Splitting the Blog

Gandharan Buddha
Gandharan Buddha

Once upon a time, this blog used to go gangbusters. I posted a few times a week, was hyper motivated to blog, and so forth. Then I got sick, in 2008, and was sick or recovering for over six months from my nasty illness (thanks, Egypt!). After that, I posted, at most, a few times a month and often less. I found myself less and less motivated to post, not because I didn’t enjoy writing but just because my energy was lower and I found myself less inclined to share my day to day life.

I’ve realized over the last few years that, contrary to my explicit motivations, most of what I post here is more tech oriented than it is Buddhist. I helped found a hackerspace in 2010 and have served on the board for the last two years (and as president for the last year and a half). Outside of work, a lot of my day to day energy has been focused there. Beyond that, I’ve been teaching at the Prajna Institute, an online Buddhist seminary that originally started as a means of training clergy for the Zen lineage in which I am ordained but has expanded itself into a non-denominational pan-Mahayana seminary. Teaching classes there hasn’t lent itself, really, to being good blog fodder.

I’m currently planning on forking this blog into two sites. This site, openbuddha.com, would be kept for my Buddhist focused posts and work. I’d start doing more book reviews again, posting about the seminary, and my work to get a local sitting group going in the Bay Area of California. I would move the overtly tech stuff, especially the hackerspace focused material, over to Make Hack Learn, which I recently registered. This would allow me to strongly differentiate the two areas of interest and possibly make blogs more interesting to their specific potential audiences. I have a feeling Buddhist readers kind of shrug at the tech stuff and tech readers don’t really care about a lot of the Buddhist material.

I’ve found myself not writing as much about hackerspaces, fighting 3D printers, learning basic electronics, etc. but I have a somewhat Buddhist blog here and that sort of thing can be somewhat outside of message. This blog has had a lack of a very specific focus for a number of years now so this is not a surprising problem. Once upon a time, I just did a generic “All about me” blog but those sorts of things become boring over the years and blogs are much more focused, if successful, than that in 2012, at least in my opinion.

Of course, it is well known that splitting blogs can often cause one or both of them to die so it is an interesting problem to try to address. We’ll have to see how it goes. I haven’t figured out if I should move a bunch of my tech posts over to the new site once I get it completely set up, as the current one is a stand-in. I plan on actually hosting it using github, like I do with this blog.

There should also be more news on actual local practice in the next few months. The Open Sangha retreats were somewhat successful but had consistently small (five or six people) turnouts. I’m looking at partnering with a local yoga studio or similar space to have a once a week evening sitting group available and then running monthly one day or half-day sits out of that. I need to work out some of the details though.