Why I publish a blog, but not very often
Sometimes I wish I had a thriving online presence. I admire people who can openly share their thoughts and lives with candor and humor. I want to add to the positive qualities of the internet and the world, try to do something to counteract the bad. But what I want a little more than that is to not add to the noise.
I want the internet to be a high quality place. Not necessarily a ‘museum’ (as the kids call instagram) but a place that you can trust that what you’ll find has been considered. I don’t want to throw my first thoughts out or quick takes. I want to move a little bit slower; think then speak. Admittedly though, most of the time I keep thinking and never share anything. That is the balance I am working on.
The other difficult thing about publishing thoughts to the open web, like with a blog, is the audience. We all speak differently in public vs private, not in a bad “misleading” way, but just in terms of familiarity. When I know my audience and they know me and my history, there’s a lot that doesn’t need to be said. Different topics are naturally more open to discussion. Ironically, being a public forum, a blog is intrinsically limiting it the scope of conversation it caters to. If the audience is large and unknown, the overIap of what might be interesting to all who find it shrinks. The best physical analog I can think of is signs stapled to telephone poles or along sidewalks. I find that what I’m most comfortable publishing in public is the most common and universal (and yes, uncontroversial) topics; not necessarily what I care about the most. What is of interest to the broadest audience, or at least, an audience I don’t know, is not necessarily representative of me.
I do see the value in sharing your thoughts, both for others who find them and for myself. Writing—recording thought—makes you think differently; you’re both creating and consuming simultaneously. Browsing a rich archive of a blog (sometimes even my own) is a very enlightening experience. And not only a wow-that-was-neat kind of experience, but I feel like I actually reflected and learned something. The best parallel experience I can think of is having a good conversation with someone you just met that you find interesting. That’s what I think meeting people online should be like.
Maybe it just comes naturally with age, but I’m realizing the importance of sharing knowledge so it’s not lost. We are not promised another day, so why not share whatever wisdom you have? When I first have that notion, I’m inclined to consider, “ok, what is the most wise wisdom I have to doll out?” But I think anything that someone has learned from their specific experience and told from their specific viewpoint is valuable. Maybe not all our wisdom should be printed and bound up for an archive, but maybe that’s another upside for digital publishing; it’s a low barrier allowing a new threshold of we each deem shareable from our lives.
And, if I can share what I’ve learned, that can help me to grow on to the next lesson. I recently read the analogy of keeping your mind like a river more than a reservoir. Eventually, a unkept reservoir will mold. Plus I can learn from my mistakes by writing them down.
The flip side of publishing at a higher frequency is that it is enlightening to go back through old writing and see the world from that viewpoint again. It is an interesting hindsight perspective to put myself back in my own, older, shoes from my now-future viewpoint. The upside to this though, is a high publishing frequency is not required to get this experience, only consistency at whatever frequency is sustainable.
I think a good cadence is what I’m aiming for. I want to be learning and thinking deeply enough on a regular basis to have something to share.