May 10, 2005

blogs as information receptacles

Over the course of the last year or so my use of blogger has changed dramatically.

Experimental phase - I initially set this account up to 'see what blogging was about'. I didn't have any plans or real use for it and after a few sporadic posts in the beginning, my participation dropped to almost zero.

Psychiatrist phase - Then after I moved to New York I started writing again primarily because I didn't know many people out here and my wife still hadn't moved out. It was an odd way of having conversations about things I had done out here. Spilling my guts as it were. My post production was inversely proportional to my interaction with other people.

Writing and personality improvement phase - After my wife came out I used it to brush up on my writing skills and as a friend said, 'figure out if you are interesting at parties'. A funny way of saying do you have anything interesting to say and if not can that situation be improved.

Note taking phase - While I can't claim to have made a dent in my personality or writing prowess, a couple of months ago I switched over to using blogger as an electronic post-it note. Specifically to keep tabs about books I'd read or concepts I had trouble with.

It's this last one that has resonated the most. It led to a proliferation of blogs built almost entirely for me. A Post-it blog to store text, photos, and audio (and hopefully video at some point). I have one for key family events (e.g., a vacation). I have one for my daughter (recordings of her laughing and pictures and height/weight stats). I have one serving as a recipe storage system that's shared among 5 or so friends who also like cooking. I have one for storing photos I've taken that are just aesthetically pleasing. And I have one that acts like a newspaper clipping scrapbook where I keep links to interesting things online (my version of delicious).

It's clearly resonated with others too. When people see my site for my daughter I invariably get asked questions like 'how did you do that?' and 'was that easy to do?'.

I create a new blog every 2 weeks it seems. I keep debating if I should start one for restaurants I've been to or dedicated to book/music/movie reviews. There are a number of benefits I see to using blogs as information receptacles.
  1. Google does my backups - this one is pretty straightforward and even though I have robust on-premise backup that doesn't save me from a fire
  2. My data is more available - if I want to show someone a cute picture of my daughter I can do it almost anywhere and friends can do it without me being there
  3. My data is more consumable - Probably related to point 2 but I've taken a crapload of pictures. They inevitably stay buried on my computer in some massively hierarchical folder structure; I actually look at my pictures a lot more often now. When they are wrapped in a story or have descriptive text - photos, audio, and video become much more appealing
  4. Google does my searching - it's a little easier on the desktop now with some of the search apps but it's hard to beat Google
  5. Life doesn't seem to fly by me quite so fast - My memory sucks and recording and reflecting on some of the events in my life makes my life go by more slowly (less 'where did the week go?')
The downside? I don't have total control of the structure of the blog so it isn't perfect for my needs. And of course it's hard bloody work keeping up the post count!

It has just now occurred to me that Mr. Yuppie has already pointed this out. I'm a little slow on the uptake.

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