This is the third version of my site. The designer is Andy Rossback, recently of the Marshall Project, now at the New York Times. The programmer is Garrett Gardner, webmaster at NYU Journalism. My thanks to both of them. They did a great job.
I like having my own joint. My friend Dave Winer — who had a hand in the origination of blogging software, RSS and podcasting — has over many years of conversation gotten through to me that you should always have your own place on the open web. Doc Searls has also helped to persuade me of this.
Anyone who pays attention to online publishing knows that the trend is in an opposite direction, toward capitulation to the platforms: Facebook with its instant articles, Medium.com, Apple News. I fully understand why the platforms are winning, and I don’t resent them, but I also don’t feel compelled to join in.
“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one,” said press critic A. J. Liebling in 1959. That was a profound remark— in fact, the most important thing anyone has said about press freedom since Thomas Jefferson drafted the bill of rights.
Having a space that’s mine on the web — pressthink.org — is for me indistinguishable from owning my own printing press and hosting my own discussion forum. I’m not ready to give those up those powers.
Instead, I wanted to give my writing home on the web a refresh — especially with mobile becoming the standard — and add to it something new. I’m calling the new feature “the board.” Another term for it would be cards, a slightly different space for me to unfold what I think.
In the way I imagine this working, the first card will always be the same: “problems in pressthink that most concern me now.” It’s a live list that is constantly in motion, although I won’t feel compelled to change it for change’s sake. The problems on it are placed in order of urgency. Since I spend most of my time in my head, I figured I would rank what goes on there 🙂
Following the “current problems in pressthink” card are little posts that are longer than Twitter updates and shorter than PressThink essays, a third space for composing, in between social updates and long form blogging. I have wanted this for some time. You can see the board here and the live list of current problems here. I still have to work out the kinks for making the cards fully shareable on social and snack-able (swipe-able) on mobile. But I hope you get the basic idea.
I don’t think indy blogging is done for. No way. More likely it’s due for a re-birth. My own circumstances are fortunate. I don’t have to make money from my site, or generate big traffic. The PressThink archives are hugely important to me, even if they only draw a handful of users per week. I practice slow blogging: 20 to 30 posts a year. But each one has hundreds of hours of thought behind it. PressThink is not a commercial proposition. It’s the extreme opposite of click bait: an academic project and labor of love.
Ever since I began blogging, people have told me that they often find the comments better than the posts. They sometimes think this will hurt my feelings. No. It’s the opposite really.