Is this it then? Is this the last gasp of independent blogging as everyone moves to micro transactions of half considered thoughts? Will Tweets eat Wordpress? It sure seems like the indie blogs are thinned down to a small collection of ideas and opinions. Worse, it feels like the only sites that receive attention are the ones with interstitial ads or pop-up lectures about ad blocking. I know a lot of people are worried about indie blogging because The Deck is going away. But I worry that it’s just the tail end of the sinking ship. Most of the indie blogging spirit feels long lost to me.
I occasionally enjoy bite-sized link posts or single sentence opinion pieces, but it seems to me that this is the new normal brought to us by Twitter. Big advertising-driven media companies disguised as “blogs” are the only content I see linked in my RSS feed1 While Daring Fireball absolutely fits the definition of an “indie” blog, it’s become the only indie blog that is linked.2 I get it. It’s easier to just read one or two sources. But, then you probably shouldn’t declare your love for the world of indie blogging. I don’t think it’s hypocrisy that writers lament the death of the blogs but then only link to WSJ and the Verge.3 It’s become the expected norm. We’ve all fallen prey to the Wikipedia disease that declares value is some how determined only by the name of the source.
By my estimation, the best way to show that I support indie blogging is to recommend some of the sites I read. Page views are the real currency of the internet. Here are some indie blogs. I encourage everyone to try linking more to the small blogs with good ideas instead of the same 5 sources everyone reads anyway. Get out of Nuzzel for a few minutes during your lunch break and try some indie blogs.
- Practicality Efficient: Eddie is a friend I discovered through his writing. He’s smart and considered in his views. He also has a lovely southern accent.
- Macsparky: Sometimes I like criticism but it’s refreshing to read things that are almost always positive, well meaning, and well written.
- Dave Pell: While he’s well known among nerds he’s still 100% an indie writer that chose Medium as his outlet. Some of the best opinions I’ve read about the American political landscape were written by Dave Pell. I never miss his posts.
- With the Grain: This might be the smartest site I read. It’s a genuine joy to follow these posts.
- Nahumck.me: A mix of technical and philosophical. Low volume but plenty of ideas.
- LeanCrew: The good Dr. solves some edge cases but you get to see his hands the whole time. When he does write about Apple or technology in general, it’s among the smartest things I read and almost always different from the rest of the opinions I hear.
- Dave Winer: How could I make a list of indie blogs without including Dave Winer. He’s the reason we have RSS and indie blogging. He’s smart and full of passion.
- Michael Tsai: I understand about 10% of the posts but Michael links to indie blogs a lot and has some interesting perspectives on development.
- One Foot Tsunami: Paul Kafasis is a funny guy. His posts are mostly of the link variety but his commentary is the real payoff.
- Robservatory: This is as close to an old-school Apple blog as you’ll find. He posts a lot and shares a lot of small problem solving ideas. Rob knows Apple and the Mac better than most.
- TaxProf: You didn’t see this one coming, did you? I disagree with a lot of the political opinions that come out on this blog but it always makes me think. I don’t like taxes but I do enjoy the benefit of them. I also enjoy expert opinions on a topic that is generally mishandled in the news.
- Krebs on Security: One of the best security-related blogs on the internet. He’s an expert that also does his own investigative work.
- Schneier on Security: Another great security blog with a more academic view of the world.
- Ribbonfarm: I’m not quite sure what Ribbonfarm is. The posts are enormous in content and scope. The ideas are dense but rewarding. In the spirit of the indie blog, it kind of defies categorization. Put some time aside and try it out.
- James Shelley: There is almost nothing I agree with on this site. It’s still thoughtful and I respect that.
Big media outlets aren’t all bad. Everyone needs quick high-level news. Unfortunately we all use the same trough and now one end of the trough decided it’s a toilet. I’ll be over here in the field reading some indie blogs while this mess gets sorted out.
Isn’t RSS so quaint now? It’s a badge of honor to declare that you don’t use RSS and instead prefer to read hundreds of tweets linking to the exact same opinion. I secretly hope that if I stick with RSS long enough, it will be cool again. ↩︎
I purposely am not linking to Daring Fireball in this post. It’s not spite. I just don’t want to participate in the great feedback loop of Apple blogging. If you want to find it, just search for “Apple opinion”, or, you know, “Daring Fireball” ↩︎
Although I do think it’s a sort of blindness ↩︎