The Daily Zen #11 “Question Your Defaults”

I had a couple thoughts on my mind so thought I’d slip out some writing here. Let us begin.

Recently the service Svbtle opened itself up to the general public. I’ve never used the service but The Typist wrote an interesting piece comparing it to Medium and pointing out the differences. To me, it shows there is no shortage of places where one can publish text on the web. The problem is there is almost too many, and it gets very confusing where you should stake your claim and start publishing. I personally started this blog on WordPress but then shifted over to Squarespace last year. Ideally, I’d like to completely self-host and have complete control over all aspects of the blog. Yet, that requires a tremendous amount of work.

I see people occasionally chastise others for having only free WordPress or Tumblr blogs and tell them they have to move to something they have more control over. I think that’s usually wrong, because everyone has different priorities. If you simply want to express yourself in writing and really don’t care about the intricacies of your CMS or whether you can monetize your blog in the future, go with the easiest option out there. It’s whatever you want out of your blogging experience, not what I think you should want.

However, people should be aware of the options before they commit to a platform. That’s why I like The Typist’s piece, because he lays out what each service offers and the tradeoffs you make for going with that particular service. There are always tradeoffs with picking your platform. It’s best to identify what your priorities are and pick the appropriate platform for yourself. I think if you are serious about blogging, you might want to go with the higher end paid options, but I think most people would be very happy with a simple free Tumblr blog.

This also makes me think about how people get stuck in their default way of thinking far too often. Some people will think that whatever personal solution they have discovered for a problem is the only solution. Others will simply adopt the popular solution and never think about whether there might be a better way. Both sides are wrong, and everyone needs to kind of break out of those defaults and see that the world is not black and white. I know it’s human nature to set your mind into closed boxes and not see outside those boxes, but I think people should fight against that. Everyone should always be examining what their current defaults are and whether they should change.

One example I’ve been thinking about lately is the way most blogs are organized, including my own. Is the reverse-chronological stream of blog posts the best way for a blog to work? Maybe there is a different way that would be far superior and would create a tremendously better reading experience. I’m not sure, but I think it’s the question any blogger should be asking, although most don’t give it any thought. I’ve currently not found a superior method to organize my blog, but I’m always looking and always trying to question the default and discover a better way.

Old Web Publishing Platform of the Day: GeoCities. This was the Grandaddy of places to stake your claim on the web. It allowed anyone to make their own free web page and was hugely popular in the mid to late 90s. However, it was bought by Yahoo for $3.57 billion in 1999 and eventually faded away. I had a crude GeoCities page at one point… good times.

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