October 31, 2019

New Blogging 2 - Open Blogchains

Minimum Viable Infrastructure

This past week has seen a lot of chatter about blogging. Mostly kicked off by this tweet:

The best rebuttal to this was from Brent Simmons in you choose:

They’re both right.

But I’d also note: fuck that shit.

Here’s the thing: there are good blogs to read. Some old ones are gone, but new good ones are created all the time.

And — most importantly — nothing is stopping you from writing joyfully and creatively for the web! You can entertain, you can have fun, you can push the boundaries of the form, if you want to. Or you can just write about cats as you develop your voice. Whatever you want!

You choose the web you want. But you have to do the work.

A lot of people are doing the work. You could keep telling them, discouragingly, that what they’re doing is dead. Or you could join in the fun.

Amen to that - you choose the web you want.

Alan Jacobs responds with some musings that new forms of reading blogs is just as important as writing blogs. The scenius of New Blogging requires New Blog Readers:

I am still hoping for a Blogging Renaissance, but lately I’m thinking that one necessary element of a true renaissance will be to get the readers of blogs on the same page as the writers.

So where to from here?

One small experiment is the “Open Blogchain”. We’ve already explored blogchains & cross-site blogchains but what are Open Blogchains?

From CJ Eller:

The course is structured like a giant ongoing discussion made through blog posts. Each week there will be a prompt post which will include some questions and resources to riff off of. They can be found in the blogchain towards the bottom.

When writing, simply add a link to this post at the beginning/end so others can join in. You could do something like this:

Once your post is published, you will want to add it to the blogchain so others can read and participate in the developing conversation. You can add your post to the blogchain through this form:

There’s a form embedded on CJ’s site to submit your response that then gets added to the master.

So, I guess this post is Part of the Blogging Futures course blogchain.

Minimum Viable Infrastrcture

Of course none of this is new exactly but we’re still missing basic comment, reply, thread functionality across the web that actually works and doesn’t take PHP to install.

Webmentions are so close but still Too Damn Hard. I’ve been trying to get them to work on this site for months and still haven’t figured out the right mental model and format to get them to work. (That said looks cool and shows at least some people are making it work…)

So here’s a prompt, a call to action or a request for blogs - where’s the new infrastructure layer across blogs that helps the New Blogging scenius attract and retain a New Blog Reader scenius?

Could it be aggregators? (e.g. or

Could it be blogchains?

Could it be the republic of newsletters?

What do you think?

More blog posts:

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March 20, 2024

This post was written by Tom Critchlow - blogger and independent consultant. Subscribe to join my occassional newsletter: