This blog of mine dates back to March 2005. I’ve got a feeling that I had some form of blogging going on before that but can’t find the evidence on a cursory sweep. Since I’ve been posting more or less daily, that means I’ve written thousands of posts and tens of thousands of words. It isn’t just about writing though – it is also about reading and interacting with other bloggers who together create what is sometimes termed the blogosphere.
Over the past decade, there have been some significant shifts in the online world. What would it be like to pull a Rip Van Winkle trick and step outside of contact with the online world for a prolonged period? Iranian blogger, Hossein Derakhshan, did just that from 2008 – 2014 although in a far less romanticised manner than Washington Irving’s story. He was jailed in Iran for his blogging and recently wrote a piece for The Guardian on what he observed on returning online, entitled Iran’s blogfather: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are killing the web. As you might guess from the title, he sees decline rather than improvement.
I miss when people took time to be exposed to opinions other than their own, and bothered to read more than a paragraph or 140 characters. I miss the days when I could write something on my own blog, publish on my own domain, without taking an equal time to promote it on numerous social networks; when nobody cared about likes and reshares, and best time to post.
For me, self-hosted blogging is still central. If you follow my Twitter stream or keep up with me on Facebook, you might have spotted that the majority of what I contribute consists of automatic repostings of my blog entries. On the other hand, I have noticed that most of the response I get comes from within the gardens of those Social Media services rather that directly on my blog and that, from the long list of people I follow online, only a few are still regularly active.
Maintaining my own blog takes a certain amount of technical skill and a rather inexplicable degree of perseverance in sticking with it. However, when one of those rumours that go round about Facebook charging for access, at least I’ll still have all the pieces of my posting in my possession. I imagine that most of my online friends and contacts won’t make it to the end of this article because Twitter only takes the post title and link and Facebook feed from that. If you do though, why not think about starting a blog of your own or rejuvenating one you’ve let languish. I think Derakhshan makes a good argument but the blogosphere isn’t entirely dead and I’m keen to see it revived.