Monique Judge, the Verge:
In the beginning, there were blogs, and they were the original social web. We built community. We found our people. We wrote personally. We wrote frequently. We self-policed, and we linked to each other so that newbies could discover new and good blogs.
I want to go back there.
Good news for my readers: you are already there.
[…] The more I think and read about it, the more I’m convinced that there’s no solution to the centralisation issue we’re currently facing. And that’s because I think that fundamentally people are, when it comes to the internet, lazy. And gathering where everyone else is definitely seems easier. It’s also easier to delegate the job of moderating and policing to someone else and so as a result people will inevitably cluster around a few big websites, no matter what infrastructure we build.
One thing Judge does not really mention is how, pre-social media, it used to be difficult to make people aware of your blog. You could write and publish all you wanted but it sometimes felt Sysephian when your only audience were a handful of real-life friends and the few people who clicked on your profile on a forum, often leading to ill maintenance. Apologies for not posting in a while were a recurring theme.
Now we have the opposite problem: it is so easy to find other people and everything they have ever posted to a platform that it is, itself, a problem — recall Chris Hayes’ “On the Internet, We’re Always Famous”. That does not mean blogging went away — I do not think it did — but it changed form and became a stream-of-consciousness on someone else’s website against which ads for cereal and crappy cookware could be sold. To build upon what Moreale writes, the people who actually want to maintain a website are a minority. Even if you use that Squarespace offer code to get “your own” website, you are still publishing on a third-party platform.
By all means, please start your own blog and encourage others to do so. But let us not pretend this is what most people actually want to be doing. We are all busy and maintaining a website when the house needs to be cleaned and people need to be fed is a terrible waste of time. Silos suck over the long term, but at least they are easy.
These are good companion pieces to the (previously linked) “Stop Talking to Each Other and Start Buying Things”.