Blogging as a public PKM

The Memex Method: When your commonplace book is a public database — Cory Doctorow

Cory at Medium:

I’ve been a blogger for a little more than 20 years and in that time I’ve written a little more than 20 books: novels for adults; novels for teens; short story collections; essay collections; graphic novels for adults, highschoolers and middle-schoolers; a picture-book for small children, and book-length nonfiction on various subjects. I’ve written and delivered some hundreds of speeches as well, for several kinds of technical and non-technical audience, as well as for young kids and teens.

Over that same period, I’ve published many millions of words of work in the form of blog-posts. Far from competing with my “serious” writing time, blogging has enabled me to write an objectively large quantity of well-regarded, commercially and critically successful prose that has made many readers happy enough that they were moved to tell me about it — and to inspire some readers to rethink their careers and lives based on how my work made them feel.

Cory writes about using blogging as an incubator for ideas.

This column leads me to some ideas about blogging:

  • Read and blog more of what interests me, less of what I think I should be reading (and blogging). In particular, most national, international and even state and county news won’t mean anything to my life, and I can’t do anything about it, so why let it clutter up my brain?

  • Use blogging as a guide to what I’m interested in. Follow my instincts more and my sense of duty less.

Also, I’m starting to think — again — about finding a better blogging platform. It’s no secret that I’m perpetually dissatisfied, and move Google+ to Tumblr to Microblog to Wordpress. I may have to learn JavaScript and CSS to get WordPress just right. I’ll think about it between now and September, when my current Wordpress subscription expires.

I hate Facebook, but it’s where everybody is, so I can’t escape it and it’s become my primary blogging platform, against my will.

Cory’s one of my blogging role models. Dave Winer and John Gruber are others. When I’m trying to figure something out about blogging, I look to their blogs to see how they’re solving the problem.

Original at


Have you looked into Substack?

Yeah, but it doesn’t seem suitable. I do a lot of link blogging. Maybe Revue will become something.

Is it appearance you struggle with? I also host my blog on Wordpress and actually finding it quite good.

1 Like

Partly appearance, partly the requirement for titles.

Hugo is an easy way to blog. Static site generator - just store your markdown files in a Git repo and auto deploy on a service like Netlify-for FREE! They take care of ssl, etc. No security worries, no servers to patch, etc.


Seconding this method, but I personally use Jekyll over Hugo mainly due to the fact that it has a lot more plugin and theme options available since it’s so widely used.

But other than that, I do the same exact thing; write in markdown in the local folder for my site, push to Github, and Netlify automatically serves it in what feels like seconds. I couldn’t be happier with this workflow.


For simplicity, I like Blot, but…

…if you’re picky enough to want the look of your blog “just right” it may not be for you.


Not to mention the ability to easily (hugo server) serve the content locally for preview and edits - THEN publish it!

1 Like

Mine ( and are on as well.

Pro tip: Blot recently added support for [[wikilinks]] and the developer is working on enabling fenced YAML. This’ll make it fully compatible with Obsidian.


blot.i’m is very interesting to me. I struggle with appearance though and I do not have the know how to get it just right. I am one of those that know something isn’t to my liking but necessarily able to code to my liking…

What theme are you using?

I think your previous stop—microblog— is the most compliant to do one of the things you try to achieve. Microblog supports webmention out of the box. It means, you can syndicate your content anywhere on internet, but keeps the original copy in microblog. It’s just like wordpress’ pingback

Also, with, you can reshare your post content to Facebook (also twitter, IG), and let resend the reactions (like, comments) from your friends in FB and display them as reaction to your original content. example in my non-english blogpost, with reaction from my social media friends at the bottom. My blog is not hosted in per se, it uses hugo and the stack mentioned by @dsh1705 earlier. Actually also uses hugo as the generator. makes it ieasy to have ‘indie.web’ compliant website.


I have tried to simplify and moved to just using Notion for my digital gardening/evergreen writing (not chronological).

I was procrastinating something extensively anxiety-provoking and spent a great many hours tuning the Magazine template.

You can still see the resemblance but I’d like to think mine look kinda unique now.

But yea, this is the biggest downfall with having too much customization. There’s always something else to tweak…

without a doubt. It looks great. I prefer a minimal site and after lots of searching, I landed on a theme that works well for me. It may not be unique because its an open source theme but I gather, with my logo (self made on canva) and color accent, its pretty different. I am happy with it.

1 Like

You’d be surprised how many times I Google something about an old Mac to find something I wrote like 8 years ago on the topic.


… anywhere on the internet but Facebook, where most of my friends are.

And for Twitter if my Microblog post goes over 180 characters, it links back to the microblog post, rather than doing a proper Twitter thread

Since I wrote the OP, I realized that one part of my problem is that many of my blog posts are kitschy found media on the web — old ads, photos, etc.

I realized that stuff has no place on my proper blog.

So I decided to move it to Tumblr as a web home, and keep the links, plain text, and original photos on

I mix both streams — the kitschy found internet media and original content — on Twitter and Facebook.

The problem here is that the social media platforms are siloed. Most of my friends are on Facebook. I hate Facebook as software, even apart form the company’s shady business practices. Yet I’m stuck on Facebook if I want to get in conversations with most of my friends who are online.

A few people are on twitter — enough to keep me posting there as well. I hate Twitter’s 280-character limit, which makes me hate Twitter as software too.

The Twitter people hate Facebook and the Facebook people hate Twitter, so I can’t pick one.

I like the public web, which is why I keep a blog. But hardly anybody reads the blog.

I share the blog posts as a newsletter, using MailChimp’s free tier and its RSS automation. Some people like the newsletter.

IndyWeb has the right idea … I guess … but it’s confusing as heck and every time I look into it I think I do not have time for this. POSSE? Bridgy? Webmentions? Huh? If I want to speak a foreign language, I’ll learn Cantonese. Normal people are never going to think about that kind of thing.

For the past few years, I do a lot of cut-and-pasting. The pasteboard on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad gets a good workout.


Your blog looks interesting. I see you do something I want to do, which is link from the title/subject line. That’s something I would like to do, and which Wordpress really, really does not want me to do.

Microblog does support that — prominently — but one of my problems with Microblog is that it seems to be a passion project by one guy. Will it be around in five years?

1 Like