Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

redesign comments

On a comment, Bernie asked me to write updates on how the use of the new design progresses, how I find categories and so on. It's a good idea, and I was definitely going to do it anyway--I'm learning a lot and coming up with new ideas when going through this process. Definitely recommended! So this entry contains some comments along those lines. (Greg also had some comments earlier regarding this subject.

Russ commented that he likes the new design. Thanks!! He adds:

I think anyone who's blogged for a while does this - I did it the other day myself. Sometimes it calls for a major redesign to get you back on track, sometimes it just takes a reminder of what your spending so much time doing and why. My redesign earlier this month really energized me. It just felt fresh and that was great - but then I got into a rut a few days ago, and worked my way out of it by remembering that what I'm doing is supposed to be fun... That always helps.
I agree completely. I guess it's easy to get into routines and be relaxed about it. And a redesign (CSS and reconfiguration pain notwhistanding) is really refreshing and it made blogging feel 'new' again. In my case, I was also increasingly feeling that having two blogs was becoming a bit of a straitjacket, but this is related to his next paragraph, were he makes an interesting point regarding categories:
My opinion on categories is quite firm and very simple: it's all me. I have no desire to start dividing up what I'm talking about so that someone can filter out half of what I'm saying. It doesn't work that way. Categories always comes up after I start one of my anti-Republican rants (reminder: they still suck) and I get comments or emails about how I should have categories so they can edit these types of opinions out. Yeah right... if you like what I have to say about tech or mobile or culture or family you can't just suddenly decide I'm an idiot when it comes to other important issues. What do you think my brain stops working suddenly? Bozos... Okay, sorry. I'm getting hot under the collar again. Anyways... categories are out.

Diego, however, and a lot of other people feel the need to have them. I can see how they're useful for dividing up topics especially when you have a project that you're supporting like Spaces.

Mostly, I agree with Russ. Blogs for the most part are personal and that means you have to take the good with the bad. When I started blogging, I started off with one blog (no comment) and then instead of creating categories I started another one (Abort, retry, fail?). For whatever reason as time passed having two distinct blogs to write on just created confusion. So Russ's approach is right, I think, not just on first principles but for practical reasons as well: it preserves blogflow. There's no decision to be made. You just write. Regardless, I do think that we by nature "filter" what others say, categories or not. I'm used to that from writing... and I think it's a bit inevitable.

But aren't two blogs just like having categories? No, IMO. Categories are a looser way to separate and connect things. The main blog is still "all me" as Russ says, but it can be separated, particularly for different "threads of thought" in a relatively non-intrusive way. More importantly, if I'm using the blog partly to talk about spaces (or whatever other specific project), they are very useful I think (we'll test this hypothesis in the next few weeks/months, though...). Crucially, RSS feeds can be created for each category, so if there's something definite that people want to know about, such as spaces they can look at those entries and subscribe to that feed only (something that Russ mentions as well). Also, some thematic blog-hubs like javablogs work better if the people that are contributing only post about things in a certain category. It seems that there can be a fine line between "blogging" and "discussing topic X", and for the latter it seems that maybe a mailing list, specifically targeted, would potentially be a better fit. But blogging is better. More open, more flexible, and so on. So the tendency to mix them is potentially what creates confusion (both in the writer and readers).

Anyway, I don't know if all of this makes a lot of sense. I guess I'll have another crack at these ideas later.

Categories: personal, technology
Posted by diego on February 28 2003 at 10:42 AM

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