2 min read

Blogging for community vs blogging for showing competency

Blogging for community vs blogging for showing competency
Photo by Jan Kahánek / Unsplash

When I started blogging a number of years ago, it was a way to not only share lessons that I learned in my day-to-day work with others but to also serve as an archive for things that I've run into and how to solve them should I run into them again in the future (which has happened more than a few times!).

A side effect of this is that I was subconsciously "blogging for showing competency".

At times I'd write about my thought processes around a particular problem and how I came to the solution that I did. At others, it would be a compilation of tips, suggestions, and advice that I'd gathered from first-hand experience or from my incredible group of mentors over the years.

But ultimately, I think the tone and style of these posts (especially when they were somewhat instructional) would come across as attempting to highlight my competency in a particular area, giving my blog a bit of a portfolio-like feel to it.

Over the past several months, I've been enjoying reading increasingly more blogs and newsletters that feel less like a portfolio and more perhaps like a journal or conversation with an unseen peer. Though they can sometimes have deep dives into topics, these blogs and newsletters often feature "this is what I've been up to" or "here are things I've been reading/listening to" posts.

These journal-like/conversational blogs and newsletters feel more authentic and human, and at times give me a sense of community even though I've never met nor spoken with the people writing them.

That's not to say that they don't have points and opinions that they're expressing (CJ Chilvers' blog to cite one example), but it feels like our love of writing rather than 'content creation', and the sharing of ideas, experiences, and lessons in a more exploratory and curious tone rather than an authoritative one invites us to connect and engage with the writer and other readers.

What I'm seeing as "blogging for community".

Some other examples of this:

  • Julia Evans, whose posts range from deep dives into technical topics to fun things like making crochet cacti;
  • Kai Brach, whose opening comments in his incredible Dense Discovery newsletter make it feel like he's talking about the articles he's shared in the newsletter with you rather than at you; and
  • Marginal Revolution's "assorted links" posts (e.g.: like this one), where people often have discussions in the comments that can be just as interesting as the links in the posts themselves.

It's something that I think I'd like to move towards in my blog, especially after reading an article in Noema about "re-wilding then internet".

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