On the “Death” of the Typosphere, a Few Thoughts and Ideas

Weapon of Choice: Indy, 1957 Tower Chieftain III

Nope, looks alive to me. Lots of new blogs even within the past week or so. The veterans may post with lesser frequency, so clicking around the bottom half of the blogroll will usually net you a visit to a Golden Age codger with Classic Content. Still feels very vibrant. Lots of things happening all the time, self-organizing things, viral things. This is life itself, and the people who know how to live it.

Had to prune a few hundred comments when the Beta Testers for Typewriter Database Wanted! post had so many that it stopped loading. The sheer number of comments broke the page!

Joe’s been building up a magnificent selection of videos the past couple years, in addition to the meticulous posts on his blog. A good Facebook (and why not G+ as well? Google cares, and that’s useful for SEO) campaign would be easy with that depth of content to draw from.

Updated: June 2, 2018 — 7:08 pm


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  1. Love this! Maybe it’s time to start my own typewritten blog. Not the first time I’d be a late adopter of a “new” technology.

    1. Tell me about it. If we had started a Typosphere Youtube channel at the same time the typosphere blogroll went up, we’d all be moderately successful internet TV stars. As it is, I feel strongly that blogging is still the best way to typecast, especially if the platform is in your own control. The benefits of persistence are tough to beat, and I feel other corporate-controlled media is best used mainly as a traffic driver. One should participate and contribute – bring value to the conversation, but keep your content permanently in your own control, if for no other reason than it is easier to organize in that state, should the other reasons not convince. (:

  2. This post was sorely needed, thank you Ted.

    I know one reason why I’m replying less to blogs, and that’s because I use an iOS device, a little iPod Touch, to surf with around the house, and it’s sometimes a pain to reply with, because I have to either log into WordPress or enter my email address. I know, that sounds like a lazy excuse, and it is. If I were surfing from my office chair on the main computer, I’d be far more prone to respond. So, in my case, it’s less Facebook and more the reality of mobile platforms.

    It’s a valuable service you’ve done, in reminding newcomers to the typo sphere of what it was once like. The glory days. Hopefully there’ll be a renaissance.

    1. Yep, reasons, reasons – but it’s not terribly important if one understands the reasons that their comment threads should not be the yardstick by which they measure the interest in what they write. It’s the eyeballs you touch that count. I’m arguing for persistence because it is the best way to touch a lot of eyeballs over time, rather than the fleeting attention of a lot of eyeballs at once. Depth over explosions, yaknow, but how to harness the power of explosions to power your depth.

      and I pick on you and Polt because you’re totally doing it right. I call attention to that as an example and an inspiration. :D

    2. You can make entering your email address less painful by defining a keyboard abbreviation in Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement. For example, “djg” is replaced with mine.

  3. There was much to learn here from someone with a lot of experience. It’s more optimistic than I was expecting yet down-to-earth with a few grim realities. Thank you for making it quite readable on a iPhone – that’s some skill with a typecast you have there.

    1. Heh, I saw the writing on the wall (re: phone access) years ago and started using 3.5″ to 4 inch margins for my blog post typing, specifically to make posts readable on phone screens. All of my machines are set to these skinny “typecasters margins”, to the point where it feels weird to use larger full-page margins now. I highly recommend it for typecasting – works great on social media posts too! :D

  4. Good post Ted.

    I’ve been pondering a Typosphere dying posts for about a year or tw, but not being much of a writer it keeps getting put off. I look at all the dead blogs out there. Most of the ones I followed have been dead 2 or more years. When they reach 3 I generally take them off my blog and keep a record of them where I check back about once or twice a year, but they are gone. Some of the best though for what ever reason have removed their blog or old useful content.

    I still read all the blogs as they are updated, and I generally will leave a comment so the blogger knows someone is reading their blog even if it is only little old me.

    I also agree with YouTube. Its a great resource to record typewriter repairs–if someone ha a partner to video the repair from start to finish and if video editing software worked with .mov format which all my digital imaging equipment uses. Then in my last repair I did not even take and stills due to the spontaneity of it. I find I do more repairs on the moment than I used to so less visual fodder for a post.

    For me keeping a blog going with typewriter information as I get another typewriter or make a repair is much easier than writing about any given subject so my posts have dwindled over the years as the price of typewriters has increased.

    Perhaps others find the same reasons and more. Some young typospherians went off to higher education, went out into the world of employment, started families, and many other things that eat away at the time it takes to complete a blog post.

    1. Oh, I dunno. lots of Youtubers get along just fine with a selection of tripods, and .mov files are no obstacle to linear editors (see Handbrake for quick and easy format conversions, if needed). I have had some luck learning OpenShot, but there’s also Hitfilm Express and Kden Live among the free, cross-platform linear video editors. If you have a backlog of videos to use, I’d recommend trying them out and getting a ‘tube channel started with what you have. (:

      1. ummmm. I loaded OpenShot and when I try to edit my videos I get an error that the file format is not supported.

        I need to check out the others.

        1. yeah, use Handbrake to convert from .mov to something the linear editors will chew on, like mp4 or avi. Handbrake is like a universal translator for video formats. (:

  5. I wonder if there is some way to merge social media comments with blog comments? Seems like I’ve seen this before, but I can remember where. Like if you had some platform that would automatically lift fb comments and put them on your blog.

    1. technically, yes there is. You can use the Facebook API to embed FB comment threads into your posts, but it’s tricky to do. I’ve been pondering adding it to TWDB in fact, but there are some meta downsides I feel I haven’t fully considered. that might be another post itself. :D

  6. I’ll post this comment on both Facebook and the blog: Thanks for these insightful observations, both sober and encouraging. You reminded me to take a look at the stats for my own blog. Aside from some unexplained blips, they have risen steadily, and I see that last month I got over 19,000 page views. Not all of them are actual humans who actually read my words, I’m sure, but that is still a significant number. — One concern is whether Google (which owns Blogger) and WordPress will continue to support blogs in the long run. I think so; Blogger recently announced that there will be improvements in the platform, so they are not just letting it die. — (Oh, and feel free to call me Dampnoodle if you can’t pronounce the mpfkn combo! Dampfknödl means “steamed dumpling,” and a silly friend of mine came up with the name Theodor Dampfknödl years ago. Interpret it as “the smell of steamed dumplings.”) —Richard

    1. Yep, I think the silent readers are where we need to judge our success as bloggers rather than the old valuation of comments on our posts. The scene is larger than we can know, and more people are reading while fewer are commenting. I’m hoping that I can convince us that this is actually a good thing, and that bloggers shouldn’t be discouraged by what seems like low interest in the replies that come in.

  7. I share your feelings about Facebook, and my disgust with its methods and its founder’s values was a prime motivator of my starting my blog. Not having maintained a blog for several years, I hadn’t realized that blogs are now considered a retro activity, but I don’t mind. I have other retro interests. :) Thanks for the reminder that leaving comments is an important way to lend support. I usually avoid doing so on the habitual conviction that if I have nothing interesting to say, I should therefore say nothing. But I wasn’t thinking of others.

    One thing I’d like to ask of typecasters is that they add a few words at the end of a typecast identifying the make and model of the typewriter used to create the post. If I have any idiosyncrasies that may set me apart from other typewriter enthusiasts, it’s a particular interest in the fonts, which are much more varied than I’d known. Even the minor differences between the standard elite types produced by the big manufacturers are interesting to me, and I’d like to learn to better correlate a type with the machine that produced it.

    1. ooh, yes – agree about adding a mention of the machine used in a typecast. I do try to do that via the “Weapon of Choice” notes and by linking to the machine’s gallery at TWDB, in case readers want to see more about that machine. Personally, I always love to see the machine used. (:

  8. I won’t lie, most of the posts on my blog occurred during my time at College, when I had a good bit of free time outside of coursework, classes, and my earn-a-few-bucks grocery store job. Now most of my free time is murdered by the need to prepare for CPA examinations and related things. I also tend to try avoiding posting what is, for me, trivial stuff (even though I still do from time to time), attempting to instead only put stuff up that helps show something, like my “how to build” series. But those posts take more time and effort to prepare (inherently requiring that I rebuild a machine after all, or some such thing), and I’ve not felt energetic about it lately.

    I certainly do read a good majority of the posts that flow through the almighty blogroll, I just need to take more time to comment.

    1. Heh, I dunno why you’d be against trivial stuff. That’s most of what I put out :D

  9. I’ve found myself never much caring for comments on my posts — many times they are somewhat worthless, or are people being contrarian simply because, as my blog is more opinion mixed with interesting info sharing than anything else.

    THAT BEING SAID much of the “feedback” I do get is always via social media itself, to an extent that I’m planning on eliminating comments on my website all together, just to keep things more streamlined in the presentation and all that. I would lose out on the few cases where friends and teammates have added interesting insight as a follow up to my post, but that’s few and far between. My comments are mostly barren otherwise.

    I kind of wish discussion forums were still big. I really enjoyed the ebb and flow of those, and how well things were archived as opposed to social media. It’s also a plus that you don’t have to do real-names and the like, like Facebook prefers and enforces when it feels the urge. Quite annoying, but forums getting slammed with “fake” accounts isn’t any more fun. :|

    Knowing the impact your posts actually make is still a critical thing, regardless of the metric you measure it by. Some parameters may seem good, but in practice aren’t of as much value as some would think, while others, like raw views, are taken as not valuable enough.

    Of course, in the end, I guess the standard one uses varies based on the person running the site and what they want to achieve. I want raw views. Others, well, who knows.

    I may have deviated a bit, but I tend to think out loud when given a subject like this that strikes home in my digital life.

  10. Speaking for myself, many times I am tempted to comment on blog articles but then after struggling with coming up with the right words I eventually determine it’s not gonna happen and I move on; as in real life I am the one who will walk through a room of socializing people and not have conversation beyond ‘Hello how are you?, Excellent thank you.’

    On the subject of typewriters, sometimes I need to search out answers on how to fix a specific fault on a new typewriter in my collection and that becomes a real challenge as blogs and vlogs are not all cataloged for us to aid our search.

    My regular goto site that I start each workday with is the Typewriter Revolution blog as it serves a dual purpose of displaying Richard’s blogs as well as the instant blogroll followed below which includes valuable posts from yourself. I have my preferred authors of course and them some posts really inspire me to try something new.

    Those are just some of my thoughts, I really do appreciate being part of such a diverse group of people to share common interests.

  11. Things do seem to have died down since I jumped on the Remington Rand wagon in late 2013.
    I enjoy writing, I enjoy being creative, and the typosphere gives me an outlet.
    I hardly ever look at my stats and thus far I’ve resisted social media.
    I enjoy reading the posts of like-minded bloggers, I’ve learnt a lot, laughed a lot, sometimes cringed a little.
    Not everything is to everyone’s liking, but that’s what makes the typosphere an interesting place.
    Comments do provide a shot in the arm. It’s nice to give and it’s nice to receive.
    Long may we carry on regardless …. ;)

    1. Well, now that sounds like an excellent attitude! :D

  12. Thanks Ted – and nicely put. I have been somewhat quiet on my blog for a while and the reasons are, I suppose, manifold. One of them is FB, another is the state of mind you have to be in to write something up which is principally of interest to one’s self and may possibly interest others. I think we all saw Oztypewriter’s conundrum a few years back and dealt with it in our own ways. And I miss Geneva Typewriter. And I feel a bit of guilt for not ‘contributing’. But then there’s the idea of The Typosphere itself. I include the FB groups in that. I include the individual 1:1 relationships. I certainly include the all-new TWDB. And there are those forums still sloshing around the intertubes which I never really got the hang of. And of course Joe’s content which is remarkable and has provided me with so many good reads. So I feel in awe and at the same time a bit guilty but I don’t know what to do with my guilt. My March 2018 stats (having remembered how to find them) are my highest ever with 4 fairly anodyne posts in the last 2 years. Yet I’m moved to write but where once I would have let it flow I now swallow it and the thought dissipates. But your post (which I only found through Richard’s sharing on FB) has given me cause to stiffen my resolve and get back to it. And thanks also to Of Fountainpens… Bill who unfailingly leaves a comment on either my typecasts or photography.

    1. Ahh, that actually brings up another post idea: “Suggestions for Typospherian Post Topics”, which would boil down to basically “whatever strikes your fancy today”, but with a handful of easy prompt suggestions.

      If you recall, when we were just a group of a couple dozen blogs, we tended to write for an audience of a couple dozen fairly close, friendly fellow bloggers, and the topics were easy – the events of the day, a note on how much we enjoyed finding/writing on/tinkering with a particular machine, a photo essay of the garden, etc.. It was easy to find the flow, and I wonder if part of the reason it’s harder to find the flow is that the core group feels disconnected and dispersed now, and we feel we’re writing for mostly strangers.

      I feel like one solution could be to mindfully realize that the silent readers *are* our new friends, and they like the casualness of our old posting style, even if they enjoy it silently. We don’t *have* to be intimidated by the idea of coming up with “serious” content all the time, because people like to hear from us, even if it’s a silly little post that takes 10 minutes to slap together. Maybe returning to that early Typosphere posting mindset will break the logjam. (:

      Also, Bill is a saint – he’s been a Gibraltar of support for everyone here. :D

  13. Cheryl (aka, Strikethru)

    Interesting thread! Certainly social media has usurped the community feel of the blog era. When I was blogging about typewriters back in the day (2007 to I don’t know, 2010?) I felt like the engagement in comments led me to some fun online friendships that became harder to follow once traffic redirected to typosphere.net and then to social media. That said I see typewriters as technology, and don’t have an anti-tech mindset (of course, I work in the tech industry, for Facebook itself). The pros are scale – blog commenting breaks down past a certain number of participants – and the cost is thoughtful exchange. Good topic, hope to see more about it.

    1. Good point about the breakdown at scale – the current status shows there’s truth in that, however I’d submit that if bloggers can combine the benefits of blog persistence and author organization with the features of fast-churn-in-front-of-ten-thousand-eyes social media, they can have a richer experience in both worlds. Then there’s youtube and podcasts &etc. (Joe’s looking like he’s thinking of taming a Hydra of media avenues)

  14. Interesting post. I never really had an interest in reader numbers. I figured the people who were interested would read what I posted – If they weren’t interested, no biggie. Typically for me, my interests have wondered. I suppose my blog is semi-dead – although I reserve the right to post pics from type-ins or the occasional typed ramble. The funny thing is, I’ve drawn away from social media as well. It’s not so much a dislike for online interaction as a renewed focus on my priorities.

    1. Gotta have priorities (:

  15. I should add that this is just some trivial comment to show that I still care…and enjoy reading your trivialities!

  16. My goodness this has been fun! So many of those wonderful, helpful and stimulating bloggers who I used to read five or six years ago and who inspired me to collect have contributed to these responses! Thank you Richard, Rob, the Rev Munk, Steve K and Cheryl… and so many more. When I had a collection worth talking about I put it all up on my web site and this has the advantage of permanence and Google searchability. But I have never felt like a proper typosoherian because I’m not a blogger! I think I’ve read everything by every one of the core TW bloggers (most of whose blogs are now dead or gone) but I’ve never been responder. Well, today I am – and I thank you, dear typosperians (poltergeists, I often feel), for all the pleasure you’ve given me – Christopher

  17. *sheepishly typing on something other than a typewriter*
    Ted,I am so glad that munk.org is still going strong. As a lapsed Typospherian, I’m party to many of the distractions you mention in this post. I still hate Facebook and stay away as much as I can. Photography lives on Instagram and G+ (yes, it’s still around and generally pleasant) and political warfare lives on Twitter. I have zero interest in SEO. I’m just all random, most of the time. Typing has been a challenge with out-of-synch family schedules. The clatter is a problem late at night (sigh). Anyway, the old Blogger site still exists and I was going to use it to publish a long and loving help post on the college athletic recruiting process (another distraction from the last few years). I’ll add a typewriter post just to give it a pulse :)

  18. Consider this my comment on everyone’s blogs I devoured two years ago when was educating myself. Thank you!
    Here’s my comment, now, as to why Idon’t read many current blogs and almost never respond: Never having learned the mysteries of a Feed Reader, I just cannot consistently remener to faithfully seek out each individual blog, when I can instead open FB and find instant, lively conversations from dozens of typewriter fans all collected on one group page. Second problem: format. I cannot see the last thre or four words in each line of text right here, in my comments (something like this happens frequently) while responding on my Iphone. This gives me typo anxiety. Thirdly, I hate entering all the data every..single..time I want to say something. Fourth issue: lag time. Most posts need to be approved, and so I’m left wondering after hitting send, “Did it really go thru?” Finally, I prefer the conversational pace of old message boards (I’m an ancient AOL veteran) and those of Facebook. It’s more engaging to see a response to YOUR response, and one easily locatedvia notifications, than to remember to return to thr comments section of a blog, over and over and over. Thus, for me, the most successfully transitioned blogs have FB pages as well, and we can see and read the blog link but comment using the Facebook format.
    Now I’m sitting here wondering how many of the last few words in each of these lines are marred by typos…Hah!

    1. A bunch, but I’ve never cared about typos anyway. :D
      I’m sensing a sort of resignation among the Typospherian replies on the subject of replies themselves, and although I like the permanence and sensibility of having replies saved with the post itself, I do see the value of possibly replacing the blog’s comment functionality with a Facebook plugin. However, there are privacy concerns (Facebook would be landing a tracking cookie on *everyone* that lands on the site, not just facebook users) and I’m not very comfortable forcing that on everyone. I think it is better to post links (Hopefully now autopost) to the blog on FB and let Facebookers comment on the link in FB and keep the non-Facebookers within the current blog comment functionality.

  19. I hit the wall when my scanner died. i found a nice big old HP scanner that would not work with win 10 so it’s back at goodwill. now i’m experimenting with smartphone apps for the dual purpose of blogging and nanowrimo.
    there’s one that goes with a rocketbook (which i don’t have) that shows promise for OCR.

  20. What an incredibly well written, insightful and informative post. I am obviously very late to the party having just started my own typewriter-related blog at the end of 2020. Interestingly, I did so without any real awareness of the Typosphere. I had heard of this phrase more than once during my relatively short amount of time spent with these awesome machines. But I didn’t truly come to know what the Typosphere was until after the launch of my blog — which wasn’t all that long before I was officially requesting to be included in the Typosphere Blogroll.

    While I was familiar with some fairly specific content of interest to me that I now understand would be considered to be part of the Typosphere, only over the past week or so have I started to understand the bigger picture. (Exploring the bigger picture is how I came to discover this particular blog entry of yours.) As someone who has been involved with the web since the mid-90’s, I know that some drop off in activity for any given format is inevitable, understanding that the masses will always gravitate to the next big thing. For this reason alone, I would guess that all blogs have taken a hit in popularity and not just those within the Typosphere. Yet I personally have always tended to stick to those formats that I enjoy the most and avoid those formats that I don’t care for (I’m looking at you Facebook).

    As a result, I’ve kept an online forum going for almost 8 years now (although it is motorcycle-focused) simply because I have a strong preference for online forums and the benefits that they provide. Similarly, I’ve (finally) been drawn to blogging about typewriters and things related to these machines, specifically because it is a well known format that as a tool happens to be the one that I feel will best serve my particular needs in this case.

    For me personally, I think that it is important to note that I find myself drawn to typewriters not only for the appeal that they hold as physical objects, but also as the writing tools that they were always intended to be. I have no desire to load up many shelves full of typewriters that I will rarely, if ever use. In that light, typecasting just makes sense to me. I don’t just want to talk about typewriters or to stare at them, I actually want to put these machines to use. To me, that is the only way to fully appreciate all of the time and effort that went into designing and building them. (I do understand that there are exceptions when it comes to some of the rarer, older, or more delicate machines, but those particular machines aren’t of the sort that I’m buying.)

    While it is a few years old now, this blog entry of yours has provided a lot of great insights and given me a lot to consider. For that I wanted to say thank you. By the way, the political climate has only become more insane since you created this entry back in 2018. For me, blogging about typewriters provides a much needed escape from the reality that when it comes to politics in this country, the truth is stranger than fiction and things have reached a point that is beyond frightening.

    1. You’re welcome. (:
      I note that in the two years since this post, I’ve found the linking blog posts to the Facebook groups works quite well – a lot of Typospherians with blogs and Youtube channels have been crossposting successfully on FB to keep the traffic flowing and garner new eyeballs.

      Re: political situation – it has gotten predictably weirder indeed, angry mobs storming the Capitol on my birthday and yet supposedly smart politicians are still spewing dumb lies to keep the base worked up. I was hoping Jan 6 would be the “Oklahoma City” moment that breaks the dumbness like it did in the 90’s, but I have a bad feeling that we’re headed for something uglier on the 20th. I hope I’m wrong, but it’s quite nice to have my typewriter handy to write out my angry screeds & get ’em out of my system without inflicting that ugliness on the world. On that point, I am applying the lesson from John Wayne’s “McClintock”, where our protagonist fails to control his fists and ends up with everybody bruised and covered in mud:

  21. I’m late replying to this but I agree with one of the comments that laziness is to blame for some, like me, who are sloths that resist putting in their email and info each time to reply. I love it when you share your posts on Facebook, as it’s easier to reply quickly from my phone.

    1. I shall have to remember to do it more often (x-post to FB). Laziness is also to blame there :D

  22. Well, I realize I’m writing years after you first posted on the topic of blogs and their readers–along with the thought that for bloggers persistence is a key quality. I wanted you to know that I found you blog while looking up info on typewriters, then found the whole idea of “stapler of the week” amusing, and then took note of a variety of interests (including old electronic writing devices)–and at last I decided to go all the way back to the start of the blog in 2010 or so and read all of them. It’s been quite a journey thus far on some fascinating topics like using coffee and other ingredients to develop pictures! I enjoy all or most of the projects. The ones I find most interesting are the ones about projects I might be able to try sometime, like the one years ago on mounting a typewriter on a tripod. Do you still have or use it? Anyway, I do wish you well in the world of blogging. There are still readers, even years later.

    It took a while to find these posts by typing http://www.munk.org/typecasting into the search bar. Before that, I’d have to search by typing “stapler of the week” into a search engine…! Unless I missed it, your main page doesn’t get readers to back typecasts.

    Were you to print out and bind all of the past blogs and their comments, you’d have a book or more. Best wishes!

    1. Heh, yep – I’ve been following your progress through comments as you work your way through the backlog, and I commend your persistence :D

      1) Yep, eventually I did a repaint of that tripod machine and I still have it in my collection.
      2) https://munk.org/typecast is the root URL for the blog, you can bookmark that if you want. if you go further up to the root URL, that’s the main site where I have a lot of other projects other than the blog listed. Content there goes back to… well, the 1980’s really.
      3) a book? heh, I suppose. But you wouldn’t be able to bind it in a single volume. There’s 40+gb of stuff here in photos, text and files – it’s be a small library :D

  23. It is a scientific fact that only two percent of those who visit a site, buy a car, view a movie, or dine in a restaurant bother to comment of any kind. In short, if I have two remarks, on the average, one hundred people have viewed what I had to say.

    1. Yep, sounds about right. It’s still working. (:

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