Why don’t I have a blog?

Federico del Mazo I feel like I should have a blog. Specifically, a tech blog. Everything points towards it! I like coding, I like reading, I particularly like reading blog posts. So then, why don’t I have one?! This past summer I bought and read exactly three books: Raw Thought, Raw Nerve by Aaron Swartz,…

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Federico del Mazo

I feel like I should have a blog. Specifically, a tech blog. Everything points towards it! I
like coding, I like reading, I particularly like reading blog posts. So then, why don’t
I have one?!

This past summer I bought and read exactly three books:


Raw Thought, Raw Nerve


by Aaron Swartz,


The Cathedral & the Bazaar


by Eric S. Raymond, and

UNIX: A History and a Memoir

by Brian Kernighan1.

One is a compilation of past blog posts written by one of the most influential programmers and internet activists
of this century, another one is a collection of essays by an authority on written hackerdom history, and the last
one is a memoir by a CS legend whose most important contributions include books considered the state of
the art on technical writing2.

What do they all have in common? An emphasis on the written word. And not only that: these very same people strongly
encourage the written word. In Eric S. Raymond’s How To Become A Hacker he suggests that a good programmer should learn to write well.
On his blog, Aaron Swartz explains how writing
things down will help him reflect better on his thoughts. Heck, even BWK talks3 about how taking
writing seriously will get you a long way. My point is… there is a clear connection between CS and the written
word.

So where is my blog? Nowadays it seems like every other kid in town has one. And don’t get me wrong, I swear I
want one! I have side projects of which I’m proud of, I do encounter bugs that could deserve an entire
post dedicated to them, and I do feel like I have a hot take on the latest blockchain news.

So, we’ve already established that I’m a good recipe for a blog person, and I would love to
follow the steps of my idols… why don’t I have a blog?

I don’t have anything interesting to say

First things first: I don’t have anything interesting to say. Or, more specifically, even if I do have stuff to say,
what I don’t have is stuff to add.

It feels as if I should have great things to say about… stuff… and yet I don’t. Every opinion I have is a copy
of a copy of a copy of the first 5 top-level comments on a reddit-slash-hacker-news comment section. Just
regurgitating those thoughts on a centralized blog post would be pointless (why not just link to the original thread
and let people make their own mind?).

Now, let’s say I did have a strong, unique, novel opinion on something and that I’ll gladly write it down somewhere.
But then… isn’t that just Twitter? I don’t have Twitter for a reason: nobody cares about my thoughts. So, why
would
they care about my longer-than-140-characters thoughts? I’m not trying to say that a blog and social media are the
same medium, but in the end… it’s just me, talking about myself.

I’m not a good programmer

Whenever I try to search for a how-to online, or I need to do a quick “Hello, World!”, I often find myself skipping
the first 5~10 search results. They are your typical run-of-the-mill tutorials that replicate what’s written on the
official framework/language guide4. At least to me, this content just ends up adding noise to the
internet. And that’s the last thing I would like to do! I love the internet! Adding unnecessary stuff to it is
exactly what I want to avoid.

To be entirely fair, most of my skills are no more than on the beginner level on X language. My struggles with
Python are the same struggles anyone else has with Python (mutable defaults), and my struggles with Node.js are the
ones that you solve by clicking on the correct StackOverflow link. If I were to blog about my experiences on React,
it
would be the exact same as everybody else’s (i.e, I’ll teach you how to use `useState()` with a numbers
counting component). I don’t have a specific framework on which I’m savvy enough to talk about the internals. I
don’t have any particularly good war stories (the ones that are really useful on those “What’s the weirdest bug you
ever encountered?” programming interviews). I get that sometimes an impostor syndrome is that, a person
doubting themselves and feeling like a fraud. But sometimes, you are not an impostor (nor a fraud), you just are.

I don’t think it’s good CV building

Or maybe I do think it’s good CV building, but I just can’t accept it. Lately, I tend to feel (though not accept)
that
just doing is not enough. Nowadays it seems that you have to both do, and talk about what you just
did. Build a whole narrative around it. You have to code a new feature, and then talk about it in your next 1:1.
And don’t forget to write how you are proud of it in your performance review, or it doesn’t count.
If you just build it, maybe no one will come. Sometimes talk is not cheap, and showing the code is not enough.

But I’m tired of that! Not all tech side-projects have a clever origin story, and not everything built should have a
post accompanying it. Even though something may seem technically cute, there might be not so much to say around it.
Not all code speaks for itself, but making a circus around it shouldn’t be the solution.

In conclusion, I think the gist of it is… blogging is clearly made for people who enjoy writing and/or
sharing. And I think it’s okay if I’m not particularly fond of any of those two things. I shouldn’t succumb to the
peer
pressure of thinking that everybody but me has a blog. So, if I were to have a blog, the motivation should be noble
and straightforward: “I like to write and share my experiences”.

Until then, there’s no blog for me.




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