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This Is For Everyone — Issue 1

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3,806 moons ago I wrote a popular blog on the internet. Blogs are not fashionable any more, so today
 
January 11 · Issue #1 · View online
This Is For Everyone
3,806 moons ago I wrote a popular blog on the internet. Blogs are not fashionable any more, so today I’m launching a new one. You’ll find it at https://thisisforeveryone.com.

This Is For Everyone
This Is For Everyone is a website about the human side of technology.
It combines personal essays with notes on programming, computer science, accessibility, hardware, creative code, games, the web as a social platform, and technology as a force for greater good.
The first post is live now:
Master of none: on coming to terms with being average at everything
About “Master of none”
I often write when I’m trying to figure something out. The post is a result of one of those sessions, rare only in that it spanned about five years, on and off — I came back to it recently and finally felt it may be worth sharing. The post explores the idea of specialists versus generalists, and why — just maybe — it’s okay to be average.
It includes a Dilbert cartoon (painstakingly licensed via what I can only conclude was an orbiting Vogon ship, for all the paperwork it took), as well as passages from much wiser folk than me. I hope the conclusion, if you make it that far, proves useful to you whatever stage you’re at in your own path to self-discovery.
You can also read the story behind the site’s name on the about page, where you’ll learn more than you care to know about me.
In which we agree not to call it a blog
As co-conspirators we must agree not to call this new site a blog. It can be a “website”. It can be a “collection of nerdish asides”, a “terrible disappointment”, or a “horrible waste of time”. It can be many things.
But not a blog. Calling your website a blog feels like a death sentence in 2018. It is a fuzzy blue line descending into obscurity:
Interest for “blog” since 2008. It's not getting better.
In truth, though, This Is For Everyone is a blog. I like blogs. Blogs are still cool to me. But they carry a yesteryear-ish stigma, like webmaster or cyberspace, or cool. I find this sad, but I feel itchy using the word.
I’ve designed the site not to look like a blog: no sidebars or header menus or pushes to do anything but read. It is very much devoid of bloggy things, and will probably reach fewer people and grow slower as a result, but I am okay with that. I started with all the bloggy gumpf, because we’re conditioned to think that websites need sidebars and hamburger menus and shouty calls to action. It is so easy to feel guilty if our sites are only a headline and some text.
I walked the line between minimalism and feeling the pressure to make it somehow look more impressive than it does. Then I realised the goal of most sites with words on them is to get people to read those words. So I removed everything that got in the way of that, putting menus and post meta at the bottom, then focussing on legibility, accessibility, and speed. Your options are to read the words or close the tab — nothing more. It might seem brave or boring as a result, but to me it is what sites that want to be read should be.
Matthew Butterick’s Practical Typography was a great source of information and inspiration, and This Is For Everyone uses his fonts. I have grown to love the typographic element of web design above all else, and I think a lot about Erik Spiekermann’s idea that “type is vis­i­ble language”. I still have a lot to learn, but it’s sad to me that most sites today look better with “readability mode” switched on, so I tried to build something that doesn’t — that has gentle shades of personality through type alone without being flashy.
On WordPress vs Ghost
I’m publishing the site with Ghost, because it gives me a break from WordPress, and because it’s a platform that proudly declares writers as its target audience; it is refreshing to use a product that knows who it is for, and having that focus shows — it’s a pleasure to write with.
Ghost has a slim enough feature set that you can’t spend much time doing anything else but write words into it, which for a hopeless tinkerer is a blessing. I learned the template engine and built a simple custom theme in about two weeks — it feels fun, hackable, and fast to use.
Once the Ghost team adds plugins (“apps” in Ghost parlance), automatic image resizing, and builds out the block-based post editor, Ghost may become a compelling alternative to WordPress for many more sites. Competition is good and much-needed, both camps can learn something from each other, and breaking the bubble is fun. If you’re at all curious, check it out!
Ghost - The Professional Publishing Platform
Thank you
Thank you so much for taking an interest in my work, and please feel free to reply or contact me to share your thoughts.
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