Peter's Web Site

20 years of blogging... continues

written by Peter Wang on 2016-09-14

This lektor-based system is my Nth iteration at a personal blog over almost 20 years.

My first blog involved editing raw HTML every day in the summer of 1997, so that my college friends could keep track of my antics at my internship in Los Alamos. After I graduated, I tried a variety of blog software like Movable Type, which I used for a few years. Then I gave up on blogging because I was too busy, and I mostly emailed myself notes, and wrote long pieces in a private web bulletin board I ran with some friends. Then Facebook took over, and I didn't blog for a number of years. I continued to email myself long notes and proto-essays, but then adopted tools like OmniFocus and Evernote to track my thoughts. I also tried a variety of mind-mapping software but they all were just too awkward. A few years ago, after starting Continuum, I moved to a Wordpress.com site. I didn't have enough time to really blog, however.

Now, the confluence of several things has really given me a kick in the seat of my pants to get back into blogging.

First, I'm realizing that on a number of things, I have accumulated enough thoughtful experience, to have meaningful things to said, which mostly haven't been said before, or at least articulated in a particular way. As prolific as my textual output can be in private and work situations, I'm very picky about what I produce and publish for public consumption, to be enshrined in the digital archives for all eternity. I've read enough of my embarrassing childhood writings to be gunshy about potentially leaving a trail of embarrassment for my future self.

Second, I'm realizing that a lot of idiot voices on the Internet just get credence because they're there, and loud, and consistently saying stuff. People are remarking more often that my generation is the last generation to remember a time before The Internet. One of the implications of this is that my deep wiring is calibrated towards a time of information (and bandwidth) scarcity. Back then, it was important to minimize the noise, and be fastidious and deliberate in your output. Why would you clutter up the global information network with your meaningless drivel? Nowadays, we live in a world of information diabetes, and attention (and reader time) is the thing that is scarce. In this inverse context, things like authority and brand are the crucial things, because people don't have time to carefully filter and assess the firehose of information they have to choose from. In this case, the recency effect and basic brand recognition are the dominant tactics for winning influence and delivering your ideas to the world.

Third, I'm realizing that I need an outlet for my thoughts, and I am ready for feedback on a number of topics. My Evernote is now chock-full of half-baked writings and ideas, and if I don't start getting them out there, I will not be forced to polish and finish them, and I will never get external feedback to help evolve them further. Perfect is the enemy of the good here, because good can iterate and evolve.

So, I will start once again, and try to make a point about blogging regularly, and being OK with pieces being a work-in-progress. I will mostly be blogging about a few major areas, with sub-points that cover the "top of mind" topics for me. As of the second half of 2016, these include: