Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Those who are condemned to repeat history are bound to remember it

Louis Gray was interviewed in Sociosophy, and something that he said caught my eye:

I would like to find a way to...make it easier to find older content that is relevant. I know that 95% or more of my posts from 3 months ago and before get very little visibility now, even if they are still extremely relevant.

I was musing on this as I was getting my hair cut (hey, you gotta do something), and I figured out three ways in which older content can be highlighted again:

  • The Ann Landers way. Matthew and Sarah Gray aren't the only twins around; the most famous Ann Landers was a twin of the most famous Dear Abby (Ann was really Esther, while Abby was really Pauline). At one point, Ann Landers got into a bit of trouble for re-running old columns without advertising them as such.

  • The Unclutterer way. There is a blog called the Unclutterer (I can definitely use it), and they'll often run a post with the title "A year ago on Unclutterer." (Here's the February 22, 2009 version, which looks at posts from February 2008.) This serves to remind you of good stuff from the past.

  • The "Where Are They Now?" way. Normally used in music and entertainment (whatever happened to Foghat???), this potentially provides a way to recycle the old content and update it, making it wonderful and fresh and relevant.
The last way is the most intriguing, since it actually adds value to the content. For example, what would happen if Gray added value to his earlier content? Let's pretend that he wrote a post like this back in January 2006:

Portable computing devices just keep on getting smaller and smaller. I don't have kids, but someday I may have a kid, and I wonder if the portable devices that are around at that time will be small enough to fit in my infant child's hand?

Well, Gray (to my knowledge) never wrote a post like that, but certainly he could update the post today and speculate on devices that TWO kids could hold.

I'm am not Louis Gray, but I'm intrigued about using this "where are they now" method myself. I've done it here and there on occasion, but perhaps I could make a concerted effort to recycle my content. And it would definitely require a concerted effort, because I've generated a lot of quality content over the years. I contributed 3,072 posts to my first main blog, the Ontario Empoblog, between October 2003 and February 2007. My current main blog, this very mrontemp, already has 2,925 posts (not counting this one). Plus I've written a few hundred in various other blogs, ranging from my fake radio and TV station blogs to my current series of Empoprises blogs.

So I've got a lot of recycling and updating to do, should I choose to do so.

Perhaps Empoprise-MU is due for a post on Fred Smith. I've covered Patti Smith pretty well already.

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