Everybody I know blogs on Facebook. Well, not everyone. And they're not blogging per se. Not officially; it wouldn't be sanctioned by the governing bodies.
No, what they're doing is keeping link-rich journals of ideas and thoughts and news that they update several times a day, inviting comments and conversation from a community of users with similar interests. So they're ... journaling ... writing ... linking .... sharing ....keeping a daily log of thoughts and activities on the web. A sort of web log.
Thousands of 'em. People who don't know what Typepad or Wordpress are, as well as people who are ignoring their perfectly good Typepad and Wordpress log-ins for this - dare we say - fun, connected publishing platform.
[Twitter time out! Twitter time out!]
OK, yes I know Tweeting is the new blogging, Miss Digerati. No need to assail me in 140 characters or less. And cool your tinyurls for a second, willya? No one's dissing your platform of choice. Twitter is clean and neat and simple and open - perfect for the top ten percent of the top ten percent of users who are extremely comfortable with working the pipes of new media themselves (and scores of copycat politicians, marketing pretenders and celebrity flacks). So keep up the banter and the conversation over there. I like it too! (Even if growth is flattening out). But if you could do everyone one simple favor and de-couple your Twitter accounts from your Facebook log-ins, please? The myriad @ and RT jargon is slowing down what is quickly becoming the go-to conversation for the slightly-less-wired-than-thou crowd.
[Twitter time out ends]
Back to this blogging question: is Facebook killing the run-of-the-mill personal blog? Well, maybe not dead - but it's making a dent. Take three of my favorite blogging voices: the venerable Lance Mannion, everybody's favorite Blue Girl, and the ardent Viscount LaCarte. The Viscount - and I don't think it's a crime on the level of Ed Whelan's infamous outing to say the "Viscount" is one Michael Versaci, a great music fan and a fun dude to grab a beer with - anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the Viscount's most recent post on what was, back in the glory days, a well-trodden patch of XML, covers (briefly) the inauguration of Barack Obama. In blog years, that's the 1950s. In Facebook/Twitter years, we're lookin' at flying pterodactyls all over Manhattan. Yet there's the Viscount himself (as Michael, go ahead and friend him, tell him I sent ya) blogging like a fiend on Facebook - in short form, like the old days - riffing on Joni Mitchell, the First Amendment, and David Bowie and arguing up a storm.
Now, take Lance and Blue Girl. Both are still regular bloggers. Both of 'em feed that monster almost daily. Both have loyal readers and commenters. And yet...they're also blogging like fiends on Facebook. Some good stuff, too - short form, with tons of video and links and conversation. Indeed, yesterday, Blue Girl (whose real name is ... oh no you don't, I know the rules) posted on Facebook about this very question:
Is Facebook killing blogs? You bloggers out there worried about that? Have you stopped reading the blogs you always read after you signed up here? Is maintaining your blog harder because you feel no one's reading cuz they're taking quizzes on Facebook? I'd hate to see my favorite writers close up shop because of this social networking phenomenon. It would be such a loss.
The answer was pretty much "yes, to all of the above" - with one big caveat: lots of bloggers are cross-posting their links to Facebook and simply extending the conversation there. As Blue Girl noted, "I've already connected with some new great, creative people so that's definitely a positive." And BG linked to a cranky post by (the more than occasionally cranky) blogger Bob of Unbearable Lightness fame, who ranted thusly:
I think that horrid, yet ubiquitous
internet social networking hive, "Facebook," is killing blogs.
Pre-Facebook I post on becoming a gramps and I woulda got 30 plus
comments, easy. My readership and hits are down and I blame Facebook.
Well, Facebook and perhaps my less than scintillating writing these
I'm not whining as much as observing. I'm whining a little, I guess. Facebook, as a social networking site, is less narcissistic than a blog in concept, in execution maybe not much different, but it is certainly egalitarian and exclusive at the same time. Maybe that is what the internet cruiser and content producer wants these days. Who knows. I'm going on a one day at a time program with this blog to see if I stay engaged or just give it up to the droning beehive of the Faceborg Collective.
There is a natural tendency of long-time bloggers to think of themselves as pioneers, as leaders. Sure, it's the self-anointed flavor but what the heck, we stepped forward in '04 or '05 and took a stand and wrote thousands of words! These pissant social media types join Facebook, post their crummy thoughts, post their hideous videos, and start this massive conversation online. The nerve.
And yet, if you study closely some of the really early daguerreotypes of blogging, you'll see something that looks really familiar - frequent stacks of really short posts, laden with links and the occasional comment, knitting discreet communities into lively conversations. It's just that the masses have taken to this phenomenon now, in their Faceborg Collective and I think you have to ask: is that such a bad thing?
In any case, you've probably noticed a big uptick in production on This Old Blog. It's 'cos I have to have a place to develop some content ... that I can post over on Facebook.