Saturday, November 5, 2011

On why this blog has seen a slow and agonizing death

My blogging for I' Been to Ubuntu basically stopped a couple of years ago, and it changed its tone the year before that. There are several reasons.

First, I started this blog as a way to write non-tech friendly howtos for a couple of friends who had decided to try Ubuntu. I chose to use version numbers instead of code names and GUI methods instead of CLI ones for just that reason. Once the apt: standard came, I used that wherever possible. These friends are no longer using Ubuntu, and I had no reason to keep writing generic howtos that probably already existed in the documentation, anyway.

Next, I used my need to keep up with FOSS news to write about changes in the next version of Ubuntu. This was the Digg era, and my blog got several front page placements and hit 100K visitors a month, despite the fact that I never promoted it at all (or submitted those links to Digg). I was one of the few blogs dedicated to talking exclusively about Ubuntu. I did amazing things that others weren't doing ... like checking links, verifying assertions, and proofreading my posts before they went live.

At this point, I was spending my normal three or four hours a day reading tech news, and another one or two setting topics and writing. Once OMGUbuntu and a couple other blogs (WorksWithU and Webupd8, I think) started up and knew how to play the Digg game, I realized that I had competition and needed to step up my game. I needed to learn to promote. I needed a real blogging platform. This blog was going to become another job, and I needed to go big or go home.

So I went home. I didn't want another job. I didn't even try to compete. I just wrote the same kind of stuff I had been writing before, but tried to avoid the topics that OMGU wrote on. The blog became a little more technical and I started writing about more general topics like federated social networking, dogfooding, and Ubuntu spinoffs. Oh, yeah, and then there was that "Screw Ubuntu!" phase where I renamed to blog to "I Been to Debian."

So many times, I wanted to keep this blog going, but I never felt I had anything to offer that other sites weren't already offering, and I didn't want to just add to the noise or waste anyone's time. I didn't do Twitter. I didn't submit to Reddit. When I was on vacation, though, I often still blogged, but my heart wasn't in it.

The kinds of things that I wanted to say belonged on social networks, so that's where I put them. I still put them there. I'll go so far as to say that casual blogging in general should die the same death this blog has.

I post on Google Plus now. You can  (edit: or follow ) there, if you like. I'm not saying anything extremely profound, though.

I'm going to pull the plug on this blog. The domain will expire, but the content will still be available at

Time of death: 11:18 a.m., Saturday, November 5th, 2011.
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