Loosely Joined

I’ll agree that there is no silver bullet, but one pattern I’ve noticed is that it’s the “small pieces, loosely joined” that often have the greatest impact on the open web. Small pieces of technology that do something simple can often be extended or mixed with others to create a lot more innovation.

I want to emphasize the “loosely joined” part of the above from Chris' comment. We need more people loosely joining software together in ways that create more possibility for writing on the web. In his talk “Don't Make Things”, Darius Kazemi phrased it as “Don't Create, Mutate” – to not think about building from the ground up but extending and remixing what's already there.

Now that I think about it, this principle of “small pieces, loosely joined” is how this blogchain technically came to be. I wrote a wrapper around the Write.as API so that I could easily update a post on my blog. From there I used Glitch to create an app (using a Python web framework called Flask) that used a form to grab information from the chain contributor and update the blog post with it. That app was then embedded on the very same post it was updating. Nothing overly complicated – just using tools that are already there.

It seems to be a work of creating connective tissue, not stand-alone structures from the bottom up. A humble kind of work, more like tilling a garden than constructing a blogging megalopolis. One connection at a time. I think creating this connective tissue aligns with Jared's idea of accessibility and empowerment that come from tinkering with your own site. It allows people to engage without feeling discouraged, to make an impact without needing to know how to set up a virtual environment.

So that's what I'd like to try more of – creating connective tissue between writing software. Start small and continue small. One connection at a time.

This post is part of Blogging Futures, a collaborative self-reflexive interblog conversation about the future of blogging. Feel free to join the conversation!