Book Update, and Thoughts on Topical versus Archival Blogging

April 05, 2013

We are sending substantive drafts of the first four chapters of our data science book out for review. Manning, our publisher, hopes to launch the book in their Early Access Program (MEAP) by early May. Crossing our fingers!

In the meantime, we have been preparing for the marketing push. One small thing we've done is to finally give Win-Vector a Twitter presence . You can follow us through the link on my sidebar, or on the sidebar at the Win-Vector blog. We never felt a strong need for a Twitter presence before, because we have always thought of the Win-Vector blog as a source of archival, reference material, rather than topical commentary. In other words, our readers find our posts when they need them, which might not be the same moment that we write them.

coffeeImage: Francisco Farias, Jr.

That got me thinking about the two kinds of blogs out there: those that (like Win-Vector) lean to the archival, and those that lean to the topical. This inspired a post on my personal blog, Multo:

Do you blog for today, or for someday?

In other words, do you sit down and write about what inspires you in the moment, to an audience of right now? Do you imagine your readers reading the posts today or tomorrow, first thing in the morning? Do you care at all whether a surfer who trips on your site a year from now will connect or care in any way about the post, or do you write for a community of followers and commenters who will have a conversation, with you and each other, in something close to real time?

Or do you write carefully thought out pieces of prose that you just know are exactly the right answer to someone’s need, somewhere, somewhen — not necessarily now? Perhaps you imagine that your readers find you by searching on aswang, chupacabra, or whatever your subject is, and discovering your work; maybe this happens tomorrow, maybe next year. But whenever it happens, your readers think “Aha! This is exactly what I was looking for!” Or so you hope.

You can read the rest of the post here.

All of our blogs lean to the archival. We do the necessary amount of social network promotion (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Hacker News for the appropriate articles), and Win-Vector Blog is syndicated through the Statsblogs and R-bloggers aggregation sites, but much of our traffic comes from web search on statistical terms, and from word-of-mouth on specific articles. And we like it that way. It will be interesting to see what Twitter adds to the mix.