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A blog post on not having a blog

January 12th, 2022 No comments

I am a lurker in places like Hacker News. Today, someone submitted a blog post that resonated with me. This is nothing new, but it brought echoes of me feeling this sort of pressure that you need to have an outlet to show your smart thinking, your thought leadership, to the world at large, as if it cared. I have not written anything publicly in a long time, although I do lots of writing in my current job. Heck, I even don’t tend to my own personal website (I just realized that all the links I had on soup.io have gone as the website has basically changed its nature). I keep my site running but, to be honest, I cannot find the motivation to do some maintenance on it or even update my CV there (Is it really important to keep an updated pdf on a site hardly anyone visits? it seems we can survive just fine with LinkedIn).

Not that I have not done several attempts in the past, I have. I have a blog that has not seen fresh content in a long time. Years ago I took the time to write quite a number of answers in Quora and developed ideas and lengthy comments in LinkedIn posts and groups (perhaps some of those could be turned into posts with some additional work?). I keep a poetry blog too but the quality is probably not that good (not that I care in this case, it is just a small personal outlet) and inspiration does not hit regularly (I know, it has to find you working). Lately the well seems pretty dry, tho’.

Eventually, all these efforts lost steam sooner or later. One reason is the time and dedication required, and I guess some part is played by the social dynamics of places like Quora (could be just an excuse on my part). Regarding blogging, I am aware that everyone says how you need to keep at it regularly and with some degree of consistency, gradually improving and reaching out to more people in the niche you have chosen. I don’t have ambitions of a large audience or anything like that, but in any case I could not help but feel that whatever I could imagine to talk about, someone has, of course, discussed it before, better, in more detail and with smarter insights. The web is already full to the brim with drivel and regurgitated content. As in GitHub, forks of forks of forks with only minor differences in phrasing. I don’t think it needs any more of that.

Like the author of the post I linked at the beginning, why write about software architecture topics for example (ex-programmer here) if others have done it very well? I struggle to find a novel angle or a piece of valuable insight because, after all, many of us are doing work that is not that “amazing” from a technical point of view. I belong with the “great unwashed” that do not work on hyperscaled bleeding edge architectures in US West Coast MegaCorps (on the other hand I am sure the grass is not that green either in those places). I don’t like too much this idea either that you need to stick to a topic and just post all the time about that niche. I feel that to be quite boring, truth be told. I am quite interested in other topics, one example being geopolitics and Asian countries, or playing electric guitar, but these are not even my professional fields, I am not exposed to them on a daily basis, so what can I really hope to contribute that is novel in some way? Perhaps I am too influenced by the romanticized idea of the flaneur, the dilettante that dips their toes in many waters and and the Renaissance man that knows about many things, even when fully aware I will never be a polymath either.

Sometimes, however, I feel the pangs of remorse for not having an active blog with brilliant ideas, and that also happens with not having the GitHub profile that seems a must or with industry certifications (this is a topic for another moment).

I wonder if I should try something like Medium (is a change of platform a solution?). Everyone seems to be there already and probably that’s a good thing on the audience front, less so on how the web becomes more and more centralized, but I digress. Perhaps I should research what frameworks and what proven advice are out there in order to structure thought and produce better written word. I’d love to write something like this even if it is one post a year, at least it reflects an interesting life. I have tried to generate crazy list of ideas like James Altucher says, and I can conjure a few, but it takes time to develop these ideas into something worthwhile, and frankly, most are crap. Developing them takes time, and that takes smart. Perhaps I could do the exercise of writing small reviews of books I have read, which I’ve done in the past anyway, and keep that as a habit. Perhaps the simplest thing that works best is to commit to a focused hour of writing every week. What are other ideas? What has worked for you?

Or it can perfectly be the case that I am not that smart. That would be ok too. The world also needs common people I guess. The reason I am a lurker in Hacker News is that I am so out of the water in most discussions that I can only try and learn something. I don’t know what I don’t know, but I know there is awful lots of that.

By the way, I could never decide on whether Mr. Altucher is more of a very smart guy or more of a charlatan.

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