Why Do You Blog: Frakintosh Jay Wood

October 28, 2014 by Gabe | [mmd] |

This is the first entry in a new interview series on Macdrifter. A couple of years ago I interviewed some of my favorite indie bloggers to find out how they get down to business and write great stuff online.

This new series is a bit more personal and something I ask myself all the time: "Why Do You Blog".

To kick it off, Jay Wood of Frakintosh has graciously donated his time.

I've followed Frakintosh on Tumblr for quite awhile. I think Jay epitomizes what I love about Tumblr. His post are short, obscure and meaningful. Through quotes, links and brief comments, Jay lays out his view of the world that I find compelling and oddly personal.

Gabe
I know you through your Tumblr blog. What's special about that format and platform that makes you want to post there rather than a traditional long-form blogging platform like Wordpress?
Jay
When I started using Tumblr, blogging was kind of over for me. The idea of an ephemeral place to share my tastes rather than my own content was appealing. Flash forward to today – I do post more of my own work, and I don't really even like the platform...but I love the community of people I've ended up with. I have a Squarespace site, but there's no audience there, and I am not really into cross-posting things. It's tough to break out of Tumblr, but what can I say? The people make it worth it.
Gabe
How long have you been publishing online?
Jay
I installed MovableType in 2001. Before that, I may have had a domain and shared hosting plan, but I was a baby at the internet. All image slices and MoonFruit flash containers. Painful.
Gabe
What did you imagine would happen right before you published your first article online and did the actual outcome live up to your expectations?
Jay
I was mainly interested in exploring this new thing. No generation in history had been able to publish words and images in this way before. That felt cool. Looking back, it feels even cooler. A little slice of time that can never happen again.
Gabe
Do you have past or present role models for blogging?
Jay
I remember an evolution of some email lists to blogs. People like Warren Ellis, or frequenters of the IDM List. Apart from that, Waxy.org, Boing Boing, some livejournalers...the typical answers. Some of the people I was reading back then have become real world parts of my life now. They're my role models – my friends and internet pals. They're my audience, and I'm theirs. It's small, but it feels good.
Gabe
Do you have any personal rules about the things you want to put on your blog?
Jay
I post things on Tumblr more than I write these days. When I do write, I always consider where it's coming from. If I'm writing as a reaction to something, it's often best dumped in a text file. Getting words out is important...but sharing them isn't always. I ask an abstract question of "why is this?" My friend Melissa Gira Grant passed on some sage advice years ago: "always punch up." As for Tumblr...anything goes. If something scratches a brain-itch, then I'll want to share it.
Gabe
When you really self-analyze, what do you think your motivations are for writing online and have they changed over time?
Jay
In the past, it was more of a "look what we can do now" kind of thing, and now it's more of a "what do I have to say that's of interesting to me?"
Gabe
When you write, do you imagine who you are writing for and what they will think when they read your words?
Jay
I always have an audience in mind, even if it's just a couple of pals. I usually hit the target.
Gabe
Is there someone specific that makes you nervous knowing they might read your posts?
Jay
I'm always surprised to discover the people that think what I have to say is interesting. My following is only a few hundred people on Tumblr or Twitter, but very populated with people I admire. I'm not so nervous about it, because they're already reading. If I'm afraid of anything, it's that I'll be loud and honest about something, and receive some kind of horrible troll hatred that harms people I care about. Which sounds ridiculous until it actually happens. Because it does happen. Trolling is something I can't brook. There is no discourse to be had with trolling. Just a bunch of angry men being angry for bullshit reasons.
Gabe
Right before you publish, are there any common fears or doubts that cause you to pause?
Jay
Not anymore. I've poured my guts out there a few times and received nothing but love in return. The people who are reading aren't going anywhere.
Gabe
What parts of online publishing give you the most joy?
Jay
When I share something that I am unsure of, or do have doubts about, the people who consistently get where I'm coming from are often delighted. It feels great to have people that make you feel less crazy.
Gabe
What are the best and worst things about blogging in 2014?
Jay
Everybody having a voice and a platform to speak from is a good thing, but it also allows for a lot of noise. There's so much yelling and so little conversation. It's become about who can shout their opinion the loudest, regardless of how well considered that opinion is.
Gabe
What sites do you look forward to reading the most each week?
Jay
I read Carolina A. Miranda's blog1 (formerly C-Monster, now at the LA Times) because she's a thoughtful art writer that scratches my brain itches while creating new ones. I also love David Byrne's blog. When he posts, which is rarely, it's always incredibly intelligent and thought out. There's a short list of people whose Tumbles I'm consistently given joy by. They know who they are.

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You can follow Jay on Frakintosh or his personal photography blog at jaydot.ca. You can also follow his hair on Twitter.