Personal Blogging: Everything Old is New Again

Blogging — at one’s own custom domain, as opposed to scribbling away over at Medium or penning an email newsletter — is cool!

Seriously, is it 2014, or 2004?

Fred Wilson:

There’s a bit of a renaissance of real personal blogging here in NYC. Two of the original NYC bloggers have, after years of writing professionally and editing others, returned to their own blogs.

It started with Lockhart Steele, the founder of Curbed, Racked, and Eater, who started that media business on his personal blog.

Then the next day, Elizabeth Spiers, the founding editor/blogger at Gawker, dusted off her blog and started writing on it again.

And:

There is something about the personal blog, yourname.com, where you control everything and get to do whatever the hell pleases you. There is something about linking to one of those blogs and then saying something. It’s like having a conversation in public with each other. This is how blogging was in the early days. And this is how blogging is today, if you want it to be.

It feels so good to link to both of them.

Brent Simmons:

I’ve heard blogs classified as a type of social media. Maybe that’s true, and maybe not — I don’t care.

What I do care about is that my blog isn’t part of a system where its usefulness is just a hook to get me to use it. It works the way I want to, and the company running the servers (DreamHost) doesn’t care one fig what I do.

My blog’s older than Twitter and Facebook, and it will outlive them. It has seen Flickr explode and then fade. It’s seen Google Wave and Google Reader come and go, and it’ll still be here as Google Plus fades. When Medium and Tumblr are gone, my blog will be here.

The things that will last on the internet are not owned. Plain old websites, blogs, RSS, irc, email.

Kottke:

I knew if I waited around long enough, blogging would be the hot new thing again: Sippey, Steele, Spiers.

I have been blogging consistently here at Newley.com since January, 2002.

Streaks are important.

A Look Back at 2012: Some Notable Posts and Stories

2012 has been a memorable year for me.

In addition to writing some stories that I’m quite proud of, I departed Thailand after six years to begin studying for my Master’s in Business and Economics Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School in New York City. (I’m on winter break now and am writing this from Bangkok.)

Here’s a look back at some of my favorite posts from the last twelve months. Some entries are lighthearted, while others are more serious. At the bottom, I’ve linked to a few of my favorite pieces of non-Newley.com writing.

As you’ll see — first things first! — in March, my soccer team won our league. As the year progressed, I posted my notes from Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s speech to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand and blogged about the landmark elections in Myanmar (Burma). And who could forget what happened in May: Lady Gaga arrived in Bangkok.

In New York, I wrote briefly about some of my classes and posted my notes from three memorable talks. First, R. Glenn Hubbard and Jeffrey Liebman, economic advisors to President Obama and Mitt Romney, debated business and economics issues at Columbia. Then Bob Woodward delivered an inspirational speech to Columbia Journalism School students. And I wrote about a talk Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt gave at the 92nd Street Y.

And, finally, as the year ended, I blogged about Hurricane Sandy hitting the New York area. (Indeed, it has been quite a year: I didn’t even blog about another two significant events from the fall: President Obama’s re-election and the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings.)

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

Other Writings

A couple of stories I wrote for the Wall Street Journal stand out: I reported on some “creative” watering holes in Bangkok and wrote about all things vintage Thailand*.

For Bloomberg BNA, I covered a wide range of issues, from political reforms and economic sanctions in Myanmar to a new rare earths processing plant in Malaysia. (I would link to the pieces, but they’re subscriber-only.)

And finally, this fall I penned a couple of pieces for Covering Business, a Columbia Journalism school Web site. One offered tips for business journalists who want to freelance abroad. The other was about covering tourism industry shocks.

Thanks, as ever, for reading. I always welcome feedback, so feel free to leave a comment or send me an email: newley@gmail.com.

* As I noted earlier, I was happy to see that the nostalgia story was included in WSJ Scene Asia‘s list of their top Asian travel stories of the year.

**Links to all of my stories are on my Journalism page.

Exploring Tumblr

Tumblr

Tumblr is a free blogging platform that makes posting material — whether it’s images, audio, video, links, or text — extremely easy.

Because I’m interested in all things Web publishing-related, I’ve set up an experimental tumblr page — er, tumblelog — at newley.tumblr.com. I don’t know if I’ll continue to updating it or not, but I’d heard a lot about the service and wanted to give it a spin.

At the expense of sounding ridiculous to those of you who — quite understandably — could care less about the technical minutia of a typical blogging workflow, I’ll just say this: The platform offers a great way to share interesting digital snippets that aren’t quite right for Twitter‘s 140-character maximum length and yet might not justify a full-length blog post. In addition, items can be posted to tumblr extremely quickly — as in a matter of seconds.

Some disparate items I’ve posted to tumbler over the last few weeks include:

— A somewhat silly (and quite clearly impromptu), two-minute, 26-second audio recording I made in a taxi in Kolkata, India last November.

— This striking image of a daring motorcycle design.1

— A YouTube video of a financial reporter explaining the economic meltdown (yes, I’m still fixated on how best to explain the subprime crisis).

Some people use tumblr for minimalist photo blogs, while others, such as my friend Lee, use them to aggregate their various online postings (images from Flickr, bookmarks on Delicious, etc.).

I’m unsure how — or even if — I’ll continue using tumblr, but I thought it might be of interest to some of you out there who’re looking for an ultra-simple way to share material online.

Further reading:

Lifehacker: “Geek to Live: Instant, no-overhead blog with Tumblr”

“I don’t have the time to keep it up.”

“I don’t have that much to say that often.”

These are the reasons most people abandon their personal weblog or never start one. But we all come across interesting tidbits online every day that we want to remember and share – links, photos, videos, even that side-splitting IM session you had with your co-worker. A new blog format, called a “tumblelog,” is a no-hassle, no-writing-required way to share those bits and maintain a personal site with the least possible commitment.

Webmonkey: “Get Started with Tumblr”

Do you miss the days when blogging seemed simple and exciting? Have you ever stared at the blank text input field in WordPress until you began to fill with dread?

While WordPress, Movable Type and similar blogging engines certainly make it easy to set up a blog with a robust content management system, sometimes the software itself is overkill. Sometimes you just want to post a picture or a quick snippet of text and be done with it.

That’s more or less the thinking that inspired Tumblr, a dead simple blogging system that makes it easy to post a quick note, an image, a link or a YouTube video and then get on with your real life.

  1. Motorcycling-related link worth checking out: Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. []

What I’ve Been Reading

From the world’s greatest journeys to blogging geekery to funny accents, here’s a list of some material I’ve been enjoying online over the past months but haven’t had time to link to until now:

Travel:
— Wanderlust: GOOD magazine “maps out history’s greatest journeys, from Magellan to Kerouac”

— World Hum interview: “Paul Theroux: Invisible Man on a Ghost Train”

— Mashable.com: “25+ Tools for a Road Trip 2.0″

Blogging:
— ReadWriteWeb: “The Future of Blogging Revealed”

— 10,000Words.net: “15 Journalists’ outstanding personal sites”

— Merlin Mann: “What Makes for a Good Blog?”

— Chris Brogan: “A Sample Blogging Workflow”

Audio recording and radio journalism:
— The Freesound Project: “a collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds”

— Transom.org: “Remote Recording Survival Guide”

Just for Fun:
“Can You Guess Where My Accent is From?”

“Average Athlete vs Olympic Athlete”

— Calaboca.com: “Bacilos – Sin Verguenza,” a post about an album from one of my favorite bands. (Aside: Best track from this album — with silly lip syncing fan vid: “Pasos de Gigante.”)

Where We Do What We Do: pics of work spaces. And nothing more.