MiguelMJ
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My blogging journey until now - I'm moving to Hashnode

My blogging journey until now - I'm moving to Hashnode

MiguelMJ's photo
MiguelMJ
·Jan 19, 2023·

7 min read

Table of contents

  • 2020 - Starting a blog
  • 2021 - A comfortable plateau and the seed of dissatisfaction
  • 2022 - Last year in DEV
  • The big hiatus and the decision to move
  • Conclusion

This post was written originally for DEV.to, so keep in mind when reading phrases like "the short time I had been here" that I'm referring to that platform.

Cover photo by Jess from Pexels

2020 - Starting a blog

It's been more than two years since I began blogging. It all started with a development journal for one of my latest projects at the second half of 2020. I knew I wouldn't be graduating that year, so I decided that I could try to gain some online presence to compensate my lack of professional experience.

Writing a Conversational User Interface Library - Full Series
(Dec 10 '20)

DEV.to was in a boom, I was seeing a lot of developers start blogs here, so I decided to give it a try. I found the other platforms a bit intimidating, but this one was very approachable and beginner friendly. I wrote every week or two and found some interesting people to follow. I didn't get much attention, but it didn't matter! I was here for the experience of writing and the growth that comes along. has been I wrote more than a development journal. I had a lot of opinions I had formed during my years in university and advice to give, so a lot of what I wrote at that moment was the kind of things I would've love to know as a freshman. It was a true pleasure to have a space to write it all down and share it.

Why and how to use pen and paper - Designing algorithms with no code
(Dec 13 '20)

Before the year ended, the DEV.to community did a lot of work around the moderation of the platform. At that time I was made a trusted member and to say that I found it rewarding, for the short time I had been here, is an understatement.

2021 - A comfortable plateau and the seed of dissatisfaction

With the new year, I slowed down my publication pace and started writing monthly. There was a lot going on in my life, so I felt comfortable with little activity; enough to continue the habit and keep my presence out there. You can tell it was a weird year for me because I have several unfinished series and a failed attempt to translate all my posts to Spanish (my native language).

Despite all this, it was a great year in terms of growing my personal brand. My open source projects started to thrive (I was even featured in an incipient newsletter, now dead) and I started writing for my current self, more than for my past self.

Data structures in Prolog - Where to start
(Jun 15 '21)

Also, a very strange episode happened that year.

I was invited to write a featured post for another platform. As it was my first post written for someone else, I wanted to make it about a popular topic: JavaScript, something I had never written about before.

Unfortunately, that site turned out to be a complete scam. Most of its content is stolen, their complete Q&A section is a literal scrap of the StackOverflow page and each and every user I interacted with was a bot (they even used watermarked stock photos as profile pics).

I got out of there as quickly as possible and published my article here in DEV.to. In less than 24 hours, it had more traffic than all my previous posts together. Today (January 2023) it is still my third most read post.

Take full advantage of high order functions - Examples in Javascript
(Jun 22 '21)

I remember reading several posts here talking about the spam, the clickbaity low-effort listicles, the daily copy-pasted git tutorials, etc. If you have been here for a while, you will know that the quality of the DEV.to content is still an unsolved issue. I didn't fully care, I was comfortable here and that was all that mattered. As a trusted user, I did my best to mark low-quality posts and boost well written, original content.

However, dissatisfaction started to grow inside me, and a feeling that something was not fair here. Not only because of all my beloved posts eclipsed by my own single JavaScript tutorial, but also for the people I follow that publish interesting, advanced content, that get 1% of attention and feedback received by the mass of low quality posts focused on beginners.

2022 - Last year in DEV

The following year I did very little blogging. Most of my posts in 2022 were for promoting a project or another (looking back, I coded some interesting stuff). The two biggest exceptions were very significant posts to me.

How to get answers on StackOverflow
(Feb 6 '22)

This one came after I saw some people complaining about the StackOverflow community. I wanted to do an attempt on bringing closer two of the communities I love, from which beginners benefit specially. I expected some backslash in the comments (given the hate SO receives from some people) but instead I got a lot of comments from veteran devs, liking my post. It also gave more insight about who reads what.

JavaScript is not an untyped language
(Jun 24 '22)

And then, there's this one. This one was an explosion. I know it was a controversial opinion on a perma-hot topic like JS, but damn, this post has five times as many views as my next most viewed post, and it's my top reacted and commented post of all time. It got featured in the social networks of DEV, tweeted several times and even improperly published as material for an online course.

And it was a rant written in a single afternoon! This is perfectly one of the posts I've put the least effort into. I stopped writing, discouraged. I know effort doesn't correlate with impact when we talk about writing on the Internet. But I just didn't like the idea of going back to write high effort posts for no one, always tempted to write about JavaScript again only for reads.

After some time, I was contacted yet by another platform, asking me to write a course for them. Another dev that had worked with them recommended me writing my own book, instead of just a course. Don't get me wrong, that platform is legit and has great content; in fact, I tried to make the course they wanted. But I didn't have enough time.

Writing an article for a blog is something, but writing a course or a book is another dimension. It is something I want to do, but I probably won't anytime soon.

The big hiatus and the decision to move

It's been months since I published anything. There are several things I want to write about, but these months have been very busy, plus I don't feel like I have found my audience yet, which disencourages me even more. I don't even read DEV anymore, as the content quality has only gone down, in spite of the efforts to implement tag filters and experience level for posts.

So, to find new motivation, I have decided to move on. I need to keep looking for an audience that I feel I connect with. I love DEV and everything I've achieved thanks to it, but I need to keep looking for a better space for my blog.

I'm going to try my luck with Hashnode. I don't have any particular reason, so I don't know if it will be my definitive platform. I want to see what kind of audience I can build there and explore the possibilities of a different tool.

Conclusion

My first step has been to migrate there a curated list of my posts and polish them a bit. The canonical URLs will still point to the original posts, nonetheless. I will keep publishing in DEV everything, for the readers I already have here, but I will make Hashnode my main target.

I guess that, as a lifelong student and an eventual teacher I will always have something to write for beginners. However, I want to try a different level of writing and even different types of content. I don't know how my blog might evolve, but, of course, that's the exciting part!

 
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