We’ve recently seen some long running blogs shut down and some reflections about the value of blogging in the era of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Here are my thoughts.
I’ve had this site up an running for almost 20 years now. It was part of that first wave of enthusiasm in late 1999 when tools became available to write text, up load photos and link to other writers. I had previously written for another site, The Motley Fool, mostly hosted on America OnLine (AOL) that had evolved out of active message board activity.
At the time, I had become interested in Decision Theory, so it was a natural topic to embrace when I started writing. Of course a lot of what I wrote then was part of the conversation we were all having between our blogs. These were conversations that you could join only if you had your own site.
As my interests shifted and my ideas developed, I found it harder and harder to write a few paragraphs that expressed ideas coherently. It seemed to be a conversation I was having with myself in front of a small group of readers. It was simpler to have the conversation completely in private in my notebooks and text files rather than present them here.
We know that writing for others is more than just communication. It serves to sharpen, refine and clarify the ideas of the writer. I know that I’ve understood an idea better when I’ve taught it to someone else or written about it.
So perhaps in the end, ODB is for me, to share with you. I’m reading William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism a biography by Robert Richardson. Richardson writes intellectual biography by looking at what James read and his notes and journals that document the intellectual journal. I can look back over the years of ODB and see what I was reading and see the sweep of my own journey through these ideas of brain, mind and decision. On balance, it’s been valuable and I expect to keep it up for the foreseeable future.