It only took me 15 years, but I’ve finally started to properly manage, organize, and zero out my Gmail inbox. This wasn’t for lack of trying. Every 2 or 3 years I try to set up a few filters and categorize the mountain of emails that come my way, but after sitting down with the problem and stumbling upon a system that works for me, I’ve been meaning to write about it here and share my solution with the world.
As they say, the article is forthcoming, but I think the hardest part (for me at least) is grappling with 2 imaginary problems: how does that post fit in with the rest of the content I’ve accumulated here and how does it look to have an article suddenly materialize out of nowhere after almost 3 years of sharing nothing? Better late to the party than never showing up of course, but in my mind, I feel like I owe an explanation to my friends before I can enjoy myself.
The truth is, I’ve been busy! That’s all the explanation that’s needed, and that’s OK. My website has taken a back seat to life after a lot of incremental grinding away rescuing my old Wordpress posts and transitioning them here under Jekyll. But I don’t relate any of this as a mea culpa from the last paragraph. I do so because my desire to write is returning and I want to explore where that drive comes from and why we might be seeing more of it in the future.
For many, myself included, writing up thoughts and little quips on social media has taken the place of sitting down with a blank page and banging out a blog post. Prior to Twitter and Facebook, the only way to blast your thoughts out across the web was through a personal blog, whether it be a self-administered Wordpress site, Livejournal, Blogger, Xanga, etc. Now we share ourselves 280 characters at a time or with a small audience on a neighborhood Facebook group, not to mention our focus as writers has shifted from crafting the initial post to merely engaging in the comments section.
Short form has become the dominant medium. In some ways, the brevity of Twitter has forced us to become better writers, but it’s hijacked our focus and taken us away from writing solid in depth content. In recent years, sites like Substack and the medium of the email newsletter have grown around recapturing this lost style of writing, but no one act will likely drive individuals to write more on their own platforms than Elon Musk’s recent bid to buy out Twitter and take the company private under his own authority.
You could write a whole encyclopedia about the implications and impact of that last sentence, but that would be a distraction from the business of writing well again. Though not much has actually changed yet on Twitter, the mere perception is enough to drive a resurgence, or a mere dusting off, of the individual blog.
I’m not saying this is the entire reason I’ve chosen to sit down today and wiggle my fingers along the keyboard, I’ve been looking for the right opportunity for a few months now, but the notion that we’re on the precipice of a change in the online landscape and the opportunities that presents regarding a return to an older style of federated personal websites churning out thoughtful and independently-minded content is something to write home about.This page was last updated on April 26, 2022.