On Retiring Site Memberships

After two years after writing a lot of content and giving exclusive access to site members, this past weekend I opened the site to everyone.

In short:

https://twitter.com/tommcfarlin/status/1198689233017430017

But this wasn’t a small nor was it a quick decision and it’s not something that I opted to on a whim. For those who were subscribed to the newsletter earlier this year, I made an announcement that this was coming.

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A Return to Form (Over a Decade in the Making)

I don’t know how many people are considered “regular readers” of this site (let alone any site, to be honest) because social media has changed how we find content, save it, and read it.

But if you’re someone who browses this site on any regular basis, then you’ve likely noticed that I’ve not posted anything related to development for a couple of weeks now.

Nothing’s wrong; life is good. But I’ve been taking a step back on several things in which I’m involved to take stock of essentially:

  • what I’m doing,
  • why I’m doing it,
  • what I want to continue to do,
  • and why I want to do it.

And if you were around when blogging was what it was, say, five years ago, then you know it’s considered “bad form” talk about not blogging and to get all apologetic about it.

I’m not getting apologetic about it, though.

Instead, I’m providing an update as to what I plan to do with this site moving forward.

And no, it’s not the type of post that contains anything related to WordPress development or programming.

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On Alternative Methods of Blog Feedback

Last month, I published two articles that talked about using cURL to handle redirects that may inevitably happen when working with certain URLs.

Specifically, I’m talking about:

  1. Finding the Destination of a Redirect with PHP
  2. Using cURL to Determine If the Specified URL Is a Valid Page

And though the second one is more of the subject of this post, I wanted to reference both since they are related.

Earlier this month, I wrote a bit how the purpose of blogging has changed. Perhaps it would’ve been better to talk about the motivation rather than the purpose, but I digress.

In this post, I talk a bit about commenting and feedback. And since I’ve closed comments, one of the ways that people will talk with me about certain posts is via Twitter.

Case in point:

And I like this because it’s:

  • a clearly stated, succinct question,
  • it’s directed towards me (with the potential for others to chime in),
  • and it can keep the conversation on the topic without it devolving into something else in the comments.

Further, Xaver’s question is good because it shows where my content may be lacking, and it gives me the opportunity to write a follow-up or a clarification on a post like this 🙂.

The thing is, the response to this particular question may not be as long as the lead in, but I always want to give enough context before providing an answer.

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The Evolving Purpose of Blogging

In the last eight years or so, maybe less, the way we blog has changed. Maybe not so much in terms of how we do it but in terms of:

  1. what it is that we have to say,
  2. how we say what we want to say,
  3. how other people read what it is that we have to say (which is really more on them but you get it, right?)

I remember when it was much more about the comment engagement and also sharing what we thought, learned, or viewed on a particular subject.

As much as possible, I still try to stick to that. That is, I try to share:

  • what I’m doing,
  • what I’ve learned,
  • and my perspective on a given subject.

Now, though, I’m not as much concerned about the comments (hence why I turned them off some time ago). This doesn’t mean I don’t care about feedback – I do – but I find when people have to jump through a few extra steps to provide feedback, the quality of it goes way up.

Anyway, it seems to me that blogging has drastically changed in one major way over the last few years:

We write for a reaction rather than edification.

Reaction, in and of itself, isn’t bad. Of course, it’s not. But the type of reaction we seek may be. But I’m not here to get too much into that. Instead, I’m wondering if the purpose of blogging hasn’t changed.

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Shorter Blog Posts, Revisited

A little over three years ago, I wrote a post about starting to write shorter blog posts. And in that particular posts, I made two comments that I think are still relevant but that I’ve gotten away from doing.

First, I wrote:

Because the truth is with the amount of information coming from other blogs, Twitter, and whatever other social networks and news sources you read, odds are that this site is one that can also be easily marked as read or thrown into Pocket oblivion never to be read again.

And I also wrote:

Secondly, it’ll aim to be more to the point than anything else. The idea being that you can load up the article, read through it quickly, save whatever information you’d like (or not), and then move on to whatever’s in your queue.

I don’t know if old habits die hard or if I’ve simply gotten away from it and back to writing longer form writing because that’s how I tend to write.

Shorter Blog Posts: Revisited

But I don’t want all of my posts to be that way.

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