It’s simple. I looked at my blog and decided I didn’t like it.
The idea was good. I’m spending more time on various social network sites, so aggregating that activity onto one site sounds clever. However, the blog was not the way to do it. Links are often fairly baldly posted to FriendFeed or Twitter and only make brief appearance on this site. So the aggregation wasn’t happening. In addition the changes I’d made to make it a poor aggregator also made it a poor blog. It was an experiment worth trying, but it hasn’t worked.
So this update is partly necessity and it’s also partly to test out some other ideas. I’ve been hired by the Annals of Botany to do stuff for them. That’ll be launched during the summer but a blog will be part of it. Changing theme means I can test out some of the ideas on this blog with a live audience. For example I’ve added a Links category. Link posts will look different on the blog, and will show up in the feed with a twist. If all I’m doing is saying “Hey look at this!” you don’t need to visit my site just to click another link. If I get this right any links I blog will appear as direct links in the feed.
This has potential for building an aggregator sometime in the future.
I’ll also be experimenting with fonts. This is Fontin Sans (unless I’ve changed it). It’s a free font from the exljbris Font Foundry. I like it in print. I’m not sure about on-screen.
Blog-wise it’s tempting to say that I’m going to try to return to what motivated me and recapture the spirit of 2005. You can look back to the time when you started as the golden era of blogging. Some blogs have gone that I like. Northstate Science occasionally flickers. Copernicus Sashimi was on TypePad, so not even a skeleton remains. But I think that’s foolish. Blogging is like pop music, its golden age is now. Ruth Fillery-Travis is blogging at UCL. Constantina Katsari is blogging at Leicester. I’d be amazed if there weren’t more bloggers who consistently have something interesting to say before the year is out. The one constant is that I still hate writing.
I enjoy having written, but the actual writing process is a pain. It’s also one of those things that needs practice. It’s one of the reasons I took up blogging initially and it’s a good reason to continue blogging. I think writing something every day is a good idea – in my case. It doesn’t mean a post will appear here every day, but something will be added to the drafts. I might experiment more with writing too, like bad poetry. I still believe a proper personal blog should have some bad poetry on it, and I reckon with a bit of work I could produce some stunning doggerel. Stunning like a cosh to back of the head, rather than as a work of art.
In the medium term I also plan to put this on Facebook in some way or another. It’s where a lot of readers are. I could so this as my own page, but I’ve had a thought. RSS Graffiti allows multiple RSS feed to be fed to a page. Would a shared Facebook page collecting posts from several bloggers be a good idea? I accept I have a huge ego, I’m just not sure that it extends to having a ‘fan page’ on Facebook.