What Is a Blog?

Why is it that seemingly simple queries are the hardest to answer? Over the last couple of weeks I've been coming back to the question of "what is a blog?" and whether it has again evolved as the tools that people use to publish continue to expand with options to serve different groups of people. For several years my answer to this question has been rather simplistic: a blog is a place for a person to share with the world. What a person shared was completely up to them. The goal of the software powering the blog is simply to facilitate the communication of between an author and an audience. Is this definition too simple?

Notebook on a Desk

Over the last couple of months I've abandoned close to a dozen different blog themes for 10Cv5 as they tend to feel wrong after a couple of hours or days of development time. The reason for why they feel wrong has been elusive until just a few hours ago when I looked at some of the work again and saw the problem. These sites try too hard to share "too much". Social posts, images, quotes, bookmarks, links, integrations, and long-form writing. A blog site may be a dumping ground for some people who want everything and anything to be available in contextualised pages, but disparate sets of data cannot be mashed together like a sat-on shepherd's pie. A site full of data is more noise than signal. In addition to being a place to share, a blog needs to be a place of focus. It's this focus that has been missing from the new designs, which is why they've gone absolutely nowhere.

With this in mind, it's time to work out a better mechanism for sharing different kinds of information. Different pages are one way to approach the problem, but this strikes me as incomplete. Looking at the number of different types of information a person might squirrel away in a centralised repository of data points, a site could quickly grow to have hundreds of different pages with tens of thousands of records to sift through; a wholly unworkable problem for people seeking specific information.

There is certainly an elegant solution to the problem of heterogeneous data presentation, but it will not be solved with a single design concept in the near future.