Friday, October 14, 2016

Long Hiatus

I significantly reduced my level of blogging quite some time ago. This blog had quite a bit of traffic for new content for quite a few years and then traffic tapered off. I discovered later that the blog had been misidentified by Google as having spam content -- but that was about a year after the problem originated. Google resolved the issue quickly, but the traffic did not return.

I continued blogging regularly, but I never again achieved the level of engagement that attracted me to the platform in the first place. I did discuss some of my post offline and through email, but I don't need to maintain a blog to have those conversations. I appreciated those who continued to follow and comment on my blog, so if any of them are passing by to read this I'm sorry for disappearing.

When I decided to move away from blogging, it was also due to my perception that blogging has become just another publishing platform. In the early days, it was a very dynamic environment for sharing ideas, particularly in long form, with people reading and commenting on each other's blogs, linking to each other, and creating something that seemed not so much like a community of people, but a community of ideas.

With the evolution of the Internet, it seemed that much of the conversation moved to the short form. Twitter, love it or hate it, is the anti-blogging platform. Many people shifted their discussion of politics to Facebook, but... the signal to noise ratio is problematic. Some blogs have continued to build or maintain communities, but the manner in which Google gave up its news reader service and the gradual abandonment of RSS feeds by some major website reflects the larger changes in the Internet and how people share ideas.

I am not going to go so far as to say that blogging is dead, but I will say this: It's really now primarily a self-publishing platform, a simple-to-use CMS (content management system), and if you're starting a site you need to consider your other options -- be that a more complex content management system, or an alternative built around the present, dominant social media websites. I don't suggest hitching your entire wagon to somebody else's star, as if that star should fall you'll go down along with it but, should you go in that direction, you probably have a pretty good idea about which social media sites are likely to be around for the longer-term.

If you have any thoughts on the direction of the Internet and the sharing of information in the era of social media, please share a comment.

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