One year ago today, I published my first post on this blog: Patterns who have achieved consciousness. It wasn’t actually the very first post I wrote. I had just written one on mind uploading, but wanted the blog’s first post to reference its title.
My immediate motivations for starting this blog was frustration with heavy handed but fickle and biased moderation on sites that I often commented on, such as Huffington Post and various other news sites and blogs. HuffPost had recently become particularly onerous, and I decided that my desire to express my opinion needed a spot on the web where no one could censor me. (HuffPost subsequently completely outsourced their commenting system to Facebook. I don’t know how well it worked for them, but I haven’t commented there since.)
After playing with Medium, Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress, I finally selected WordPress, mainly because I liked its editor interface. It turned out to be a stroke of luck, because it led me to discover the thoughtful and supportive community of Wordpress bloggers. This community makes blogging a pleasure, far more than I think I would have found on the other platforms. I’ve consistently been impressed by the caliber of the conversations in it.
Of course, this blog also publishes to Twitter and Facebook, and I’ve also had excellent conversations in those communities as well. It took me a while to figure out these environments, but they were definitely worth it. Twitter in particular took me a while to master, with its 140 character limit, but has become an excellent place for quickly sharing things I don’t have much to say about.
It’s been an interesting year. After dumping my most profound scientific and philosophical thoughts in the first couple of months, I went through a period of panic over whether I had anything else to say. That anxiety still returns on a regular basis, but it’s turned out I’m enough of an opinionated big mouth to keep coming up with content, and there are always writing prompts in the news.
As the months went by, I really got into the blog, turning it into something of a production. While that worked well for generating traffic, it eventually led me to experience severe burnout by the summer months, which I suspect showed in the quality of many of my posts at the time. I went on vacation, and after a week away, had a hard time getting back in the saddle.
As I did start to get back into it, I made a conscious decision not to worry if I missed a day or two of blogging, not to write unless a felt motivated to do so, and not to worry about necessarily posting at optimal times. I found that it helped to remember why I started blogging in the first place: to have a place to comment on articles and posts around the web, to occasionally put out my own essays, to have interesting conversations with intelligent collaborators, and to have fun doing it.
Before the burnout, I was on a two essay a week schedule, which I had to abandon. I now do the essays as they are inspired, and don’t panic (or at least I try not to) if a week goes by without that inspiration. Of course, many posts that start off as brief comments grow into essay like treatments, which is always a nice development.
I’ve found blogging to be a very rewarding experience, and I recommend it to anyone who has the desire to express themselves. You’re not likely to find fame and fortune with it, but you are likely to have some fascinating conversations.
So, I’m looking forward to the next year. I anticipate lots more ponderings of science, philosophy, history, and science fiction, but perhaps a bit more on political topics than I’ve done over the last year. These political posts won’t be me venting my views, at least not most of the time, but things I’ve learned reading about history, economics, and political dynamics, that I hope you’ll find interesting.
As always, I’m grateful to all of you for reading, and particularly to those of you who engage in conversation. Thank you all! And now for year two…