This post is prompted by something Jack Baty posted, and so is kind of directed toward him, but is more about blogging in general. In his post, Jack mentions that his posts are more widely and automatically distributed by way of RSS and his micro.blog account. And his post suggests that this wider dissemination has made him somewhat self-conscious about his writing. His reaction is to default to not "syndicating" his content via RSS ("really simple syndication").
The marmot is similarly re-distributed by way of micro.blog, to my Mastodon account.
I'm ambivalent about Mastodon, but I'm willing to participate, largely as a guest of the kind and generous Rob Fahrni, who runs a small instance at curmudgeon.cafe.
I've been blogging a long time. I'm pretty sure Jack's been blogging nearly as long. Maybe longer? Writing online is a public act. I am self-conscious as I do it, and from time to time it can be uncomfortable. Writing in an offline tool like Tinderbox makes "publishing" a more deliberate process. (Offline in the sense that my posts aren't as "live" as they might be if I were writing in the browser. Tinderbox can be as connected to the web as you want it to be. See here.)
In my now former blog, Groundhog Day, which still exists as a large Tinderbox document here in marmot central, I had a container called "The cooler." I'd start writing an angry post and think twice about it and park it in the cooler to think about it before I posted it. There's a lot of stuff in "the cooler," much of it unfinished. I'm inclined to believe it's no great loss to the world that it never felt the delicate touch of Google's robot crawlers.
In the marmot, one of the Displayed Attributes ("Properties," Obsidian, take note.) in each post is a boolean checkmark HTMLDontExport. After writing a post, I can preview how it will appear online. Reading it in Preview helps in editing. Spelling errors or awkward construction that were missed in the main editing view become more apparent. If I'm confident I'm not going to utterly embarrass myself, I then tick the HTMLDontPublish check box and export the marmot. Only thing left to do at that point is sync the folder to the server, which I haven't automated yet.
So posting is a fairly deliberate act, with a fair amount of "friction" that allows me to kind of check my inclination to be glib or snarky. It sometimes doesn't work, but trust me, you don't see the worst of my online self. That guy was mostly on Facebook and Twitter, and I didn't care for him much either.
But the point of having a blog is to share those thoughts, not hide them. And publicly sharing thoughts and ideas can be a fraught thing. Ego is involved, vulnerability, our old friends Dunning and Krueger, the chance to be publicly foolish or wrong. I mean, if you're not a little self-conscious, you're probably doing it wrong.
So having gone to the trouble of buying a domain name, paying for hosting, writing a post and publishing it, yeah, put it out there!
RSS is a superpower. Back in the early days, blogrolls were kind of two things. One was to show who you read and thought was worth sharing. The other was a convenient list of bookmarks you could visit, even if you were away from your own browser, to see if they'd posted anything new. With RSS, that "discovery" portion is centralized and simplified for you.
But RSS is also an enabling technology, a glue-layer or wedge that other services, like micro.blog and Mastodon can leverage, so why not take advantage of it?
And besides, nobody cares about your blog.
Embrace the RSS. Cast your posts to the wind!Originally posted at Nice Marmot 05:35 Monday, 31 July 2023