Introducing substrate07 Mar 2019
I joined Twitter on December 29th, 2011—2,627 days ago—and have tweeted 17,644 times since (~7 per day). My addiction aside, I point out that total, 17k, specifically. The service’s website, apps, and API only let me sift through the most recent 3,200 of that total, leaving behind an iceberg of 14k thoughts, memories, questions, and conversations. While I can download and search through an archive, the former is only available for my account and the latter requires knowing exactly what (down to the keyword or date range) I’m looking for—put another way, trying to cut through said iceberg with a laser pointer.
This isn’t to single out Twitter—a combination of technical complexity and product debt is likely the culprit. Still, it’s concerning that the knowledge created on the networks we use is outpacing our (and future) generation’s collective ability to digest it. If we’re all busy adding to these networks, who are the historians?
The answer might be our long-forgotten friend, the link blog.
Link blogs are exactly what you’d guess—blogs which share URLs and occasionally commentary. My favorites—links to link blogs? Meta.—are:
- The Link: “A Sunday newsletter for curious people” by Ben Vander. His data journalism picks keep me reading week over week.
- @whatkunalreads and @whatryanreads: feeds of what two of my friends are reading around the Web.
- The “Links” section in Nadia Eghbal’s newsletter and “Reads” in Drew Austin’s.
- Joy of Computing: A link blog including computer-generated art, games, tools, crafts, libraries, and more.
and frankly, those are the only six I check with some frequency, which is telling given that I spend seven-tweets-worth-of-time on the Internet a day.
So, I’m going to surface the substrate I find while sifting through Twitter, RSS, and newsletters—with the feed’s name, Substrate, following suit. Links will vary widely. But, you can expect tweets I constantly remember, conversations that call for pause, and essays that have impacted me. I hope to make the collection worth your time and play historian when I’m not working on Distillations.
You can follow along via Twitter, RSS, or the backing Pinboard profile. As always, below is some related reading…which makes me wonder; maybe this site’s footnotes have been an approximation of a link blog all along.