Updating a blog in 2023 might seem like an outdated concept, with everyone jumping on Substack, writing LinkedIn posts, and looking for a worthy Twitter replacement. But as a firm believer in owning your content, I decided to rethink this blog and the type of content I publish on here.

The main reason behind the update was that I am now starting to experiment with more video content and I wanted to bring that into my blog. Mixing video with regular posts didn’t seem like a good idea. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the mood for reading, I get annoyed if somebody asks me to watch a video – and vice versa.

Additionally, I didn’t want to simply embed videos on my blog because I don’t like the idea of video platforms planting their trackers on you with every embed. I wanted to give you, dear visitor, a choice on whether you visit the platform on which the videos are hosted, and a chance to open links in a private/incognito window if that makes sense for you.

And yes, I am posting the video content I create on YouTube and TikTok. Given the topics I usually cover, I know this choice might be questionable to some. Apart from the financial and technical headaches of self-hosting videos, I think there’s still value in using Big Tech platforms to post critical views and educate people on topics related to responsible tech and tech ethics.

My little act of rebellion is not taking the algorithm game too seriously and posting about stuff I find interesting rather than piling on what’s currently trending. So, don’t worry, if you decide to follow me on TikTok, you won’t see me jumping on the latest dancing trend; I’m mainly there to start discussions about responsible tech and rant about Big Tech.

What’s new

With all this in mind, here’s an overview of what’s new on this blog:

  • a new home page where I can feature different types of content, including a collection of external articles I find worth reading;
  • support for video content under the Watch section, organized by platform;
  • additional pages: Listen with links to audio content (not much there yet) and Connect with up-to-date info on which social platforms/communities I’m using;
  • links to external blog posts I wrote under the Read section;
  • a redesigned navigation to browse content by type;
  • a new RSS feed for video updates (on top of the existing one for blog posts).

There’s still some additional design and accessibility tweaks I plan to add in the future, but I hope this update already makes it easier to discover my content. And I’m now happy to have a single home for most of the content I create. A place that feels like home to me, and a place that allows you to explore my thinking without any Big Tech companies hijacking our exchange of ideas.

One thing that’s not visible from the outside is the way I’ve implemented the new watch functionality. I designed it in a way that makes it easy for me to switch to self-hosted video links, should the need arise. A while ago, I moved all my written content away from Medium because I feel their UX has deteriorated significantly in the past couple of years (on top of other problems they have). Similarly, I don’t count on any other platform being around forever or staying a compromise-worthy place for my content. And it feels good to have a backup plan.

Is building your place on the web still worth it?

I won’t lie, it does take a bit of extra work to consistently add relevant links and backups. But if you look at what’s happening over at Twitter X, the value of not getting too attached to a single platform becomes obvious. I might miss out on extra views on LinkedIn whenever I share a link to my blog instead of using their creator tools or whatever. But it’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make because it’s more important to me that you can read my content without being logged into LinkedIn or any other platform that obsessively stalks you.

So, if you don’t yet have a place you call home, I encourage you to give it a try. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty or spend too much time debugging, start with a WordPress blog you can easily back up and move elsewhere. If you do have some extra time and willingness to wrangle CSS at 11pm, I encourage you to look into a static site generator. I’ve been using Jekyll for almost a decade now, so this is what I still use. I currently host this blog for free on GitLab Pages, but I sleep better at night knowing I can easily redeploy it elsewhere.

And please, whatever you decide to do, make sure your website/blog or whatever you choose to call your web home, offers an RSS feed, so I can easily subscribe to your updates! Yes, it’s 2023, but RSS is a wonderfully simple standard that makes it easy to keep track of updates without having to subscribe to a newsletter.