Keep Rolling

A contribution to the “Blogging Futures” blogchain. Feel free to read and contribute here.

One thing I’d like to explore is the sort of persistent infrastructure that enables us to sustain work on big projects over long periods of time. For this, the technical side is the least of my concerns. Much more important is the social aspect: how can I feel like I’m writing for and with others, even at the early, opaque stages? How can I write and share strategically to get others excited about the same things that excite me?

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I think what I’m seeking is a system for productively embracing risk, vulnerability, openness. A mindset that inclines me to put things out there, iterate, and respond to feedback. If I do this well, I think the writing will be better: feel more alive; elicit its own self-improvement, find its audience.

This passage from Brendan's latest contribution to the chain asks an interesting question – what does a persistent infrastructure for writing on the web look like?

Like others have written here, I think that this persistent infrastructure exists in many technical forms already – from aggregators and blogrolls to blogchains and Webmentions. That is where the emphasis on social infrastructure comes in. It is only in contributing to what's present that anything can persist.

That is why Twitter's Bluesky project can be considered a slap in the face to the many maintainers of decentralized social media platforms/protocols. As Anil Dash put it,

Don’t develop it, invest in the efforts that exist.

And I think we can take a similar approach to writing on the web. Investment doesn't have to mean large sums of capital but can be an investment of effort, to keep writing and iterating on the tools we have. That maintenance can be worth so much more than we realize.

We don't have to reinvent the wheel but we have to keep the wheels we have rolling.