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Thoughts on blogging

  • Fundamentally: is a blog about “brain extension” or “communicating to the audience”? Some tradeoffs:
    • Tradeoff: editability vs permanent
      • Longevity? Permalinks? Editable?
    • Tradeoff: Tree-like vs list-like
      • Conversations are tree-like; time is linear
    • Tradeoff: short bullet notes brain-dump vs curated readable experience
      • Writing short notes is faster, and captures more of my own thoughts
      • It’s more similar how I take notes during a meeting, or brainstorm on Notion
        • Maybe more similar to how conversations work? Tree-like, occasionally jumping back and forth between stacks
        • Also: Ideas on notion are already nested in this tree-like way already?
        • Hackathon idea: link to individual paragraphs in Notion? All content resides on one giant master tree.
      • Bullets (in Notion esp) allow really easily reordering
      • But: Will it be readable in the future?
        • Parallel to code readability: Writing happens once, reading happens a bunch of times
        • Almost all the blogs I read are structured in readable writing mode
          • Which points to “readabililty” being an important factor in share-ability. Readable blogs are the ones that win
    • Tradeoff: authoring new content vs curating existing content
      • Sometimes, I’ll hit a stride and be interested in dumping a lot of info down into Notion
        • Correlated with being on drugs (Modafinil, acid)
        • Should lean into this more?
      • Q: When will I want to curate and edit?
        • This doesn’t seem to be as intrinsically motivating?
      • Aka writing is (sometimes) awesome; publishing sucks
        • Unpacking this: publishing makes me feel like there’s a quality bar I need to hit
        • Perfectionist tendency
          • Is the label/category “perfectionist” useful? Maybe it doesn’t adequately capture how bad this is, “perfect” has a good connotation.
          • “Obsessive” tendency
          • “Ego wrapped up with creation” tendency
          • “Unable to prioritize” tendency
        • Steelmanning publishing for myself: allows past versions of Austin to be heard; allows dialog between current-me and past-me
          • Sometimes refactoring is fun!
          • Ideal write-to-edit (code-to-refactor) ratio?
            • 70/30? 90/10? 50/50?
          • My actual write-to-edit ratio?
            • 90/10?
      • From Bird by Bird: Shitty First Drafts
  • Bridging the gap: Maybe two stages, “public” and “WIP”?
    • Hidden and not hidden section
    • Or just, the whole thing is trawlable, but visitors who land see just the curated/favorited posts
      • Core idea: optimize for first-user experience

  • Hackathon: Want per-page analytics to tell me which pages get read
    • Then polish more on the pages that are more popular...?
    • Maybe Super already does this?
    • Note, this is more “fun” than “useful”
    • Otherwise, could just embed some kind of snippet

  • Notion as a blogging format
    • Pros:
      • I use Notion all the time already
        • Mini-thought: Compounding returns to mastery of a single
        • Tradeoff: mastery vs using lots of different tools
      • Exportability into Markdown, a format I understand and is easy to parse
      • WYSIWYG (vs pure markdown)
    • Cons:
      • Slow search and navigation
        • Can we fix this? Maybe spider through the Notion pages
        • And then add an “edit” button to change any one page (ala Wikipedia?)
      • Almost used too much...? Makes it harder to figure out which things I should put into which Notion (between self, blog, and work)
        • Maybe everything is public, so self + blog are combined?
      • (A lot of things solved by super.so)
        • Ugly URLs
        • Slow public interface
      • Problem with Super: Fairly slow/caching issues make it so that stuff I write isn’t up immediately
        • Aka unpredictability of cache
      • Nit: Really want pros/cons to be an easy two-col thing, since I do it all the time, but cols are just a bit annoying to get right. Minor friction
      • Bad authoring experience on phone
  • Writing this post is maybe too meta
    • I should be working on generating more content rather than obsessing over form

See also

Misc