A brief year in review of my website, domain, online identity, commonplace book, journal, diary, etc.

With this post I will have posted to my personal website every day this past year. #​​AMA

This may seem incredibly impressive in a post-blog era when some people think it’s an achievement to have written on their personal site even once this year. When the average person thinks about how they use social media in our all-new, shiny, surveillance capitalism era they’ll possibly realize that they may actually post far more. They’re just doing it in dozens or more different places generally for the financial benefit of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, LinkedIn, Amazon, Medium, Goodreads, Swarm, Youtube, Reddit, Flickr, Yelp, Pinterest, Meetup, Kickstarter, Patreon, Nextdoor, Tumblr, Mastodon, Periscope, 500px, Pocket, Flipboard, SlideShare, Disqus, FitBit, Strava, Reading.am, GitHub, BitBucket, GitLab, Last.fm, Soundcloud, Vimeo, Telfie, Letterboxd, Trakt, Soundtracking, Tripit, Conferize, Upcoming.org, Colloq.io, Noti.st, Peach, Kinja, Plurk, TinyLetter, Venmo, Beeminder, Everyday Carry, and many, many, many others.

If anything, I suspect that I may be at the low end of writers and social posters. The major difference is that I own all of my data and have it in a single place where it’s more useful and searchable for me.

It turns out I made over 7,300 posts to my personal website this year. (For comparison, just the other day, I made my 10,000th tweet–after almost 11 years on Twitter.) This year’s output averages out to about 20 posts a day and includes at least one day with 53 public posts. (Many of my posts are private, where even Facebook is unaware of them. In fact, for large portions of July-October this year I only posted privately as a personal experiment.) These posts include nearly everything I’ve read, watched, listened to, bookmarked, replied to online, and otherwise written about this year. It also includes almost all of my checkins, RSVPs, and bookmarks as well as many of the more memorable things I’ve eaten or drank and most of my major acquisitions. It’s certainly a heck of a multi-media version of how I spent 2019. Better, it hasn’t taken a lot of work to do, it’s relatively easy to use, and I refer back to a lot of it–often. As a result, I also use it dramatically differently than I do traditional social media.

Of course my site is never exactly like I’d like it to be (I’d like to have more photo collections), but it’s finally getting somewhere closer to the sort of commonplace book I’ve always wanted. I’ll keep hacking away at posting things more easily and collecting what I think are some of the more interesting data I come across on a daily basis. Fortunately while most social media platforms have broadly quit innovating to make new and interesting features, I have the ability to change things to make them the way I want them to be. This sort of agency and flexibility is incredibly invaluable.

The best part is that it’s all on a website I control, and all the data is mine in a way that a traditional social media experience has never come close to. If you have the same wish for yourself or your friends in the coming new year, do let me know –I and many others are around to help you make it a reality for yourself

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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

8 thoughts on “A brief year in review of my website, domain, online identity, commonplace book, journal, diary, etc.”

  1. @chrisaldrich actually that is impressive a couple years ago I tried to write every day. I didn’t make it. But reflecting back I could’ve made it because I write a ton on social media. Writers block was my problem. I’d like to try again. I will say blogging has made me a better writer and a more confident person overall. Putting ideas out there and getting feedback on them has been helpful.

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