How Blogs Work Today
Posted on June 11, 2016 Posted by John Scalzi 39 Comments
My piece earlier this week on Clinton and Sanders blew up a bit, with roughly 75,000 views over two days. This gave me an excuse to check my referrers and ego search on Google and see a bit of who was talking about the post and/or sending people my way.
What I found: Facebook was by far the largest mover of visits and the place where the largest number of people were commenting on the piece, on their own wall or in the comments of others. Twitter was the next highest contributor of traffic/discussion. After that, and a bit down the scale, a couple of political sites, community sites like Metafilter or Reddit, and Google Plus, which, yes, apparently some people still use. But, interestingly, almost none of the conversation about/traffic to the piece was coming from personal blogs.
This is not entirely surprising given the social media landscape these days, but it is a fundamental change in how traffic comes to the site. Even a couple of years ago, as an aggregate, personal blogs funneled a fair amount of traffic into Whatever. Here in 2016, however, personal blogs as a traffic driver seem to be a non-starter.
What happened? Anecdotally, it looks like two things, somewhat related: personal blogs have either died as people migrated over to Facebook and/or Twitter, or they have largely changed their character, becoming less about posting thoughts and commentary on a regular basis (and linking out to the stuff that inspired the entry) and becoming more about a place to have a permanent repository of information about that person themselves — news and updates about life and career, but much less interactive, and updated less frequently or in depth. Where did that chatty stuff go? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on.
Which is fine! As I’ve noted before, Facebook/Twitter/etc are generally speaking better solutions for most people — most people don’t want to have to deal with the backend of running their own site or blog, they just want to connect with friends. It’s worth noting that Tumblr, the one really blog-ish social media outpost, is basically a streamlined version of what blogs are (or used to be). You can’t blame people for not wanting to have to bother. The activity that fueled blogs is still there — it’s simply aggregated on relatively few social networks. Everyone, including those who still have blogs, go where their friends are.
I don’t think blogs are dead per se — WordPress, which I will note hosts my blog, seems to be doing just fine in terms of new sites being created and people joining its network. But I think the role of the blog is different than it was even just a couple of years ago. It’s not the sole outpost of an online life, although it can be an anchor, holding it in place. What a blog is today is part of an overall presence, with a specific role that complements other online outposts (which in turn complement the blog). I do it myself — longer pieces here, which I will point to from other places. Shortform smartassery on Twitter. Personal Facebook account to keep up with friends; public Facebook and Google Plus pages to keep fans up on news — news which is often announced here and linked to from there.
(I also still very strongly recommend that creative people keep their own blogs, preferably with their own domains, for the simple reason that no matter what happens to Facebook or Twitter or whatever, your blog will be someplace your fans and other interested folks will always be able to find you. I’ve owned Scalzi.com for 18 years, and run Whatever for nearly as long, on just this principle. This has been enough time to see the fall of several once invincible social networks, starting with AOL and moving forward from that once-mighty organization.)
That said, it does signal that the online world — or at least the part of it I interact with, and interacts with me — is different today than it was before. Better? Worse? I don’t think either; just different. Possibly a little less funky, though.
Like the new look, John.
I think the online world is funkier than ever, actually. It’s just sprawled out bigger, and the funkiness moves to the edges, as always. With the edges, like getting longer and longer, and further from the center, finding a particular type of funkiness becomes less about chance and more about intent.
(I’m assuming, here, that you are using the term “funky” in the more recent iteration as ‘quirky, offbeat, out of the mainstream, provocative in a creative way’, etc., and not in the older iteration as ‘grimy, a bit smelly,’ etc. THAT kind of funky increases exponentially and has pretty much permeated the Intertoobz of discourse.)
Blogging feels very different. A couple of internet forevers ago I had a different blog, when blogs were cool and new. I have had different blog like things at different points in the internet’s maturity. I still feel like I don’t understand Facebook, and I know I don’t understand Twitter. But I keep watching for what the next thing is. I believe we are due for a backlash of long form. Though I know headlines are as far as most people read on FB, so that might just be wishful thinking.
I really hate Facebook and their parasitic business model. Well, I guess I admire their chutzpah but not enough to play along. I did for a while, but one too many changes that made it better for their advertisers and worse for the ordinary user pushed me over the edge.
Your advice on owning your own presence is a good one.
“Possibly a little less funky, though.”
When you say “funky”, do you mean “James Brown at the peak of his career” funky, or “the mayonnaise that’s been at the back of the fridge for five years” funky?
It is kinda crazy how fast things have changed and how basically no one saw it coming. Enders Game from 1985 had kind of the equivalent of bloggers, and got it mostly wrong. I cant think of any fiction from the 70’s or before that imagined anything resembling the internet the way it looks today. The original StarTrek could communicate in real time across the galatic quadrant, but it was always point to point communication. And then the 90’s was all about “jacking into the net”, which hasnt happened. And stuff after 2000 doesnt seem to much focus on new tech and how it would alter humanity. Life is stranger than fiction.
Oddly enough, it would never occur to me to look for your comments on Facebook; that’s probably because I am a longstanding reader of Whatever, with your stuff handIly delivered by email, so I can read it and come and comment if I have anything to say, and catch up on your tweets. It’s incredibly easy for me, whereas looking up your Facebook page would require work.
My Facebook presence was originally driven by my daughter wishing me to have one, thus enabling her to easily check that I am in the land of the living; I suspect that this may not be the usual way of things, but having failed to teach me how to text, and watched me lose/mislay/destroy numerous mobile phones, she concluded that an iPad plus Facebook was the way forward, and so it is.
Using Facebook to communicate with my friends was the second stage, and there I have remained; should it go the way of the dodo I will still be reading whatever you choose to write on Whatever. Needless to say, I hope you continue to write whatever you choose to write…
I’m not very technically inclined. In fact, I’m something of a dinosaur in such matters, but I learned only on how to share your blog on FB. Yay me! Yay you!
Well I guess you’re the one with the log files usage statistics, but from my viewpoint this change had already pretty much happened two years ago.
From my viewpoint, bloggers are essentially columnists. If I visit a blog, it’s because it contains stuff I want to read, even though I don’t know the blogger. Updates from friends and family have long since moved to Facebook.
I’ve been running a personal blog for three years now, and I’ve noticed a similar experience. Most of the people I stay in touch with prefer to use Facebook, and they rarely seem to wander beyond that biome. I post very regularly (three times a week during the academic year and five times a week during summer break) with a focus on pop cultural and geek criticism, but I tend not to pull very much in the way of traffic at all. This is probably a reflection on the quality of my free thoughts (I suspect that most bloggers suffer from a similar anxiety over whether what they write is actually worthwhile to anyone). The posts that draw the most attention are the ones recording my thoughts about major life events — it gives me the distinct feeling that I’m an incredibly boring person until there’s some big news.
All of this is to say that I feel your point about the shift in what blogs are used for is a good one. Sometimes it feels like the most satisfying part of having maintained a blog for so long is when I take the time to go back and read my old posts; the blog is a much more reliable form of journaling than anything I’ve tried in the past, even if the performative aspects of it make me sometimes hesitant to be completely open. Still, I do enjoy the point that Facebook and Twitter may collapse on themselves in the future, but I’ll still have my own personal archive of what was going on in my life separate from the aggregate data on those networks.
I only started blogging seven (ish) years ago, and I’ve definitely seen the changes during that time. I didn’t even have a Facebook page when I started, but I began to wonder if it would be a good way to help friends access my blog, and it definitely has been. I’ve also seen that I interact with my blog in a completely different way. I no longer try to post 5 days a week. I no longer search for that perfect topic. I check in once a week with a post hat may or may not have much substance. I used to feel a blogger had to post several times a week with life-changing content… it feels like the obligation has changed significantly.
I still access Whatever through my WordPress reader, however. I like to hang on until I’m the last of the Mohicans, whenever possible. :-)
By the way, John, the bit above the comment box still says “threads close after 10 days” but doesn’t indicate that that should be read in binary. Thought you’d changed it back from 2 days but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“Shortform smartassery” – best description of Twitter yet.
I use Twitter in three related ways. One is to post links to articles on my blog that apply to whichever Jewish holiday or event is upon us. My blog is primarily aimed at people who don’t have a Jewish education and don’t have anywhere to go for liberal answers to their questions. For many Jewish questions, top Google offerings are far-right groups like Chabad and/or Neo-Nazi sites. So I use Twitter as a way to let folks know about articles they can find at my place.
Second use of Twitter is for networking with other rabbis.
Third use of Twitter is for a sort of clipping service. I follow people who seem to be particularly knowledgeable about things of which I am ignorant, and I read the stuff they recommend. I’ve gotten a nice upgrade on several areas of my education that way.
Given the other three uses to which I put Twitter, I am almost always sorry when I indulge in shortform smartassery there. Someone or other doesn’t get it that I’m joking and owies abound. However, I love OTHER people’s smartassery there, including yours and several other folks’.
Thousands of people use Google Plus. It’s Facebook minus the dumb. The authors on there interact much more with readers and each other and do a lot less BUY MY BOOK. I never see “repost this or you hate X”, nor any ultrasounds, but lots of geek and science stuff. I belong to several special interest groups. And I only see the best memes. It’s the best social network I’ve tried in my… gulp… 30 years on the internet (pre-WWW) and nearly 40 on various computer networks, bboards, etc.
But for long-form quality and stability, you need blogs.
BTW, I got the “SOON” banner on this one. I miss Loppy, but that picture always makes me smile.
PS Regarding your Tweets today: Being already an adult when FBDO came out, I always knew he was awful. The insurance claims alone! Try him as an adult and sue his dad!
As a lifelong late adopter, I’d say you probably have a fair point about the state of the blogosphere.
So beware the day I get a Twitter account (which I don’t have yet).
I began my writing as a columnist. I’ve had a blog almost from the first. I love the freedom of it. No deadlines (except the ones I set myself), no editing, no language or subject no-no’s. I have had 3 blogs for years now – one on writing, one on politics and one on NASCAR. I am on FB and Twitter for the things they offer – quick reads, catching up posts, and yes, I love videos about cunning kitties and precious puppies. But I still love reading the lengthier pieces best, like Jim Wright’s Stone Kettle Station (which is where I found your blog). I find I have a fair amount of sharing from FB and Twitter but I’ve gotten more followers from Google+.
I’m one of the die-hards who isn’t really involved in Twitter, Tumblr, or the Boke of the Face. In the case of Twitter and Tumblr, the main reason is inevitably “I have other things I need to do today”. Both of them really remind me of IRC in a lot of ways – either things are going flat-out, or they’re dead – and the “dead” times are generally the times when I’m most in search of distraction. (Ah, the perils of being 8 hours out of synch with most of the world). So either there’s nothing happening, or I’m having to constantly keep track of everything that’s happening when I have a lot of things happening in my own space at the same time, and if I walk away, I lose track of the context and have to catch up. Entirely too stressful. In the case of Facebook, it was always “the people I see here aren’t the people I wanted to keep in contact with in the first place” (plus I got sick of all the ads).
So I stick with my blog on Dreamwidth (and mirror the content across to the one on InsaneJournal, scaring the pigeons there) and the blogs I’m following through WordPress, and the list of blogs I have stowed away in the “Reading Material” folder on my bookmarks list.
The evolution of blogs follows the real-world process of merchandising. Early-on we had all the mom-and-pop shops and eateries and hardware stores, but eventually McDonalds and supermarkets and department stores came along, followed by national-scale corporate chains.
There’s a reason that has to do with efficiency and scarcity in an environment of growing competition. A chain of pizza shops in a city can be supplied by a single centralized commissary, saving effort and money to the point that the mom-and-pops can’t compete on price. A national-scale pizza chain also gains the advantage of standardized image, a known product, so travelers no longer have to take a chance on some unknown place.
Just so, early blogs were all individual places — Pharyngula, Unscrewing the Inscrutable, etc. — some of them with high traffic. Someone came up with the idea of blog networks — such as Freethought Blogs and Patheos — and they quickly out-trafficked the individuals, as readers interested in a specific subject could find a dozen or more blogs in the same place, blogs which cross-supported each other with posts, ads, social networking, etc.
I think of both of these processes as corporatization. The big names quickly outpace the little unknowns. When you finally get an inevitable interface like Facebook, small blogs die off as readers migrate to it for their daily feed of news and opinion. It is very difficult to be a small independent blogger today and have a large stable of readers.
Something I noticed at Freethought Blogs and elsewhere — once bloggers began to get paid for traffic, they start pandering for reader traffic, both with number of posts, which means a daily handful of quick, short pieces rather than longer, more thoughtful ones, and posts that are deliberately fear- or outrage-inducing. For instance, I watched feminist bloggers go from reasoned discussion of women’s issues to screaming assertions that all men were rapists, even that all sex was rape! (Google “penis in vagina sex is always rape” for that little tidbit.) Outrage sells, though.
As a blogger, I felt the initial tug of potential income, but soon decided I’d rather explore the ideas I was interested in rather than shill for a higher volume of readers with the quick-hit pieces.
In my view, paid blogging kills quality. But corporatization — Facebook, etc. — also kills quality, not only of the writing but, eventually, of reader thought processes.
I have a couple of personal blogs and have had others. I’ve been online for ages.
My political blog I rarely use any more because my random commentary has gone to Twitter.
I am quite wary of Facebook and only visit occasionally to check in with more distant friends. I do have a page there for my writing and some of the stuff I put on my writing blog I will post to FB, mostly the more business-oriented things.
On that blog though I write about my process in a way that I am more cautious about sharing in such a public forum. So even though those posts are public and any of my friends or acquaintances could find them, I don’t post those to FB. FB with all their claims of ownership over my content doesn’t seem like somewhere I want that more personal stuff to be.
My online home is still the Well as it has been for decades, but there are a few political blogs I visit where conversations are occasionally good and real community has formed.
Lurkertype: “Being already an adult when FBDO came out, I always knew he was awful.”
Ferris is chaotic-good, or in the literary genre, a trickster/coyote archtype. FBDO’s protatonist isnt Ferris, its Cameron. Ferris doesnt change, Cameron does. In the beginning, he was going to marry the first woman he had sex with and she’d treat him like shit, and at the end, he’s ok.
Sloane realizes near the end of thd day thst this was Ferris’ plan all along and says “you knew what you were doing when you got up this morning”.
Luckily for everyone involved, FBDO uses movie physics, movie justice, movie karma, so no one is arrested and everyone gets what they deserve in the end. But thats how most coyote/trickster stories end.
Let’s not go into a discussion of FBDO here, please. It’s off topic.
I’m being bad and commenting before having read the thread so far, so I hope I’m not just repaeating someone earlier, but…
A big difference between blogs and all the popular social media (even Tumblr, now owned by Yahoo) is that social media are all some kind of corporate. That would be less of a problem if those corporations were paragons of ethics. They aren’t. Facebook and Twitter get to decide that rape jokes are okay and breastfeeding is icky. These are the people making money off the value *your content* provides.
People may not care about that. Obviously, hundreds of millions don’t, and the Stallman-esque weirdos who do wouldn’t fill a municpal swimming pool. But it’s still worth mentioning. The speed with which people are happy to sacrifice rights for convenience is a) sad, and b) has major implications for the laws we need to make it a lot — a lot — easier for people to hang on to their rights.
I hate that this is how the web has become. I don’t like any social media because there’s way too much bad going on there, and almost all the discussion sites I used to love (these days there’s MeFi and…that’s it for me) have died because of social media. I don’t like the idea of every single person who ever heard my name seeing everything, getting offended at the slightest thing and then proceeding to bitch about it (or have me stalked or whatever other GG-type stuff) and ruin my life in five seconds.
I still blog, I don’t get much traffic, and that’s all for the best these days.
I’ve never really been all that into social media, and mostly avoided it all these years.
I finally found a use for Twitter a few years ago- I basically follow people who write blogs or other things I’m interested in so I can see when something interested is posted, kind of like RSS. David Brin’s twitter for example is basically links to new blog articles of his and also links to articles he finds interesting (which I often do as well). So it’s a low junk high reward way to find these things. I started with his, but then I slowly added some other resources I’ve found that are of of interest to me and don’t fill with too much stuff that isn’t interesting. My favorite instant messaging client has a twitter timeline it can show me automatically, so I never even go to the Twitter website.
In terms of posting to Twitter, I never found it useful for conversation and have never understood why people like to use it for that. I did used to run a website of interest to a small subset of a gaming community and I found it was great for posting when I made updates to the site. I really only liked to use it for that, because I felt like that way my followers wouldn’t get spammed by too much information, but some people were always trying to send me direct messages and converse on it which drove me batty. I always had to direct those people to email where I could have a useful conversation.
I avoided creating a Facebook account until a year and a half ago, as I never really saw the point. But what I found was that my relatives all used Facebook and if I wanted to hear updates from them without my mom having to funnel anything of importance to me it was kind of a requirement. So I created an account but I virtually never post anything there- I just use it to track what other people are posting. I’m happy I finally broke down and did it because other people do post interesting articles on there that I might not hear about otherwise, but there is a pretty high junk ratio. The other nice thing is it’s made it easier to connect with relatives I barely ever see- I ended up finding out a cousin of mine that I hadn’t seen in almost 20 years was going to be in town so got to meet up with her- without Facebook I never would have known.
Personally I like it when people write personal blogs on topics that interest me, but without some sort of notification of new posts (a mailing list, twitter, etc) I will rarely remember to check the site. I think this is why aggregation is so valuable to people. One thing actually that I find very useful is Goodreads sending me a weekly list of blog postings of my favorite authors. For some reason this blog doesn’t seem to get included even though Scalzi is definitely marked as an author I follow. I’m not sure how they track the blogs.
Blogs are also more work in terms of content, not just on backend. I’ve been trying to keep a blog because I’m a writer, and theoretically one who’s working towards professionally writing, and the posts end up being very intermittent because I need to sit down and write an essay on something, which means having time to sit down and write a substantive essay and also the idea of a substantive essay and half the time I get it written out and reconsider because if anyone actually sees it the internet will fall on my head, and this is supposed to be a professional pseudonym.
As someone who writes a blog, I don’t disagree with what you’re saying. But those Facebook shares and social media links have to go back somewhere, and they’re usually not other Facebook posts. I enjoy creating content and spreading ideas that other people may be interested in, and a blog is a great repository for those thoughts. Even if it flies around the internet via Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/etc, by using the blog as my base, I know some readers will consider exploring some of the other things I’ve done instead of just stopping by for that one post.
I also don’t think blogs are dead, but the more popular ones tend to be connected with a larger network now. You’re not necessarily sharing articles you saw on Bob Smith’s blog, but you’re sharing something Bob wrote on a blog that’s part of some larger website (which might have other pieces you’re interested in). It’s just the evolution of the medium, and that part doesn’t bug me.
Interesting voices will always find a home somewhere.
I really enjoy your blog. I hope the deluge of responses isn’t a problem, as you seem to actually spend time reading/responding–if it is, you could always limit response time and “close comments” sooner. You are one of my FAVORITE authors–I’ll rush to the bookstore for anything new you put out. Somehow, your blog makes me less anxious for new titles now–unlike my other favs, like Gaimon and Rothfuss, for example–who I feel disappointed they aren’t publishing fast enough for my taste, lol! But your blog tides me over….plus, it’s fun to read your thoughts on s variety of matters–and your political posts are just plain interesting. So–thanks for keeping it going!
Unless you have a goodly amount to say, a blog is probably more work than necessary. Facebook works fine if reaching ‘the masses’ is not a concern.
I will note that there are still some of us geezers whose “presence” on social media – where it be Facebook or Twitter or whatever – is zero.
I miss the old days.
*limps onto geezer bus, puts on left turn signal, drives slowly away*
“The streets aren’t as funky as they used to be” meant they were now worse, not just differently flavored. Ackk just saying.
I’ve had a handful of posts at my blog go moderately viral– one collected 100,000 views over a couple of weeks, and another is around 5000 right now after a few days. In both cases nearly all the referral traffic was driven by Facebook. I’ve heard that Stumbleupon can generate serious numbers but have never seen it at my place and I find the site rather opaque so I don’t use it. But yes– on the post that had 100K views, there were nearly 40,000 referrals from Facebook and less than twenty from G+.
Thanks for the great feedback for writers/bloggers. I’m new to both worlds, and appreciate all guidance.
Author, Living Well with Chronic Illness
The way I read your post, it sounds like you plan to continue to use this platform to share well-written commentary that is frequently thought-provoking, often funny, and always highly enjoyable, which makes me very happy. Not that you do things with the express purpose of making me happy, of course, but still.
I do not face-book or twit or any of those other social media things. I am something of a fanatic about protecting my privacy, and I am flat-out unwilling to allow face-book to data-mine my comments and interests to grow their revenue. I am also completely uninterested in renewing contact with people I knew decades ago; there are reasons that I’m no longer communicating with them, and I have no desire to change that.
So pretty much the only way I read your comments is here on Whatever, and I am such an addict that I stop by at least once a day, often multiple times per day, just to see if there are any updates.
I did try blogging for a couple of years a while back. I enjoy writing, though I’d starve in a hurry if I ever tried to make a living from it, and I thought blogging might provide a way to scratch that itch, as it were. After realizing that in all the time I had been posting lengthy, carefully written content, literally NOBODY had ever visited my blog or read any of the contents, I concluded that there was no point in doing my writing on that kind of platform. I deleted the blog and returned to doing my writing in a journal, which is less polished and carefully written than a blog post, but at least it is a form of writing.
As to the future of blogging in general, I suspect that it may wind up being a niche form of communication used primarily by people who enjoy writing substantive long-form commentary. Based on what I’ve seen of most writing, that is a relatively small proportion of the total population. But there are a whole lot of us out here who really enjoy READING that kind of commentary. So thank you for continuing it.
Johns blog posts are alot more thoughtful than his twitter posts. I think most twitter posts are either announcenents or silly off the cough remarks. I personally would run out of things to say. I think john sees his blog as an extension of his job. It s marketing to keep eyeballs on you.
There is good medievil/fantasy youtube channel called Lindybeige. He has a yourube video once discussing a video of his that went viral. He said its not close to his best video. There isnt necessarily a parallel to your best work on the web with what goes viral. It is a very good youtube channel that alot of genre fans like.
Thanks for the insight. I just started my blog and really haven’t figured out how to set it up so that it meets my objectives. Somehow I sensed that I needed to use it in conjunction with other media and I do have a facebook account (like others, by family demand) so I’ve been trying to link the two. Your post and the comments to date confirm that I’m heading in the right direction. Looking back to the days when “networking” was confined to ftp transfer over a dial up connection – “Things, they are a-changing”
Reading the article, I was already thinking of the resemblence of blogging v. social media to EM Forster’s “The Machine Stops”, then
Greg commented: “I cant think of any fiction from the 70’s or before that imagined anything resembling the internet the way it looks today.”
In 1910 or so, Forster gave us “The Machine Stops” in which Vashti, sitting in her 5×5 room, is surrounded by buttons that call for everything she’d ever need, constantly discussing important topics with her thousands of friends, each of whom gives lectures and offers authoratative opinions on every subject imaginable without ever having experienced anything first hand. One of the great lecturers of the time had this to say:
“Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element – direct observation. Do not learn anything about this subject of mine – the French Revolution. Learn instead what I think that Enicharmon thought Urizen thought Gutch thought Ho-Yung thought Chi-Bo-Sing thought Lafcadio Hearn thought Carlyle thought Mirabeau said about the French Revolution. … Your descendants will be even in a better position than you, for they will learn what you think I think, and yet another intermediate will be added to the chain. And in time…there will come a generation that had got beyond facts, beyond impressions, a generation absolutely colourless, … which will see the French Revolution not as it happened, nor as they would like it to have happened, but as it would have happened, had it taken place in the days of the Machine.”
That’s Twitter in a nutshell.
I didn’t know, but am not surprised, that people tend to discuss your posts mostly on their own Facebook pages. That lets them say what they want among people who are less likely to argue with them or suggest they may be mistaken.
Guess, it’s not my intention to make fun of you, but I loved your typo of “silly off the cough remarks.”
I started my blog last December, about a decade after I meant to. It gives me an outlet for occasional misc thoughts and makes it easier to share cat pictures with my family. I suppose this is the sort of thing people use Tumblr for, but to be honest I don’t really get Tumblr. Or Pinterest. Or Instagram. And I really dislike Facebook, though I reluctantly renewed my presence there because a friend of mine who lost her spouse recently was posting details of services there, and posts other things about herself that I’d like to see.
A few people have found my blog, presumably via WordPress, and occasionally like and/or comment on my posts. I’ve found that’s enough for me to be happy.
I got Twitter accounts in case I ever have a reason to start tweeting, but mainly it’s to reply to things that people I know say that are too trivial for an email.
I’m glad for the reminder here that my blog is for me primarily, not my handful of readers, and if I want to post on the four acceptable food uses of mayonnaise I can and it doesn’t matter if it bores people. In fact, I think I’ll go do that right now.
I have, and always will have, my own blog. Because I don’t trust Facebook, or Google, or Twitter, or whatever. And the stuff I write is just as personal a journaling as it ever was. The idea that something might happen in someone’s business model and those words would go away is existentially terrifying.
That said, I am fully aware that the action is in the social media world. I use G+ as my primary dat a entry; posts there get imported automagically to my own WordPress blog, thence to Tweets and FB mirrors. The commentary that happens in those other locations may get lost, but the record of my ramblings on personal life and politics and pop culture and religion and stuff has (as long as I maintain the domain) as permanent and personally owned a domain as I can have.
It’s the perspective of an amateur historian, and of someone with enough barely-acknowledged ego to think that in 20+ years anyone will actually care.
You are absolutely right about the inherent risks involved in hosting our content on proprietary social media platforms. These silos inhibit the open web and have been known to cease to exist or to suddenly start charging for services that were formerly free. Coincidentally, I launched a new blog yesterday after about eight years of not having one. I’m hosting the new blog on WordPress also and was very surprised at how easy it was to set up. My former blog which ran from 2003 – 2008, was hosted on blogger and published on a self-hosted. To create a quickly accessible and easily updated blog I did not need to write even one line of code, although for those who choose to add additional functionality the platform is robust enough to support it.
We need to be able, as content producers, to have control of our work, and to have it available outside a proprietary silo. #nosilos
Usenet was the best, because: Killfile — the mature option, to simply not see anything you recognized as making you so spit-frothing crazy that, if you saw it, you’d type something back and get into an e-spat that would just go rolling along indefinitely.
A killfile feature is beginning to show up, in a poor crippled partial way, on the web.
I assume a mature killfile isn’t possible because: advertisers.
Social media — oxymoron for the new millenium.