Underlost, A Digital Garden
I love blogs. Ive been building and writing them since the initial conception of underlost in 2001. I’ve built a number of custom publishing platforms for clients, as well as for myself myself.
In all that time, something Ive come to realize is the core concept hasn’t changed much since then. If anything, it’s gotten worse with how we, as a digital society have painted ourselves into a box with rules governing just how a blog needs to be laid out for optimal discovery and SEO. Content is defined by posts and pages, grouped by taxonomies of categories and tags, most of which is very hierarchical, with the latest posts at the top. It forces a top down way of thinking and organizing content, with the older content so often forgotten.
Moveable Type, followed by Blogger and WordPress is largely to blame for this. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s what’s making the web boring now. These traditional blogging platforms are what eroded the days of Geocities, where the focus was on knowledge and sharing ideas rather than news updates.
We need to ditch the idea that articles are just part of a web log, and more as independent pieces of work. Most users will find your content through search. Only the most loyal readers will find the content through your newsletter or RSS feed.
This staleness of blogging has made it increasingly difficult for me to write over the years. Something I’ve always struggled with when writing is wanting my work to be not only understandable and easy to find, but also enjoyed by every reader that goes back and reads old posts. I have this need that, when writing a guide on upgrading Postgres, a non-developer could come to the site and see it and go, “Oh, i don’t know what a Postgres is, but that sounds interesting!”
While there’s nothing really wrong with wanting your content to be easily digestible or interesting to a large audience, its a never ending journey of perfection. Sometimes it’s better to just get the content out there.
A couple years ago I came across the idea of a digital garden. I even found a subreddit. Ever since then I loved the idea, but wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to incorporate it. It wasn’t until last year when I started developed with Ghost and its unique tagging system that I revisited the idea.
Suddenly, I felt inspired again. I love the idea of just writing again, and putting my words out there and updating them as time goes by. It’s also made me rethink how and where I want to be publishing content.
What’s next? Thats the question I’ve been asking myself a lot with lately, in more ways than one. I like to write. I made that a lot more difficult than it needs to be. Ive been so focused on building systems to allow me to more easily write and publish that perfect piece of content, then actually getting anything out the door.
So, with that said, I'm officially retiring by blogging experiments at A Life Well Played, and rolling everything into one site, effective immediately. I think my time blogging on ALWP has run it’s course. It was originally built as a way for me to blog and talk about video games. But I’ve been finding myself wanting to write about so many more new experiences than just video games. The site had become a hurdle to figure out how to do that.
So, that brings us to the new Underlost. I hope you enjoy. As usual, this site is still a work in progress as I add more content (maybe even some video?), but it’s finally in a good place that I’m happy to put it out in the world!