Blogging about blogging versus adding value through your blog

21 June 2024

Less blogging about blogging:

The majority of my posts are either platform explanations/justifications or organizational posts. Stuff like, “I’m moving the Archives here” or “I’ve added a ton of Links there.” Other times it’s simple announcements about me moving my blog someplace new. So, why do I feel the need to talk about this?

This is something I grapple with, though maybe not to the same degree. Are people really interested in my blog posts about my blog? They’re pretty far and few between here, the last meta, blogging about blogging post, was when I added (re-added) a blogroll. I don’t know, maybe they’re a bit more common. What’s meta, and what’s not meta, can be highly subjective.

Yet a concept that — supposedly — has shaped the way I write here, derives from Twitter. I’m talking about Twitter when it was Twitter back in the day, not what it is presently. Anyway, we’d all been on Twitter for a couple of years, when 2009 arrived. By then, Twitter was deemed to be a mature platform for networking and micro-blogging, and now it was time, we, the users, conducted ourselves with a little more… sophistication.

“Add value” was a term frequently bandied about at the top of 2009. Add value meant we ought to ease back on tweeting about what we had for lunch (but not completely), and start contributing to a more useful overall conversation. Maybe there were a few years when value was indeed added through our tweets, or at least those of whom I moved in the same circles with.

But I decided I needed to bring the add value mantra to disassociated. To me, that meant less posts of an introspective nature, and more, er, useful stuff. No more: “I updated to the latest version of WordPress”, or “I backed up my website database last night”. I wanted to publish articles people might find helpful. I wasn’t sure what interest people, who wanted to find out more about how the Oscar nomination process worked, or etiquette at a classical music recital, would have in stuff meta.

Some people might argue these two examples are informational, or magazine style, posts. Not the sort of thing that belongs on a personal website. But the distinction possibly lies in the definition of a personal website. One of my first websites was a personal website, but not the very first. Instead, it was a web fiction series (emphasis on fiction), a collaboration with a friend. At that point, I saw the web as, among other things, a story telling platform.

In other words, anything other than a platform for publishing diary-like posts. Who could possibly be interested in that, I thought. But after seeing others doing it, I eventually followed suit, and started publishing an online journal. By the time the web fiction series came to an end, I had two websites, one personal — which included my online journal — and the other more magazine-like, that I called Channel Static. But I’m not sure how much “value” Channel Static really added to anything.

This was all in 1997, 1998 though. I don’t think it was until 2007, when I re-invented disassociated as a WordPress website, that value really came into the equation. But not at first. There was much meta-stuff going on. WordPress version this, WordPress version that. There was a whole lot of blogging about blogging also. A lot of that may have been me channelling the zeitgeist though.

Blogging was taking off in 2007. There were people making a full time living through their blogs. It was an exciting time to be blogging alive. Despite running a magazine website that was still meant to be a personal website, in so much as it was mine, it was near nigh impossible to ignore what was happening in what we called the blogosphere.

The 2009 catch cry to “add value” was more of a wake-up call to me to get more serious about what I published here. Even if the message had been intended for the twitterati. But the next person’s interpretation of “adding value” is their call to make. If you feel you achieve that through informational, magazine style, publishing on your personal website, well that’s fine. Exactly the same goes for meta, and blogging about blogging, posts.

They’re not called personal websites for nothing: they’re there for you to do whatever you choose.


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