Tom Critchlow
Part of the new-blogging blogchain + expand

New Blogging 1 - Building Blogchains

New adventures in blogging and trying on blogchains for size

July 17, 2019

Hello and welcome to a new experiment on the blog. It’s inspired (I mean, copied) from Venkatesh’s Ribbonfarm: the concept of the blogchain.

Venkatesh has written a bunch about them:

A blogchain is longform by other means. Containerized longform if you like. A themed blog-within-a-blog, built as a series of short, ideally fixed-length posts (we’re trying to standardize on 300 words as one container size). Among the benefits of working with blogchains:

  • Container shipping analogies apply
  • Blockchain analogies apply
  • It harmonizes with the revolutionary Gutenberg block editor which introduces, among a lot of other things, reusable container-like blocks.
  • It is tractable for scaling past 14,000 words (that’s my one-rep max, the average ribbonfarm contributor tends to wimp out at ~3000 words)
  • Good for creating tunnel/warren-like architectures that are more “indoors” than “outdoors”.

From: constructions in magical thinking

And if you’re new to them - the semi annual roundup gives a good update the status of the current blogchain in progress.

Why Blogchains Tom?

Ok, so why blogchains? For me personally it’s about three core ideas:

1) Slouching towards mediocrity and allowing myself the freedom of short-ish posts. Venkatesh aims for 300 words. Seems like a good number.

2) Infinite, open-ended world building. I just finished reading an Emissaries Guide to Worlding and I’m inspired to think about world building, infinite game exploration and more as a practice.

3) Blogpunk. I wrote about blogpunk recently but I’m keen on the idea of making blogging feel weird and something unto itself. Maybe blogchains are a way to do that?

Blogchains So Far

So this post is the first in my “New adventures in blogging” blogchain as I chronicle and document and explore blogging as a form. Follow along here: new blogging.

I’ve also gone back and strung my wiki/digital garden posts into a Digital Gardens blogchain. Think of it as the yin to the yang of blogging.

(Retrospective blogchains are cheating but cheating is the name of the game for infinite games so here we are)

I thought about stringing my strategy writing together into a blogchain but that’s more finite game than infinite game as I try and strain against mediocrity to publish that writing into a physical book. We’ll see - maybe blogchains will be so popular I convert my writing into one big blogchain…

I’m not sure how much more writing and exploration I’ve got in me around annotations but that’s definitely been an open ended exploration for the past year so it qualifies as a blogchain: annotations

Why not join in?

I get the sense that blogchains are at heart a playful form, encouraging open ended exploration. So why not join in? Venkatesh is doing them, Warren Ellis is doing them. Join in.


This blog is written by Tom Critchlow, an independent strategy consultant living and working in Brooklyn, NY. If you like what you read please leave a comment below in disqus or sign up for my Tinyletter.
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