Thinking out loud about linklogging


For many years now, I've been linklogging by mailing list: gorjuss has about 100 subscribers and still looks and behaves the way lists did back in the 1990s. Which seems to suit most of those readers just fine.

There are some disadvantages with it, though. Browsing the archives is hard work, even when they're working properly. And thanks to some server-side problems at Dreamhost, the company that hosts both the list software and the archives for me, it's been even harder work in recent weeks. Just getting one of the archive pages to load can take minutes. There have also been days-long delays in getting the mail out to list subscribers.

For those reasons, I started an experiment a few weeks ago. I would maintain, by hand, a links page and see how long I could keep it up - turns out the answer is about 2 weeks.

I found, after that, that I simply didn't have time to do the hand-crafting (even after spending some time getting it optimised with Alfred workflows and keyboard shortcuts and everything). I got lazy, quickly.

So what now?

Despite the problems with the technology that makes gorjuss work, I'm reluctant to close it down. But on its own, it doesn't work as an archive of shared stuff.

So I have another idea, and I have a feeling this one will work better: use Pinboard.

I'll keep the links page but it will be a snapshot of recent links saved to Pinboard with the tag "links" - in other words, a subset of all the links I save there. Anyone who wants to browse or search through older links can do so, at my Pinboard page. Pinboard is, on its own, a perfectly decent linklogging platform. Nothing does the whole saving-links thing better than it does.

I'll still post some links to gorjuss, every few days or so. Copy-and-paste from Pinboard. Easy.

Does anyone care?

I doubt it. Back in the day, linklogging was a thing. People's hand-crafted updates of daily links were something that the rest of us wanted to see. Blogs were, back then, what the interesting web was made of.

Today, the interesting web is made up of many things. A few interesting blogs and linklogs included, but they're just one ingredient among many. No-one is interested in your links, in my links. They have links of their own. They see links from their friends. Links used to be the currency of interestingness, something of value to swap between friends and like-minded acquaintances. Now they're just more stuff to flick past on your way from one app to the next. Just another fleeting slice of "meh" to ignore.

For the tiny minority of us who are still interested in other people's links, there's Pinboard's network feature. Or Linkydink. Or RSS. Yes, RSS, still. The RSS massive contines to shrink. Soon, there'll be no point giving a shout out to the RSS massive - instead, we'll gather in the back room of a small pub near King's Cross. We'll mutter into our pint glasses about the good old days, about links from days gone by.

(20 January 2015)