This image is A.I. generated but the text of this article is written by me!

As I am spending quite a substantial amount of time migrating my websites from b2evolution CMS to static sites (#SSG), it forces me to reflect on why I am doing it, and more generally why anyone would spend the time to maintain a (personal) website or blog in 2024?

If you are an organization, the question is easier to answer. You are not credible if you don’t have a website. You can also use it for sales and for support. No brainer.

But if you are a person, do you need one? Surely you can be credible (maybe even more) just by posting on social media like LinkedIn, or X or Instagram (depending on your vertical and your own demographic). The more followers you get, the more credible you are… right?

Also, you used to be able to connect with like minded people, who ran their own blogs and you’d cite each other with pingbacks, trackbacks and webmentions. Plus, visitors without a blog of their own could still comment on yours. I think those days are long gone… If you want to talk to others, you go to reddit, or X, or even Facebook. You don’t wait for anyone to come visit your blog…

Well, all that might be true… Yet, I believe there are still or even new compelling reasons to maintain (one or even several) personal blogs or websites:

1. Refer

Don’t repeat the same things over and over again…

Even if you’re an avid social media fan, you inevitably end up repeating the same things over and over again, or you need to explain in detail and those tweet-storm-threads don’t really cut it (you can pay X now if you want to post long form…) or maybe your explanation would work better without a clutter of blinking stuff all around it…

In all those cases, wouldn’t it be nice to refer people to the one explanation you carefully put together once and for all?

2. Reinforce

When you post what you learnt on your own website, it’s easy to organize it or tag it in a way that will allow you to refer to it later. Good luck finding everything you posted about say “nutrition”, 5 years ago, on twitter/X.

I found that refreshing my memory and/or reinforcing my learnings by re-reading what I wrote after several years was extremely beneficial to me. It has a much higher signal/noise ratio than trying to get refreshers on the same topics by means of the main feed of any social media platform.

This becomes even more precious when you age. A whole topic for another day ;)

3. Share

Having a blog motivates me to write down things that I otherwise would not, not even in my Obsidian notes, not even on paper. As already said, capturing this is beneficial to my future self, but it may also be beneficial to others. A tiny gift of knowledge to the world if you will… more on that later…

4. Kids

Will they read my stuff? ;)

Besides my future self, I also identify my future kids (I mean: my existing kids once they are older ;) as an audience. All the useful things I learned about working smart, living healthy and also the playful stuff… I need to and I want to teach to my kids… Having it all tagged up makes it easier to address everything in time… One might even dream they would read it by themselves someday… ;)

Little side note: make sure your writings outlive yourself! ;)

5. A.I.

Open-Source works for software, hardware and also knowledge!

Worst case scenario: no human will ever come back to read the stuff I wrote. Yup, sure, that will happen, at least to some of my content. BUT, you know who’s going to read it for sure? Googlebot for one. And the AI training bots for two !

  • Some stuff will become a quick answer on a google search page and people who read it will never notice where it came from.

  • Some stuff will become part of the knowledge of large language models and possibly other forms of ‘A.I.’ . It will be part of what the A.I. learnt… and that content may actually travel a long way into the future ;)

Today, the OpenAIs and other mega-corps of the world can afford to license “quality content” from platforms like Quora or Reddit; Grok can use X… But what if we are to develop a truly open A.I. model? What content will it have access to for training? What content if not the open web? We can all contribute open-source knowledge through a simple blog or website. I believe that any one who has specific areas of expertise (and who is lucky enough to have escaped the rat race) should make a point of open-sourcing their expertise.

Once I have my old ducks (historical sites) in a row, I’ll definitely focus on the more “expert” stuff that I could not easily find on the internet. (A few topics running through my head now: RF radiation, Air quality monitoring, No-BS nutrition…)

6. Reference

Once you do actually write expert-level content, I believe you actually do stand a chance that your site becomes a reference and that people will visit it in order to learn about the topic at hand.

However… no guarantees! It guess it’s better to have other motivations rather than an end-goal of traffic. Traffic is hard and only gets harder!

7. Calm

This feeling is real (even if the image is not)

Last but not least. Blogging is like journaling (but with the intent of making it readable by, understandable by and available to others).

I don’t journal for myself. I don’t meditate.

But when I write for one of my blogs, I find it has all the benefits that people who do journal and people who do meditate describe. You come out of it more calm and more focused on the next things you want to do. (As opposed to reading social media which steals my time, drains my energy and makes me come out of it all stressed out and anxious !)

During all the time I did not blog, I did not journal either. But what I did do is take a lot of notes, on various topics, in Obsidian. Those are all markdown files and a decent proportion of those could benefit some others if shared. I am currently working on integrating my personal notes and my websites into a single “knowledge vault”. That vault would have some parts that get published to the outside, while the whole is searchable to me with a single point of entry. Will be very cool when it works… 🤯 UPDATE: Obsigo v0.1 available ion GitHub now.