Monday, September 16, 2013

Excisions And Omissions from ‘Thinking Out Loud’

There are some differences between the printed edition and this online version of my blog. While it may be possible that not many copies of the volume will be printed, I wanted to note those differences here.

My initial impulse for creating the print-on-demand edition was to produce an archival volume of my complete blog. Therefore, I originally included every blog post in the manuscript. However, typesetting everything resulted in a far greater page count than I had anticipated. So I needed to edit my existing content down to a page count that I was more comfortable with.

One complicating factor in deciding which material to excise is that my own perception of the ‘job to be done’ for my blog has evolved over the years. So I had to make decisions about a variety of different classes and categories of blog posts. I decided that the essence of what I most usefully wanted to record in the volume was my own thinking. So firstly I could dispense with all of my published posts where that was not the core focus.

Many of my early posts from 2004 and 2005 were merely web links with short accompanying descriptions, and that text was often only cut and pasted from the linked source page. This was before Evernote had evolved to its current form. One of my primary uses for my blog during that time was as a searchable online archive. There was no value in including that class of posts when editing the volume. I did decide to retain a very small number of such minor posts from 2004 that convey some sense of what finding my feet in my early days of blogging was like.

In retrospect it seems surprisingly prescient or somewhat telling that my second and third posts were concerned with initial attempts at uploading content into the Blogger CMS using my 2004-era featurephone. Wholly without prior consideration on my part, those first brief posts turned out to be the seeds of one of the stronger emergent themes of the collection. So while it may have taken time to find my voice, some of my themes were there right from the start.

Then in 2008, while I was blogging my way through my Masters, I began to cross-post some pertinent tweets onto this blog in a Thought for the Day series. I have retained those tweets within the printed volume but, rather than typeset them as complete posts, I gathered them together in the first appendix.

Also during 2008 I ran a complementary series of posts called Quote of the Day highlighting some interesting or inspiring quotations that I had come across during my MA research. As none of those posts included my own commentary I omitted all of them.

I posted the majority of my MA original research on Blogging in the Irish Graphic Design Sector onto this blog as well. I omitted the substantial amount of my quantitative research, which is mostly voluminous check-lists of Irish design companies’ social media activities during 2009. All of that research material still remains available online and would have seemed incongruous and redundant within the printed edition.

There were some interesting (and popular) posts which I omitted solely due to their lack of any of my own commentary, such as the evergreen Colin Powell’s Rules of Leadership. For any number of reasons, not least copyright violation, I did not want to republish any directly reblogged content.

Another small number of posts were so dependant on embedded video that they made little sense within the context of a book.

Finally I had to make some judgement calls. I omitted certain posts that concerned friends and family. While there would be no reason to retroactively whitewash those posts out of the online blog (they are still available here) they just did not contribute enough to the overall arc of my blog to warrant their inclusion.

All of those excisions gave me a more focused manuscript without losing sight of my original intent of producing a representative printed archive of my writing on this blog.