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Reflecting on @fredwilson's swing back to personal sites, which is what @withknown is all about

Fred Wilson is seeing a swing back towards personal blogging:

There is something about the personal blog,, where you control everything and get to do whatever the hell pleases you. There is something about linking to one of those blogs and then saying something. It’s like having a conversation in public with each other. This is how blogging was in the early days. And this is how blogging is today, if you want it to be.

Which is exactly what I'm doing now, from my Known site.

What's different today is that you have access to networks like Twitter and Facebook, which allow you to more easily spread your message to your network of contacts (and to their networks of contacts). Social media has also given us new forms of content to play with, like the check-in. Known, of course, allows you to post to your own domain using a variety of media and reach audiences all over the web.

Meanwhile, Harold Jarche, a learning consultant who helps create workplace change for large corporations like Domino's, notes that workplaces are missing time for reflection. The same is true of schools, conferences, and other spaces where learning happens.

There's a lot of value in having a place to publish and share extended reflections, which we miss in shorter-form, rapid-fire platforms like Twitter (as much as I love them), and which also aren't served by mass publishing platforms like Medium. A personal space is just that: personal.

As Fred noted, Elizabeth Spiers, the founding editor at Gawker, just relaunched her own personal blog:

But now I’m at the opposite end of the continuum; I’m usually working on one or two long-form writing projects, but not very much writing gets done in public otherwise. And there are things about blogging that I miss. I like consistently writing for an audience and getting feedback. It helps me work out my arguments and thoughts about various issues and clarifies muddy thinking.

These are some of the reasons why education is interested in personal publishing at the moment (here are some notes from our pilot at the University of Mary Washington). But it goes much wider. The web is the most effective way there has ever been to connect people with different contexts and skills. Right now, a very small number of platforms control the form (and therefore, at least to an extent, the content) of those conversations. I think the web is richer if we all own our own sites - and Known is a simple, flexible platform to let people do that.

To learn more, click here to add yourself to the beta list, or get in touch.

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