Monday, July 14, 2008

The One Blog

Well, we've come a long way since "I will give up the blog." :)

Less than two weeks after shutting down the Irish Trojan blog, I've come full circle, back to having a general-interest, multi-topic blog that isn't hemmed in my labels like "weekly" or "photo-" or "mo-." But why? And how I am going to adhere to the original goals that animated this change in the first place?

When I decided to shutter "Irish Trojan," my initial intention was to replace it with a Photoblog and nothing else (with the exception of my Pajamas Media hurricane-blogging, and perhaps some additional Facebook-ing). Maybe I should have stuck with that idea, but I hated the notion that, months down the road, I might have something interesting that I want to say -- about the election, about college football, whatever -- and nowhere public to put it. After all, a "Note" on Facebook can't get Instalanched! ;)

As if in answer to that quandry, a bunch of readers jumped on bandwagon for Becky's concept of a "weekly blog." It seemed like a good idea at the time, so I decided to go with it. Then, it occurred to me that a Linklog might help keep things fresh on the Weekly Blog. And then, at last minute, I threw in a Moblog for good measure, because that doesn't take up much time. Suddenly I had, in essence, four blogs.

I figured this would be inconvenient for my readers, but convenient for me. It quickly turned out that, while the former was doubtless true, the latter was not. For one thing, it was driving me crazy to not have a clear idea of what my true "homepage" was. For another thing, it added a layer of artificial complication, as I'd see an item and think, "Now, which blog does this belong on?" Most importantly, though, I just really didn't like the weekly blog -- it felt like a homework assignment, and I was even more uncomfortable than I thought I'd be with the format.

And yet, as soon as I started to conceive of the the weekly blog as being something other than weekly, the whole structure sort of fell apart. An "occasional blog" would have an audience asymptotically approaching zero; a "more-than-weekly, less-than-hyperactive" blog would lose any distinctive character that justifies the inconvenience of keeping it separate from the Moblog.

So that, fair readers, is how I came around to the idea of combining the Weekly Blog and the Moblog, eliminating the prefixes that seek to define them, and establishing clearly that this is my main blog, the catch-all site where everything begins and ends. And I decided to do it now, rather than waiting a while longer and giving the Weekly Blog a chance to grow on me, because I realized it would be a much, much bigger pain in the butt if I waited until after I'd already been using Disqus for a few weeks. It was much easier to make the blog switch and the comment-system switch at the same time. Plus, I heard the rumblings that I was agonizing about this too much, and I realized they were right. So, since I was already 90% sure that I wanted to do this, I decided to, as Nike would say, just do it.

You could argue that Ash Blog Durbatulûk is the Irish Trojan by any other name. And maybe you'd be right. But, I still think there was a value to making that clean break from my old blog two weeks ago. And I still think I can adhere to the original goals of the switch -- cutting down on the time I spend blogging, making sure my life is in balance, etc. -- by the combination of two things: continuing to use the Linklog, an innovation that has already really helped on the time-management front; and following the previously stated time-based guidelines. (Starting tomorrow. :)

And if it turns out I can't adhere to those goals, then I'll shake things up again, most likely by nuking this blog and going back to the original plan of Photoblog + Nothing Else. But I promise I'll give this setup more of a chance to succeed than I did the last one.

Incidentally, if you're wondering why I'm keeping the Photoblog separate: it's because I think it's purty. :) Plus, I like having it ready-made as my "blog of last resort," just in case I do decide to nuke this one someday. That said, since this blog is my homepage, and will likely get the bulk of the traffic, I will probably post links here to specific Photoblog items that I particularly like. So you can follow all events of the Loy-o-sphere from this page.

That said, I encourage y'all to patronize the Photoblog -- there's a little link in the upper right-hand corner that tells you when it was last updated -- and I also encourage you to comment on the Linklog! I've tried to make that as easy as possible, format-wise, by putting the prominent comment-counter link thingies in the right sidebar... but let me know if you have any suggestions on that front.

Speaking of the Linklog: it and The One Blog are actually part of the same Disqus sub-account (i.e., Disqus considers them to be the same "blog"), so that furthers the integration of everything into this "One" site. I really consider the Linklog to be a "companion" to this site; only the Photoblog is truly a separate blog. Anyway, you can view the most recent comments in the One Blog + Linklog combined in an RSS feed here.

Like I said yesterday, please let me know if you have technical problems with anything. I'm sure there are some little bugs and issues floating around, as this site is very much a work-in-progress right now.

P.S. You can feel free to refer to this blog, interchangably, as "Ash Blog Durbatulûk" (its official name), "One Blog to Rule Them All" (its subtitle, but also simply its official name translated into the Common Tongue, a.k.a. English), or "The One Blog" (the nickname that I will probably use most often when being self-referential).