Why Start A Blog In 2020?


What am I doing here?

It’s 2020. The era of widespread blogging has long since passed, yet here we are. In my first article / column / piece (still looking for any other term to use in place of blog post) I will preemptively answer the question that most people who care about how I spend my time are inevitably thinking: why?

Own your place on the internet.

I was always warned that I should be careful about the information I post on the internet. “Nothing is ever deleted once it’s online. It’ll be there forever.” As it turns out, that’s an overstated fear. Just ask the 38 million websites hosted on GeoCities or the ever-growing cemetery of former Google products. Services and businesses that we perceive as titans holding up entire subcultures of the Internet as we know it can (and have) crumbled.

Under that context, I think it is important for one with an online presence to make sure any audience they build is platform-agnostic. You don’t want politics or shifty business practices pulling your livelihood out from under your feet overnight. Just ask the 200 million active users of Vine. Extra Ordinary may be comparable to an overlooked hotdog stand in the middle of Manhattan, but it is mine. I have built it to be as stable as possible for my budget. I can be reasonably sure the President of the United States will not pursue legal action in the interest of shutting down Extra Ordinary.

If you’re curious, this site is currently hosted through GitHub. GitHub has been around for a (relatively) long time and the Microsoft acquisition gives me some peace of mind it will not disappear overnight. Should that happen, I could just as easily plug a spare computer into my router and host it independently—I’m not kidding myself, it’s not like I’ll be getting too much traffic to keep up.

Information entropy.

Why do humans communicate? To transmit ideas from one to another. What does the mathematical ideal form of this look like? All knowledge of a subject is shared across all humans concerned. Every question you answer, everything you learn, everything you hear gets us closer to that point.

This is an exact parallel to entropy. This is the concept that every chemical reaction, every heat exchange, every action you take costs some form of energy that cannot effectively be recaptured without using even more energy. Give a glass of ice water enough time, and you have a cup of water with uniform energy. Wait even longer, and it’ll be same temperature as the room. If processes like this continue everywhere, forever (and research shows that the universe will probably continue for quite a bit longer), things don’t look good for the universe—it will probably end as a perfectly uniform field of energy.

Information can be modeled on entropy. For example, the group could be as small as you and three friends; when you all decide on one place to meet up, information entropy has been achieved: the information is distributed everywhere it needs to.

Maybe one person will read Extra Ordinary; maybe every human on Earth. Statistically it will be somewhere between those. Regardless, everyone who reads Extra Ordinary will contribute to the distribution of my ideas. By the time you’ve processed what you’re reading, it’s already too late. It’s in your head now. I guess I’m just evil like that.

Because I have to.

From Sarah Allen’s The Inspired Writer vs. the Real Writer:

I believe that I write because I am driven to do so—driven by a will to write. By “will,” I mean a kind of purposefulness, propensity, diligence, and determination.

My feeble attempt at describing this blog is so far, “A blog about technology, software and more.” This isn’t entirely accurate. If I were to describe it more precisely I would say that this blog is a medium through which I can think critically about the thoughts I have bouncing around in my head; formalize and refine them; and publish them1. ‘Technology, software and more’ is generally what they are about.

Sarah Allen writes because she is driven to do so. I write because I am driven to distribute ideas.

Footnotes

  1. That doesn't make for a catchy tagline.