Your Blog Has Always Loved You

There’s lots of talk going on early this week about Twitter and their intentions towards third-party clients. Will they permit them? Will Tweetbot still be around in six months? How am I going to connect with other people if Twitter goes the Facebook route and makes me use official clients that aren’t as nice as the third-party ones I have now?

I was going to write a bunch of words about this, but in the end it comes down to something very simple.

Your blog has always loved you. Open—or at least agreed-upon and widely used—standards are not going to magically grow walls and keep you or others out.

WordPress. RSS. Comments. Pingbacks.

Digging deeper: PHP. MySQL. Apache/Nginx. Linux.

These things don’t belong to someone else. They don’t belong to a company that needs to please its investors. They don’t have reasons to keep you out or to stop you from doing what you want.

They belong to you. You use them to make great things. You contribute to them and make not only your stuff, but other people’s stuff, better. You use them to read others’ content and to enter the discussion. If your blog hasn’t been the center of your digital presence, why not?

Your blog has always loved you.

Stop Not Linking

Matthew Panzarino:

I personally always, always try to link early and often throughout any sourced piece that I write. I’m not perfect, so I do miss links once in a while, but I attempt to correct them whenever possible. It’s only the right thing to do. We have a link section at the bottom over at TNW but I very, very rarely use it. I suppose I should duplicate the source links at the bottom of the post, but I feel that an inline link clearly attributed to the source so that it’s not a mystery is the best way to go.

Not one word, not a bit of punctuation, but either on the name of the site you’re referencing or a portion of the text that is clearly an indication that ‘more information exists here’.

There is only one reason why you wouldn’t link right in the body of your text, as far as I’m concerned: you don’t want people to click on it.

This is why when I link to interesting things I have read, I use an excerpt and  link the author’s name or the site on which the article was posted. I also try to use the Link post type on, which changes the post title to be a link out to the original article.

I quote things on my blog not because I’m trying to get eyeballs myself, but because I find what these people have written to be genuinely interesting and I think if you are pointed in their direction, maybe you’ll find another blog or site to add to your reading list.

Coming soon: a discussion on why Fever is the best RSS reader in the universe because it helps you find source articles and new things to read. (Oh, and owning your data FTW.)



Going all the way back to last year, I told myself (and others) that I was going to make a concerted attempt at blogging more often. I view it as tragedy that I work for a company that has as its goal helping to bring publishing to as many people as possible by providing the best hosted blogging platform in the world, but seem reluctant to blog myself.

I think part of this has been information overload. I am very good at synthesizing large amounts of information and finding the stuff that’s interesting, but over the last six months or so there’s just been too much going on.

My effort this year is going to be one gaining focus. My thoughts on this:

  • I’m more likely to write about things that interest me.
  • I’m more likely to write about things that I read, and vice versa.
  • I’ve been reading too much and in too many areas, and thus my writing has suffered as a result.

I have historically had a problem with focus. The result of this is last year, when I blogged about everything from my family to tech things to anecdotes to whatever.

I am going to change this.

If you look at the menu of my blog now you will see that I have divided things into two basic categories: “games” and “off topic.”

Games are my hobby and my passion. I love playing them, I love thinking about them, and I love dissecting them, whether it is a game that’s sitting on the dining room table with pieces and points scored, a sport, or the latest video game on my TV. Therefore, games are going to be the focus of my blogging from this point on.

I’ve also made changes to my information intake. I have cut free all of the big tech aggregators that I have in my reading list and will now depend on friends and Twitter to find the really interesting stuff there (which is usually a really good indicator). Instead, I’m looking for the best blogs to read that talk about the stuff that I want to talk about. I’ve already curated quite a list that I hope to share with you in the near future.

I think that by reading more about the stuff that I want to write about, I can engage in that discussion and hopefully become part of a larger but more focused community. I also believe that by focusing more on a tighter scope of content, I will build my audience from people who want to read about those things. There is an emergence in critical thinking regarding games (specifically video games) happening right now and I want to be a part of that.

The last thing that I plan to do hasn’t happened yet because I am still trying to figure out how best to do it, and that is to set aside a specific time each day to write. I don’t practice the craft often enough and as a result I don’t think my writing is up to the level that I want for myself. This will be an effort to change that.

I made this decision about a week ago and it’s taken me that long to write this post, so I’m not really being successful so far. But I do hope that you will join me by reading. If you don’t think about games all that often, I hope to teach you a thing or two or clue you in the really interesting things that are going on in the space. And if games do interest you, I hope you will join in the conversation.

Complimentary Spam

Royal Pingdom:

Go ahead, look through your comment spam. You’ll feel great. Here are people (uh, bots) who really understand you. There will be an abundance of comments mentioning how brilliant, fascinating, intelligent and just plain old great you and your blog posts are.

This has quickly become one of the most prevalent forms of comment spam, because pandering to the ego works. People will reach into their Spam queue and pull these comments back after Akismet flags them as spam automatically, then defend them as legitimate commenters—including replying to them.

And who can blame them? So many blogs rarely receive comments, so when one comes in that not only appears to be genuine, but actually praises the blogger, it’s hard for people to say no.

Want to make a blogger’s day? Leave a comment when you read something you like. (Real ones, not spam ones.) and “Decentralized Twitter”

ReadWriteCloud: is an OStatus-based microblogging service built by Steve Klabnik and others using Ruby, Sinatra and MongoDB. Because it uses OStatus, it’s compatible with and StatusNet microblogs. In order to follow someone from, just paste the ATOM feed from their profile into Theoretically this should work both ways, but I was unable to subscribe to my own account from account.

Yeah, good luck with that.

WordPress and other publishing platforms work well decentralized specifically because they don’t require a single locus to function with each other. There are pingbacks and comments—and if you want to follow another site you generally do it with RSS. It’s the language of publishing platforms. You can do neat stuff with a single locus (like the social features on, but it’s not necessary for the ecosystem to function.

Social services like Twitter and Facebook are popular because they focus people’s attention in the same area. It’s a single place where people can find their friends and people they want to Internet-stalk, and that makes it easy to connect.

Pasting an Atom feed? It’s not going to work because that’s not the language of social services. You’ve already made it too hard.