This is a Website

LAST NIGHT at dinner, my friend Tantek Çelik (and if you don’t know who he is, learn the history of your craft) lamented that there was no longer any innovation in blogging—and hadn’t been for years. I replied by asking if anyone was still blogging.

Me, I regret the day I started calling what I do here “blogging.” When I launched this website in 1995, I thought of what I was doing as “writing and publishing,” which is the case. But in the early 2000s, after Rebecca Blood’s book came out, I succumbed to peer pressure. Not from Rebecca: Rebecca is awesome, and still going strong. The peer pressure came from the zeitgeist.

Nobody in the mainstream had noticed a decade of independent content producers, but they woke up when someone started calling it “blogging.” By the way, what an appalling word that is. Blogging. Yecch. I held my nose at the time. But I also held my tongue. If calling your activity blogging was the price of recognition and attention, so be it, my younger self said to itself.

Did Twitter and Facebook kill blogging? Was it withdrawal of the mainstream spotlight? Did people stop independently writing and publishing on the web because it was too much work for too little attention and gain? Or did they discover that, after all, they mostly had nothing to say?

Blogging may have been a fad, a semi-comic emblem of a time, like CB Radio and disco dancing, but independent writing and publishing is not. Sharing ideas and passions on the only free medium the world has known is not a fad or joke.

We were struggling, whether we knew it or not, to found a more fluid society. A place where everyone, not just appointed apologists for the status quo, could be heard. That dream need not die. It matters more now than ever.

Yes, recycling other people’s recycling of other people’s recycling of cat gifs is fun and easy on Tumblr. Yes, rubbing out a good bon mot on Twitter can satisfy one’s ego and rekindle a wistful remembrance of meaning. Yes, these things are still fine to do. But they are not all we can do on this web. This is our web. Let us not surrender it so easily to new corporate masters.

Keep blogging in the free world.

133 thoughts on “This is a Website

  1. If you publish an independent website, feel free to link to it in these comments, along with a description of what it’s about. It will not be gratuitous and you will not be tooting your own horn. I am requesting this information. Unlike Jay Zee, you probably do not have a team of publicists spreading the word about your work. Do not be ashamed to share. Some of us are hungry to read and discover each other.

  2. “Some of us are hungry to read and discover each other.”

    You’ve captured the unfulfilled promise of social media in 11 words.

  3. Blogging, social media, the cloud. These are all things that have been collectively known as “the web” for much longer than they’ve carried these silly names. My personal site lacks a blog, but I keep telling myself to get it up and running. Often, I spend my time sharing and re-sharing useless junk, when I’d much rather (in spirit, at least) write meaningful content, and have meaningful discussion. Thank you for publishing after all these years, and for continuing to use actual, on-site comments.

  4. I mirrored this sentiment when I stepped away from “blogging” three or four years ago. Why blog when most everything I wanted to do could be done in a tweet?

    But, I too walked away from a website that I had been writing on since 1997. Some of that early, horrible writing can still be found at, my museum of old site designs.

    It was actually my conversation with you, Jeffrey, this summer that convinced me to return to writing. It’s not enough that I tweet and host a podcast. To truly share my ideas and hopefully see them grow through collaboration, I need to write about them.

    That’s why I resurrected a section for writing on my current personal page, I need to make the clicking sounds with the keyboard more often than I do (In fact, I have a “Writing Wednesday” calendar event staring me in the face right now), but it’s a start back into something that came so naturally before the zeitgeist helped convince me was “over.”

  5. I’ve used my personal website as a means of sharing my thoughts, ideas and artwork since I was in high school. I continue to call the “blog” section a “journal,” but I’ve never really examined why I chose that term instead. Curious…

  6. well put, Zeldman! independent websites still have wonderful resources that can’t be found on facebook, tumblr, or twitter.

    I ‘blog’ regularly about web development. Sharing small tutorials and personal opinions in the hope that someone out there may benefit from what I’ve learned/struggled with recently.

  7. I don’t have a writing section on my website, I’m actually afraid to have one. Call me paranoid but Barrett Brown’s story scares me enough to keep my thoughts to myself. I would not promote violence, but one drunken late night rant is now enough to change your life and those you care about. I just don’t believe I’ll have anything to say that’s really worth that.

  8. I have my personal site since 1999. When blogging came into the spotlights, I remember the confusing. Ditch my site for blog? But everything I wanted to show and tell was already on my site and a menu item labelled ‘blog’ felt silly. So I ended up just switching my site to a blogging software. (WP) The most essential and magic thing about the internet remains the fact that you can write your thoughts and feelings in simple editor and publish it for the whole world to resd and enjoy. All I learned in web design and development came from the desire to communicate something to other people. A blog, a tumblr, a tweet are just fashionable containers for content. For all I care my site is now a web app because I can open it by clicking on the homescreen of my phone.

  9. I’ve been blogging since 2005. I agree that Twitter, and more so, Facebook have killed ‘personal blogs’. Twitter has probably killed tech blogs more. But the thing is, without some sort of original, long form content being posted, Twitter wouldn’t exist as it’s just a giant repository of people posting links to long-form articles half the time and then reacting to them.

    In a way, since there’s less bloggers now, it would be a great time for people to start doing it again, as there’s less competition when writing tech-related articles.

  10. We’ve actually ramped up our blogging in the last few months at, where we talk about all aspects of website optimization.

    Blogging isn’t dead but I’d have to agree with Tantek, we haven’t really invented anything new in this space for quite a while. The question is though: do we need too? What problem should we be solving?

  11. Just excited I can once again write I’m excited about being able to add a little comment here. Hope you don’t mind. At best it adds a bit to a good feel (I hope).

  12. I regularly publish my writings and reviews online as well – and like you, blogging seems to have this connotation of something less than serious and semi-dead. My news feed would say otherwise though.

    I am an avid semi-pro (only because I still have a day job I love) photographer. I enjoy doing food reviews of local restaurants and covering various events and landmarks. I also have a passion (and if I can be immodest, flair) for writing. My blog gives me an outlet and a drive for all of these things, and I’d like to think an appreciative audience.

  13. I am a writer who writes about technology and web in general. I am an entrepreneur with a startup and I regularly share my experiences and insights to help fellow starters. I am also a speaker and accept speaking gigs.

  14. I have been blogging for about 8 years mostly about technology and products but in the last few years much less but very long form – maybe 5,000+ words per post every few months. I now say that I just casually write whenever I have a good idea to share or stance to discuss.

  15. “You’ve captured the unfulfilled promise of social media in 11 words.” + 1

    I got into all of this online crazy stuff back in the 9th grade in 2006. Seems like such a long time ago, but it’s just 7 years. I found great mentors and thinkers but I haven’t seen them once in flesh and bones. All online, like magic. I come from a small Romanian mountain village with 20 000 people, and yet I had access to every bit of information I needed. I read, I write (getting better at it with time) and I share. I remember my first tagline was “a professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit”

  16. The evolution of language is fascinating to me. The word blog is a shortening of “web log” and was originally a chronicle of an individual’s web adventures – not a general personal journal in or outside of the web. I remember those who objected to the misuse of the word blog around 2000. However, language is pliable. So the zeitgeist can beat extended meaning to words as it pleases.

  17. I’ve struggled to maintain a blog/personal site for many years. I think it is hard to write, but I know the best way to get better is to keep doing it.

    I’m really excited about the concept of Medium ( as I think it does a really good job of switching the focus from writing frequency (which has always been a deterrent for me) to writing quality. That said, I haven’t yet posted to Medium. I hope to soon.

    For the moment, you can find a few writings and a few more photos at

    I loved An Event Apart, I’m looking forward to next year!

  18. Wasn’t able to catch you at AEASF, so I’ll say it here: THANK YOU for a fantastic conference.

    I started blogging in 2001, mostly personal writing and web design stuff, transitioning from Blogger to GreyMatter (*tear*) to MovableType. Posts started to taper off in 2005 and essentially stopped in 2009–likely due to Facebook and Twitter.

    Oddly, a growing interest in, surprisingly, menswear got me blogging again in 2010. I’m now using Tumblr, writing at

  19. Despite the fact that I’ve been working on the web since the 90s, I was very late to blogging. I never felt confident in my voice or if I had anything worthwhile to share. A couple of years ago, I decided to force myself to start blogging, and it’s been a wonderful experience. It’s helped me to organize my thoughts on the subjects I write about, and while my audience is minuscule, it has lead to some good opportunities.

    I sporadically write about UX, design, and startups at

  20. I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments on publishing *to your own site*, it is something I’ve not done enough of but am working to change that.

    When I first started making websites (when I knew of you Jeffrey but certainly wasn’t part of the community) in about 2002, I was very keen on sharing all of the knowledge I learned. However, I was an idiot and decided that since I had no traffic to any of my own websites that I would instead post tutorials and articles to forums or other people’s blogs. Needless to say, hardly any of my original content is still around.

    I’ve since learned my lesson, but have been spending too much time *doing* and less *sharing*. I’m about to publish a book but even that doesn’t feel like I’m sharing enough.

    So my plan is to hopefully move my site (redesign too, looking very dated) over to Ghost. It is a very nice platform and will let me experiment more with Node.js (it is always best to experiment on your own sites I think). However, since meeting Tantek at the Brighton indie web event, I am going to write plugins for Ghost (when the Plugin API is ready) allowing myself and others to use indie web concepts such as web mentions and POSSE through Ghost.

    Finally moving my content back to my site. Currently it is just full of rants (some of which you all might enjoy reading) on how things *should* be.

  21. Hello,

    I just wanted to say thank you. I just re – launched my website so I could begin writing again.

    I was inspired by several folks like yourself, but have become disheartened when I sit down to “blog” because “blogging” doesn’t seem serious or intellectual.

    But, you just reminded me what I really like to do: Write and publish.

    Thank you, sir.


    // rod

  22. I’ve been blogging for nearly 10 years with no plan to stop. Maybe I’ll change software (WordPress for entire time; I would’ve started sooner but was too unsatisfied with any prior blog software) in order to try out IndieWeb technologies that Tantek et al are pioneering and that I see as the logical and cultural next step for blog technology.

    My pet partial explanation of why blogging hasn’t kept up with “social media” is that it isn’t read and write in the same interface; it isn’t “social”. Contrast with Facebook and Twitter, which, ignoring the silos part, are like a blog feed reader, blog publishing, and distributed commenting software in all one interface. Even if you’re tired of writing for awhile, you keep coming back to that interface to read.

  23. If you publish an independent website, feel free to link to it in these comments, along with a description of what it’s about. […] Some of us are hungry to read and discover each other.


    Had a great time at AEA2013.

    What if AEA badges had our independent websites on them, so every attendee could more easily “read and discover each other”?

    Not our companies, nor our Twitter handles, but our independent websites.

  24. I have a website. I’ve been writing there for about twelve years now. I, too, have never been comfortable with calling it “blogging”. So I call it a journal instead:

    It’s been almost a month since I published anything there. That makes me feel uncomfortable. Like constipation.

  25. Hello Jeffrey & etal;

    One of the biggest influences on my design career was not only reading others web publishing (agreeing and disagreeing in self debate and reflection really helped me to change careers and grow) but exploring that space with something called a “blog roll”. I enjoyed starting a reading session here or else where and moving from publisher to publisher via the ‘roll’.

    Bring back the ‘roll’

    Back then content was extensible. It expressed complete thoughts. Now, content seems to have lost its scope and is shaped by the platform instead of the expression. It has become concatenated, insular and elementary. If you want to pass notes in class Twitter and Facebook do the job. But they lack the integrity and coherency of complete thoughts. They are like sugar candy necklaces around the neck of a 5 year old.

    Funny you should write this J.Z. you were asking for links so here goes….

    “Your Message Is Not Your Own”
    The archive link is here:
    Note: The archive is incomplete been busy with work building tonight. Writing like programming is growth.

  26. In 2000, I have started a small project on my site called “Why I don’t write a personal weblog”

    A few years later, I have started blogging, using the insights I have gained from writing this page.

    After not visiting this page for a long time, I returned and here is some of what I have found.

    #2 – Weblogs are tools for sharing, selling and promotion.

    #23 – Reading and writing between the lines is becoming a lost art.

    #39 – A posting every day; an interesting idea every three months…

    #47 – Let me try to say this again more concisely and in a slightly different way: we forget that what a person says is not who the person is.

    #50 – Always write like you are speaking on behalf of your company. Why? Because despite the disclaimers, you really are. That’s scary if you think about it.

    And another thing that I have thought about lately – one of my regrets is that my mother died before the age of the internet. She would have flourished here.

  27. This is my website:

    Not Marc’s, not Ev’s, not Matt’s (BTW, thank you, Matt, for, not Apple’s, not Google’s website. Mine, all mine. I designed and developed (and still manage) it because more than 15 years ago someone by a yellow (was it yellow? or orange?) backgrounded web page told me it was possibile to take my talent (if any) on the internet and keep it independent.

    So I started to write about my commuting trips, about my work, books that I read, music that I listen, photos that I shoot. I started to write about me. And that’s the point, in my opinion: social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. offer you an interface and a community shared with a huge audience, a common place, but they don’t offer you what I value the most: identity. There, you write on the behalf of someone who designed your web presence for you. It’s not you speaking, at the end. Here, on my website it’s me and always will be.

  28. Completely agree with the sentiment of this article. We launched a website earlier this year that is aimed at trying to promote writing within the web industry and to give individuals the confidence to express their opinions and experiences.

    It is a place for everyone to share their thoughts whether they have 10 years or 10 minutes of experience and the site is currently populated purely by guest writers who have stories to tell and experiences from their day in day out lives working on the web.

    There are too many individuals with great ideas and experiences to share that are going unheard or are getting lost in the noise. We want to try changing that…

    Our site can be found at

  29. @Mike Linksvayer

    What have you read on FB lately that has influenced you in some capacity to a better web worker? I get the whole feed push thing but it does not produce content of value.

    What ever happened to producing independent content that is autonomous and linked? I enjoy the outlines of AEA events by Luke W. Never would have found them if not for a link here. Fcaebook does not have the latency nor does Twitter to keep such information available for a length of time so that it can be discovered. Unless you are checking Your Twitter or Facebook feed a 100 times a day you can miss something. Which is what the platform is designed to do. It is Pavlovian content. It is not extensible enough and is a metaphor for the imperative hive mind. You don’t check them for noteworthy content. You check them for updates. So I guess it comes down to frequency or quality. I’ll take quality. You can’t generate information that has telemetry like qualities and expect it to have mature contextual value.

  30. Landed on this while waiting for a new journal to become live, the first proper place of my own publish thoughts.

    > We were struggling, whether we knew it or not, to found a more fluid society. A place where everyone, not just appointed apologists for the status quo, could be heard. That dream need not die. It matters more now than ever.

    I feel inspired to be part of a profession where craftspeople take a stand for what they believe in. I think we can look to the librarians and scribes who over millennia protected enormous human knowledge, even as their collections were specially targeted for burning in wars.

    Going out with a piece about the TPP. Live as of … now.

  31. I started my blog less than a year ago. It started as an “online resume” and slowly evolved into a blog when I started learning new stuff and wanted to share the things I learn with others to help them decrease the learning curve that I had when I started learning those things myself. I love explaining things and making the seemingly “complex” stuff very simple.

    I blog about front-end stuff, mostly CSS, some HTML5 and Javascript. I don’t have a blogging “frequency”. Ideas come and go.

    I publish my articles and tutorials at, feel free to check them out.

  32. Also, thanks a lot for this article! I’ve always preferred the term “publications” over “blog posts”, more descriptive to the nature of these articles and even more professional and meaningful. I may end up changing “Blog” to “Publications” at some point. :)

  33. I totally agree with this. Twitter and Facebook have created an audience that constantly wants to be drip fed with content. I used to spend days crafting a blog post on my blog. Now I find my self popping bits of this and that on Facebook in some attempt to try to keep up with the demands of feeding the blue monster.

    Facebook is a nightmare, everyone is on it, but its not indexible, searchable or easy to find anything.

    Blogging creates value because what you write is searchable and it shows up in Google or other search engines, you can grow your audience naturally.

    I am fed of up it, but its like a drug addiction.

    Facebook is like crack

  34. Great comments Jeffery.

    I publish a travel guide for the Fraser Valley, BC. Its a challenge to remain enthusiastic about writing and adding features.

    Fraser Valley Focus is a community oriented travel guide, with activities and links to attractions, events, entertainment and travel information for the Fraser Valley, BC, Canada.

    Blogs like yours, posts by others and newsletters help to inspire me to get through the more mundane activities. While Facebook complements the Focus, it readily takes up much of my time so I limit my contributions on Facebook to 3 – 15 minute sessions a day.


    I’ve been writing online since 1998, and accidentally started a blog in 2000. The format was great for me and I’m still going. I blog about all sorts of stuff. Stuff I find interesting, stuff I think might be useful to others, important stuff, unimportant stuff, work stuff, personal stuff.

    I never had a blogroll in all the years those were popular, but I do now — to link to other similar personal blogs which escape the grasp of marketing on all things social media, including blogs.

    (I like the name though, and am proud to be a blogger.)

  36. Coming up on its 15 year anniversary, was one of those early venues for web devs who wanted to share ideas with the rest of the developer world. Community articles, community involvement, peer review—all these things were still mostly new at the time. We didn’t consider it a blog. It certainly wasn’t made up people simply re-linking other content.

    Some of the contributors for ultimately went on to other venues, often paid writing work. Others just focused on other things, sometimes not even the web. You’ll see many of them involved in making standards, browsers, and other cool stuff.

    Social media venues lowered the bar so much, for good and for bad, that thoughtful long-form writing in exchange for no payment just fell away. And then came the cat photos…

    I still write (at and I call it blogging. Even though I hate the term, at least it carries a common meaning. In my case, for *not* being paid to rant about web technologies and trends.


    I’ve had a blog since 2002, mostly waffle but in the last couple of years I’ve gotten into writing about the web industry and conferences. At times it’s merely served as elaborate lorem ipsum for my many site redesigns but there’s also been surprising value in just recording stuff; it’s surreal reading a 10 year old post that contradicts and corrects how you’ve been remembering that time. Because of that historical aspect I’m very wary of sites like medium that invite people to create content on their terms.

  38. I have an infrequently updated, but very much alive, blog. I like having a corner of the web that is my own, where I can publish anything I want. Mostly, that means notes on web development and links to other people’s notes on web development. (And most of the time I just call it “my website”.)

    There are probably fewer independent blogs around now, but that might have happened even without the rise in social media. Not everyone wants to be a writer and we shouldn’t expect them to be. If you keep a blog, or a website or whatever, now it’s because you really want to.

    Another thought is that, in a sense, blogs are now so common that we forget they are there. Every news site has become a blog and every columnist a blogger. It might not be part of the indie web, but it’s the direct result of it.

  39. I’ve still got two blogs that are not quite going strong but are updated every few weeks. they run on old creaky WordPress installs but they still run.

    In fact I was just invited to give a talk on blogging to a small luncheon crowd in Lexington MA next year. For everyone who thinks blogging has been over for half a decade (and I’m with you that the lack of innovation is too bad) there are people just discovering it who have much better tools to work with now.

  40. “Blogging may have been a fad…”. I suppose I’m being a bit outlandish in comparing the following but… “techno” was a fad to many. Yet here we are, years after Eminem spat on Moby ( It never actually fell off, nor was it ever actually a fad. I don’t feel blogging has fallen off but rather “blogging” has simply evolved. I don’t think we’re necessarily falling to corporate masters, we’re shaping them. At the moment I see it as more of our struggle with terminology and definition. But what the hell do I know!

    I still (sporadically) “blog” here (among many places), where I once showcased young designers work and now simply rant about thoughts in my head. This was my first space.

  41. Thanks so much for writing this Jeffrey. I think it was you who said that if you don’t write, you don’t know what you think, and I try to constantly remind myself of that. Even if no one reads what I write, I try to be content with the fact that it help me understand my thoughts.

    I write a site called The Bold Report( where I write about tech, design, Apple, etc.

  42. I write for myself—to practice and experiment—and enjoy sharing my life’s adventure on the web. Having kept an online journal/site since 1999, I rebooted last year when embarking on a RTW trip with a one-way ticket to Asia. Now that I’m home, it’s simply a place to play with web technologies and share my photos.

  43. Joost said:

    Blogging isn’t dead but I’d have to agree with Tantek, we haven’t really invented anything new in this space for quite a while. The question is though: do we need too? What problem should we be solving?

    Improving access, so more people have the ability and the right to publish what they want when they want. Making it easier for them to do so.

  44. Most of the online personalities that I find myself interested in are the ones that write on a regular basis. They take me into their life and share their experiences and opinions.

    Blogging is most definitely still important. It’s an essential part of ones content strategy and a door into the human side of a brand or figure.

    Jeffrey, you asked that we share our independent websites. Here’s mine:

    It’s a site where I share conversations with independent influential creative pros (web designers, graphic designers, writers, etc.). We talk about the work and struggles they’ve gone through to reach the place they are in today.

  45. A good read! But Tumblr is not the problem here I think, it can be used for publishing content.

    I started writing a “blog” in spring using Tumblr (about “tablet computing”, which turned out to be mostly about the iPad for various reasons), because it was the least complicated solution. And having the option of “link posts” (and the occasional picture post) is nice too. I think a self-hosted solution will come some day, but I wanted to start and not fiddle with technology and tools!

    For not inventing something new: Does it matter so much? Being able to publish on the Web is all that matters for most of us. I think most new features (like in WordPress) are more a distraction from what should be done: Writing. At least for me (this was one reason why I chose Tumblr).

  46. Not our companies, nor our Twitter handles, but our independent websites.

    For me (a bit of a silly one-man-show) “pro” and “personable” are inseparable. I always tried to stay away from the slick sounding/looking salesman (I was afraid to become at some point in time) who only uses his wit to haul in the fish. I am however very much aware this could in fact be the very nature of doing business these days. Not judging here, but very much enjoying both the article and comments.

  47. Personally, I like your definition of what you do here as “writing and publishing”. Those activities are timeless. When a label is applied (like “blogging”) it puts a time stamp on the activity. That’s unfortunate, but maybe it’s the price we pay for getting the power of web publishing into the hands of millions of non-technical people (like myself).

    My recent contribution to the web is It’s a simple little site on the subjects of snow skiing and family for the benefit of my local community. The site is built with WordPress, so I suppose I have blogging to thank for the platform that allowed me to publish the site.

  48. I recently left the mainstream world of publishing (wired, webmonkey) to do my own thing. I haven’t had a chance to write and publish as much as I would like, but if anyone’s interested in responsive design, useful workflow tips, awkward perversions of Python and things of that nature:

    I also have a more personal site,

    I’ve always struggled with something Trent Walton posted about recently, that separation between “Work” and “Life” (Work Life). I have two sites because web dev readers don’t want to read about travel/life, and most of the friends and family that read my travel writing don’t want to read about web dev. I’ve notice that very long running self-published sites (okay, if you must, blogs) tend to not limit themselves like this… perhaps this assumption about readership and interests is false, I don’t really know. It feels like everything should be in one place, but for me at least, it isn’t right now.

  49. Thanks again for a wonderful conference. Still haven’t gotten the hang of effectively building a website, but I write about graphic design and share a curated list of visual inspiration, or projects that I’m working on.

    I’m also writing a cookbook, which is partially a design project, partially a cooking project, and partially a photography project.

    I’ve always been reluctant to call these “blogs.” There’s got to be a better word.

  50. Thank you for this article, and for encouraging people to link to their sites—I’ve already found a few I’m interested in.

    I’m a professional Jazz musician and web designer, and I’ve started to write about both, and the intersection of the two, on

  51. Terrific post, accurate and inspiring as ever, Mr Z.

    I have kept a personal site ( since 2008. I’ve often thought of abandoning it and just using Twitter, Facebook, Path etc but I’ve kept in going as it’s a nice form of self expression and it has slowly shaped my meagre writing skills.

  52. Thanks so much for posting this Jeffrey.

    It seems to me like in the past couple of years people have decided that since there is now a purpose-built place for all types of content they might want to publish, they don’t need to blog any more.

    I’m a front-end developer and I love that people are making all kinds of great stuff and putting it up on GitHub and Codepen, but it doesn’t tend to be accompanied by many words, and I sort of miss reading a blog post about how someone arrived at their solution, how they came across the problem in the first place, other things they tried etc.

    I’m aiming to get back to this sort of thing on my own site from now on.

  53. @Adactio:

    So I call it a journal instead.

    “My Glamorous Life” was my journal. It used to be a separate stream from “The Daily Report.” Check the orange nav on an old section like the Ad Graveyard. Of course nowadays the old link to the old “My Glamorous Life” section simply redirects to a “glamorous” category tag inside “The Daily Report.” What we gain in efficiency we lose in charm.

  54. I one thing that I miss most about blogging is blogrolls. These lists of links almost always led me to new, exciting, and enjoyable writing. I discovered and many other blogs several years ago because these wonderful lists of links.

    I’d love to see a resurgence of writing and publishing on the web. There are a lot of people with a lot of great ideas to share. The problem, in my opinion, is that with the decrease in publishing and the demise of the blogroll it has become more difficult to find these ideas.

    Let’s write, publish, AND share!

  55. I think things got too spread out. It used to be you could just follow someone’s blog, but the advent of a plethora of sharing sites (Flickr, Twitter, FB, instagram, Tumblr, reddit, etc.) made it confusing (in the beginning) on how/where to follow and how/where to publish.

    I also think things got too watered down. Too many blogs with content just to have content. Too many organizations desperate to not miss the train. Too many people feeling the pressure to blog to pad their job hunting/promotion strategies. These things led to an empty voice and filler text, and degraded the blogging experience.

    I remember when I joined Flickr in 04 and threw all of my heart/soul/energy into it… I was surprised to find out people were “still blogging.” (Ha. That makes me laugh now.). I’ve heard the same sentiment from others as they’ve either burned out or found a different place to pour their heart/soul/energy and share with others.

    What is missing: a good way to string the experience into a more meaningful community. I think that’s why Tumblr succeeds (but it could be so much more). I’m still looking for that perfect RSS reader that will aggregate and create community in a way that blows the doors off of everything else.

    I do still blog and am at My blog is mostly about where I live and making the most of it — by exploring beaches and going on hikes and visiting Big Sur. But I broke my arm while doing this exploring this fall and it set me back a bit. Time to jump back on.

    Thank you for an amazing AEA, Jeffery. What a great week.

  56. Writing on one’s own platform is crucially important and I hope that people don’t put all their creative eggs in the digital baskets of platforms.

    A few factors to consider when choosing to house your creative endeavors on a platform you don’t own:

    1) You can only implement technology that the platform lets you. While it may be constantly evolving, from a technical perspective you don’t have full control over how you share media or which technical integrations you use.

    2) How (if) you make money (and how much) is largely determined by rules you have no part in making. While those rules treat everyone (all contributors) equally, not everyone is an equal in terms of the talent or audience size they bring to the table.

    3) If a platform disappears tomorrow, or does something that you don’t like, you and your fans aren’t easy to migrate away. It’s not your platform, you’re just using it. This happened to me on Posterous. And my 1000 days of content had to be migrated away to a much less ideal location. It was awful.

    Most of my blogging lately is on my company’s site:

  57. Another thing blogs (can) do well is comments. Not everywhere, obviously, but when you have a combination of smart readers, measured moderation and participation from the writer (here, for example) the discussion is really valuable, and practically it works so much better than picking through replies on Twitter.

  58. Jeff,
    I have always appreciated the efforts of you and others that I consider my mentors in this crazy world of the wide web. I have struggled with writing myself because I never feel like I have anything worth writing about. I am trying to change that now, I have realized that some of the work I am doing now is different and other people are looking for ideas. I am trying to figure out what and how much I can do. Thanks for being there to inspire as always!

  59. Personal publishing is freedom aspired but duplicate publishing is freedom scrambled. For instance, if I have to read something relevant AND original about say WordPress, it’s a task in itself because most of the search engine friendly content written (and copied and re-written) has same words, same drum rolls… that WordPress is blah, blah and blah. So its a boon as well as bane for readers as well as wannabe writers, this land of the Interwebs!

  60. This post reminds me about when I first discovered “blogging”. As a kid (and still) I just loved to read, and I thought to myself: “It must be great to have your writing in a magazine.”

    Fast forward to the moment I discovered the idea of blogging, where you can write what you want, and publish it, in complete freedom. It’s great to be able to write something, and get it out there (even if no-one reads it).

  61. ‘The non-designers web book’ by Robin Williams was a well written book about web design way back when. The one thing I’ll always remember about this book is her explanation about the internet highway vs AOL’s walled garden. As soon as Facebook appeared I recognized it as the new AOL and stayed away from it. Still do not understand why people give up their independence and move inside some kind of a compound.

    So, I created my own website. However, everybody moved to Facebook and suddenly having your own website was out. Bummer! I still have not caved to any of my friend’s requests to join Facebook. I did no longer update my site though.

    So, I am very happy to read this post by Jeffrey Zeldman. I hope he gets people inspired to move away from behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ of Facebook out into the open again.
    I am going to try to revive my website again. Not that I have a lot to say, but I shall post my photographs.

    Amazing man, Jeffrey Zeldman. I remember reading his website in the mid nineties. The choice between Adobe and Corel. Serious choices. Democrats vs Republican territory, so to speak. : ) Oh well, we were so much older then, I’m younger than that now.

  62. I’ve been writing stuff on my personal website since 1996. Sometimes I get sidetracked by the allure of whatever new platform is hot – LiveJournal, Twitter, Tumblr – but it always comes back to my website.

    I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable with the term blog. It’s not a terrible word – it’s just so restrictive. There’s so much more to my website than just blogging!

  63. Thank you, Jeffrey, for this inspirational article. I used to have a website for the professional part of my life since the 2003. It was classic static html in the beginning, at some time I moved on to a CMS, and in 2008 I switched to a selfhosted WordPress engine, coining the brand edaktik at, in order to publicly reflect on teaching, learning and digital media.

    I ventured into “blogging” because I had always wanted to publish more and get comments on my publications without having the big ado about it as it is with regular academic publishing. In the beginning I have been worried a bit because my blog articles tend to be longer than blog entries I read elsewhere, and I thought that what I do isn’t quite blogging thus. Nevertheless I have always taken my time to research material and write my online texts thoroughly.

    Looking at it from your point of view, my online publishing is in fact less “blogging”, as it isn’t a journal at all, but rather public research, observation, reflection, and discussion.

  64. Jeffrey,

    Thank you for this post, I love the way you summed it up. People ask me “oh, you’re still blogging”, as in “oh, your car is still steam-powered”, and I say “actually, it’s more of a personal website where I publish what I want and I’m not dependent about the latest blogging platform.” Period.

    Then I tell them about Geocities, Lycos, Posterous etc. and why I prefer to spit a handful of bucks every year to have a sound place to publish and to refer to. This is where I lose them most of the times and they go to the buffet for a refill. ;)

    So, as per your request:

    Originally I chose this domain name because it worked in french and english, but most of the time nowadays I write in french if at all. It deals a bit with web techniques and our milieu, but most of all it’s more about personal narrative and kinda would-be poetic recollections of everyday life.

    This has been around since 1997 and will still stay around as long as I can (older stuff got lost in the interwebs of mutualised platforms, see my point above about durability of the platform if you’re not gone back to the bar for a refill).

    Here’s a fun story: a few weeks ago a person asked a colleague if she could “get in touch” with me. I said no problem, give her my email address. She sent me one email and commented about what a luxury it was that I had a proper website and not a LinkedIn profile. This says quite a bit about how people use the web nowadays as a set of loosely- or non-connected services and no real home for themselves and they don’t see (even web professionals sometimes) how having your own web space matters.

    Remember when we called it “my home page”?

  65. PS : You know that any time you want to come to Paris, coffee is on me, right? (you+Molly were among the most influential people in my professional life, together with Derek Powazek, Jeff Veen and a handful of others).

  66. Hear, hear! This is the Zeldman i love , just look at the comments, Sir you know how to inspire. Glad you’re back (i know you was here all the time i just missed the fire in your articles)

  67. Loads of organizations are working to get youth interested in the infrastructure of the web, coding, scripting and otherwise making stuff online to share their own voices, so I feel like there’s a movement happening that will strengthen independent publishing. We have to #teachtheweb and part of that is being open and sharing your voice and learning via…wait for it…a blog! Thanks for continuing to write and post, and thanks for making your own space in the digital universe instead of only posting on a closed system (we need to get people out of that habit).

    I’m sporadic, but blogging fairly regularly as are many other webby folks. You can find me here: and you can find other passionate techies, educators and webmakers aggregated at

  68. Interesting, it was Rebecca Blood’s book, ‘The Weblog handbook’ that got me excited about lawyers using blogs to share their insight so as to enhance their reputation as a reliable and trusted authority. Heck, I remember my heart racing just reading the book while sitting on a stool at Borders Bookstore in Seattle.

    I very much latched on to the term ‘blog’ to build a company bringing blogs to lawyers – 8,000 lawyers on our network now.

    But having done that I am feeling that I should be closing the gap on lawyers not blogging but just telling them all we are talking about is publishing valuable insight, something lawyers have done for decades. Blogs are just the medium or the vessel for now.

    I expect the term blog will go away. We’ll express ourselves using the Web and what we say will move seamlessly in various ways such as social and RSS. Ironically, ‘blog’ as a term going away will be good for my company, LexBlog.

  69. Great article. Like many others here, I blogged on and off for many years, but it waxed and waned with the seasons. I took up photography in the past 2 years and the direction of my site has moved that direction. Since then, my posting has been more consistent as I’m putting stuff out there that I care about.

    I treat this totally different from Twitter and Facebook though. My site is where my stuff Lives. This is the definitive version.

  70. My blog is a web dev blog. And while there are many blogs like it out there and I am trying to monetize it, the main point of the blog is to share what I learn, and in detail. My blog posts are basically glorified research papers, explaining my work. At least, tyhat’s the goal I’m trying to achieve.

  71. Oh! I was brought here by a “+1″ from a friend in G+, and now I want to read Marie on programming and Ubuntu (my favorite OS). Nice job, Zeldman!

    Because I didn’ t want recognition and attention, I never called my independent writing “blogging”. I write mostly about quality requirements as a foundation for better software, and like when readers reach out to me after finding my site via Google search. Several times the domain I used became “too popular”, so I threw it out and started over, as means to keep the conversation relevant and reduce the work involved in keeping spammers away.

  72. Thanks, Jeffrey, for this inspiring reminder of our heritage!

    I publish at a snail’s pace, and I’m comfortable with it: Like many people, I explore self-discovery and -revelation via the various social media communities. But it always feels like “coming home” when I write, edit, illustrate, and publish an essay on my own commercial-free slice of the web. Something about it feels so much more timeless and substantive than any nugget of wisdom or cleverness I may have ever spouted on Twitter. I should do it more.

  73. I came across this post by way of Tantek. I’ve had since 2000 and been “blogging” since 2002 here. I have always liked being in control of my content, but it was not until the last year or so when I came across #indiewebcamp that I realized how important that is. These silos come and go so easily.

    My writings aren’t really one topic; some music, some faith, some computer geekery, some whatever else. I’m a software engineer and I’m looking forward to implementing some indiewebcamp tools as I have time. I’m encouraged to see more people interested in maintaining their own sites rather than putting their content into a social network that will probably be gone in 10 years.

  74. I believe that blog is a technology and blogging is a generic term for what you do with it. It’s like how writing is the generic term for what you do with pen and paper. It is what you do with it that really matters. Blogging became a thing because people wanted a voice and marketers realized its power, but the vast majority of these bloggers did not understand how much work and thought is needed to be successful. I think what we are seeing now is a thinning of the ranks and more people who are using blogs with intention or as a craft.

  75. I’m relatively new to blogging, started about 2 1/2 years ago. Definitely not an early adopter. What started as just a blog for photo posting has morphed into something more elaborate.

    I don’t consider myself a writer but I now like organizing my thoughts with words. Now my creativity is expressed, not only by manipulating photons, but also by manipulating words.

  76. Eric Snowdeal pointed me here, after an exchange on Twitter.

    I’ve been typing online since 1985 (mostly Usenet back then), and started blogging in 1999. In 2003 I signed up for Typepad and have kept up a more or less steady pace of about a post a day for about a decade.

    I got paid to write full-time for (a newspaper-like thing) for about 18 months, and as part of that developed a weekly column about the Freedom of Information Act. You can see that column appear weekly on the Ann Arbor-focused group blog called Damn Arbor:

    My general blog is pretty general; last I checked I had over 200 categories, each of which probably could sustain a whole weblog if I had any focus. The FOIA column is the focused version of one piece of what I’m interested in.

  77. I always hated the word ‘blogging’ and resisted it for a long time. But eventually I found it seeping into my writing and language. I don’t write or post as much as I did, but that’s a function of changing priorities in life.

    My site includes opinion pieces, some short fiction, a longer novella that was live-written over a period of months, photography, illustration, and gems I’ve found around the ‘net. As I’ve always said, I created the site ( as a safety valve for creativity, but I haven’t been creative enough lately. Time to change.

    I’ll be making an effort in the new year to write more. One of my overarching objectives for 2014 is to “Create More, Consume Less” and writing (and drawing) frequently again is one way to succeed.

    And Jeffrey, I’ve been reading you for more than a decade. Thanks for being around.

  78. Great, timely post! Thank you. I use the word blog because it’s a concept people are familiar & comfortable with it (fact is that many outside the web design set don’t know how to use a blog). I started out using the word ‘journal’ but found myself having to explaining it to people: Treat a blog as a long-term two-way communication channel and you might just learn something about the thoughts, feelings and opinions of people that really matter. The word ‘blog’ is a sales word.

    I have written about cognitive web design for the past year, not as an SEO trick, not as a thinly veiled sales pitch but as an exercise in thinking out loud in public. Where this activity has paid dividends is being able to help explain things to customers and sales prospects by guiding them to the blog with the words: “I wrote about that in [month]”

  79. A big thanks to the real Jay-Zee for his generosity in opening his blog in this way to find good content. Meant to say in the above:

    I love to blog about human-computer interaction (HCI) and usability/ux experience and am going to spruce up and share the HCI/Cog Sci courses I designed and lectured over a no of years to BSc/Msc students over on my blog.

    Technology may change. Humans don’t much. We want to have/create/share great experiences. HCI supports this design process.

  80. Dear Jeff,

    I learned good web design from you using the first edition of your book, Designing with Web Standards. Thank you for all you’ve done, and continue to do, for the open web.

    My website is where I publish my photography, mainly what is known as ‘street’, in black and white, currently with work made mainly in Rome, Italy:

    Much love from Roma!

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