While I've Been Gone...

... from blogging. See /posts/on-my-return-to-blogging for the background.

I sometimes look at other people's blogs, and think "wow, that's sharp," and while I really like the current tychoish theme, there's a distinct lack of gradients, really polished typography, strong crisp lines, and elegant side bars.

Not that I have a clue what I'd put in a side bar: Hell, I can't even find good things to put in the Cyborg Institute](http://cyborginstitute.net) side bar. But it's not just that my design has grown dated (I don't think it has, that much,) and more that the practice of blogging has changed in a few ways:

The State of Blogging

  • self-hosted blogs are the exception rather than the rule.

  • it's become increasingly difficult to aggregate content, the demise of Google Reader, both the removal of the product and the declining trend it its use point to the idea that RSS isn't a user facing transmission method.

    People are getting content through other means, and publishers probably can't depend that users will poll any content, which changes the role of the publishing system.

  • In fact, I don't have a real clue what the current state of the art for publishing tools for blogs is these days. My sense is that a greater portion of blogs are hosted on services like Tumblr and WordPress.com.

    The big "advancements," in blogging technology are probably related to integration and distribution of content to third party systems, which services can probably do better than hosted solutions.

  • There are fewer long-lived personal blogs, and even fewer that stray beyond a single niche.

Are there blogs that you read regularly? How do you know when there's a new post?

Changes Afoot

Given these changes, and the chance to rethink how I approach this blog:

  • I'm curious as to the state of commenting and discourse related to blogs. Do people actually comment, in anything other than exceptional situations? Are most conversations on hacker-news/reddit or other domain specific common space and other blogs?

    I've been thinking about the prospect of even turning off the discussion/discourse pages here. They don't get used, they're kind of weird, people don't really know how to use them, and I'm not sure they get used. At the same time, providing a space for conversation seems essential. More on this on a later post.

    Edit: I totally did this, and while I have some regrets, I think it's generally a good move.

  • While it'd be nice to automate submitting content to various aggregation sites and social network-sites, I've added various browser extensions to do these submissions. It's a pain in the ass, but I guess auto-submits makes for less useful content aggregator.

  • Just as tagging systems are inefficient and broken for wikis and "real" technical resources (see /posts/taxonomic-failure/ for my thoughts,) they're not all that great for blogs. I'm considering completely removing the tagging system on tychoish, and just letting the search tool (which is pretty good) make content easy to discover.

Onward and Upward!

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