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.
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.
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.
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.