Chapter 1: In which your faithful servant sets out his reasons why he wishes to blog once again, his disatisfaction with other forms of social media, etc…

by the other theo

So… umm… yes, I’m going to try blogging again, with a new blog.

For those who don’t know, I kept a blog off and on (mostly 0n) for about 10 years.   During that time, I met the Missus (my wife,) got married, bought a house, and had the Peanut (my son) together.   At the same time, the social media landscape of the Internet changed drastically.   The blogging site that I originally used (and paid annually) kind of got left behind by other, bigger blog producers (like WordPress) and the blog community itself got trampled to some degree by the rise of social networks (the Blue & White Network, particularly.)  Why write a blog when you can have a social network account that has everyone you ever knew going all the way back to grade school as “friends”?

The answer to that question took a few years for me to formulate.  Part of the initial excitement of social networks is the people you contact with them.  I’ve been making friends online for about 20 years now.  There was a time when meeting just about anyone was novel and fun.  Now, I think my list of online friends has grown by about three people in the last year or so, and my friends list feels like it is full of all the people from my past that I still wish to contact (I could be wrong about that… in fact, I’d be glad to be wrong about that.)  Part of my discomfort with big social networks also revolves around ownership.  The terms of use at the Blue & White Network can be a little restrictive about who owns what and how it gets used.  I recently read that “if you are offered a service for free in the cloud, then the product isn’t the service; the product is YOU”.   So part of me is a little tired of being the product and producing content that can be so explicitly co-opted by someone else.  At least with a blog, I’m producing content that’s (hopefully, if I’m reading it right) being offered under a Creative Commons License that leaves me a little more in control.  Finally, there is the issue of searchable content.   For all its amazing tools, the Blue & White Network doesn’t offer good tools to search your own Activity Log.   That seems incredibly basic to me.  If I find a video, picture, or quote I like, I want to be able to find it again five years later.   That’s hard there, but easy here.

So why start with a new blog?  Why not resurrect the old one?  It all resolves to questions of audience.   My old blog was written from a fairly anonymous point of view, at least to my friends and extended family.  It was also part of a blogging community that is now more or less defunct.   I made friends, good friends, in that community.  Those, I’ve often carried forward… and some I’ve met in real life.  Yet, the time and place of the old blog feels rooted in a past that feels best to leave it where it is.    I want this blog to be one that is a little more explicitly me.  I’m not sure how much I’ll be using my real name and posting my face here yet (or those of my wife and son), but I want a blog that can be visible to all the friends and family I have now.   Doing that with the old blog would require all kinds of review and editing just to make sure that something I mentioned 5-10 years ago doesn’t upset someone… and believe me, that’s already happened.

Ultimately, I miss the documentation of my life that a blog brings.  My son is growing up so very fast, and I sometimes feel that the times themselves are changing very quickly.   I don’t know if my son will ever be very interested in what I say in my blog, but I want him to have a chance to know what his Dad was thinking as he was growing up.

To the readers of my old blog (and you know who you are):  I don’t intend to link between that blog and this one.  I ask you to please do the same.  You’re all bloggers yourselves, and good ones.  I know I can count on you to do the right thing.