I dislike meta-blogging but I will do so now because I want to hope and believe it will lead to some definitive actions in the near future.
I have been blogging for over 10 year and most of that has been created on ye old dasBlog. Over the last few years though I have used and enjoyed most of the micro blogging platforms that serve my alternate online interests. Still, when there is a thought or concept that requires more than 144 characters then I turn back to this humble blog. My blog serves a very practical purpose, I have a terrible memory and I need a place to write things down.
Many of the bloggers I attempted to emulate in my formative writing years have simply moved on, maybe to other platforms or other forums, but there is a lot of entries on my Feedly account that have been silent for years. One of the problems I have seen especially over the last 3-5 years is that the web has moved forward, but blogging and even more specifically dasBlog has stayed relatively unchanged.
dasBlog was openly developed for years and could at multiple times be described as complete. Back in its formative years dasBlog was integrating things like Xml RPC (which was quite and achievement) but at this point no one uses that antiquated service and the configuration section in dasBlog simply serves as a reminder that the web continues to move on.
I have made a few humble changes to dasBlog for my personal blog, it was a relatively trivial task for a web developer. I got the latest dasBlog source code and I just start pushing dlls directly to my bin folder. It started off as a desire to just integrate Twitter cards, then that turned into Open Graph integration, and so on, until I finally realized that I could not possibly be the only one trying to keep up with version next of the web.
So i took the opportunity to reach out to Scott Hanselman, to see if he was interested in the changes and it was met with some enthusiasm. After a few pair programming session we have dasBlog compiling under .NET 4 (which I will roll out here this weekend). Then Scott asked a question that I was not really prepared for, “what now?”. Put another way, what should our blogs look like today and in near the future?
I want my blog to be definitive focal point of my online life
There are parts of us scattered all over the web, we leave comments on other blogs; we tell great jokes on Twitter; we share carefully filtered pictures on Instagram; and answer the most obscure questions on Stack Overflow. In almost all instances it is taking away those limited keystrokes from the one place we have carefully curated as our own space. Sure we play lip service to those other social outlets with a link or shared API (maybe even an embedded Twitter stream) but that information is owned and view within other spaces and, for most use-cases, that is fine.
I would really like to see my blog intrinsically handle the social networks in a stream of coherent thought of my choosing. Imagine the home page of my blog, is just a list of my last posts in ordered by date. But what if interspersed between those posts you saw Stack Overflow activity, or Tweets about the blog in a stream of data that was controlled and curated by me. I think that would be a better representation of my current activity.
An API for my online life
One of the biggest disservices we render the web is that it is often reduced to the HTML we see, but it is much more than that it is about delivering information in easily consumable formats (JSON, XML, etc.). Currently my blog produces a single stream of data that anyone is permitted to consume in RSS format, and this gives a very linear look at the data I have produced over the years.
In todays RESTful climate I think our data can be represented in more nuanced ways, it can showcase our blogs and all the other things we contribute to in one simple and accessible interface. What are your most popular posts? What is your blogging rate this month/year? How much contributions have you made on GitHub? What data can your blog share about itself and your other networks? With data points like this available in say JSON format, bloggers can consume that data without building dlls and present there data any way they see fit in HTML (or anything else).
I think I am up for this kind of challenge. So, what now?