A recent article from ‘The Verge’ lamented the loss of what it called personal blogging in favor of ‘microblogging’ on social media.
What do you wish would most change about blogging these days? A writer at The Verge wants to bring back personal blogging. That, at least, is the title of Monique Judge’s Dec. 31 article on the site. She describes the “good old days” of blogging in which bloggers built community, wrote personally and self-policed.
“I want to go back there,” she says.
She goes into a brief history of the early days of blogging, saying people were more connected with each other back then. That was before social media.
I’m not sure I agree that people are less connected with each other now. Social media has come to the forefront of connecting people, and honestly, it makes sense that it would. After all, social media provides a venue where bunches of people can connect and do their own thing.
Individual blogs don’t do that. Even blogging platforms like WordPress or Blogger can only do that to an extent. On Twitter, you can post a sentence or even a few words and make a point. Blogging requires a bit more effort than that.
When this blog started back on America Online’s Journals platform, there was a strong sense of community. But part of that community was bloggers, part of it was commenters who didn’t blog and a third part was bloggers who commented on each others’ blogs. It was that third group where you found the real community.
But you can’t really compare blogs and social media in terms of connection. People go to platforms like Facebook with their own interests — a variety of them — and build a community primarily with people they know. People find blogs based on their specific interests and (hopefully) encounter people they mostly don’t know and probably won’t ever meet but who share those same interests.
My Facebook friend list is a diverse group of people — different religions, different political persuasions, different orientations. But the majority of people on that list are people I either know personally or have come to know over the years through mutual connections.
My blog readers are mostly anonymous with a few exceptions. I know a little about the backgrounds of a handful of them. But the majority of them I don’t know by name or by belief.
Both social media and blog platforms offer connections. They’re just different connections.
Microblogging might be a thing…but not much of one.
Judge says personal blogging is important for a number of reasons. One of them is that with personal blogging on your own site, you control your own domain.
I couldn’t agree more. I said this very thing a year ago.
You don’t control your domain on a social media site. You control your profile, but that’s about it. If the platform goes down the drain, your content goes with it. Even if you’re able to download everything to back it up, you’d still have to repost all of that content somewhere else. If you stay on a social media platform for a decade, you know you’d never go back and repost all those status, photos and videos that you posted over the past 10 years.
There’s also the very real possibility that you could be the victim of an overanxious editor who finds something offensive in your content and just deletes it. It has definitely happened before.
When you’re posting content on someone else’s platform, you have to obey their rules.
When you own your own, that’s far less of a problem.
Is storytelling from personal blogging a ‘lost art’?
“The best blogs gave us a glimpse into the life of someone we ‘knew’ online,” Judge says. Twitter threads don’t. Even the alleged plan to allow 4,000-character limits Musk has discussed won’t, she says. (A post of 4,000 characters would translate into roughly 500 words, which is relatively small for a blog post though not too small to satisfy SEO guidelines.)
There are more than 600 million blogs out there, data from 2022 suggests. Granted, some of those blogs are surely dormant and some of them may or may not tell lots of personal stories. But the sheer number of blogs that currently exist suggest that personal blogging does, in fact, exist.
I’m on multiple social media platforms. But I’m still on this blog. This blog is just a few months away from turning 18 years old. It’s a lot of work sometimes. There are days when I struggle to find a topic to write about. There are other days, however, when I struggle to decide which post I’ve written in advance will go next, when there are two or three that I think should be the next one to go up. I enjoy blogging. Once in a while, it stresses me out.
But I blog. I will continue blogging, in a manner that I hope will both inform and entertain — and occasionally both at the same time — until I feel like I don’t have anything else to say. Honestly, I don’t know what that day might be like. I can’t imagine not having something to say, even if I’ve said it before. (Sometimes, we need reminders of things we already know, don’t we?)
In any case, personal blogging is not dead. It isn’t even on the critical list. If you believe social media is killing blogging, I would suggest you spend less time on social media and seek out content from among those 600 million blogs.
There are plenty of personal stories out there. You just have to look for them.