­ing to tempt me out of the bl­o­go­sphere, off of the We­b. I guess lots of peo­ple go there but I’m not gonna.

On a blog, I can write about blog­ging and whim­si­cal­ly toss in self-indulgent pic­tures of May’s bud­ding aza­leas.

Budding azaleas

I can end my ca­reer, right here, in a flash. I can rant about the per­fidy and cor­rup­tion of my lo­cal gov­ern­ing par­ty, who I de­vout­ly hope are about to be turfed by the vot­er­s. I can dis­cuss the dif­fer­ence be­tween O(1) and O(log(N)), which can usu­al­ly be safe­ly ig­nored.

On blogs, I can read most of the long-form writ­ing that’s worth read­ing about the art and craft of pro­gram­ming com­put­er­s. Or I can fol­low most of the economists’ de­bates that are worth hav­ing. Or I can check out a new pho­tog­ra­pher ev­ery day and see new a way of see­ing the world.

Hav­ing said that, it seems sad that most of the traf­fic these days goes to BigPub­s. That the ad­ver­tis­ing dol­lars are be­ing sucked in­ex­orably in­to Face­book/Google and away from any­one else. That these days, I feel good over a piece that gets more than twen­ty thou­sand reads (on­ly one so far this year).

But I don’t care. I’ll prove it by run­ning a pic­ture of a ce­ment mixer’s in­sid­es.

Inside a cement mixer

I won­der what the Web will be like when we’re a cou­ple more gen­er­a­tions in? I’m pret­ty sure that as long as it re­mains easy to fill a lit­tle bit of the great names­pace with your words and pic­tures, peo­ple will.

The great dan­ger is that the Web’s fu­ture is mall-like: No space re­al­ly pub­lic, no store­fronts but na­tion­al brands’, no vi­su­als com­posed by am­a­teurs, noth­ing that’s on of­fer just for its own sake, and for love.

Here’s a vi­su­al com­posed by an am­a­teur.

New York in a rainstorm

Man­hat­tan rain­storm (spot the bi­cy­clist).

If you’re read­ing this, you have my thanks. But let’s be hon­est: I can’t know what you like. Every hu­man prod­uct that’s re­al­ly worth read­ing or see­ing or hear­ing is made most­ly to please its hu­man pro­duc­er. Be­cause if you aim to please the world you usu­al­ly mis­s, the target’s just too big and you can on­ly guess where it is..

That, more than any­thing, is why I’m still op­ti­mistic about what­ev­er this thing is I’m do­ing here.

Any­how, I’m not go­ing away.



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Ryan Barrett (May 04 2017, at 03:52)

yes! definitely glad you're still here.

we had a similar conversation a while back, with similar conclusions: https://snarfed.org/2012-07-25_why_i_have_my_own_web_site

btw a handful of us are meeting up in Portland in June for an Indie Web summit. you should join us! https://2017.indieweb.org

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From: Paul Morriss (May 04 2017, at 03:52)

Thanks for continuing to blog. I hope I will continue to read for many years to come.

One of the posts that sticks in my mind as illustrating the variety of things you write about was the one where you described how to cook toast. Also the one where you were trying to track down a strange "ding" in your kitchen.

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From: JW (May 04 2017, at 04:54)

Still reading in 2017. Also know that some people just read the RSS feed, which might not be included in your 20.000 figure.

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From: Leonardo Herrera (May 04 2017, at 07:27)

Yup, mostly reading from my feed. Please keep going!

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From: Mark Erikson (May 04 2017, at 08:04)

Glad to see you still writing. Been subscribed to your blog for many years. I'm not interested in photography, and generally on the opposite side politically, but I've always appreciated your technical discussions as well as your general attitude and approach to writing.

Here's to many more years of quality blog posts!

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From: Bob Monsour (May 04 2017, at 09:38)

Keep on keepin' on! We'll still be here, reading.

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From: Mike M (May 04 2017, at 09:50)

Those of us still using an RSS feed in 2017 enjoy that you're still blogging in 2017!

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From: wvallen (May 04 2017, at 11:10)

yes! this post exactly. thanks for writing and posting what i've been feeling lately.

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From: Jonathan LaCour (May 04 2017, at 12:20)

I wrote a response over on my site: https://cleverdevil.io/2017/tim-bray-on-blogging-in-2017

Thanks, Tim!

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From: hawkse (May 04 2017, at 12:29)

Been reading this blog for a long time. Will hang here for as long as you keep writing. Especially enjoy the breadth of your writing. One never knows what to expect when the feed reader (Feedly) shows (1) unread for Ongoing. Great feeling.

Thank you!

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From: Chris (May 04 2017, at 14:34)

I rededicated myself to my blog this year, and have done a pretty decent job of writing something at least weekly. It's a long way from the days of 6 posts a day, but most of those posts back in 2004 were more Twitter like anyway, and that is where they end up today.

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From: Justin Watt (May 04 2017, at 21:22)

Tim, I'm also still blogging in 2017, sort of. It's different now. I used to blog like I'm told people post to Facebook or Instagram these days. Now I reserve my blog (and my time) for meatier pieces, longer stories about the adventures I'm proud to have accomplished, and not just some thing I did once.

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From: Walter Underwood (May 05 2017, at 20:27)

Same here. First blog was an internal company blog at Verity while we were working on the Atom spec, so at least a dozen years ago.

I continue to blog publicly about whatever I find interesting, flying in the face of all SEO advice.

The validators seem to like my feed, except for the opensearch link. I agree, opensearch is pants.

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From: Kevin Spencer (May 06 2017, at 21:22)

Wouldn't have it any other way. I don't often comment, but I read every word you write here.

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From: Guy Bolton King (May 07 2017, at 00:42)

Good. I've been reading via one feed reader or another for years, and I've always enjoyed what you have to say.

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From: Rob Graves (May 09 2017, at 03:23)

I'd hate to read that you'd stopped blogging. I read "ongoing" as regularly as you update it. Thanks. (I also share your concerns for the corporatised mall-like future, but think there will remain opportunities for the niche sites and publishers.)

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From: zeldman (May 11 2017, at 09:55)

Having these same thoughts and conversations over here. Thanks for articulating.

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From: Duncan Lock (May 11 2017, at 17:21)

Still reading and appreciate your words - keep on keeping on.

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From: Kelvin D. Meeks (May 22 2017, at 16:37)

Still reading what you write, after all these years :)

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