Writing this post came about from frustration with blogging. Specifically the tools I am using. Often it feels like a new language or paradigm comes along that shifts one or two of the pain points of blogging. The biggest are:
- How long it takes to get a post on the internet once you’ve written it
- The reliability of the resulting website
- How good the resulting website looks
Note that none of this really impacts the quality of the writing. I’m not claiming to be a good writer: in fact I spend so much time blogging or thinking about blogging because it is my writing practice. (I think I am getting better, but slowly).
So if it doesn’t affect the quality of the writing, why even devote any thought to switching platforms? The answer is productive procrastination. I am terrible at this kind of thing. Should I do such-and-such an analysis now in Excel or R, or should I teach myself how to do it in Julia or Python?
One thing that I am slowly learning (even more slowly than how to write good) is that 90% of the time, the best tool for the job is the tool that will get the job done. Or at least the first draft of the job.
So instead I thought that this could be a post about how we are sucked in to social media because building our own websites is too hard. After all, posting stuff on social media would get stuff written and possibly even read.
Blogging is not that difficult as long as you have something to write about, can type reasonably fast and have time enough in your days to get down your ideas. And social media can make that even easier!
Social media helps you when you don’t have anything to write about: you can just repost someone else’s rubbish or have a whinge about something (the weather, politics, your housemates).
Social media helps you when you can’t type fast enough: you don’t have to type so many words.
Social media helps when you don’t have enough time in your day: why carve out time to think for yourself when you could sit there and consume everybody else’s bilge! Retweet, retweet, retweet!
And you get all those ads that tell you what to buy, what to think and what to feel, all thrown in for free. Hooray!
But what’s so hard about making your own website really?
It’s actually dead easy. It does not take a lot of effort to learn how to bundle up some HTML or markdown files into a GitHub repository and hook it up to Netlify. It’s all free (so you’re still somebody’s cash cow somehow) and learning how to do it makes you better at computers. Also, alternatives are available - you can use BitBucket or GitLab for the repository and Vercel for the hosting.
Sometimes it is hard to move from one platform to another, but I just need to take a good hard look at myself and understand why I want to keep moving between platforms. Good old procrastination.
I don’t think my writing gets better when I change platforms : changing the pen doesn’t change your writing. I don’t think I post more often on one platform over another, though some do make it a bit easier to slap down an idea or two.
But best of all, if I decide tomorrow that this post is terrible. I can delete it and it will be gone forever. Try doing that on Facebook!