Before either Movable Type or Blogger had ever served their first weblog pages, I had been casting about for a viable method of publishing my writing, links and work. In fact, practically since I started working with computers, I’ve had this idea that I wanted all the information in my life captured in a database, where it could be sorted, cross-referenced and understood in unexpected ways.
It’s a kind of absurd dream (though maybe not that absurd, as Microsoft is devising something very close to it) but in a small way, I see my use of Movable Type and its use of MySQL as a step towards realizing it. One day I’d like to be able to integrate my other databases — my Entourage files, my various FileMaker Pro stashes, all the archived work I have stored on my hard drive, my Quicken file and even my sketchbooks — into a single, unified whole.
Record First, Then Communicate
This, I think, is what makes my motivation for maintaining a blog a bit different from others. Anil Dash wrote that he sees blogging primarily as a method of communication. While I don’t take anything away from that philosophy, I am more interested in looking at my blog as a way of recording things first, and as a channel for communicating those things second.
What makes me post again and again is the lure of being able to capture the random bits of things that pass through my consciousness — my interests, my preoccupations and diversions, my opinions and reactions. I want to accumulate a body of information that reflects my experience, and I want to be able to coerce that body into a cohesive system. Mostly that means that I want to be able to play around with it, manipulate it into new representations, design the information and integrate it into fussily constructed templates. This might be perfunctorily summarized as the desire to apply the tools of design to my own life.
Blow Me Up
All of that comes before the desire to communicate, which perhaps explains my relatively low readership. I always think to myself that I should be promoting this site more, but I only do so half-heartedly, because I am convinced that so few people will find much of interest in what I have to say.
I’d be very happy if that turned out not to be the case though. Rather hopefully, I’ve implemented Movable Type’s reader feedback feature, and you can now post your remarks on most of the posts I’ve made. The site has been kind of undercover for a while, and I’ve only had a handful of posts made to it. But after this Monday, when I send out a friendly email letting everyone know that this private little exercise is now public, I’m hoping that will change.