Congrats to Matt Mullenweg on ten years of blogging. I say it half-jokingly every time someone I know observes the decade anniversary of their blogging, but there really are key lessons about this medium that I didn’t figure out until I’d been doing it for eight or nine or ten years, and others of the same geriatric vintage as myself have confirmed that this was their experience, too.
Matt says, “This is definitely the longest sustained activity I’ve done, and I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t continue the rest of my life, however long or short that may be.” and the same is true for me. Some of these themes popped up last month when I interviewed Matt at the PaidContent conference as well:
The Feedback Loop
But what more than a decade of blogging has taught me is that the feedback loop from our audiences can be a negative thing, too. As addictive as it is to see the response to a pointed blog post, getting uncritical applause from people who were already fans, and unsurprising criticism from those who were already inclined to dislike us, didn’t actually serve much of a purpose. I’d said this a couple months ago, but wasting so much energy on which of two competing tools is better is a fool’s errand, best left to meaningless tech blogs:
[W]hen I would spend my time flinging zingers at Matt Mullenweg about the merits of Movable Type vs. WordPress, you know who was winning? Mark Fucking Zuckerberg. Facebook won the blogging wars. The web became a more closed place than if either Movable Type or WordPress had evolved into the tool that powered social networking.
So these days, I find it much more interesting to focus on what we’ve learned. One of the most obvious lessons, in retrospect, was that anyone who’s got the same overall goal and mission in their work as I do, whether that’s in getting people expressing themselves online, or making more meaningful technology, or any other passion, should be treated as an ally.
That’s not to say I won’t still have fun snarking at people or trolling in a friendly way when there’s an opportunity to compete. But I’m much happier these days fighting much bigger battles in a much quieter way.