Next month it is 15 years ago since I started blogging, only a few weeks before we started Tudou.com on October 15, 2004. Originally I used Radio Userland for my blog, but after a year I bought marc.cn and started posting there. The first post on marc.cn is this one in which I thanked Amy Gu to help set it up for me. She was a journalist at the South China Morning Post at the time, but went on to have an impressive career (she got her Stanford MBA, then among others ran Evernote in China, and is now a managing partner at a VC firm in Silicon Valley).
For years I blogged several times per week, but after moving to Canada blogging became more infrequent, partially because of more family obligations (no more nannies, drivers and ayis) and partially because I started to focus more on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Around 2017 my blogging frequency went down to about 1 post per month. I even stopped tracking my readers: I used to have about 50,000 unique readers on my blog, but I have no idea how many are currently reading it (I just installed Google Analytics again to see how many hits the domain still gets).
While sailing 2 weeks ago I started thinking more deeply about social media, centralization and the importance of owning your own data. Then it dawned on me that moving away from my own blog to social media had actually been the wrong move. Simply because you don’t own your data, and companies like Twitter or Facebook can shut your account down without any repercussions. My Facebook account was hacked once and it was shut down at least once because of impersonators (who managed to convince Facebook that I was impersonating myself). My Twitter account has been semi-blocked for almost 2 years, to the point where I even had to switch to another Twitter handle.
So a week ago I decided to get back to regular blogging. For the past week I put a blog post online every day, just to get back into the habit. I liked it because I enjoy writing and it does not feel like a chore at all. However, I feel that doing it daily might be too much of a time investment. It takes me between 30 minutes and an hour to write and edit a post. My time is valuable, but in theory I can make the time for that if I feel it is worth it (I’ll evaluate that in a few months). Or I can write shorter posts like other people who write daily posts like Fred Wilson (daily posts for 16 years) or Seth Godin (11 years), and only post longer essays every now and then. Not sure yet.
I do have enough topics to write about, that is not a problem. I have at least 7 topics in my head right now that I could write a post about. I am also not sure if I should mainly focus on my personal passions such as Bitcoin and the Climate Crisis, or if I should write more about my private life as well (like I did a lot in the early days of this blog). After being badly hacked early last year I learned my lesson that there can be a serious downside to oversharing. But a personal touch is important as well of course. I guess I need to find the style that I like best, I have not figured it out yet. I plan to start with posts a few times per week, but it could be that I will increase the frequency.
My email subscription still works, so if you want to read my posts regularly feel free to sign up (there is a sign up box on the left of this post). Although RSS is not so popular anymore after Google shut down Google Reader, you can still get all my new posts on other feedreaders such as Feedly.com as well (create a new feed and just input marc.cn in the content field). Thanks for reading!
Ik kijk uit naar je verhalen! Tijd terug kwam ik erachter dat we gemeenschappelijk fan zijn van Casey Neistat. Je schreef er ook een mooie blog over. Have a Nice day!
What are the 7 topics Marc?
Anything you have not discussed here?
Good to read you are back to your blog. It’s a perfect way to get your data back. I don’t like anyway the idea of adding Google Analytics on these pages: you are giving away once again all your visitors data to a corporate. That’s almost the same of writing on Facebook.
If you need some stats, I suggest you Matomo (https://matomo.org/) which is used by the European Commission too (just to say it’s not a project for kiddies).
@Emanuele: Thanks, will check out Matomo, never heard of it to be honest.
@Robin: Among others the new Apple Card (I’m not a fan), topics related to climate change (seaweed farming, carbon credits, my recent visit to Carbon Engineering), and some more personal topics (sailing, new podcasts and books I am reading). I have new ideas to write about every day.
@Jabbo: Casey Neistat is still a great YouTuber, but I don’t watch him regularly anymnore. Too many other great vlogs out there, I watch a lot of sailing videos these days.
It’s fine if you decide to cover mixed subject. I think most people who visit this blog are those who more or less know you, and have varied interest in subjects themselves 🙂 Go for it.
I have been following you for years since I lived in China 2008 and we have met a few times in your office. Your perspectives have always fascinated me and I think it is great that you have started blogging regularly again. I have a huge respect for what you have achieved in the business world and have done in China, one of my favourite countries in the world. Hopefully you will continue expressing and sharing your views through blogging, social media and even the old traditional media.
Recently however you have blocked me from Facebook which I find unfortunate. Apparently I made comments that were not appreciated and I apologize for that.
I was not aware that you did not wanna see my comments or perspectives. If I would have known I would not have posted them on your wall (afterall it is “your” Facebook wall although Facebook owns a lot of the data).
Perhaps I should have counted to 10 before I placed some comments or should have better researched my perspective.
It just so happen to be that I sometimes share your views and sometimes I strongly disagree. This also counts for the current Corona epidemic, where you sort of opened my eyes for it and the enormous dangers of it while it was being ignored in the west. On the other hand we differ again where I think it is desastrous to lock up the world for the epidemic right now and is not worth these extreme measures nor is it practical or even possible.
So in other words; I hope you unblock me from your Facebook account. And I will refrain from commenting if you want me to. It has been a bad habit to take some discussions too serious and I wish I can still follow you.
(I have changed my name quite a few years ago as well as my lifestyle quite drastically) . Perhaps you remember me as a tall Dutch guy by the name Pepijn Meijer zu Schlochtern?)
Thanks, I just replied you by email explaining why I blocked you: not just because of the nature of the comments, but because you kept on writing the same comments and I just got tired of seeing them. I unblocked you.