Since 2001, Hivelogic has been written using second person narrative. This technique was initially used for two reasons: to help set Hivelogic apart from the other blogs of the day and play off of them (at the time, for example, zeldman.com was using the “royal we”), and to underscore the fact that this site was written as a personal memoir for the author’s review at some point and time in the future.
It was an interesting exercise from the writing standpoint as well, presenting many challenges over the years (writing “do-it yourself” guides in second person narrative, for example). It’s been a constant challenge.
And while some users enjoy the alternative voice that’s been used here for so long, others tend to dislike it vehemently. Few people have been on the fence about it, as evidenced by dozens of emails on the topic over the years.
In the end though, there was the realization that writing in second person had a negative impact on something critical to the “success” of Hivelogic: it significantly diminished the frequency of posting.
That’s right — because writing in second person can often be so frustrating — sometimes there would just be no writing at all.
In any case, after more than five years of writing in second person, you’re happy to say … no … I’m happy to say, it’s over. From now on (or at least, most of the time), Hivelogic will be written in first person.
This change breaks with convention, but my hope is that it will be a vehicle to enable me to post more casually, more frequently, and with greater regularity now that I’ve lifted what had become a huge hindrance in the life of this site.
To celebrate the change, I’ve redesigned once again, taking a hint from previous incarnations and going back to my roots with a more simple, clean design that (once again) embraces whitespace full-on.
The new design emphasizes the content, with a main page that more tightly integrates the latest article with the Links section. The fonts are more legible, the feeds are displayed in easier-to-find locations, the sidebar is back, simpler navigation links are in place, banner ads are gone (replaced by text-only sponsor links), and flickr photos are more tightly integrated.
I’d like to thank my good friend Dan Cederholm for the basic XHTML/CSS scaffold, upon which the new design now stands. And if you’ve seen any of his work recently you know that Cederholm is to the web what Bruce Springstein is to music: The Boss. This is his show, and we’re just the audience. But that’s old news.
The design, especially the link styles and the return to a more standard font, was influenced in a big way by the A List Apart redesign. Part of building a CMS for a site like ALA means really getting to know the XHTML and CSS of a site. There’s no doubt that the amazing work produced by the JSM/Zeldman/Meyer combo rubbed off on me in a big way. These guys are at the top of their game, and can move mountains when they want to.
So thanks for reading, and please let me know what you think of the new direction for Hivelogic, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.