As the tagline says, one of the goals of this blog is to force myself to write so that I improve as a writer. That’s not the only goal though. As a simple perusal of my thus far limited content will show, I’m also interested in displaying and processing the interesting things I find on the Internet. In other words, aggregation.
But I’m not overly interested in focusing on the “new stuff online everyday,” which is the main vocation of link blogs as described by Slate’s Farhad Manjoo in his introduction to Robottke, the algorithmic version of expert web curator Jason Kottke. Obviously, I’m not opposed to commenting on the link or the story of the moment, but I frankly don’t have the mental energy at the moment to weigh in on everything as its happening now. There are plenty of other people who do and I’m happy to read them.
The web is vast. There is more information available than there has ever been before. I’ve come into contact with so little of it that it doesn’t make sense to me to focus on just the new additions. Instead, I’m interested in spending more of my time engaging in what I’ve come to think of as digital excavation. There are so many great things that are old but could be new to me on the Internet. But they need to be uncovered, either through conscious searching such as looking through the Paris Review’s interview archive or through following the trail of links that someone like Kottke can send you on, as he did when he recently ran his hypertext highlighter over Tom Junod’s 1998 Esquire profile of Fred Rogers.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about from today. This morning, Spin’s Marc Hogan posted about an old R.E.M. cassette demo surfacing online (I saw this through Facebook). Hogan’s post included a link to the blog The Power of Independent Trucking, which had posted the files. Intrigued, by what else Power of Independent Trucking might be putting up, I added the blog’s feed to my RSS reader and perused its archives, which led me to the album Darker Days by The Connells. I am now listening to this fine slab of Rickenbacker-ed 80s college rock as I type.