Reflections on the blog

In the late 2000s, I used to run a moderately successful Swedish blog about technology – Softtype – which no longer exists. Around 2011, I lost interest and stopped doing it. This new blog is my first real attempt at blogging in a decade.

That decade has given me some valuable perspective on blogging as a whole. I have a clearer idea of what makes for good content, and I’ve realized that you can’t write about something in the long term unless you’re really passionate about it.

That’s what I want to write about in this post. It seems early for a “state of the blog”, seeing as how I’ve just started it, so consider it more of a “state of my blogging” from 2008 until now, with special focus on my new blog.

Content

In terms of content, I think a blog like mine has to strike a balance between more philosophical and more practical posts. While practical posts are more useful, they often feel a bit shallow. I feel like a couple of my OS X posts are like that. They’re useful information, but more tutorials than blog posts, really.

On the other hand, philosophical posts, while having the potential to be deep and interesting, are rarely very useful from a practical standpoint. Sometimes, they just serve to stir up emotion; in some sense, I think my post about using old computers is like that. It’s gotten the blog a lot of traffic, though, and I’m grateful for that!

But the perfect blog post, in my opinion, should be both philosophical and practical. It should open the mind to new ways of thinking, in a very straightforward, pragmatic way. Of all my posts so far, I think the one about AppleScripts for the OS 9 Finder has succeeded best in this regard.

To apply that idea to this blog post, I’ll include a small tip that I find helps me with the wording of post titles: use the imperative mood instead of the present participle. For example:

  • Restore Leopard-like Exposé in Snow Leopard” instead of restoring
  • Stream audio from iOS to Snow Leopard via AirPlay” instead of streaming

A lot of titles involve a verb, especially when it comes to more practical posts, and reading -ing over and over again gets old.

WordPress

After experimenting with alternatives (including a short venture to build my own blog engine), I settled for WordPress as the back end for the blog. I was initially worried that the admin interface would be slow or unusable in older browsers, but it turns out that it’s still not too bad, as long as you re-enable the classic editor.

My reason for choosing WordPress is simply that, in terms of pure function, it is unparalleled. It just works, and it works very well. Looking around, there frankly doesn’t seem to any real (free) alternative. WordPress gives me so much for free. Out of the box, I can use MarsEdit to write and edit posts. I get pingbacks and trackbacks and threaded comments.

WordPress is big enough to be described as a monopoly, and a monopoly comes with monopoly benefits – most importantly, stability. I’m happy to say that the WordPress of 2021 is still pretty similar to the WordPress I learned to love in the 2000s.

As you can see, I use the old default theme for WordPress. This is a deliberate choice! Here’s how I’m thinking: Because the default theme is so recognizable, most visitors will immediately see that this is a blog. This means they will also understand that there are other posts they can read, that they can leave comments on posts and that they can subscribe to the blog via RSS. This is a big benefit, both for them and for me.

Future

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogging, and really any type of content creation, it’s that it’s best to keep your plans about the future to yourself, because the majority of the plans that humans make don’t work out. That said, personal computing is a topic that is dear to my heart, and it is hard for me to imagine that I would cease to have things to say about it.

Whether anyone reads it is another question. Blogs sure seem dead, at least in comparison to the 2000s. But who knows – maybe they aren’t as dead as they seem.

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