Why blog?

Written 28 April 2021

Having set up the website and written a few things the question arises why I’ve decided to do this. There’s no single reason for, it is perhaps easier to set out what are not the reasons but anyway here goes.

Twitter describes itself as a “microblogging” site. At least it did, but it isn’t really anymore. I used to love Twitter, and I still think that the world is overall a better place for it, but having spent a number of years slowly getting the hang of it, interacting with really interesting people and being exposed to all sorts of different views and perspectives I do feel it has rather run its course for me. The best contributors all write or have blogs anyway, wading into Twitter seems a distraction. It’s certainly an excellent way to lose hours every week. I like the benefits of Twitter but without writing anything it seems in many ways rather too passive and misdirected. And that’s before you even get to the tone, general snarkiness and malevolence of too much that goes on.

A very significant downside for me, beyond the usual complaints about keyboard warriors, trolls and all the entrenched partisanship that goes along with that, is that with the other big social media companies we are seeing the privatisation of the common square. As I said, I like Twitter and think the world is improved by the increased opportunities for exchange of ideas it has enabled. But it has increased the size of the public square at the cost of its no longer being public. I think that it is going to form a monopoly, if it hasn’t already, and I’d rather not be in that.

One person who I find very interesting (and who I came across on Twitter) is Larry Sanger, a cofounder of Wikipedia who produced the Declaration of Digital Independence (he has now I believe fallen out with Jimmy Wales). He is exactly the kind of person I am really drawn to: a bit opinionated even if that leads him to hold some rather low status opinions and fall foul of the smart set. I suspect he dislikes the characters behind Big tech because he knows them. I am sure they would roll their eyes at the mention of his name, but so much the better for him. He talks of developing plugins so that WordPress can be used for microblogging here. So I took a look at WordPress and here we are: I got myself a domain and have set up a blog. Longer term I’d like to degoogle my life, but I’ll take things a step at a time on that.

One thing I would like to use this blog for is to somehow get involved in decentralising social media. I don’t think I will have enough to say or be noteworthy enough for my actual views to be important, but I fancy being part of a hopefully growing number of people who want to do social media without being the product for Californian billionaires.

Things I think I will try to do with the blog: publish thoughts on books and other stuff I’m reading. One benefit of being off social media is having more time to read (this is definitely working!) so that starts thoughts. I might watch a little bit more TV (mainly Netflix) so there might be the odd thought on that too. I’d also like to think more about how Government and taxation should work in the 21st Century. Oh, and Religion, especially Christianity.

Summarising what I certainly won’t be trying to do is much easier. Firstly I’m not trying to sell things (most advice for blogs is aimed at people who want to make a living from it). Secondly I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind. If I get comments I might or might not respond if they are constructive, respectful and polite but I’m not a campaigner. Interesting people tend to change their minds about stuff, I don’t know how it happens exactly, but it sure doesn’t happen by having arguments on the internet.

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