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Blogging is backwards

Blogging is backwards

Though I’m constantly tempted, I just can’t seem to keep up a blog. I just find the format to be weird. Blogs are series of loosely related thoughts told to an ever-increasing audience on an irregular basis, backwards. It doesn’t make much sense to me. It never has.

It seems like the ideal blog visitor is one that familiarizes themselves with the entire blog from the start to finish. That is how we consume most information, isn’t it? I haven’t started a book from its last chapter since I was a toddler naively picking up a book upside down. So why are blog articles displayed by decreasing date of publication? It makes sense for news, since the most recent content is typically the most relevant. For the majority of blogs, I’m not sure that it does. Some blogs I frequent have terrific content from years back being pushed further out of sight by recent posts of questionable quality. Still, we accept that displaying our posts backwards is just the way it is.

I’m writing down some thoughts right now. Are they bound to be forgotten years later once this blog fills with hundreds of entries? Maybe it’ll sit at the top for a few months as I procrastinate writing a new article. Time will tell.

New New New

So let me take you back. My first website was a fan page to my favorite Pokemon, Jigglypuff. I was around eight years old then. This was around 1998, before Y2K caused the planet to explode. I updated Jigglypuff’s Puff Palace fairly regularly with new artwork, animated gifs and webrings on one long scrolling page. Blogs weren’t a hit yet. Back then it was enough to add a small gif of the text “NEW” to highlight fresh content. But even that was just optional. I was satisfied with updating my gigantic index.html page, padded by copy and pasted javascript snippets, bringing it closer and closer to Platonic perfection. There was no instinct to place new content at the top of the page, in fact it was opposite.

But then blogs took off. Suddenly non-technical and technical users alike were putting content online with ease. Maybe LiveJournal is to blame for convincing those poor souls that content should be time driven, plotted on a calendar and date stamped under the header. Everyone started doing it. Wordpress made it better and easier. Older websites weren’t like that. I’d show you my old webring to prove it! – If I could.

And now I’m blogging about how I don’t like blogging. There’s a word for someone like that and it begins with a hippo. But the truth is I believe blogging really is an effective medium. Audiences are magically engaged when they notice the date stamp matching today. Somehow the age of content is evidence of its validity. You can see that in the comments for linked articles, calling five month old content “old”. That’s about as heartbreaking as dog years. The solution? Write blog content frequently. The audience will show up and they’ll love it, for that week.

Regardless of how weird the blog format might be, it works. Pretty brilliant guys like Seth Godin swear by it. I’ll ride the wave too, until the next big paradigm shift. May the backwards narrative be it, for now.

Published on February 19, 2016 by Serge Nevsky.