The Benefits of Blogging
As part of the Bring Back Blogging campaign, during the month of January I will be publishing three posts about blogging. Be sure to check out the Bring Back Blogging homepage for more information about the campaign and links to other participating bloggers.
Blogs were the 'it' thing in the late 90's and early 2000's. Then came the introduction of centralized social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. When these sites took-off, many people abandoned their blogs and personal websites for the uniformity and ease of a centralized service with a rapidly growing user base. Eventually, blogging culture as we knew it disappeared to the far corners of the internet, kept alive by small groups of enthusiasts and believers in the form.
Internet culture changed with the creation and proliferation of centralized social media and microblogging, and during this era our online values changed as well. Where many bloggers in the past created for creation's sake, the ad-driven revenue models of new social media sites drove creators to create for the purposes of virality, “likes”, and “shares”.
I want to avoid diving too far into the murky waters of the pros and cons of centralized social media in this post. Rather, I would like to focus on some of the benefits of bringing blogging culture back into the mainstream.
A Personal Place on the Internet
When you start a blog, you're effectively staking a claim to your own little corner of the internet. In this little virtual plot of cyberspace, you're free to express yourself how you'd like.
When we publish our thoughts and express ourselves on centralized social media platforms, we're merely “renting” space on the internet from large corporations. You are confined by the rules and restrictions of the platform, and at a moment's notice you can be unceremoniously “evicted”. When you build your personal space on a social media platform, you are at the mercy of an entity that sees your presence on their platform as a revenue generator and not as an individual.
Creating your own blog or website may be more difficult than creating a profile on a social media platform, but the end result is a significantly more personalized space that you can claim as your own.
Another major benefit of starting your own personal blog outside the constraints of a centralized social media platform is increased mobility. Mobility is the ability to move from one platform to another with all your content, work, and connections.
Because of the siloed nature of centralized social media, moving is made much more difficult. Exporting your content and connections from one platform to another is nearly impossible because these proprietary platforms lock your content and connections to within the platform.
When it comes to the mobility of content on a personal blog, changing platforms is simply a matter of moving files from one place to another.
Blogging culture also cultivates more organic connections. On siloed social media platforms connections are often algorithmically driven and those connections are limited to the platform itself. When you have your own personal blog, you make connections through real, personal interactions. For example, if you have your email listed on your blog where people can connect with you, that connection will go with you wherever you move your blog.
Developing organic connections and having complete control over your content gives you freedom you wouldn't otherwise get on a centralized social media platform.
Encouraging Independent Expression
When we stake a claim on our own little plot of the internet, we are free to express ourselves in ways we otherwise cannot on centralized social media platforms.
Many of us spend a significant amount of time online. Our online presence should be as unique as we are in the real world. We change the way we dress and carry ourselves to express our personality and individuality, yet we conform to the rules and limitations of social media platforms where we express ourselves just a frequently when we share our pictures and words with the world.
With a personal blog, one can express oneself and carry their vibrant personality from the real world into the digital world. Your written posts can range from a single word to a three thousand word essay, and your pictures can be in whatever format and in whatever dimensions you like.
The internet should be a place filled to the brim with individual uniqueness, and personal blogs are a great way to make that happen.
Starting a blog means you get to take back ownership of your online identity. With that freedom, you can more easily express your individuality and make more choices about where and how you want to share that online.
In my next post I will discuss how and where you can start your own blog.