Perry Creek, North Cascades - 1980s - Photo by Doug Rudoff
Why have a blog at all?
Many years ago a good friend of mine gave me a bumper sticker that read “Write It Down!” At the time he was encouraging me to capture the fleeting insights of our then intense debates in some shareable format. Of course, this was before the Internet, or desktop publishing, or any means of wide distribution was available that didn’t cost a relative fortune for a 19-year-old retail sales clerk. And although I had kept diaries for years, I think it was my friend’s impression that I didn’t value the preservation or distribution of my own thoughts terribly much, which was probably true, and he thought that I should (bless his heart). Since then, I have published many books and essays, been asked to write articles and contribute to online discussions, etc., and so I seem to have cracked that particular nut. But there are still many of my ideas, observations and convictions that may get scribbled on a scrap of paper, or offered in some conversation with a friend, or shared in an email, or even posted on some site or other…but which are then lost forever. So this blog is a way to preserve those fleeting snibits and fulfill, at long last, the emphatic encouragement of that bumper sticker in a more complete way. Well, that will be true if I can maintain the discipline to post things here.
Why go to the trouble of hosting my own blog using Open Source software?
This is really the more cherished value embodied here: If I’m going to produce something, I’d really rather it be openly shared with everyone, able to be commented on by anyone, be free of 3rd party advertisements, and – perhaps most importantly – I don’t want to become someone else’s product or profit center. For whenever someone posts on Facebook, Twitter, a Google product, the new Medium blog site, or any of these commercial ventures, they are offering their blood, sweat and soul to benefit the shareholders of those companies; they produce something for someone else’s profit, and receive absolutely no compensation for doing so. I think this is unethical and just a tad bit disgusting. That said, in the spirit of wanton hypocrisy, I may still be sharing my blog posts on some of these platforms in order to spread the joy of this effort to as wide an audience as possible. And yes, I will probably even continue to contribute separate posts on FaceBook, Quora and a few other sites, because frankly I’ve found it exciting and enriching to exchange ideas with some really interesting folks all around the globe on those platforms. But since I am hosting this blog myself, I can pick-and-choose what I share from it, and where, and when; I can manage all those for-profit interactions myself. That will be very satisfying for me. And, in that inevitable someday when Open Knowledge trumps contorted information manipulation that is inspired by the profit motive, I will have done my small part to exemplify what free and open knowledge-sharing looks like. At least that’s the plan.
(11/04/2014 UPDATE: Apologies to those who wish to comment on my posts - due to seemingly uncontrollable spamming I had to disable that function. However, if you have any thoughts you want to share, please send me an email and I'll do my best to integrate it into the relevant thread.)