My Struggle With Disparate Networks

by Christopher Paul on December 5, 2011

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?

Previous post:

Next post: