Goodbye blogging? Hello microblogging and wiki-ing?
I've never been great at blogging. Spent years trying to make it a regular habit, and still I only do it sporadically.
Blog posts are a form of writing that is multi-paragraphed and timestamped. In the tech blogging world, they usually resemble articles rather more than personal logs. There are very few things that I do that warrant a timestamped multi-paragraph format. And because it's timestamped, it usually means it is done in about one sitting. No multi-day edits. It's a high barrier to entry for me. And for what pay-off? Does anybody read this? Hello? Is this thing on?
Enter the personal wiki. Also known as a mind-map, this interface enables one to freely write mini articles that are hyperlinked together in a local network. For a little under a year now, I've been developing my own wiki system using C, SQLite, org-mode, and Janet called weewiki. In that short period of time, I've written 60 pages for it, which is more than the number of blog posts I've written in the past 6 years!
I attribute the success of the wiki to two things: incremental editing and the non-linear format. There are no time stamps in weewiki. One can easily write a sentence or two to start a page, and then come back to it later. Or not. There is much less overhead needed to make a wiki page. That's fine too. The hyperlinked nature of a wiki makes it really suitable for non-linear thinking. It's actually very hard to think of ideas/concepts in linear order all the time. Writing a bunch of little ideas down, growing them, and connecting them later is a much more organic process.
But, sometimes timelines are important and interesting. Enter twtxt, a dead-simple decentralized microblogging alternative to twitter. For the past few months, I've been off and on about this platform. In recent weeks, I've been figuring out ways to integrate twtxt with my weewiki engine. As a result, I've generated a HTMLized feed of my twtxt feed that is able to parse org markup and dynamically generate references to pages on my wiki page. Twtxt/weewiki integration is made possible thanks to weewiki's built in scripting engine written in Janet, as well as a script I wrote that converts twtxt files to SQLite. More experiments and documentation of this cross-pollination can be found here.
Microblogging platforms like twtxt make an ideal pairing with weewiki because it has timestamps. I also like how little effort it takes to make a tweet. I wrote a little script that makes it trivial to tweet something from the commandline using txtnish. It is useful to have a medium used to encapsulate small ideas or miscellanesous thoughts that wouldn't fit anywhere else.
So, that's that. So, is this the end of blogging for me? In some ways, yes. The personal wiki has worked really really well for me so far. I don't think I truly ever go back to blogging. I don't know if there was ever much to go back to. I also am optimistic. My making the wiki, I think my blog gets to become more of a blog. That is to say, a medium for contemporary information. Long form updates, summarys, project announcements, etc. These all seem like the sort of things suitable for blogs.