As previously mentioned, I’ve been redesigning this site over the last couple of weeks – lots of stuff on the back end, lots of experimenting with plugins and mucking about with caching and the like, and manually retagging everything (still not finished with that, but getting there). I’ve completely rebuilt the taxonomies for the site, hopefully into a form that can accommodate the many half-finished blog posts in my drafts folder more easily.
This is part of a wider re-evaluation of my online life. I’ve been blogging and writing online in various forms since 2002 (actually, since the mid-90s if you count Geocities, forums and bad Manic Street Preachers fan sites…), but you’d never guess it to look at this place. Most of my best (and worst) work is pseudonymous and some years old now, or has been taken offline for various reasons, or is behind privacy walls due to its personal nature. I don’t want to drag everything out from behind those locked doors, but I do want to make sure that in future I don’t end up in this position again. For me, that means creating a single space in which I can have a multifaceted identity, where those facets meet and combine to create new insights, and where I can draw my various threads together in a way that makes some sense.
This has been a fantastic opportunity to go dig back through this site, and see how my ideas have changed over the last few years. It’s also been a great spring-cleaning exercise. I’ve taken down posts that were pointless, or didn’t belong, or that now make no sense; I’ve tried to be kind rather than brutal, but really no one is ever going to read old linkspam or listen to imported Audioboos here, because I didn’t put the effort into making them valuable in this context when I first published them. That’s a useful lesson for the future.
I’ve scrapped my metadata scheme and started again. When I started this blog I had no idea what it was going to become – my categorisation system was very ad-hoc and was more a way of learning WordPress than actual useful data. That’s changed, now – my categories are built around broad subjects, and my tags narrow down to more specific topics. There are RSS feeds set up for each category: Metamedia for news and journalism, Story for narrative theory and storytelling, People for communication, psychology and community, Games for play, gaming and talk of Zombie LARP, Political, Personal and Wordweaving, just in case I find the guts to publish creative work here again.
The clean-up is also giving me the opportunity to find new ways of doing things. Link-blogging, for instance, if all I want to do is share a quote or a headline, is easiest and best done for me on Twitter, or very occasionally Tumblr if what I’m sharing is right for that space. I still haven’t found a perfect solution for links, but I’ve been exploring Delicious, Pinboard, Evernote, Diigo and River to see how they all work, and learning about running a server in the process.
Finally, I’ve published more prominently a list of blogging principles. I first wrote this back in 2009 – I’ve updated it by adding a couple of new thoughts, but taken nothing away. It remains a useful guide for what I’m hoping to achieve here, and – crucially – it gives me permission to experiment, to play, and to do stupid things in public in order to find out what happens next. I think that’s the freedom I need.