What Am I Even Doing Here?

For a few years here icanthascheezburger was pretty light on new posts. From June 2015 to June 2020 I made a whopping eleven posts. I’m really happy that I got more talkative on here this year. Maybe it was the pandemic-induced quarantining leaving me with more time to think, maybe it was a subconscious desire to find some use for the $10k computer I bought in late 2019, or maybe it’s just an excuse to make my keyboards clack in my office.

But as I look at the eclectic mix of what I’m posting here and a lack of indication that I get really much of any readership (and I don’t for one second believe that the dozens of gigabytes of traffic a month Cloudflare tells me this site gets is traffic from genuine readers) I find myself asking “who am I writing for?” or even more generally, “What am I even doing on here?”

“What am I even doing here?”

I wouldn’t be surprised if I asked myself that same question back in 2015 and decided nothing I was writing was really worth sharing. It’s not that I stopped writing; if you look in my journal during this period I wrote quite a few posts. The world somehow survived without my posts. And the world wasn’t begging for me to write again this year; something just possessed me to do it, so I went for it.

I have been reflecting little bit about icanthascheezburger’s raison d’être.

I write when I feel like I have something to say, and I only post something when I like what I have written (and there are plenty of drafts that didn’t make the cut, and even a few mind maps that I didn’t feel like making into drafts). I’m not picking what to write based on analytics and page views, or even direct engagement like comments. I’m not just breathlessly writing up listicles filled with affiliate product links (though I do sometimes write about products I love and I post links to those products that are free of tracking or affiliate links). I just write when the mood strikes me. The word has ironically become a cliche due to the proliferation of influencer marketing, but when you’re reading on here you’re getting authenticity. My posts on here are some of my most deeply honest writing.

There’s no common theme to the stuff I write except for the fact that it’s about stuff that I’m into. About 85% of my posts can be generally categorized as “tech”, though there are definitely several distinct sub-genres in there. I like to think that when I post about issues like racism or social justice that I’m helping to broaden the horizons of regular readers here (if any) who are generally here for the nerdy stuff.

Part of this blog for me is an act of resistance against the direction that written articles on the web seem to be taking. As I keep seeing the world get dominated more by proprietary media distribution platforms on the web, icanthascheezburger proudly and stubbornly doesn’t change. I have it wired up to my Twitter (and Mastodon) account so new posts are announced on there, but this is an independently run site, through and through. It’s running on WordPress and it’s primarily meant to be consumed on a full-text RSS feed (though I reluctantly added an email newsletter option to get with the times). I don’t need to make a living from this site, so there are no ads. I used to have Google Analytics on here but I removed it.

But I think most importantly, I write these posts for me. I write because it feels good to create something. It feels good to have a thought I want to get out there, and refine the idea and keep chipping away at it and editing it until I think it’ll read really smoothly. I challenge myself to write something better when I know I’m eventually going to publish it out to the web for the world to see, yet conversely I can rest easy remembering that the internet is a vast place and I can be comfortable in my obscurity, knowing that I am probably not going to wake up the next morning to angry readers. I don’t put much effort into promoting icanthascheezburger, so I don’t know if my small readership is a sign that my writing is lousy, or that I don’t promote it, or that the subject matter lacks wide enough appeal. I’m okay to just keep honing the craft of writing, and even if my posts are about something very specific or obscure, that’s just yet another sign that this is the genuine article; you can rest assured I’m writing about something because I care about it, certainly not because I think that’s a thing a lot of people will find interest in.

And that’s what keeps me going. I’m not going to feel bad that my writing on here is a weird mix. Maybe you came for the Moonlander review but then you got to discover how great Alfred is. Maybe you know me AFK and I mentioned that i blog and you, the good acquaintance that you are, decided to check it out to get a further glimpse into my mind.

And that’s why in 2021, I plan to publish 100 posts to icanthascheezburger. You’ll be getting a few more posts out of me in 2020, but in 2021 I am hoping to commit to a relatively aggressive pace of about two posts a week. It should be fun, and I hope that in the end there is a body of work that I can be proud of.

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