I updated my blogroll to add Annie Mueller’s blog. Annie’s candid writing is captivating.

    Why Blog? ‘A record of the roads I’ve traveled’

    Jack Baty:

    First, I like to share things I’m thinking about. This can have the effect of exposing others to things they might not have known about or considered. But just as important is that blogging about my interests provides me with a record of the roads I’ve traveled, so to speak. I find this hugely valuable, even if it sometimes seems it’s the same roads over and over again.

    Blogging About Blogging

    Manuel Moreale, an Italian freelance developer and designer, has a weekly newsletter entitled People and Blogs. In each issue of his newsletter, he invites one blogger to describe his or her blog. I’m enjoying learning what motivates other bloggers.

    Previous editions include :

    You can subscribe here.

    Are Social Media Worth the Time and Effort?

    Jehtan Mehta:

    I don’t want to wake up to a social media timeline of any sort

    No, not even the ethical ones like Mastodon or Heck, I don’t want a separate timeline for videos (YouTube) or podcasts either. Or one for news or newsletters. Everything, and I mean everything, that I want to follow or subscribe to from anywhere on the Internet goes into my organized RSS reader because of its unmatched efficiency and control. Now I have a single feed to check, which I do when I want to or need to. It doesn’t notify or nag me, doesn’t screw up the order of posts, and doesn’t recommend things. It can be trusted to do nothing on its own.

    No posting on social media, or even my microblog

    Most people don’t blog, sadly, but tend to have three places to post: a Twitter-like network, an Instagram-like visual space, and LinkedIn. But microblogging is a terribly contextually deprived way to create and consume things, one hiding behind a gratification trap. It often felt like I’m sharing purposeful things there but had the interface not artificially limited me to 300 or 500 characters—and had I not been writing for (algorithmic) reader reactions—I often had more nuance and references to share. And so I’ll not post on any social media. I shall only blog now, a slower but more thoughtful way to communicate publicly. This way I also own the connection to my readers based on open technologies that have stood the test of time: Email and RSS.

    I found this interesting but I would not personally go this route. For exampIe, I enjoy those I follow on YouTube and I have an Instagram account but spend far less time there than before. The primary place I share my photography is Flickr, which I value.

    A Nice WordPress Gallery Plugin

    My hobby is photography and I’ve been looking for a WordPress gallery plugin I like to display image galleries in blog posts. I’ve tried many but they would not do everything I want or were cumbersome to use.

    I just found GT3 Photo and Video Gallery Pro and it does everything I want it to do. It’s also easy to use. The free version does a nice job but the Pro version adds a lot of nice features and cost $19 for a one year license. This is an example of a gallery I created with the plugin. And I think the gallery looks great on mobile as well. All the settings are available in the block editor which I find ideal for me. This post includes another example a GT3 gallery.

    Blogs I Like

    I like traditional blogs, which harken back to the early days of the internet when people wrote to share for the joy of sharing. The main goal wasn’t to make money via advertising or subscriptions. It was people sharing and connecting with other people. There aren’t as many blogs like this around anymore. I value the ones that remain and share this list in the spirit of sharing and connecting person to person:

    The list is in no particular order. Please suggest other blogs to follow.

    Last updated: February 14, 2024

    Why Having Your Own Home on the Internet is Important


    Why do “creatives” forget that the platform exists for one reason—the platform’s overall growth and viability?

    The Substack founders are staying true to form — trying to save/grow their business. They have to grow in order to raise their next round of funding. If they don’t, then it’s lights out.

    Dave Winer:

    Yes, Substack is blogging, and it’s totally valid for a blogging system to be better at publishing one kind of writing.

    What’s wrong with Substack, and why it will ultimately need to change or be replaced, is that they require writers to use their editor.

    That’s lock-in.

    More inspiration

    My Perspective on WordPress

    I’ve always thought of WordPress as the default for personal websites focused on writing. However, I have never found a WordPress theme I love. Some themes are feature rich and slow and others are fast but, at least to my eye, not visually appealing. And I know there are many WordPress themes.

    The theme I’m using on this site is called TinyTheme. The developer, Matt Langford, even helped me to customize it. It now suits me perfectly. Both the hosting on and the theme are fast.

    Having said that, for photography, I haven’t found anything I like better than Squarespace, where I also have a site. Squarespace sites aren’t fast but I want to post large images so there is a tradeoff, especially because I don’t know how to code.

    A Useful List of Blogging Platforms

    Manuel Moreale, an Italian freelance developer and designer, posted this list on his blog. He’s been blogging since 2017. I can’t tell what platform he’s using and I’m curious.

    See also, Blogging Platforms.

    Migrating from Substack to Ghost

    Molly White left Substack and went to a self-hosted Ghost1 newsletter, in large part over its policies. I applaud her for leaving Substack. It’s better to have your own home on the internet.

    Molly explains step by step how she did it. It was a lot of work and not as easy as Substack would have you believe.

    If you are thinking of starting a publication, the open web is, in my opinion, the way to go.

    I had a couple newsletters on Substack, which I deleted because of its tolerance of Nazi supporters. They were small newsletters, one of which shared news about the Holocaust. I may start again on Ghost. I will never again build a house on someone else’s property.

    1. Molly considered WordPress but prefers JavaScript to PHP and finds WordPress bloated with features she doesn’t need or want. ↩︎

    Respond or Remain Silent?

    There are many hot button issues now. People are very divided. It’s worth thinking about what you will do when someone says something or writes something with which you strongly disagree.

    Adam Newbold suggests it may be better not to respond:

    When you respond, your noble intentions lead you to believe that you’ll counteract the noise with something nicer. But in the end, you’ll just wind up amplifying the noise. And you’ll never feel better afterward.

    His post is about online communications but I think his suggestion applies equally to interpersonal communications.

    Having said this, sometimes silence could be seen as acquiescence with something you just can’t agree with. Then some response may be needed. Even so, it’s worth considering if silence is the best approach, especially online. And if a response is warranted, does it need to be a nuclear attack?

    See also, Manton Reece.

    Why Publish?

    Why I Do This - Sulluzzu:

    But why do I feel the need to publish this writing? Why do I not just write these in a diary or journal?

    I think the answer is that writing to publish, and the idea of someone reading it, helps me to make it the best writing I can. I don’t actually know how many people read these little articles but you (whether you are real or not) are important to help me distill these thoughts down to their essence.

    Blogging to Connect With Kindred Spirits

    Blogger Rach Smith of Australia used to look for links back to her site from other creators. But when her blog started ranking on Google, most of her traffic starting coming from search and so she lost interest in the data and turned analytics off:

    I keep writing on this site because it is the best way to find people who have similar interests as me.

    People who arrive via search are just looking to get a question answered and move on. That’s great and I hope I can help them, but they are not the reason I’m here. This site is here for the people who stay a while, have a look around and then send me an email to start an interesting conversation.

    So, I’m turning analytics off.

    To me, this is what blogging is all about.

    My thanks to Kev Quirk for bringing this post to my attention.

    Personal Independent Blogs are Important

    Lars Mensel explains that personal blogs allow people to stay in control of their own data:

    Many—if not most—of the online platforms and networks I’ve ever used on the internet have stopped existing or withered away, something that is strangely commonplace on the web. And yet we hardly stop to think that everything we share might simply get lost over time.

    Blogging Myths

    Julia Evans, a Canadian software developer, offers eight blogging myths that discourage people from blogging:

    I found this list and her explanations helpful. In the end, it’s the author’s blog and it can be whatever the author wants.

    Why Blog? - ‘You just might want to say hello’

    The late Nora Ephron writing on HuffPost in 2006 explained that:

    getting heard outside the world of blogs occasionally requires that you have something to say. And one of the most delicious things about the profoundly parasitical world of blogs is that you don’t have to have anything much to say. Or you just have to have a little tiny thing to say. You just might want to say hello. I’m here. And by the way. On the other hand. Nevertheless. Did you see this? Whatever. A blog is sort of like an exhale. What you hope is that whatever you’re saying is true for about as long as you’re saying it. Even if it’s not much.

    Among her many accomplishments, Ephron wrote the script for the lovely romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally. She died in 2012.

    Why Blog? - A Place to Speak One’s Mind

    Photographer and blogger Kirk Tuck summing up his 2018 — which now seems like a long time ago — wrote:

    Everyone should have at least one safe space in which to be archly and profoundly opinionated.

    I’m not sure if Kirk was writing tongue in cheek. In any event, I always look forward to his posts.

    Kirk’s blog is called the Visual Science Lab. He’s been blogging since 2009 and has more than 1,300 followers.

    Blogging Without a Plan is OK

    The author of but she’s a girl . . . writing about the 20th anniversary of her blog:

    When I started this blog 20 years ago, I had no real plan in mind. I still don’t. I write about what interests me and makes me happy, and that is the only theme that runs through it. People still seem to find it and discover interesting things to read, but to be honest, I would probably still write if no-one was reading, just to amuse myself.

    but she’s a girl . . . is also on

    Always Write for Your Audience

    From the About Page of Derek Sivers, who I believe pioneered the concept of the Now Page, — a webpage describing what a blogger or website owner is doing “now”:

    I always write for my audience, not for myself, so this feels indulgent. When I think of expressing this kind of “about me” stuff in an article, I stop myself because it’s not directly useful to you.

    So this is just one big page where I can write all about myself, without feeling the need for it to be useful. And some day this site will be all that’s left of me, so I might as well write my own mini autobiography.

    A Substack Publication Shares Subscription Data

    SpyTalk is a Substack publication covering national security topics, with an emphasis on U.S. intelligence operations, both foreign and domestic. In other words, spy stuff.

    On December 18, the publication shared some interesting subscriber numbers:

    Subscriptions more than doubled, from 4,840 in the last week of December 2021 to this week’s 10,474. Fully paid subscriptions . . . rose nearly 25 percent, from 510 to 636.

    The publication charges $99 for a year or $9.95 for a month so that would translate to gross income of about $6,300 a month. Less than 1% of subscribers pay.

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