Those who have seen me around on Newsvine since the early days, back when I was a prolific writer of content and an active participant in comments around the site, may recall a later article I wrote about returning to the Vine and attempting to write regularly again.
Those same people will also, when reading this, realize that those attempts hardly came to fruition at all. In fact, it's more accurate to say that my original intent made it little further than being just that: intent.
Tonight I sat down and scoured Newsvine again for the first time in months, really. What led me back was my previously seeded article concerning an anti-Islam film by a Dutch far-right (dare I say, extremist) politician. I ended up spending a concerning 6 full hours reading comments, writing comments and discovering more articles related to the more general subject of Islam in today's world and—congrats, by the way—Dennis P. McCann's Random Act of Vineness Award.
And then I saw my own column page.
My poor, neglected column page. I asked myself, "why did I never get to writing anything?" when suddenly it hit me: ownership.
For the past ten years (given my age of 25, that deserves emphasis) I've always designed and developed sites for myself, by myself. I made websites to be my platform, to host my voice, my opinion. It wasn't until I started getting asked to write for a variety of online magazines, resources and even printed books that I ever wrote articles and content that ended up somewhere else than my own sites.
The lack of complete ownership of the context surrounding my content has, unintentionally and subconsciously, kept me from writing as much as I'd have liked to on my Newsvine column. It's hard to say whether it's simply a matter of habit that influences me so, or if it is a part of me considering the context to be an important aspect of my message itself.
Some evidence to support the latter: I've been gathering blog post ideas for a while now; short summaries of posts I intend to write soon. How soon? Well, once I finish the design of my new site and get that new blog up and running online, soon. The mere fact that I finally decided on a design and direction to go into with my new site (a process that took almost 2 years) was apparently enough to actively urge me to write again. I think that says a fair bit about how important having my own context matters to me — it gives me a better sense of having full ownership of my words.
However, it would be a shame to limit myself to only posting on my blog once I have that going, and my understanding of the Code of Honor is that double-publishing (both here as full articles and on my own blog) is allowed, as per this passage:
Posting full articles (using the "Write Article" feature) that also appear on your blog or web site is acceptable but seeding your own stuff is not.
What I'm less certain about though is whether it's permitted to post items here after they are originally posted on my own site and adding a footnote indicating it's "Originally posted on [my as-yet-secret site+URL here]". I'll be getting that straightened out before-hand.
The point is, I think Newsvine is a fantastic website with tremendous potential (on top of all of its already fantastic accomplishments!) that deserves more content and more attention. I hope to help with that content but at the same time, I must acknowledge that for me personally, my heart lies with my own sites first. They are, after all, my one and only true home online — and the Web has been host to my home for a decade, now. I've gotten quite comfortable, here.
In closing, I guess I should say that I apologize for any disappointments I may have caused by promising activity and delivering absence. Sure, life got in the way as well, but I aim to be a man of my word and so I myself am quite disappointed when I promise to write and fail to deliver. So far, 2008 has been a year of change (for the better) for me and paired with me having decided upon the most important parts of my new site, at last, I feel more positive that this time around, it won't be 6 months and then another apology.
Plus, I now actually am aware of what kept me from publishing content here, and knowing of it gives me the power to ignore it. After all, it is impossible to ignore that which you are simply not aware of.