On Hope for the Rise of the Medium Form Enthusiast

I’ve written in some self-hosted, logware-enabled space in my corner of the Internet since March 2001. In the various incarnations of my site(s), I’ve done a number of things, and I had a reasonable C-list ranking at one time. That and $5 got me overpriced coffee at Starbucks. 1 As a result of having written in this personal-publishing space for this time, I’ve seen fads come and go and participated in many of them. I feel that I found my voice somewhere along the way, and at this point, I really don’t care if it’s popular or not. My target audience is usually a future version of me who wants to know what I was thinking at the time.

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Last night, Stephen and I briefly discussed personal publishing, and we approached the topic at a way better than I had in the past, where I was arguing for all things to be new again. 2 He noted that Twitter has killed the linkblog, and I agreed: if I find a link interesting enough to pass along, I send it to Twitter and/or post it on Facebook.3 I ended delicious-powered daily link roundups here back in late October, and I’ve heard no complaint. 4 Simply put, using this as a source to aggregate links has ceased being useful for me, so I just don’t do it.

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That leaves me with the question of what happens going forward, both for this space and for personal-publishing in general. I think it’s going to end up be a push for medium-form enthusiasm. For me, there are things that interest me, things that I will write about enthusiastically because I’m interested in them and really care. Recent examples: wanting the Bengals to cut Carson Palmer, my frustration with the various NCAA/professional eligibility standards, putting election results in proper perspective, and thoughts on preventing concussions in football. Driving back from Birmingham one day this week, I developed a tagline for this attitude: “Whatever Interests Me, Whenever I Feel Like Writing.”

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For me, I’ve largely stopped caring about any particular entry’s popularity, or the site as a whole. I think that this is informed by discussions with Stephen, who is the LOLTrek guy. Stephen has written a lot of funny things over the years, and while I think that LOLTrek is pretty funny5, I would argue that he’s written funnier and more interesting things. But LOLTrek got popular through a unique confluence of incoming links6, and you just can’t plan that. Right now, I’m happy if I’ve made someone think with something that I’ve written7.

  1. If you want me to enjoy it, make it a quad venti mocha, but only before noon, because I don’t want to be awake until 0300. 

  2. That’s pretty darn unlikely. 

  3. I will admit to posting it on Facebook if it will antagonize people who presume that I’m still my Young Republican self from a decade ago. 

  4. I’ve also since migrated from delicious to Pinboard, which is focused on providing value to the user and not for the “social graph”. 

  5. I re-read the macros once I’d grabbed the link 

  6. Said confluence brought my server to its knees and had me wanting to throw things at Stephen, but his daughter was born that week, and … yeah. 

  7. But I will probably look at the stats on this entry.