It’s good to be a little ‘river’ of thoughts—apart from the estuaries.
Inspired by the concept of Ripped Sheets of Paper,
I began to see a new blog design in my mind that departed from all the current
trends. (Related: Things We Left in the Old Web.)
The large majority of blogs and social media feeds out there are:
- Highly rigid visually—a linear list of paragraphs.
- Mostly blue and white (with a little gray.)
- Bland. Often all posts are structured virtually the same, unless there are images.
- Alike. There are common templates.
So, yeah, no wonder the Web has deteriorated! We just don’t care. It’s understandable—we
experimented for a good ten or twenty years. I guess that’s why I wanted this
site to border on bizarre—to try to reach for the other extreme without simply
aspiring to brutalism.
To show that leaving social media can free you to build your own special place
on the web. I have no reason to scream and war here in order to stand apart.
When I started laying out the main ‘river’ of strips on my various feed
pages—here’s my August archive, for instance—I started to
want the different posts to have a greater impact on the page based on
what they were.
A tweet-style note thing should be tiny. It’s a mere thought.
A reply to someone might be longer, depending on the quality of the ideas
And the long essays take a great length of time to craft—they should have
It began to remind me of the aging ‘tag cloud’. Except that I couldn’t stand
tag clouds because the small text in the cloud was always too small! And they
also became stale—they always use the same layout. (It would be interesting
to rethink the tag cloud—maybe with this ‘river’ in mind!)
It’s All There
Even though these ‘river’-style feeds are slender and light on metadata—for
instance, the ‘river’ is very light on date and tagging info—it’s
all there. All the metadata and post content is in the HTML. This is so that I
can pop up the full post immediately. But also: that stuff is the microformats!
Why bother with microformats? I remember this technology coming out like a decade
ago and—it went nowhere!
But, no, they are actually coming into stride. They allow me to syndicate and reply
on micro.blog without leaving my site. I can reply to all my webfriends in like
fashion. They have added a lot to blogging in these times—look up ‘Indieweb’.
Honestly, they make this blog worth using. For me. I feel like the design should be for
you; the semantic structure is for me.
This lead to a happy coalescing of the design and the structure: I could load
individual posts on a windowing layer over the home page. This is a kickback
to the old DHTML windowing sites of yesteryear. (And, in part, inspired by
the zine at whimsy.space.)
What’s more—nothing (except the archives dropdown, I should say) is broken
to launch them in a tab. URLs in the browser should line up properly without
filling your history with crap.
I do have some new kinds of post layouts that will be cropping up here are there—such
as how this article is made of individual tiles. But it all flattens to simple
HTML where I need it to.
One of the struggles of the modern Indieweb is to have uniqueness and flair without
sacrificing function. I have to do a lot of customization to integrate with Twitter,
micro.blog and RSS. But I hope you will not need to work around me. So that remains
to be seen.
At any rate: thankyou! So many of you that I correspond with offered juicy
conversations that stimulated this new design. My muse has always been Life
Itself. The experiences and conversations all around
I feel fortunate to any eyes that wipe across my sentences from time to time.
Time to get back to linking to you.