Bloggers by nature are readers, writers, editors, social media experts, system administrators, designers and publishers. As tools improved, some of these specializations became less necessary and the barrier to entry lowered — for instance, TypePad and Wordpress obviated the need to be your own designer and system administrator. With tools such as Measure Map (which became Google Analytics) and Chartbeat, bloggers became statisticians as well.
These evolutions pushed the democratization of the internet forward. But I can't help but think we lost the generalist spirit that was the original foundation of blogging. Bloggers like Jason Kottke, Rebecca Blood, Anil Dash, Adam Rice, Meg Hourihan, the Boing Boing crew (as well as too many others to name) lived at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, but new bloggers often don't follow in their footsteps, instead focusing on reaching a niche audience. I've often felt the tug of nostalgia for blogging the way it was it in the first half of the decade — when the tools of the trade were feed readers and bookmarklets.
So when Maura and I went to Fireworks Night this year (the Mets were 7 games above .500!), our conversation inevitably turned back to the way blogging “used to be.” As the Mets were running away with the game we were feeling optimistic, and I shared 29th Street Publishing's plans to start a network of magazines, covering a wide array of topics and supporting diverse points of view.
A magazine has been a lifelong ambition for Maura, and since that night we have been working with her to ship an app that showcased writing the way we thought it could and should be today — the Maura way. Maura's goal has been to help spread ideas and to tell stories about good culture. Maura Magazine is available today, and we hope that you have some time this week to download it. If you like it and would like to see more like it, please consider subscribing. It would mean the world to us.