May 23, 2012

Blogger’s Quest(ionnaire): Nicola Twilley’s Articulation and Discovery of Edible Geography

Edible Geography is Nicola Twilley’s eclectic blog covering diverse categories such as City of Mobile Services and Smellscapes. All fit to be eaten, in more ways than one. Her thoughts about web-based publishing may help you engage blogging or further inform your current work in it: 

Why did you create a Website of regular entries?
To force myself to write about things I was interested in, which means researching them and thinking about them more deeply. 

What Web-based solution did you select and why?
WordPress. I wanted to host my own site, having seen (through the experiences of others) how annoying it is when Google, et. al., arbitrarily decide to change their service. 

What is your definition of a good blog and
what are three good blogs that you frequently visit?
A good blog needs to be well written, for me—I’m a reader, and that’s what I’m looking for. Beyond that, I want the content to be either intriguing things I haven’t come across before or through-provoking ideas—or, ideally, both. What’s been interesting is watching blogs move away from being personal, individual platforms to mainstream media “channels” over the past five years.

For me, the definition of a good blog (and the primary inspiration for starting my own blog) is BLDGBLOG (full disclosure: the author, Geoff Manaugh is my husband, but the blog is so good I’d marry him if I hadn’t already.)

I also love Pruned, which is less regularly updated, but is home to some of my favorite posts on robot-agriculture, synthetic soils, atomic seeds, and more.

Those two both publish as part of the Future Plural network, of which I am also a proud member, and they are both old-school-style blogs, written by one person for love rather than money. Among the more recent crop of blogs started by mainstream media organizations, I really like Christine Agapakis’ Oscillator blog for Scientific American. 

How do you create content for your blog?
I find interesting things and I work out what I want to say about them. Sometimes I interview people, or visit places, or review exhibitions/books/events, but for the most part, I am writing about particular projects, ideas, or news stories that I find interesting. The process of writing is the process of working out what is interesting about things that have caught my attention.

How do you stay organized and motivated
to contribute to your blog?
I’ll let you know when I get on top of that. It’s a constant struggle. The motivation is always there; the organization, not so much. 

For those aspiring to make a Website composed
of regular thoughts and/or images, what is your advice?
That totally depends on what they are looking to achieve through blogging. If you are doing it for the same reasons as me, I’d recommend not spending too much time on SEO strategy or custom CSS tweaks, and instead just writing. Interviewing people whose work you admire is a great way to bring your work to their attention—provided you ask them good questions (which requires a lot of research and thought in itself). 

What is your quest in blogging?
See 1. I am forcing myself to articulate my thoughts, which leads to the discovery of unexpected connections and insights, to the synthesis of otherwise random and disconnected scraps of information or interests, and, ultimately, to the generation of new ideas.

• • •

Portrait courtesy of Nicola Twilley, who is pictured at the first Foodprint Project event at Studio-X in New York City.

• • •

Edible Geography was discovered amongst the awesome tweets by Jodi Ettenberg, blogger of Legal Nomads, and who was also interviewed in this series. Read her Blogger’s Quest(ionnaire).

• • •

Read more of the Design Feast series Blogger’s Quest(ionnaire).

Please consider supporting Design Feast
If you liked this lovingly-made interview, show your appreciation by helping to support my labor of love—Design Feast, which proudly includes this blog. Learn more.