I've been meaning to write this post for some time now. Leigh Himmel's piece on standards vs disruption prompted me to finally get it done.
Leigh references a post by Nick Denton of Valleywag where he questions the utility and business model of widgets and widget companies. His post is quite interesting, raises some good questions and contains great links to other articles (my fav is from the NYTimes) that contribute to the growing love-affair with widgets.
But .. I think the article's central questions are misplaced. I read the base assumption of Denton's article as being that one's Blog (and hence one's widget choices) is primarily for others. I don't think that is the case.
I believe our Blogs are first and foremost, for ourselves. Now, please note the difference between the two questions I'm asking:
1. Who do you blog for? This is a question about content and audience.
2. Who is your Blog for? This, to me, is about construction of personal presence.
I have not met a blogger who does not fuss with the presentation layer of their Blog, widgets and all. New banners, new widgets, different layouts. The tools today let us construct a well-decorated personal presence.
Also, most bloggers I speak with these days, if they are not in the game strictly to generate revenue, will offer full feeds of their posts via RSS. And, as you know, a feed is just the *content* of the post - we can't construct personal presence in the same way via our feeds as we do our Blogs because the presentation layer is predetermined.
Yes, I write for an audience. A regular audience. Who knows me and has a sense of my presence. And the vast majority of this audience subscribes to my feed. This audience and I, we already have a relationship and my feed is a shorthand to that relationship.
And yes, a few good folks find me serendipitously through a link or a search or a business card. Often, we don't have a relationship. And so my Blog is a manifestation of my presence to them. And as a blogger who wants to continue to build an audience, my manifestation isn't too cluttered or widget-endowed. And I hope they join my feed subscribers.
But my primary audience for my Blog .. the designed manifestation of MNIK -- is me. I decorate it .. like I do my home. I use it to collect links that are important to me and it serves as a personal portal (not my only one, but a significant one). And there was a time when I had more widgets on my Blog because they gave *me* value, not necessarily my audience.
Aside: this musing reminds me of an earlier post I wrote on the benefits of clutter. My reference was my digital desktop, but the principles remain the same for Blogs.
I'm really interested in your thoughts on this. I don't know that my argument is consistent or even indicative of a majority of bloggers, but I am very interested in how you all believe your Blogs (or simply your content) are a manifestation of your digital presence. What do you think?