Longtime blogger Jason Kottke recently redesigned his website. Like many bloggers, he's added Facebook Like and Tweet buttons to every post. All this social media cruft has really slowed down his site. When even high-profile blogs like Kottke become locked in the fatal embrace with social media widgets, you have to wonder.
I get links to tweets by mail, etc. on a regular basis, and the aggressive anti-performance and apparent contempt for the web by Twitter's designers is probably the thing that gets me most irrationally riled-up on a daily basis. How does this pass design review? Who looks at a page this massive, this typically broken and says "go with it"?
-- bandwidth (tecznotes)
As I not only write this blog but also wrote the software which powers this blog, things can get a little bit 'Meta' around here from time to time. I think about how my blog should appear and work perhaps more than is healthy for me. I think in particular about all of the things I must leave out. This is a list of all of the things I must pretend don't exist in order to stay focused, sane and lean while writing online...
If you must remember to add a
</p> at the end of each paragraph
when you're writing, you're doing it wrong. I use Markdown so I
don't have to worry about HTML.
CSS / Stylesheets
This one is harder to ignore. I do have a stylesheet but I'm a programmer not a designer so my lack of design talent is a built-in inhibitor to too much fretting over design.
A performance tweak. I don't really need it as the blog is static anyway.
mod_rewrite) are both technical rabbit-holes
I'd normally only be too happy to dive down. It's an unnecessary
A Powerful tool for webmasters but overkill for a simple static blog and it feels too much like magic. I dabbled with it in a past blogging life.
Comments are just another one of the mistakes we made along the way. I tried Facebook comments but the payload was huge, the same was true of Disqus comments with the added disadvantage they were inserting analytics code too.
See SEO and Analytics.
Not relevant in any way ever.
The Blogging A-List
This one is easy. There used to be a blogging A-List in 2003 which was the subject of a lot of angst amongst bloggers who weren't part of the A-List. This is one aspect of blogging I don't miss. Today even A-List bloggers don't get the love they used to. The field is wide open again.
This is my one concession to social media sharing from the blog. Expecting my Twitter friends to read long blog posts is like asking a mayfly to observe Lent. People on Twitter are careening down the fast lane of the information superhighway. Asking them to change gears and switch lanes to a backwater offramp to read your blog won't work. I don't even share everything I post here on Twitter - much of it just isn't suited to Twitter.
Funny thing is, since turning my back on Facebook I seem to write about it an awful lot. Funny that. This is one area I need to improve. There's a whole lot of activity going on over there in Facebookland but I chose this blog for the peace and quiet, as a place where I could write longer more thoughtful pieces and hopefully - over time - improve.
They just add visual clutter and slow down web pages. I'm surprised that so many otherwise smart people (I'm talking about bloggers who have some kind of technical background) are using them on their blogs. Don't these people visit their own website or at least care a little about performance?
Blogs don't have Visitors, they have Readers. Write accordingly.
What do you have left when you pretend these things don't exist? The best writing tools available - your mind and a text editor. Everything else is noise.