Marco Arment, in his recent post Lasting value, concludes:
My primary outputs, professionally, are software and writing. This is what I’m contributing to the world. None of the software I write today is likely to still be in use in thirty years, but if I write a truly great and timeless article, that could be valuable to people for much longer.
I’m going to continue to write about what’s happening in our industry. But I’m also glad that I had this chance to step back and get some perspective on my work, because I haven’t written nearly enough articles recently that I’ll be proud to show off more than a few months from now.
This is why, since I began writing about technology online more consistently back in 2005, I’ve always tried to avoid covering every trending tech topic or turning my blog into a ‘breadcrumb blog’ filled with quick bits of commentary, choosing to focus on longer articles and analyses. Four months ago, when I was importing the 2005–2010 archives from my old blogs, I had to go through a lot of posts to correct any internal links that could redirect readers to the old URLs, and I found a lot of pieces that were still enjoyable despite having been written four or five years ago.
Importing five years of archives has indeed been a daunting task, and there were moments I honestly wondered whether it was worthwhile to do that. But soon after I realised it was. Archives are important for many reasons: people who have recently discovered my blog can go back and have a better idea of where I come from and what my perspective is. And I can do periodical ‘self-checks’ to see if and how I’ve changed my mind about certain subjects, whether my writing style has improved, whether my ability to analyse and synthesise has improved, and so on.
It’s too bad that, today, most places online (especially tech-oriented blogs and sites) shove short, ephemeral bits in the face of the reader, encouraging a sort of ‘disposable writing’ as I call it; articles or breadcrumbs made of link + one-line comment whose shelf-life doesn’t last two weeks. In my little corner of the Internet I keep trying to go in the opposite direction. So, when you notice I’m not updating this place for two or three days, feel free to browse the archives — perhaps you’ll find something equally interesting even if it’s not ‘fresh’.
(See also Morrick’s digest)