I’ve been struggling with my blog’s identity of late. At first, when it was powered by Blogger (before it was acquired by Google), I hoped it would be more of a long form writing exercise to journal my thoughts and feelings of the world. But I hadn’t written much since college term papers and couldn’t create anything worthy of reading. I stopped blogging and let the site stay dormant for a while.
After I moved to self-hosted WordPress and when social networks came on the scene, I used it as an aggregator for my different status updates, photos, checkin, and other random stuff I did. I also tried to get back to long form writing but it didn’t stick then, either. I used plugins and other means to include the photos, videos, etc. to display on the sidebar or on a life-casting page but never really thought it was the best execution.
Later, as became inspired by bloggers like Jason Kottke, John Gruber, Ben Brooks, and others, I decluttered and redesigned my site. I took their cues and became more of a curator of other content than displaying my own work. I still feel as if I need to redesign the site – make it smaller, even more clean, and might limit the amount of quoting I do and just add my own one or two sentence commentary.
Yet, I’m proud of the Instagram photos I take and appreciate the tweets I send out on Twitter. I also appreciate the simplicity of reblogging Tumblr posts and have a link to my Tumblr as a ‘Page’ above the main content. But those items are often missed by the visitors of my site and, just recently, I started re-importing my Instagram photos as content.
But I’m not convinced this is the right move either. But I think I’ll leave it up to what few readers I have. Would you rather I continue to curate content I find on the Internet and leave the tweets, photos, and other items for those specific social networks or are a few photos stuck in between the short posts still a good way to balance original or curated content?
I’m also debating on doing what my blogging idols (for lack of a better term) do with their twitter accounts. That is, haven separate accounts for their blogs and individual accounts for their personal interactions. Effectively, they’re using those blog accounts as a syndicator over Twitter. And like some of them, they don’t post videos or photos at all – even from the sites they curate from. Only Kottke adds that kind of rich media to his site and I wonder if should continue to do that; Brooks and Gruber don’t and they aren’t the only ones that omit that content.
So, right now, I’ve started importing my photos from Instagram. I stopped using Flickr a while ago. I’ll probably keep my Twitter feed on the side since its only text and some links but I’m rethinking that, too. I don’t want my site to become slow or unresponsive because of the increased media and I’m not sure it looks good on such a deliberately plain site. There’s a high probability of me removing them at some point.
But I would appreciate some feedback over Twitter or in the comments. And speaking of comments, there is a debate raging (perhaps an exaggerated one) on whether blog comments should be enabled or disabled on sites. I’m on the fence on that idea, too. Disqus is a great commenting system and I don’t see why it needs to be replaced with something else. But like Gruber, Kottke, and Brooks, they get their comments from Twitter and I agree that the comments are more public that way – plus, it keeps the noise of the site to a minimum.
So… Any advice on what to do?