Juha-Matti Santala
Community Builder. Dreamer. Adventurer.

Scoping the /now

For a while, I’ve been thinking about starting a /now page. I still haven’t created one because I can’t decide on the cadence of updates. Do I want to do a weekly or monthly or something else? What’s a sustainable pace I could see myself maintaining it? Landing on an outdated /now page is just a bummer. It’s a promise of something interesting that falls flat.

How often to update?

Many update their /now page “every now and then”, often meaning when something in their live changes or when they remember they have one. Browsing though the pages listed at nownownow.com, many of them have had their last updates in 2020, 2022 or 2023. When I see one of those, I get the feeling they’ve forgotten to keep it up to date.

I know I would. That’s why I want to maintain a regular schedule.

I came to the conclusion that a monthly schedule is probably the best choice:

  • I can keep up with updating it once a month
  • I’ll put it into my calendar to be updated on the first Monday of each month like I do with my RSS feed backups
  • Most things in life that I consider sharing in /now don’t change more often than monthly

Derek, who came up with this concept back in the day, says this:

Think of what you’d tell a friend you hadn’t seen in a year.

As I was brainstorming what to share, I read through a few dozen now pages of different people to get some ideas.

There are some things that are very common: what people do for work, what projects they are working on (either on or off work) and where they live. The usual small talk stuff that answers Derek’s question.

In addition, people shared entertainment and art they’ve enjoyed since the last update, places they’ve traveled to or are planning to travel to, short term goals or challenges they are participating in, and what has sparked their interest lately.

One now page that I really enjoyed reading is this one by Delfina.

Technical considerations

I’m having a hard time deciding how to build the page. I’ve been considering either using JSON (as Eleventy Global Data Files), Markdown or HTML and all of them have pros and cons.


My /uses page is built with JSON. I have a nested JSON object with each category and individual items stored inside them. I like this approach because it helps enforce strong structure and makes templating the page simpler. The downside is that editing JSON isn’t very fun and I haven’t yet found (or built, I’m very tempted) a good JSON editor that I’d like. Another downside is that I don’t know if I want my /now page to be so structured.


Markdown offers more freeform writing opportunities. I can make the /now page a combination of structured pieces and artistic storytelling. Markdown is lovely for that. It hides all the technical complexity and lets me focus on writing.

And that’s where the downside also lies. It’s simple to write which also means it can only be used to write simple things.


HTML offers infinite flexibility at the expense of writing experience. Writing HTML isn’t exactly fun when the goal is to write stories and experiences and not build structured websites. But it’s always tempting for me because it means I can express my creativity through my site. (Tracy Durnell has a good blog post about expressing creativity through websites.)

Other technical considerations

One thing that is a must have is “last updated at” information since now pages are so temporal. Blog posts can be undated if they are evergreen in nature but a now page without an update date means it’s hard to know if it’s been updated and all the info may be irrelevant. I also want to add an explanation of my target schedule to give the reader a better idea of if I’ve abandoned updating or if they can expect more to come.

For styling, aforementioned instruction by Derek made me consider making it read like a text message discussion with one side asking questions like a friend would and the replies being the answers. I have to experiment with that idea a bit more, since it feels like a good idea but every attempt so far has felt awkward. Similarly awkward than those interview videos where questions are shown as text with no audio and then people answer them. I’ve always felt uneasy with them.

Coming soon to /now near you

I wanted to get all these thoughts processed and written down before I make the first version. Now (pun intended) that I have a better idea of what and how, I’ll be creating the page and setting up reminders to my calendar for keeping it up to date. You can find links to all my slashpages in the footer so you can spot it there once it’s published.