Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

The problem with blogging  §

these days is that blogging has been given over to the content management systems, like WordPress.

It takes multiple clicks and a bunch of pageloads before one is able to get anything out on the keyboard. This is heavy, extremely heavy. This is not conducive to thoughtflow. In order to justify this level of overhead, content must be correspondingly heavy. This leads to a tendency toward “article thinking,” as in writing of articles. Again, not conducive to thoughtflow.

Back in the day, I had a series of bash scripts. I would type:

diary

at the console, and up would pop an emacs window and I would pound out a few lines, save, and exit, and it would immediately go online as the next thing. In fact, the format was essentially that of Twitter in many ways. But, and this is an advantage, rather than a disadvantage, it was me and me alone, in “abstract public,” rather than “social” in a particular constructed tableau setting. The problem with social media is that it brings to bear social forces and social norms, which again condition behavior and are not conducive to thoughtflow.

What is needed is a single user twitter that does away with the 140 character limit and enables flexible styling.

That was the “blogging” model that worked for me. I wonder how many others it also worked for?

Even this, which is fairly lightweight in terms of styling and fairly stream-oriented in terms of UX, still suffers from all of the backend heaviness problems I just described. There are a couple of personal mobile device apps which get close, for example MomoNote for iOS, but the problem is that they are not oriented toward publication and sharing.

— § —

Make note, I am pointing toward a very specific position and set of properties here, one that is currently not available or supported by most software:

– Public, as in sharing
– Non-social, as in not explicitly oriented toward audience interpellation

The ability to publish and share without sharing to a specific group of people, that is to say, to “publicize in relative anonymity and asynchronicity” is a kind of publication that, when done in a lightweight fashion, enables thoughtflow as free of both overhead and social conditioning. It allows for the possibility and reality of publicness while, at the same time, not engineering it directly, but enabling it to emerge organically.

No, it is not emerging organically on social media, though some would argue that. Even if I have zero Twitter followers, the fact of the matter is that it is an entire platform for sharing and interpellation and as such, has implicit biases, properties, and outcomes that do not match those of, say, writing on a sidewalk in the dark, which is much more similar to the kind of blogging I am talking about.

In sidewalk terms, Twitter is rather like calling your friends, family, and the public to appear on your particular stretch of sidewalk at a particular place and time, writing on it, and then putting a spotlight there to shine into the sky and announce to the world that you have written something on that sidewalk, while also erecting lamps over it at night time and installing signs on surrounding city blocks to point out that you have, in fact, written something on the sidewalk.

Social media has the ethos of showmanship while blogging of the sort that I’m talking about has the ethos of mere exposure-in-place.

— § —

I don’t know if I can recreate or duplicate what used to exist for me. I’ve been trying for years with WordPress, Drupal, and a couple other CMS systems along with apps or email integrations or similar, but the fact is, it’s still to heavy, both on the backend UX side and on the frontend presentation side.

I’m tempted to return to shell scripts again, though this would imply that posting can be done only from my desktop.

Still, I see a need. Is there a way to serve it? I wonder.