On Retroactive And Retrospective Blogging

Terence Eden struck a minor chord this week with his “necroposts” announcement, not to be confused with necroposting as posting to a long-dead, inactive thread. (Eden’s own chord was struck by Jon Hicks.)

A blog isn’t an immutable chain of events. There’s nothing to stop us travelling in time. When I go digital sperlunking [sic] though my history, I often find interesting things I wrote before I blogged. So I bring these "back from the dead" and publish them as Necroposts.

Dana Byerly:

I’m not sure I’ll call them Necroposts (retroposts? waybackposts?) but conceptually I love this approach and can’t wait gather up some embarrassing, I mean funny, old posts.

Winnie Lim:

I’ve been posting backdated posts since this incarnation of this website has existed, especially twitter statuses I want to keep permanently, but I have not thought about posting something that existed before my blogging existence. It would be totally embarrassing!

I’ve got too much work on my hands as it is just trying to restore all my actual blogging that I can find, going back to early 2000. That said, I did today (while rummaging for some records I needed for my disability application) find some things that would qualify as necroposts, a term I also dislike.

Lim talks about a reticence to publish "really embarrassing stuff from my foolish youth” but an interest in how it would “capture the large jumps in my personality development”.

There’s going to be a lot of that happening here through my blog restoration project, for better or for worse.


This sort of thing can’t help but summon the question of audience, something that Brandon Myers just raised in the context of post length.

I was reflecting on our conversation, and I thought about a blogging question that has haunted me for years: at what point does a blog post become too long and you lose a reader?

This is a thing about which I’ve never worried. It’s not that I’ve never worried about audience; I’ve never worried about length. I follow a post I’m writing until it’s done. Over the course of the twenty years of blogging that eventually will reside here, there’s everything from pre-Twitter microblogging to a massive, grief-stricken and aggravation-addled compilation of all the email communications I’d had while trying to get an ailing cat the help she needed.

(To be fair: my concerns about audience haven’t so much been about writing for an audience so much as not knowing how much or how little to care about whether or not there’s any audience out there, period.)

On the subject of blogging and audience Mikka Luster also had some recent thoughts.

Just write. Write about your day. Write about joys and sorrows. Be political, social, medical, artsy. Give the world those pictures you took, or those poems you wrote. Tell us in the Fediverse when you do, and we’ll become fast fans of your writing. Because personal blogging is not about clickbait or numbers, it is about parasocial and real relationships, about the feeling that we’re not alone out there, in the world.

I’m not sure that I blog for the parasocial or real relationships, although I agree with Luster when he says that blogs are “humans behind keyboards, firmly anchored in the realities and complexities of life”. Or as Christopher Locke once said, “Voice is what happens when you shitcan the cover-up.”

The moment I start to blog with someone else in mind is the moment there’s no reason for me to blog at all.