First up, a big Happy Birthday to Matt Mullenweg! Matt is the creative spark behind WordPress and the open-source movement it remains a founding pillar of. He won’t remember, but Matt and I met once when he came to a WordCamp here in Birmingham, and we’ve traded a comment online a couple of times over the years. His work is impressive, and he has an incredibly reassuring worldview that will help you enjoy the internet (and the people sharing) a little more. If you run across an interview with him, it will be worth a read or listen. Cheers to you, Matt!
For his birthday, Matt asked, “Publish a post. About anything! It can be long or short, a photo or a video, a quote, or a link to something interesting. Don’t sweat it. Just blog.” Matt’s birthday wish highlights something I’ve been thinking about… blogging. I started this blog many years ago because I wanted to talk about books and publishing, and I live in Alabama (not exactly the center of the publishing universe).
Twice during the last holiday season, I was asked something along the lines of “You blog? Why on earth would you blog?” In this day of near-single-button-push online publishing, I can see where they were coming from. But while the difference between blogging and social media may seem like just a sliver, it’s much wider.
I have zero data here, but it’s been my experience that most folks on social platforms just stay busy saying, “Look at me” and “Let’s just make noise.” Meanwhile, the bloggers I keep up with are more about sharing their interests and are focused on their passions. We tend our blogrolls like gardens. They feel like real endorsements and not just raw numbers to show off follower counts (that sounds snarkier than I mean it). It’s nice “owning” your own space outside of most algorithms, though Google changes can feel heavy at times. Though maybe I’m just old?
I have no idea why all of the above feels so true to me. I’m sure Matt Mullenweg knows and has already given a couple of talks on it.
There are a few new newsletter options that seem to be in the spirit of WordPress and blogging, but there are still issues with the service providers, discoverability, etc. So far, blogging still best straddles the fence of ‘easy to do’ yet having just the slightest amount of friction to keep most of the super bad guys out of the space. Of course, maybe all this only pertains to book bloggers. I dunno.
No matter… you should blog. Whatever you’re passionate about. And if that happens to be books, then leave a comment. I know we’d get along. So, Happy New Year! Here’s to looking ahead and another fun year of blogging. As Mullenweg says, “Don’t sweat it. Just blog.” Have fun!