Back in October, I put some thoughts out on LinkedIn about the future of social media and if we’re headed toward a renaissance of the blog. Given the public agita about the current social media landscape and the associated issues regarding content moderation, ownership of those platforms, and bullying and minimization of minority communities.
Personally, while it had been festering for some time, I finally pulled the plug on my use of Twitter. While I had been using it for 15 years, it felt to me like it had run its course and was far more noise than signal. And, to be absolutely fair, the whiplash changes to that platform under its new ownership helped push me to making this decision. It doesn’t feel like a huge loss for me.
The heir apparent to Twitter seems to be Mastodon, but I’m not sure if I’ll go on that. Not because I have issues with that tech stack – it sounds fantastic and totally dismantles the so-called web3 notion that anything decentralized has to have blockchain technology and some sort of transactional monetization to work – but because I’m not sure if I need to be on that. You might recall my essay on Five for the New Year 2023, in which I said one of the things I’m going to work on in 2023 is limiting digital distractions. It’s also why I want to spend my time in this world, and not some digital “metaverse” world that is definitely totally happening* at some point in the future.
I’m therefore led to make the following bold proposition: One of the major moments in the changing of the internet from independent communities to being controlled by a handful of social media companies was when Google killed Google Reader ten years ago. Instead of a choose-your-own Internet that was based on what you wanted to read from the sites and sources you chose, social media companies sucked us in to their sites and subjected us to their algorithms and rage. If you wanted the latest news from major news organizations, you are left to the whims of the social media networks whether they’d even allow it, or if the platforms were even telling publishers the truth. And that all led to the advertising dollars going to the websites that got the most views, which were not the traditional journalism outlets and newspapers, but rather internet content farms.
I digress. This isn’t about my views on the internet, but on blogging specifically and my proposition that blogging will see a renaissance in 2023. I realize my blog is a special case, because this is not a revenue-generating operation for me. With platforms like WordPress still out there, and even with some free or relatively inexpensive, there’s no barrier to entry.
I’ve been at this for well over a decade now, and I think I quite like it. In 2023, it takes a renewed interest with more frequent essays and columns, and frequent photography. The best part? It’s mine. Not Meta’s or Twitter’s.