Be Posting Always

James wrote about our posting philosophy in “Always Be Posting”. The regularity is the point. This strategy is not our original idea, but this specific manifestation of blogging is a kind of experiment that we are running in front of everyone. I’ll add a few comments on this practice.

  1. I blogged more than once a week at first. Although I believe in the benefits of writing, once a week is the right amount for me.
  2. Tyler recently asked Brad Delong about Substack. Delong says, “Substacking is blogging, except that Substacking is blogging where you have explicit permission to send things to people’s email inboxes, and also to have a rather large tip jar.” Tyler mentioned that Substack posts tend to be longer. Delong admits, “I thought blogging was more fun.” Delong thinks longer posts are better because they fight the trend of short posts that I earlier called Poastmodernism. I would say that if you are going to blog regularly for free like we do, it should be fun. That is also what Tyler said when I asked him if young people should blog regularly in “The New Econ Bloggers.”
  3. If you are going to blog, you might wonder when you should start. Society seems obsessed with young geniuses today. I started blogging before tenure but not when I was very young. I should not have started any earlier. Think about the research that shows your brain is still forming until you are about 25. If Leonardo DiCaprio would date you, then be careful about what you say on the internet. What I would hope for teens or undergraduates is that they would have smart safe people to bounce ideas off of. You certainly need to practice writing and questioning. Even though it nearly kills me at the end of every semester, I assign papers in my classes, because I believe that college students should be writing. I was and am lucky to have teachers and friends who I talk to one-on-one when I want to try out ideas. You should be “posting” in the most abstract sense when you are young, but a private paper journal is not a bad place to start.
  4. When the internet first started, I don’t think anyone would have guessed how much content people would create for free. People are posting so much. Despite worries that media pirating would lead to too little content creation, we have more content than ever.

Something fun about regular short posts is that you can put a stake down and then revisit it years later. Here are two of my posts that have turned out well.

  1. In 2022, I went to Disney World for the first time. Ross Douthat criticized Disney World in his book The Decadent Society. I like the book, but I thought that he clearly hadn’t been there. I wrote a whole blog about Disney being the opposite of infrastructure stagnation. Here is Ross now with his New York Times column saying “Wow, I had never actually been there, and the physical infrastructure is amazing.”
  2. In 2021, I wrote “I encourage parents to read fantasy with children. I see a lot of children’s books that promote science or STEM-readiness… Those games that try to trick 5-year-olds into “programming” are less valuable than reading and discussing fantasy stories… What your child will need to be able to do when they are 20 is read and comprehend a textbook that explains a totally new technology that no one alive today understands. Then they will need to think of creative ways to apply that technology to real world problems.” The developments in ChatGPT are making this look pretty good, even earlier than I expected.

We are a posting kind of species.

3 thoughts on “Be Posting Always

  1. StickerShockTrooper March 13, 2023 / 11:40 am

    I wonder/worry about the generational gap here. I and my cohort regularly exchange blogs, posts, substacks, etc. Podcasts a bit less so, videos very rarely. On the other hand, my kids (late teens) and their cohort consume video tutorials, explainers, short-form documentaries, and all sorts of video content voraciously, but not a single blog.

    I remember there was a short period of time when “blogger” was the burgeoning youth aspiration, but that was very quickly supplemented by “vlogger” and now “content creator” which is almost exclusively short video.


    • Joy March 13, 2023 / 12:13 pm

      The optimistic take is that they are exchanging ideas in a new medium. The pessimistic take is that text was better and TikTok is turning the population into zombies. What was the period of time when “blogger” was a youth aspiration?


      • StickerShockTrooper March 15, 2023 / 4:09 pm

        I’m thinking from the early days of raw HTML bashing to LiveJournal and (late 90s?) until the rise of YouTube “vlogs” (mid-2005?) So, a pretty short period. (That was my cohort, so probably massive bias here.)


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