Pete's Log: This Is Not a Blog: a Manifesto For 2022

Entry #2053, (Meta)
(posted when I was 43 years old.)

I like to write about Pete's Log. I always have. Sometimes I worry I write about it too much. This is not one of those times.

Pete's log has gone through numerous resurrections over the years, some more successful than others. This one feels like a pretty solid one. Output-wise, I had my 9th-best year in 2020 followed by my 3rd-best (!!) year in 2021. I'm on a 21-month streak. I'm definitely writing again. So now I'd like to build on that.

However, Pete's Log is full of failed goals, which makes me nervous to state any new ones. Yet there are also some that I've achieved. So I'll let optimism prevail. But before I get to my goals, I need to work through some things.

This Is Not A Blog

As best I can tell, Pete's Log predates the term blog by a handful of months, but I think it was a couple years before I heard the term. In the months and years that followed my first entry, there developed a culture of journaling among various engineers at Notre Dame. Both my memory and the Wayback Machine indicate the word journal was the primary description we used. Most of our journals were available both online and via email. I miss getting people's journal emails.

Memory is funny, though. I remember those other journals being called journals. Yet I don't really remember calling mine that. But as I've just rediscovered, up through 2002 I actually called it that frequently, even though the official title was always Pete's Log. In 2003, I used the term blog for the first time and since that time variants of log/blog/bloggy have replaced the word journal.

The term blog, however, has started to not feel quite right lately. I read a number of other blogs and they all feel more professional than mine. More focused. The term "personal blog" feels like a good description of what I have here, but why use two words when one word works better? So I've been pondering this and I'm going to have a go at calling this a journal again. It feels more accurate. More personal. And somehow less restricting.

Screaming into the Void

In the past, I enjoyed seeing what sort of search terms brought people to my website. The introduction in recent years of the Referrer Policy combined with my unwillingness to use any third party analytics has put an end to that fun.

Not sure how that informs any of my goals, but I've been thinking about it.

Professional Blogging

At my last job, I regularly contributed to the company blog. I enjoyed it. I don't think I ever mentioned it here.

In my current position, there is no such outlet. I did ask (and receive) permission shortly after starting to write about work technology topics on my personal blog, but that hasn't really happened. I'd like to try to change that at least a little.

My Audience

Other than myself, I know of six people who regularly read this thing, split pretty evenly into the categories family and friends. Apache logs indicate I may have a few more RSS subscribers, but I'm not sure who you are. I do value all of you.

I think the term journal helps re-focus on the core audience of myself and those closest to me.

My future audience

I think a lot about how my daughter may or may not interact with this content some day. If she does ever read through this, I hope it is clear to her how much we love her and how important she is to us.

Goals for 2022

  • Structural
    • Make this more user-friendly
      • Re-enable emailing entries if possible (as requested by Mom)
      • Make registering and logging in easier
    • Continue enhancing my markup tags
  • Content
    • Write at least 100 posts
    • Write about work topics
    • Write a handful of high quality posts (intentionally vague goal)
    • Write more "low quality" posts - don't be afraid to post quick silly thoughts as they occur
    • Something Fediverse-related

Some of those will be hard to measure. We'll see in a year.