Wednesday, November 30, 2022

✿ share your blog here! ✿

 please comment the url of your blog here and anything youd like to share about it!

if you can't comment because you don't have a google account or want to be anonymous, consider sharing it on the google doc here instead

✿ reasons to blog

  • every word when you blog, no matter how throwaway, is a beautiful ode and capsule to the life you live. it's magical that what once was private and precious can be shared intimately and still be precious. i love it when i read viscerally raw and honest things about this world, even if naive or childish — i love documented encounters of struggle, introspection, renewal, mundane, feelings. writing about the small to large  a casual blog entry is as important as the text in a novel
    • that is, when i see someone articulate, even in passing, a 'naive' feeling or a thought i had when going through life it feels far less lonely. sometimes i write and lament that no one has ever felt this way and realize that this is so far from the truth, that there are others who appreciate my line of thinking and want to feel it out with me.
    • knowing how you felt and judged a moment is going to be harder and harder the farther you've departed from it, so blog and stay a while

  • blogging as self-preservation. 
    blogging preserves a feeling, thought, idea, or any other form of entry in a space of your own making. if you 'publish' it in some form, it might offer you a mode of legitimizing the thought. a post is always changeable and can flicker between whatever you decide is worth sharing versus 'a draft' (though i would challenge those conventions too, i often like to write blog posts 'in public'). say you even keep everything in the drafts. most blogging platforms allow you to revisit different versions of your piece, as any good writing platform allows, and that is also a rich act of self-preservation – what was your writing process like? what did the different 'published' versions of your writing look like? and when you blog, do you trust that it will be there years later?

  • wonder "who will the author be? and what will he write?". when i asked what people were interested in discussing re: blogs, brian left this wonderful thought. worry less about audience and the 'worth' of publishing something – blogging is an act for yourself. you can assume different identities, objectives, and selves at any moment. which one will you take?

  • your own platform, your own world. why blog instead of writing for a bigger magazine or newspaper? not talking about the big newspapers – even a smaller journal might be intimidating. why not join an existing platform or institution? for one, you might just want to blog and share. an existing space might not fit the mood and process you would like to have on your own space. maybe it's also about distribution – the vibe might not be to have millions read your entry, or you wouldn't like to have someone else edit over your words or have a deadline (though you can definitely impose that for your own personal blog if you'd like too). on your own self-published platform, you own the rules and modes for distribution.

  • "the world is understood through narrative. all meaning comes to us as stories. we can take control of these stories to create our own meaning and form new myths. fragments of stories and half-remembered truths form constantly rewritten histories and articulate new and possible futures." gavin wade

  • and it doesn't have to contain fully-fleshed texts. some of my favorite blogs primarily work around photo or even sound. a journal can contain logs, receipts, sketches, one-liners, messy videos, digicam photo dumps, shots of movies and things youve liked that you yourself didnt necessarily make, playlists, shopping lists, etc – it's as simple as pulling up your phone and selecting snippets from your camera roll and voice memos and writing a few words. putting together mixed media reels is so fun. all these little clippings speak to life, after all

  • it's nice to have a blank slate. as opposed to a long feed and a wall of other content you might begin comparing yourself to as much as you try not to, as opposed to a place with defined conventions that will have you start worrying about how much you post and when you post and what is in what you post... how often do you see a blank slate or page? what does it offer you? how might you lean into it?

other notes on blogging

  1. a blog doesn't ever have to be finished
  2. a blog doesn't only have to contain your own words
  3. a blog can be ephemeral, you can have several blogs, you can kill many blogs at any time, you can revive it at any time
  4. a blog doesn't have to be consistent – never let this stop you
  5. a blog doesn't have to have any expectations
  6. a blog doesn't have to be chronological - what if you arrange blogs by topic and continuously edit the post? or your setup is 1-3 posts that you persistently make?
  7. a blog doesn't have to be for anyone but yourself, even if it lives publicly – blogging for yourself tends to be the most authentic way to connect to others, anyway

prompts for blogs

  • a blog that contains every note app entry that is at least 6 months old (so it won't ever be a revealing one you use all the time; might be weird throwaway one-offs)
  • a blog written for a very specific audience, like a certain group of friends
  • a blog for a specific interest, like your progression through a videogame/show or documenting birding trips or travel or the playlists you've curated (because the spotify description is not enough!). have several blogs for different interests.
  • a blog that is the digital version of a physical notebook/sketchbook you have. simply mirror everything onto it by scanning/taking photos of it and (in probably very delayed fashion) put it on your blog
  • a blog that contains longer form thoughts that you can link to under tweets/posts
  • a blog that substitutes or complements an existing specific-use account on another platform, like a blog for logging cloud pics or to have longform thoughts to add to your fan account or getting off letterboxd because you don't like the social features / community too much and writing all your reviews there instead.

on privacy

comes two-fold,
  1. in how you write: what is in the content you share? some people openly recount their days, say the names of their friends, talk deeply about what happens in their personal life and what they think about. you can be as ambiguous as you'd like, assume a pen name in your writing, publish a piece long after it has happened, write about your life non-chronologically. be cautious in how much you'd like to share, even if the audience in a blog might be more intimate, which brings me to...

  2. in who you share it to. in the way we have (some) control over how to gate our social media accounts (like how we have close friends stories and finstas and an even deeper close friends story on the finsta), there are many ways to think about how to gate audience with blogs. you can make a password-protected blog (share it with friends, give it out randomly) or never directly link to it – public but hidden adds a dimension of friction that i find is sufficient for lots of the writing i share (i want people to be sufficiently invested enough in me to read it). less common, you can completely make your blog hidden except to select readers by giving your friends a specific login tied to their email (as opposed to a password that might be passed around) on certain platforms, like invite-only blogs on blogger or ones you can only read if you follow the other person like on tumblr. this isn't of course foolproof, but adds so much friction that it might as well be locked with a little plastic key. 

    the audience of a blog is also inherently interesting because, unlike a newsletter or social media feed, one has to intentionally click to or type your URL to get to your blog. they won't know when there's something new unless you say it (i rarely share when i have a new piece of writing) or unless they have RSS set up (more on that later). while some blogging platforms have likes/follower counts/etc you can also blog without these engagement markers at all – that invisibility is kind of wonderful. i turn off my wordpress view counters but do track them, and maybe look at them once every two years and am blown away by the amount of people who silently consume things. with the way you write, you might also be more welcoming to people who engage: and how do they engage, are they compelled to email you or dm you or comment right below your post? 

    you can play with this idea more too. what if the page whites out if more than x people looked at it each day? what if there was a queue to read your blog? what if your blog was only open to the public for a few days a week? you can use some real-world gating mechanisms or come up with your own.

what are your own thoughts?

✿ things to think about when blogging ✿

✿ What would you like to blog about?

✿ Who would you like to blog with?

✿ Why are you interested in blogging? Why not anything else?

✿ What does a 'blog' mean to you – how would you define it?

✿ How are you going to name your blog? How about your entries? How are you going to name the author of your blog?

✿ What is the purpose of this blog going to be? Who is it for? Does 'purpose' or 'meaning' matter here, even? If so, how?

✿ What would you like people (including yourself) to take away from your blog posts?

✿ Will you look back?

✿ Does this blog treasure the mundane? How does it think about nothingness? What is worthy of being written about?

✿ Who are you in conversation with here? How do you converse with yourself? Who is the self you're speaking to?

✿ When is a blog post finished? When is the whole blog finished?

✿  Should you write in the open? Or will you only publish when you deem something 'finished'? Does 'finished' have a meaning here?

✿  What do you absolutely not want your blog to be like?

✿ When are you going to set aside time and space to blog? What are the conditions you need to blog?

✿ Does setting rules for yourself help you? What constraints do you want to set on your blog? What contexts should the blog operate in? Do you want it to be ephemeral or persisting? A specific log for a trip or for a summer, for example? Do you want to only write for it when at a certain location? To publish a minimum or maximum of words/photos/videos?

✿  How do you think about time and chronology with your blog? Is it going to be linear?

✿ How would you like to structure your blog? Would you like to tag, categorize, or filter your blog posts? Or, what structures do you not want to be constricted by?

✿  Should you have one blog for all your notes, or would you like to create several ones? What identities will you assume for each?

✿ Would you like to customize your blog? What kind of space or environment would you like your blog to take in?

✿ What should people feel before, while, and after reading?

✿  Is your blog an open door? How do you welcome people in? Do you expect people to frequent or come back?

✿  Who do you write for?

✿  Who will you try to be, as a writer? Which fragment of yourself would you like to present?

✿  Is your audience the people you know? For people you don't know? A mix of in-between?

✿ How do you want people to find your blog?

✿ What space, platform, and/or tools do you need for you to feel secure and safe in sharing the content of your choosing?

✿ Do you want people to engage with you? Do you want to check stats or metrics?

✿  Would you be comfortable with your friends talking to you about your blog? How should they bring it up?

✿  How do you want people to engage with your blog?

✿  How are you going to talk to your blog?

✿  Is the blog precious?

✿ How will you preserve and archive your blog? Will you mirror its contents anywhere?

(if you didn't attend the live session, a lot of these questions were discussed.. everyone has their own answers, experiences, and preferences. think of what you care for, the experience you'd like, and the environment you'd like to find yourself in.)

other lovely notes on writing and blogging:

Laurel Schwulst's 'To write, I first must world'
laurel treats blogs as 'notebooks', a way to frame blogs as less precious and more context-specific. laurel has a notebook that she only writes on using her e-ink typewriter, and another that is only used when in motion, for instance.

Filtered for the miracle writing
one of matt webb's collection of loose thoughts on writing 

Making as thinking

"To think you have to write.

If you're thinking without writing, you only think you're thinking."

✿ Can you think about these as you begin blogging? Go! Go!

✿ model blogs

my blog
i've been maintaining since 2016 and it has contained a mix of reviews, journal entries, updates/process on things i've made. i never delete or archive anything and i've gained a lot from sharing here

a blog for sound
The best book is the unwritten book is a collection of field recordings and voice memos interspersed with diary entries, lectures, scans, etc. it's self-coded

brock's room diary is just (like four) images/scans of diary entries on a guy's interesting website. i found out about this because he uploads rare alex g videos

a blog as a garden
honestly a blog can just be a collection of links and resources, like alex lucia's on i love how it's presented and bits of entries like the twitter poems section or her kaomoji list that is also just adapted from elsewhere.

an overwhelming log
music review world loves stuff like, a richly prolific self-published collection of music reviews. more than having to make a name for yourself in rate your music or some other world, it's deeply intense to have so much reviews, personal curations/takes on history & evolution of music, etc. controlled by you – and that's why it's so awe-inspiring and that's why you'd be a joke to not take him seriously

another lovely, long collection of writing from a technologist at the way people in this domain write is different: technical blog posts being commonplace means there's an encouraged practice of simply restating and re-explaining anything in the world in your own terms/words – which i think is such a key act. 

bill wurtz' notebook
it begins with and that's all you need. entries are dead simple one-liners like above blogs
another semi-private form of publishing that i abandoned after a bit to just share news about my work.. a nother very interesting inhernetly multimedia platform to share on, and you can see how other people connect and build up:

tumblr blogs
they are still very good

i love this mirror of pete wentz' live journal. the one from fall out boy

i love blogs notebooks journals logs digital gardens lists etc


what are your own favorites?

✿ where to blog! some blogging platforms

the best platform is the one that allows you to blog

remember that the blog you create can be ephemeral and temporary. you can archive it and transfer it at any time you like. what matters is that you have a space to write and to share it in the way you'd like.

if you still have trouble deciding on a platform after looking through this brief list, feel free to comment and share what you have in mind.

~ ~ ~

some of these platforms tend to take on 'traditional' blogging formats. try to ignore that and blog as you please. 

it's your choice to activate/care about engagement/comments; to explore non-linear blogs (what if you wrote topic-based entries that you constantly updated as opposed to time-based ones like on regular chronological blogs); to try to blog with friends & others (you can simply share an account, or there are some platforms like that natively support multiple authors); you should consider how you write/where and what tools and workflows allow you to get there. you might use two different platforms: one to actually get words down (like pen & paper, your notes app, gdocs, or ms word) and another one to share your thoughts at. you might have different audiences in mind that work for different blogging platforms: you might want to make a specific type of network of friends in one, and have another blog be dedicated to close friends & family and have a lot more friction to find.

it's all up to you — hopefully these questions get you thinking

~ ~ ~ is easier to set-up: it's a site builder that essentially gives you a free [yourblog] url – though has a lot more constraints; you need to pay to remove ads or access plugins – which sucks. it has a lot of rich themes and community support though, and is very unlikely to go down. is a free, open-source version of the blogging platform that you can download for free with all features unlocked (minus plugins and themes made by third-parties that you have to pay for). you need a webhost like namecheap (what i use); oftentimes these webhosts have a software manager called 'softaculous' built into their control panel that will make installation very easy – you wouldn't have to download anything, just click to set it up.

these might be some of the most common names across blogging platforms – but they're a bit tricky to understand.

~ has social features, but a lot of antiquated ones (like gravatar and 'likes' being linked to any account and honestly looking a bit spammy) as well. 
- is complicated


blogger/blogspot (what this is hosted on)

+ free
+ very customizable, control over look (you can learn html/css to make this more powerful)
+ decent mobile support (i use blogg, a third-party ios app that makes it work perfectly and uploading photo/video is honestly better on this app than on the actual site)
+ comments, social features are built-in, you can have an invite-only or password protected blog. you can see stats if youd like
~ tied to google account (note that google might kill it, but its been alive for decades so maybe not)
~ you can have as many as you want
~ looks ancient, which might be something youre into

+ very clean editor, minimal and focused on writing
~ you need an access code so you might not be able to get it right during this workshop
- not very customizable, the very clean/white/kinda sterile look is something youre stuck to

also similar to:


another very classic, old school kind of journal site that has been around for quite a while

+ free
+ based on livejournal codebase
+ very customizable, lots of templates (albeit dated) you can build off of
+ social features


+ free
+ VERY CUSTOMIZABLE: you have so many themes to build on top off and you can add pages to your tumblr blog that use the theme or RAW HTML which feels a bit unprecedented
+ you can have multiple blogs and urls and add custom domains, super mixed media
+ fun social features like submissions and q&a 
+ built-in archive, tagging/search system which is decent if 
~ has a feed if you don't like those kinds of things, but you can treat it completely separate from that
- can't remove the social features and overlays on your blog (but this is true for many other platforms, the reblog/follow is just a bit more glaring on tumblr)
- text editor kinda sucks for long form


+ customizable, very good templates offered – you will need some html/css knowledge to really bend the templates 
~ no social features or metrics to worry about, unless you choose to add your own
~ free for students or nonprofits (if you need a promo code let me know and i can try to help!)
- hard to use on mobile
- not as optimized for blogs but you can use it for it easily too; this is not a blog but the wbru radio station is built with cargo has lovely blog pages for news entries

you can also consider simple site builders like...

you can explore digital garden platforms...

other platforms to try

  • montaigne: create a blog from any of your apple notes. you can have multiple sites and all you need to do is connect your apple id – im currently trying this!
  • substack: i know this is the '''future''' of blogging because now you can directly email readers and it goes to their inboxes etc but i dont consider it the same. i do follow many substack blogs and theyre building so many nice features that its hard to let go of this - but i still dont like how it commodifies audience and im averse to the format of newsletter in general (even if you can read the ''archive'' its not what its optimized for and its so much less configurable than id like)
  • google docs: what if your blog was just a google docs. can turn comments/suggestions on. not joking!
  • nicheless: a minimal microblogging platform like twitter, but capped at 300 words.
  • a habit tracker that allows you to make multiple notebooks/journals with a beautiful rich text editor. it's mostly gamified through 'streaks' that encourage you to set a goal (eg post everyday or post every 3 days) – but you can ignore this and treat it like a social or private log that is very simple to use and update.
  • a popular connection-building and archival social site with mobile apps. media (of any kind, from pdfs to text to videos) are treated as 'blocks' that you can place into 'channels'. you can connect blocks to any number of channels, and channels to other channels. is wonderful because it largely attracts artists/creators/academics, so the curation of content (unlike pinterest) is incredibly thoughtful and provocative (we are very biased but for good reason).  

what other platforms do you recommend?

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

✿ what is rss?

RSS is a standardized form of web feed that takes the form of an .xml file; lots of blog-focused platforms autogenerate and autoupdate these feed files with content, timestamps, etc that can then be fed into a reader to present the content in a digestible manner.

blogs might be intimidating: how do you keep up with a ton of different URLs? do you have to bookmark them and remember to visit them? or wait for your friend to tell you when there's a new update? unlike social media platforms that have predictable forms for their content, blogs take so many different shapes and forms and content streams! the standardized form of RSS then lets us then use RSS readers to make our own self-curated selection of content from blogs and other content platforms of our choosing.

as long as the blogs you're interested in provide an RSS feed, you can now keep track of each one's new posts in one digestible stream. you can also keep track of news sites, twitters, subreddits, facebook pages, publications, and podcasts with RSS - among others. it's not just useful for blogs!

.xml files look like this, which is terrifying. this blog's RSS feed can be found at (for any blogger blog, just swap in this blog's title in that URL to access your own RSS feed).

rss reader

now that we know RSS feeds provide a standardized form of presenting real-time content updates from our blogs, we need to find a way to actually read these. 

(a lot of these readers offer pricing plans, but the free tier should be enough for most casual cases. for example, feedly is free to follow up to 100 feeds.)

I mostly read blogs on my desktop and browse with Chrome. I use Feeder that pops up a modal of the newest blog posts (ignore my terrifying notification count) that I click through to view and read the post on the site itself (because I like seeing the customization of each blog and remembering who the author is and their latest posts — rather than seeing content in a silo).

with the feeder extension, visiting any RSS feed page (the scary blob of plaintext above) actually prompts you to add it to the reader – so it's super easy to use and navigate. you can also see a list of all the blogs you follow and your favorite ones.

(chrome extension, desktop, mobile)


the most popular rss reader is feedly; very similar to feeder in terms of the platforms it's available on (though my screenshot is only its desktop site). you can have several boards and folders to organize everything you follow (as opposed to just one massive list), see a stream of all posts for each blog, mark things to be read later/as favorites. there's also some interesting social features.

the most terrifying thing to me is knowing how many other people follow my blog, which is at least just 9 here

(chrome extension, desktop, mobile)


another popular option is inoreader – very similar to feedly. it also doubles down on discovery, suggesting you a lot of similar streams if you'd like to seek that out.

(chrome extension, desktop, mobile)

do you have a better explanation of RSS? mine really sucked
what RSS reader do you use? how do you like to read?
how can an RSS reader still respect the character of each blog – especially if one our interests in moving away from centralized social networks is to have more agency in look, feel, and environment? which RSS reader provides you the reading experience that best balances efficiency/clarity and feel for you?

Monday, November 28, 2022

✿ what are webrings? and how to join them

 back before follower/following lists with strange politics was the magic act of discovering pages by just vouching for other people and following trails of links. there was a sense of magic to this act; i used to make pokemon fansites that would have a version of this called 'affiliates' and 'sister sites' - we'd make up requirements like 'have at least 5 pages of substantial content!!' to deem a site as worthy of being our affiliate, then stick a button (commonly 88x31) linking to them.

this was one of my first buttons! i animated it myself in paint, using a "gif maker" site to put the images together lmao

and a hand-drawn type over bokeh with soft light soft rounded brush colors at the background for my site a few years later

this website is part of several webrings

webrings are like circular structures of 'affiliate links'; sites will have a webring section where you can see "next" "previous" and sometimes "random" buttons that take you around the circularly-linked ring of sites for you to continue hopping and discovering each site. clicking on the main webring might bring you to the webring's site, where you can see a full index of all sites part of them and perhaps the manifesto/story about the ring. they tend to have common themes that unite the sites under them. 

once you join a webring (and whoever maintains it adds your site to the directory), it's generally as easy as copy-and-pasting a few snippets of code.

these handmade, intimate, more homegrown blogs are more niche nowadays — so if you want a network and community (which is one of the strongest reasons to have a public blog), a webring might be a great way to start feeling part of a larger network of likeminded blog owners. here are some webrings that you can explore:
  • yesterweb webring: channeling the ethos of the early web. "This webring is for anyone who is tired of how boring and same-y the internet is today. It's for anyone who is sick of seeing websites used purely to drive monetization, informative blogs that ask you to subscribe to see content. If you believe that the internet is being wrongly controlled by capitalism, or that social interaction online should be more than it currently is on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, then you belong here."
  • low tech webring: homepages of people interested in low teech, small game tools, and other forms of web 1.0 inspired creativity inspired by olia lialina and the low tech magazine.
  • xxiivv webring: for artists & developers who have made handcrafted wikis and portfolios
each webring defines their own process on how to 'join' them, usually dictated by the webring manager(s). sometimes it's about making a direct github pull request (where the code for the webring is hosted) that just involves adding your link in, sometimes there's an application involved.

to find more, try hopping through the sites there and seeing what other webrings they might be a part of... you never know where you'll end up.

outside of webrings...
you can also just link to blogs you'd like without expectation of them linking back to you in return, start commenting on other blogs you find interesting, etc... while this is an age-old practice, don't feel like you need to buy into it if it's not for you. :)

more about webrings:

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