Bring Back Blogging Info Join Current directory
Note: This page was last updated Jan 20, 2022. We received just over 700 submissions (!) and have gone through most of them. This was intended to be a small experiment and we are absolutely blown away by the enthusiasm (slash, overwhelmed!). We'll be updating with a curated list of our favorites sometime in February. Til then, please check out the directory.
Hi! Ash and Ryan here. In the twilight of Twitter, we’re running an experiment. Can we all bring back blogging, together? Artists, writers, inventors, tinkerers, illustrators, designers—all makers are welcome here.
For the month of January, we’ll make a pact to post a few times to get into the habit, and create a directory of all the creators who participate. Readers can then find new makers to follow before we all scatter to the winds. Win-win!
We really mean newsletters, blogs, tumblrs, what-have-you—blog is shorthand for longer-form content, served via RSS.
The project itself started when we were trading notes on what we’re doing in the face of Twitter imploding, which led to asking...what did we do before Twitter?
We both immediately latched onto the same idyllic memory: perusing our RSS readers over morning coffee, passing the coolest links among coworkers and friends.
But then we all got on Twitter. The blogosphere was once a vibrant network of deep thought and curation, and now has the vibes of an untrimmed yard.
Rss is truly decentralized. This means maximum expressiveness for creative folks without a lot of the pitfalls. In short: use whatever platform is best for you. Start a tumblr! Spin up a newsletter! Make a totally bespoke blog! As long as it has an RSS feed (and almost all modern services do, automatically), you're good to go.
Readers can then subscribe in aggregate to all the feeds they love best, and read the content in one place with a service like Feedly or Old Reader. And there's no need to point them to a specific RSS feed. Most of these services only need the URL of your blog or newsletter. More about RSS and RSS readers.
Mastodon aims for decentralization, but doesn’t offer too many benefits. Ditching centralized servers and infrastructure means better content ownership than Twitter, but it’s also proven to mean slow load times, spotty moderation and codes of conduct, and a general feeling of disconnect and blah.
Instagram and YouTube are focused on commerce. Artists are encouraged to share in order to farm likes—not creating because making stuff is just cool. You think you’re a rebel, a free thinker…and then you meet the algorithm. Experimentation is only encouraged in the name of monetization.
The success of any solution is getting a large number of people participating. That’s one reason why Mastodon, cohost, and others don’t feel very appealing yet.
The downfall of true decentralization is distribution. There’s little impetus to blog if no one else is doing it. That’s why a blog currently isn’t a viable option for most folks out there, unless you have a bananas big audience already.
Hopefully this project can kickstart some energy towards a decentralized, curated, diverse creative collective—just one interesting corner of the internet where we can all pool our networks to lift us all up.
During the month of January, make sure your blog has at least three posts. That’s it! Why 3? It’s enough to show a range of content while not being a huge time suck. That’s only, like, 30 tweets. You can do it! And isn’t redesigning your blog template for the tenth time this month so much more stimulating than doom scrolling?
We will all publicly tell our folks about this twice. Once at the beginning, once at the end. The directory will stay up afterwards, and we’ll create a unified RSS feed that includes everyone. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a ton of subscribers, that’s why we’re doing this. We reserve the right to trim the directory to only include people who do this step.
Use the platform that fits your lifestyle best. This includes starting a newsletter (eg buttondown, tinyletter), using an existing platform (eg Medium, Blogger), or tacking a blog onto your existing site (Webflow, Squarespace and others should make this easy and compliant). Just double-check/Google that the service spits out an RSS feed. Since you own your content, you can always choose to move it to another service later.
For folks with a little html/css knowledge, static site generators like Astro and Eleventy plus GitHub Pages works great!
If you’re trying newer services, make sure you read the terms of service and do some research to ensure it’s a safe place to put your stuff and your presence.
Part of what made Twitter great was the possibility of seeing multiple sides of a person. Business in the front, personality and obsessions also in the front. Share life updates, creative behind the scenes, strong opinions on craft, goals, best of lists, retrospectives on old projects, how you designed your Animal Crossing island on a hexagonal grid.
The big one. Don’t be a racist, homophobe, bigot, misogynist, election denialist, lie spreader—you know the drill. Don’t harass others. We are as of now just two people, so please have realistic expectations on moderation. But we will take any reports of bigotry or harassment seriously and reserve the right to delete people from the directory.
Do the commerce thing, just use good judgment. Use referral links and get that .0002$, plug a product or your book at the end of the post. Refrain from full Lularoe pyramid scheme energy.
Consider accessibility. Caption or alt-tag images, think about color and contrast, consider dark mode. For a basic overview, check out https://webaccess.berkeley.edu/resources/tips/web-accessibility
...but you should still make posts!
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