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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From: Charles Wilson (Jun 28 2017, at 10:50)

Agreed! Another thing to consider- what happens to the B-side content that is out there, the less popular but still has value?

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