this blog is over because i believe giving away free content is disingenuous and blogging no longer fulfills my explicit ends. i am switching to a subscription newsletter.if it is worth it to you, fabulous - the content is going to be very good and very frequent, if not, no worries in the least. sign up at http://letter.ly/lessin, $1.99 a month.
i decided to start blogging with very deliberate ends in mind in the very end of 2008:
a. understanding the medium: i strongly believed that it was an important medium to understand and that the only way i would really 'get' it would be to make a serious commitment to it.
b. an audit-able trail on the web for defense and offense: i wanted to make sure that i had somewhat of an audit-able mouthpiece in the public web, mostly because i personally found that if you don't own your own identity, others are more than happy to hijack it and use it for their own ends (no bitterness/all is fair in love and war, just requiring clear and deliberate countermeasures).
c. personal intellectual rigor: i thought that i was letting myself get a bit lazy/sloppy in my thinking and i thought that forcing myself to take a public position would force me to hone my positions to a defensible position.
d. communicative margin: i thought that there was 'margin' in the medium... meaning, more people that i cared about read and took blogs seriously per-unit of work/input. you could free-ride off the fact that a lot of wonderful people have 50 tabs open on their macbooks, and there wasn't that much interesting being said on the tube.
all this said, in my first post i tried to be very upfront about my ends and stated that my 'blog' wouldn't be a pure stream of things i actually necessarily believe, but rather that which i want to have on record in the public web for my own ends -- there is a difference.
i am done with blogging personally. a little over two years later, it no longer serves the purposes outlined above, and even beyond that i find writing for an open audience is actually exceedingly disingenuous if not straight hypocritical given my strong belief in the value of information.
a. understanding the medium: 'blogging' as a medium is quickly being out-moted by passive and active data-streams. i understood what i needed to understand, i don't need to understand more about it. i am not turning off facebook in the least (though i will not be putting 'high value' content through it specifically because the value of information is inversely related to how public it is), but the highest value thoughts need not be public for the sake of exploration anymore.
b. an audit-able trail on the web for defense and offense: i have what i feel i need for now. i will occasionally need a mouthpiece, but i believe i can generate that when needed through other channels
c. personal intellectual rigor: still critical, but sharing ideas at a high velocity with a set of people i respect through other written means will serve the purpose just as well... i do think that forcing yourself to write down and refine is critical
d. communicative margin: it is gone. there is no margin left in blogging (nor is there margin left in twitter/fb status potentially)... the flight pattern is too full, you don't get any prizes anymore for showing up, and the people i really respect/want to share ideas with have mostly stopped reading blogs.
so, i will continue to update this log from time to time when there is something that i explicitly want google to crawl for the purposes of public record -- but it will be very infrequent... and i will never update my blog without first distributing a much deeper and more nuanced version to those on the newsletter.
switching to a premium subscription newsletter makes sense to me because:
a. the format allows me to say more interesting things: i can control the distribution of my writing to a much higher degree than i can on the web
b. driven by gmail, the inbox means something new, and people want stuff there: i used to believe that the inbox was sacred and nothing but the most critical email should ever be sent. gmail has fundamentally changed the medium. the inbox is still sacred, but it is so easy to control on the consumption end that there is no longer the same need to control it on the publishing end.
c. personal intellectual rigor ++ : delivering information to the inboxes of people i truly respect means that i can't get away with half truths / linguistic games. i need to truly believe what i say before i hit send and i love that characteristic.
d. share ideas with people i care about, and everyone else can signal interest/commitment: again, basically because i control distribution i can give people content that i want to give content to. anyone i don't know is free to signal real commitment to think about/comment back by paying. no slackers allowed.
e. real feedback: i know who is getting my material and who is reading it in this format, so i can ask questions.
f. obviously, i enjoy siding with rupert: i do, i love experimenting with a contrarian angle... after all, who doesn't deep down?
so, yes - the old is new again. i am starting a paid newsletter... and only a small fraction of the rationale is irony. from now on the commentary that used to find a home here will be distributed to your inbox. you can sign up at http://letter.ly/lessin and it will cost $1.99 a month.... and of course, if you want to sell your own newsletter - letter.ly is set up for that, because why build one when you can build two for twice the price.
, nice experiment, i'll like to join but not sure if you pln to allow custom domains on the service.