I started this blog with the hope that I might be able to write something timeless. As many writers would over time, I have been collecting writing ideas for the last few months and stockpiling them, so that I might keep a steady flow of ideas. Today, I reviewed them and deleted quite a few that were no longer relevant due to the inevitable march of progress in technology. The moment I started deleting old post ideas was the moment when I learned my first lesson while writing for this space: think before you publish and struggle to write something of timeless value.
The fact is that writing about the iPhone 4 is irrelevant if the iPhone 4S or 5 exists with few exceptions. Ten years from now, will I look back on such quips with pride or distaste for having written what the 36 year old me will discount as drivel? This is not to say that we should not be writing about such things, simply that our readership should see the depth at which we choose to discuss such topics, the difficulty that we as writers have in hitting the publish button. If we haven’t thought through the elements of the text that are fleeting to get to the more lasting ideas, then we have failed to provide the truth for which the reader is undoubtedly looking.
The lack of timeless truth in current events writing is why writing static reviews is so strange and why choosing an Android phone in the current state of the market is an exercise in frustration. Not only is the technology changing over time, but so are we, the users. I have read many a lamentation by writers about the struggle to find timeless truth in their writing, but such truth cannot exist in the ever changing space that is technology. The format to which many sites have moved is that of constant updating and information overload, which can lead to misreporting and a lack of substance. In the end, I, as a discerning reader, have stopped following many such sites religiously as I once did, opting instead to follow curated and well-thought-out blogs that link to those things that may be of importance to me. However, even curation can be heavy-handed in the ideas to which they link, leaving me with less knowledge about the world around me and more knowledge of the most recent (and soon to be obsolete) technology innovation.
So, the question becomes that of, about what can I write to insure timeless content, while insuring that not every post is opinion, dramatic human tendency, or introspection, such as this post? While the answer to such a question will likely change over time, I am in a unique place to answer it for my own writing. I believe that my writing will take three possible routes: education, design and quality, and idiosyncratic ideas that are my own but may be interesting to others. Each of the aforementioned areas may include the influence of technology (which is undeniable and inevitable) but may not deal with the elusive nature of what is current technology, unless the subject is more existential. In the end, I will also plan to write pieces like this one that forces me to introspect since I not only enjoy it but learn things from the exercise almost every time.
Even after defining on what my writing will focus, the challenge for me is still to find the middle ground, to write something of value of which I will be proud in the future and in which I will still find relevance when I am 86, let alone 36. In addition, writing for those around me will lead me to write things that may not be true in perpetuity, but I will be sure to update those posts when they occur. Interestingly enough, I too am a constantly changing entity, much like technology, which means that some of what I write will be fleeting and based on a lack of maturity that I one day hope to gain. But perhaps as I grow, so too may my ability to understand from where these thoughts had come and to where they led me.
Did the Internet community peak at bookmarks? Asked in a different and perhaps more complete way: just as technologies like RSS and email in their purest forms are hard to beat even as technology marches forward, what better technology exists to keep track of information on the ever-expanding Internet than bookmarks? Taken a step further, what better way to share the bookmarked information than a site of your own? As such, I‘ve been reading, which is why I write now.
Working in and having a passion for libraries, I am struck by the fact that the way bookmarks work in the physical world is not directly analogous to bookmarks in the digital world. Bookmarks in the digital world are instead like dog-eared pages or highlighted passages; if you think of the Internet as a single tome, that is. In any case, anything that moves you to deface a book should probably be shared or become immortalized in some other way than just a reference for a future version of yourself.