To a new year of blogging

The 52nd post of 2022 never managed to get out of my draft list. This blog finished the year with 51 new posts — with too many mentioning you know who — which amounts to almost one post per week, and this makes me happy. If I managed to top that in 2023, I would be over the moon.

There are now 257 posts in the archive of this site, an average of 20 posts per year: this makes 2022 an especially good year, and I think deleting my Twitter account back in April deserves a good amount of credit.1

But there is also another reason that I managed to write almost twice as much as usual last year: blogging seems to have a little momentum, once again, and this one feels different than its previous underwhelming and eventually disappointing comebacks.

Colin Devroe observing that blogging is alive and well on his blog:2

Oh man am I happy! People that hadn’t written on their blog in a long time are blogging again. Websites that hadn’t been updated in many years, some over a decade, are being spruced up and published to again. And popular news outlets are publishing articles about blogging.

Of course, those of us that have kept our focus on blogging know that blogging never died. The activity of publishing just moved around from platform to platform. In some cases behind a wall like on Facebook and Instagram, in others, into data silos where the content couldn’t flow out onto the open web like Twitter.

Very good read by Devroe. There is indeed a trend or momentum when it comes to publishing content nowadays, with closed platforms being less attractive than before.

I suspect the renewed popularity of newsletters is also a reason behind this trend. For instance, over the past 5 years or so, we’ve seen many journalists move to Substack in a quest for being independent and rely on an open technology — emails — instead of being too dependent on unpredictable platforms, algorithms, and social media.

Like email, the web itself is also an open technology, and owning your own little corner of internet feels reassuring, durable, and more like home than social platforms like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. This is still not for everybody though. Devroe summarises this well:

Having your own personal website is still not as easy as signing up to Instagram. And the fear of publishing to a blog paralyzes some people. However, the advantages to having your own website are myriad. You own it. The content that is on it can be visible to everyone on the web. The fate of your blog isn’t tied to the fate of a public or venture backed company. Etc.

One of my biggest regrets of the last twenty years is to not have kept one of my first blogs alive somewhere.3 I clearly remember having a MSN Spaces blog back in 2005, and then a very active Posterous blog circa 2008–2009, filled with cool links I wanted to share with the world, and not just my Facebook friends. I was young and I didn’t think it would be worth saving when Twitter killed the service, hoping that people would be tweeting on their platform instead of blogging on the open web; I know I did.

More than a decade later, I’m glad to write these lines in this blog that I own, mostly made of text files saved on my computer. I plan to continue writing and sharing more nonsense for decades to come, and I cannot encourage you enough to do the same. You don’t need much: these four things should be enough. Still not convinced? Maybe this website will do the trick.

Here’s to a new year of blogging. Happy 2023 everyone.

  1. Having a great text editor surely helped a little too.↩︎

  2. I stumbled upon this post tonight through a post by Manton Reece, via my RSS reader. How beautiful is that?↩︎

  3. The great couldn’t help me much, hélas.↩︎