Here are a pair of blog posts that ended up in conversation with each other in my brain because I read them both this morning in quick succession.

CJ Chilvers asks, “What’s with the hostility towards personal publishing?

And it’s almost as if Seth Godin answers, “The Coney Island problem.”

Chilvers says:

our innate trust in individuals over brands will determine the winners of both attention and revenue. Everyone in media should be racing to become a trusted individual right now.

and Godin points out:

We’d like to believe that we prefer to walk down the picturesque street, visiting one merchant after another, buying directly from the creator or her gallery. We’d like to think that the centralized antiseptic option isn’t for us… And yet, when the supermarche opens in rural France, it does very well. It turns out that we respond well to large entities that pretend that they’re simply a conglomeration of independent voices and visions, but when masses of people are given a choice, they’re drawn to the big guy, not the real thing.

Where does this leave personal publishing and blogging? I’m not sure. But I think it’s an interesting question and an interesting thing to think about. I suppose a lot of it comes back to that old question, why blog? Are we doing it for ourselves or for our readers? I find that even when I don’t mean to, I tend to blog for my future self. And future me would rather hear what past me has to say from me, rather than an LLM trained to sound like me and everyone else. That said, I am intrigued by the idea of training an LLM on my own diary and journal entries and blog posts and then having a conversation with my younger self, like Michelle Huang did. In fact, I think I’ll try it now.

edited to add: I tried it, but because I don’t have a payment method in OpenAI it didn’t let me do it. Ah well. I guess I’ll just have to extrapolate from old blog posts and LiveJournal entries what a younger me would have said.