What's the point?

It has occurred to me this week that I haven't written anything here for almost 2 years now. Why's that? Don't I have anything important to say anymore? Is blogging still a thing today?

Back in 2010 and a few years afterwards having a blog was almost mandatory. Most of my friends and acquaintances with some online presence did that, everyone was fighting over the best blog platform, static generators were evolving like crazy, and then everything just fell off, perhaps with RSS tragedy, and the shift of content platforms into walled gardens of social media platforms.

With major life-changing events happening around, political crisis, war, economic downturn, giving up on blogging is the easiest thing to do, as also noted by others. Besides, the average reader (myself included) has such a short attention span these days that expecting anyone to read a few paragraphs of your text is setting up yourself for disappointment.

Finally, the recent advances in generative AI, like ChatGPT make you wonder "what's the point to write anything?" even more. We may already live in the world imagined in MGS2. High chance that the content you consume is auto-generated and you don't even notice. The machine would've generated this particular text much faster than me[1]. The value of any new human-made text is close to zero, and nobody will spend their time reading your stupid blog posts anymore[2].

That's all valid thoughts, but they are focused on the outside world. If I look inside my personal needs, I still find enormous value in writing. To me it's probably one of the most important well-being techniques. Taking memory dump notes and transferring the rushing half-formed and sometimes irrational thoughts from my head into a structured physical medium cleans up my polluted brain cache and helps me fight the anxiety.

I've also been thinking about my career and previous life path in general recently, and I suspect that methodical and rigorous writing is one of the most significant reasons for "success" (whatever that means), albeit me not possessing any special skills and being mediocre at things I do.

I didn't stop writing, my personal notes collection is constantly growing, and I started taking notes more often in the last few months. Giving up on blogging was the easiest thing to do because of the blogpost format. Everyday journal notes are too personal and unstructured (literally memory dumps) to be shared publically, and they usually go into too much detail. Twitter and social media in general is too fine-grained and "in the moment", so it doesn't work as an archive to help future you look into your past and see how you've evolved.

I'm also a huge proponent of owning your content. The platforms come and go, they can easily ban you because you are born in the "wrong" country, or they decide you violate some new policy they made up, or their business model changes, whatever. The future must be decentralized. Hosting your own blog/site with easily portable content is the only way.

  1. It's interesting that most text generation models try to predict the next word/token/sequence based on the previous content. I wonder how good they are for unrelated thought expansion. For example, this post was actually born as a large side-note of another post on a completely different topic. Maybe that's the last bastion of human touch here. ↩︎

  2. Except for some automated crawler to build a dataset for some future model, turning your effort into another tiny part of automatically processed input in the vast ocean of web content. ↩︎