I have come to a bit of an impasse with my blog, and all of the other personal properties that I use. The blog that I currently use at GregHuntoon.com isn’t built for the length of posts that I prefer to write, and as such, I don’t write often. The design (ironically) looks unbalanced when you don’t write a 5-pager, and so I have a backlogue of half-finished articles dying in the sea doomed to irrelevancy for being untimely.
Another issue that plagues me is my portfolio. I appreciate it when designers keep their portfolios up-to-date, allowing others to participate in the evolution. But I don’t really want my portfolio and my blog to be the same site. Main reason being, there are a handful of topics that I want to contribute on, but I fear that a project post about my latest launch sandwiched between two lengthy articles about parenting and a trip to Africa will splinter my readership. I am looking for the way to best collect my work and my thoughts, but I’m not quite sure that they all need to be collected in the same place. Many people do take that route, but it usually comes across disjointed, and is they’re trying to shove a round pegs into square holes. I want it to be easy for visitors to participate in the thoughts and ramblings of a thirty-something new dad, who happens to like to cook, discuss sports, and talk about photography and design, without alienating the people who’d just like to click through my portfolio, and vice versa.
I guess what’s funny about this discussion, is that I currently have the two different functions of portfolio and blog separate already, with GregHuntoon.com and 417north.com, my portfolio site. Instead of just doing it, and keeping my mouth shut, I’d like for this post to serve as part of my inventory process. I need to streamline the online sites and apps that I use to write and manage my online content, as I feel too thinly spread out at times. On a daily basis I keep 3-4 Twitter accounts up-to-date, write blog posts for this site occassionally, rarely update my portfolio because of the tedium of doing so, and sporadically post to my Tumblr, Posterous.com blog (which is a new site I suppose I’m just evaluating), or any of the other umpteen micro-blogging and social community sites / services that I hold an account with. I could use my Ping.fm account to simply write once and post to all of the various sites, but that seems disingenuous.
The only thing that I know for sure right now, is that I need a new design for GregHuntoon.com that can be a catch-all for my digital life. Here are the content dilemmas that I really want the next incarnation to address:
- a new design that is built so that all blog posts will look great, regardless of length or content
- I need to make it easy to post thoughts, articles, portfolio pieces, photography, videos, and other content, without having to stop and think about what goes where
- a sidebar widget and dedicated homepage real estate to feature pieces from my portfolio (whether those pieces are pulled in from some other off-site location or not)
- an elegant and inviting display of my Twitter feed, as this is the most updated and interactive piece of content I have to offer
- dedicated spaces for my Last.fm feed and Hype Machine feed, which is actually updated more regularly than Twitter since music is always playing (and scrobbling), whether at work, hanging out with the fam, driving, or on my bike
- my Flickr feed (there are a thousand different great solutions for this…the least of my worries)
- and possibly to round out the content objective, a page or section devised to pull back all of the various bookmarking, reviews, and other worthwhile participation around the web (on sites like yelp.com, del.icio.us, digg.com, etc.)
As I write and think about this more, I realize that I would like to keep my portfolio on site and archive 417north.com, but it will require me looking for some help in writing a custom plugin for WordPress to help manage the portfolio. I definitely want the posts sequestered away from the main content, because some people don’t like it when their ketchup touches their salad…even if ketchup is one of the main ingredients in Thousand Island. You get the picture.
I’ll keep talking about this as I go through this transformation, and I’d love to hear (and see) how you or someone else has elegantly addressed these same concerns. Jason Santa Maria does it quite well, and I’m definitely paying attention to his deft management.I just don’t have the time to keep up a portfolio on my own with great customization. I just want to post screen shots and project details when I’ve got new stuff to share.
Does anyone out there know of a hosted portfolio tool that allows you to pull your uploaded projects offsite via XML or an ultra-customizable widget? Carbon Made? I know that Behance.net doesn’t allow this yet, as cool as their service is. Any help would be greatly appreciated.