We also serve, who write and boost.

A blurred roulette wheel in motion. Image by Angelo_Giordano, CC0
Image by Angelo_Giordano, CC0

There was a time when I would read the whole internet, every day.

Oh, not all of it. But when Usenet — the internet’s first widescale social media — was bridged into Fidonet (a network of dial-up BBSes), my local free bulletin board system began to import several hundred Usenet newsgroups, updating several times per day. I would dial up to this BBS and read my way through all of the new posts on these groups.

Early on, this was easy. Then, as traffic picked up, and as more newsgroups entered the feed, it got harder. Then it got impossible.

Continue reading "Probably"

The Memex Method

When your commonplace book is a public database

The complex, hand-wired backplane of an electromechanical supercomputer at the Computer History Museum boneyard; it is an impossible tangle of wires joining various subassemblies.

I’ve been a blogger for a little more than 20 years and in that time I’ve written a little more than 20 books: novels for adults; novels for teens; short story collections; essay collections; graphic novels for adults, highschoolers and middle-schoolers; a picture-book for small children, and book-length nonfiction on various subjects. I’ve written and delivered some hundreds of speeches as well, for several kinds of technical and non-technical audience, as well as for young kids and teens.

Over that same period, I’ve published many millions of words of work in the form of blog-posts. Far from competing with my “serious” writing time, blogging has enabled me to write an objectively large quantity of well-regarded, commercially and critically successful prose that has made many readers happy enough that they were moved to tell me about it — and to inspire some readers to rethink their careers and lives based on how my work made them feel.

There’s a version of the “why writers should blog” story that is tawdry and mercenary: “Blog,” the story goes, “and you will build a brand and a platform that you can use to promote your work.”

Virtually every sentence that contains the word “brand” is bullshit, and that one is no exception.

Continue reading "The Memex Method"