Every blog has its own rhythm. I believe there’s some common wisdom about defining your target audience, content guidelines and writing style. In my case I just started posting and the rest happened. But every once in a while you need a change of pace.
As a regular reader, you would expect opinionated posts about the REST/WS War of Attrition, the dynamics of meta-programming, and my aversion to Interchangeable Developer Encapsulation and “tooling”.
Recently, I tried adding some flavor to the blog, with a handful of short tech-less posts on whatever I felt like talking about, and … well it didn’t stick. It felt off, different, conflicting.
So I stopped and went back to the mythical drawing board. I tossed a few ideas in my head, but eventually all roads lead back to Tumblr. So I decided to give it a try. I’ve seen a few tumblelogs before and liked the format, but never seriously considered them. Well, add that one to the list of eye opening experiences.
I won’t try to define a tumblelog, just tell you what I like about it. The format is short posts. No archives, categories, sidebar, not even a way to leave comments on individual posts. Lightweight. These are not conversation starters, they’re pointers to interesting things that happen around us. Links to other sites, cool photos, memorable quotes, snippets of consciousness.
We rarely consider how much software design influences the way we operate. It promotes that which it makes easy and accessible. And I’m not above being influenced. I like the editing facility of WordPress with its WYSIWYG editor, but that which makes it infinitely flexible and capable, also renders it an obstacle. It’s too slow.
It takes me too long to format quotes, hyperlink text, position images and double-check that paragraphs don’t run into each other. That’s a filter. And a lot of short posts get filtered into oblivion.
Tumblr is a lesser known service that deserves much more attention. In two wrods: it rocks!
Tumblr has six types of posts: links, quotes, photos, video, conversation snippets, and anything-goes HTML. It’s that distinction of content types that makes posting so damn easy. Click the bookmarklet and pop comes a window for linking to the current page, just hit submit and you’re done.
Worth quoting? Select the text and click the bookmarklet for an insta-quote. Interesting photo? Hit the bookmarklet and you’ve made a post. Did I mention damn easy?
The pop-up window lets you tab between different post types, so you can go from quote back to link, or from link to photo (it even lets you pick an image without hunting & gathering the URL). Switch between the tabs and you’ll understand that there are nuances for each of these post types. Treating each type differently, and the single-minded focus on quick/short posts is the secret that will turn you into a speed-blogger.
Give a warm welcome to bytesized.labnotes.org, the lighter side of Labnotes. Just enough daily posts to help you procrastinate, or keep you company while you’re waiting for Eclipse to load up.
As for me, apparently I’ve been relegated into a machine for moving interesting posts from my feed reader to yours.