Frank Chimero recently launched a new blog/project called The Mavenist, which uses a blog format as a more purposeful one-on-one dialogue and sharing process. He wrote in more depth about it on his personal site, but here’s my favorite section:
It is odd when we talk about writing: our modes are at the extreme ends of the spectrum in the size of our audience. We typically discuss writing for ourselves versus publishing for many, but don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about what it is like to write for one person. We may write for one individual frequently through things like email, but it is not often considered, and hardly ever celebrated. My friend Rob Giampietro said “there’s something about writing for one other person, the epistle, the letter, the thought that’s offered to someone specifically—it’s very special indeed.” He said this in an email, which makes the point self-referential in the best possible way.
The Mavenist could be said to be a response to these shortcomings of the blogging format, and an attempt to warm up the tone of communication to explore different ways of sharing and suggesting online. The format is much like a traditional tumblog, but each shared item has a bit of a story attached, and these shared items are strung together into a conversation between two friends. A gift must have a giver, but it must also have a recipient. For the first post, my friend Rob and I are chatting about games, permutations and loops. Over the next few weeks, there will be more posts, some with me, some with Rob, others that will have neither of us involved.
They’re currently two conversations deep into this project: the one he refers to above with Rob Giampietro entitled “Permutations and Loops” and the other with David Cole entitled “Cartoons and Forked Reality.” They’re super short, as each person takes five turns to total ten (small) posts per conversation. I really like the concept and appreciate the idea of sharing links that you specifically pick out for one person in this context, in contrast to the typical blog format of sharing to a broad audience… often with super limited context. But I also feel as if some of them are pushing too hard to condense a lot into these ten snippets and really get their turn’s worth. They work hard to draw parallels and links to other thoughts—very much in line with the nature of hypertext relationships. And while I know the point is to have this joint sharing happening (with oodles of information), for me, it can feel a bit forced and actually takes away that warmth that Chimero refers to above. Because sometimes I just want them to dwell a bit more on one idea the other presented instead of feeling pressured to constantly say, “that reminds me of ____” at each pass and introducing something new.
With that said, I’m still excited to tune in for new updates to see how this evolves over time! Maybe next time we’ll hear/read a woman’s voice?