[Bloganuary] Communicate Early, Communicate Often

This post is part of my attempt at Bloganuary 2024. Today’s prompt is:

In what ways do you communicate online?

What a curious question! For me, it’s perhaps best divided into public and private communication, for which I use very different media:


I’ve written before about how this site – my blog – is the centre of my digital “ecosystem”. And while the technical details may have changed since that post was published, the fundamentals have not: everything about my public communication revolves around this, right here.

Diagram showing the DanQ.me ecosystem and surrounding tools, showing how everything centres on DanQ.me (but is syndicated elsewhere).
There’ve been some changes since I last drew a chart of my “ecosystem” back in 2019. Some of these are reflected in my hastily-amended diagram, above.

For example:

A golden cornfield with setting sun, superimposed with "Reap what you wow. Plant your content into the field of your own website."
This is what I’m talking about.


For private communication online, I perhaps mostly use the following (in approximate order of volume):

  • Slack: we use Slack at Automattic; we use Slack at Three Rings; we’ve even got a “household” instance running for The Green!3
  • WhatsApp: the UI‘s annoying (but improving), but its the go-to communications platform of my of my friends and family, so it’s a big part of my online communications strategy.4
  • Email: Good old-fashioned email5. I prefer to encrypt, or at least sign, my email: sure, PGP/GPG‘s not perfect6, but it’s better than, y’know, not securing your email at all.
  • Discord: I’m in a couple of Discord servers, but the only one I pay any reasonable amount of attention to is the Geohashing one.
  • Various videoconferencing tools including Google Meet, Zoom, and Around. Sometimes you’ve just gotta get (slightly more) face-to-face.
  • Signal: I feel like everybody’s on WhatsApp now, and the Signal app got annoying when it stopped being able to not only send but even receive SMS messages (which aren’t technically Internet messages, usually), but I still send/receive a few Signal messages in a typical month.

That’s a very different set of tech stacks than I use in my “public” communication!


1 My thinking is, at least in part: I’ve seen platforms come and go, and my blog’s outlived them. I’ve seen platforms change their policies or technology in ways that undermine the content I put on them, but the stuff on my blog remains under my control and I can “fix” it if I wish. Owning your data is awesome, although I perhaps do it to a more-extreme extent than many.

2 I’ve used to joke that I syndicate content to e.g. Facebook to support readers who haven’t learned yet to use a feed reader. I used to, and I still do, too.

3 A great thing about having a “personal” Slack installation is that you can hook up your own integrations and bots to e.g. remind you to bring the milk in.

4 I’ve been experimenting with Texts to centralise several of my other platforms; I’m not convinced by it yet, but I love the thinking! Long ago, I used to love using Pidgin for simultaneous access to IRC, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger and all that jazz, so I fully approve of the concept.

5 Okay, not actually old-fashioned because I’m not suggesting you use UUCP to send mail to protonmail!danq!dan or DECnet to deliver to danq.me::dan or something!

6 Most of the metadata including sender, recipient, and in most cases even subject is not encrypted.

× ×