Daily Phil
Tuesday 8th August 2000

I really must write things down when I think of them, and not leave them hanging in the boxroom at the back of my mind.

I was thinking the other day how sending email leaves me exhausted. You’ve heard of tribes that apparently believe cameras can take their soul away with every picture? That, if it’s not too overblown a metaphor, is how I feel if I’ve sent a lot of email. Emotionally exhausted somehow. And email sent to a mailing list is a bit multiplier in the equation. My psyche seems to balance out overnight, but this can get wearing after a few days of lots of email sending. As if I’ve shown too much of myself, become over-exposed.

But putting stuff up on a website (yes, like this) doesn’t feel as bad. You’re reading this presumably because you fall into one of two groups: 1) You keep coming back because you like reading this stuff, or 2) you’ve either stumbled here by accident or are just looking around my site. Members of group 2 may become members of group 1 or they might decide never to come back. Either way, it means most readers come here to read this. Unlike email, where I’m pushing stuff at them, particularly on a mailing list where what I say may not be interesting to everyone (I know, hard to believe, but true). With one method I’m writing things for people who want to read them (or who are able to go away and never return), the other I’m popping up in people’s inboxes unannounced.

All this lead me to a rather shaky and pointless metaphor (bear with me if you’ve got a minute). Sending email is like playing someone a tape you’ve put together. You know, High Fidelity style mix tapes. You hope the listener will like what they hear, but they’re kind of stuck with it for 45/90 minutes either way (unless they’re refreshingly honest and hit ‘stop’). On the other hand a weblog, for example, is more like a radio show; people will tune in regularly if they want to hear what you say/play, or they won’t come back if they don’t like it.

And the point of all this? I really should have written this when my tape/radio/email/weblog metaphor occurred to me a week ago, because now Dave Winer’s hada similar revelation and now I feel somehow unclean.