“Blogging is passé.” — Long-ago coworker.
“I hate blogs!” — Current coworker.
I don’t agree with either of these points. As it happens, I author three blogs — a social blog (this one), a teaching site, and a travel blog. I post to them all the time, and I feel like it is a great contribution to my intellectual presence. I also know six people, Michael, Dan, Jen, Doug, Wil, and Scott, who currently curate blogs that I prefer to read over social media by a factor of 60.
The passé blogging to which my long-ago coworker referred was the post-MySpace, pre-Facebook, soccer-mom blog scene, which, dare I say, wasn’t much of a scene in the first place. They are the minivans of web sites. Most of the participants during this period (circa 2007) had little to say, so their blogs weren’t very satisfying, and most of these people abandoned their blogs the day they signed up for Facebook.
The young lady who told me she “hates” blogs oddly reads every word of mine if I send her a link. It’s possible she is right to hate blogs. They can be as awful as television or superhero movies. Maybe a good blog could change her mind.
When I talk about a blog (which is short for “web log,” which was originally an online journal), I’m really talking about a place for self-expression that goes beyond day-to-day chat, and with that in mind, blogging might not be for you.
Why do I like blogging better than social media?
• A blog can be a repository for your personal history. Facebook has tried to remedy this deficit over the years with features like being able to save a post, and with their campy “Deb and Lisa are celebrating six years of friendship on Facebook,” but when I see those, I scroll by, and if Facebook creates one for me, I delete it. I neither want nor need the world’s largest social media company defining my friendships or what my life is like.
• You can write much longer stories with stronger narratives. A blog can be home to your short stories, movies, poems and novels. You can set blog posts to remain private or be protected behind a password. You can save blog posts to your “drafts” folder so you can work on them for a while before publishing them.
• You can set your own terms of service. With a blog, there’s no more agreeing to egregious rights-grabs or unwelcome redesigns. The look and feel of your blog is based on themes, so it can look a lot smarter, trimmer and more inviting than, say, Snapchat. Additionally, you can customize your site to look just right on a desktop, laptop, tablet or phone.
• Blog are searchable, meaning if you put the word “carrot” into the search box, you can see all your entries containing the word “carrot.” You can’t do that with social media, and, since social media is organized only chronologically, posts on social media vanish into the ether to disappear forever.
• If you don’t like blogs because they don’t seem to generate the flurry of comments, likes and emojis of social media, blogging is definitely not for you. Those are shallow rewards, and I’m talking about creating something deeper than “the guy in drive-thru was so rude today.”
• This might be the best one: you control the commentary. How often have you popped off what you thought was a clever comment on a social media site, only to have it demolished in a furious flurry of hate, scoring off your perceived idiocy? With a blog, you can turn off comments, have comments held for your approval, and even filter comments by keyword. You’re the boss of your blog’s comment section.
I used WordPress to administer my blogs, and you can too, for free, at WordPress.com. It’s fast and easy to learn, and allows you to construct a web site that best expresses you and your intellectual goals, instead of a social media site that best expresses how to “drive traffic toward advertising clicks.”
If you still feel the need to be in the social media fray, your blog posts can be part of social media: anything you post to your blog can be instantly shared to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, anything.
I look forward to reading your next blog post.
If it’s well written enough, it will appeal to genuine readers, as opposed to skimmers, who have rapidly learned to filter out lengthier, more involved communications, while at the same time devouring anything that forwards their agendas. Of course we all run into a intellectual snobs who “know” that blogs are full of potty stories and kindergarten graduations, and they’d be right to some degree, at least in the last decade.
By all means, go down the rabbit hole of this blog. Bookmark it for later and read it when you get the chance. It’s been around since 2007, and I hope to keep it going for the foreseeable future. Enjoy. And if you start one, share it with me, and I promise to read every word.