Another go at writing on the web
Over the last few years, I feel the word “blog” and “blogging” are being slowly phased out thanks to the explosion of social media (and the associated ADHD). Like any millenial who grew with the web from the late 90s, I’ve explored many platforms online for writing (ranting) over the years and as with any media, viewership dictates whether a medium thrives or not. I hope this post would make a good justification of why blogging isn’t dead yet and will still continue to thrive.
When sites like Twitter or identi.ca propped up in the scene of social networking, they were known as “microblogging” sites. Little did we know that these sites along with the behemoth, Facebook would eat much into the market share of traditional blogging sites like Blogger and WordPress. I remember jokingly mentioning to friends that Twitter would fade away soon given its restriction to 140 characters. Little did I know that Twitter and Facebook would bring down the attention span of an entire generation thereby making 140 characters the norm and a full-fledged blog post, an exception.
Nevertheless, as I mentioned, viewership dictates existance. Overtime, I, like many others, relied on Facebook to kill my time on the Internet. Why? All my friends are there. All the new stuff gets shared there. Any important breaking news – even before the news outlets get wind of it; thanks to citizen journalism, is there on Facebook and Twitter. As time progressed, I too started sharing most of my rants and thoughts on Facebook but in my mind still considering the platform a blogging platform. I hardly realized my mistake until very recently.
While Facebook offers good viewership and can help emphasize the cue-routine-reward loop for writing, it also probably is the worst platform to write. The reason – again the viewership. Most of the people who wade through the news feed are interested in consuming byte sized chunks, or a short 1 minute video or a picture to like. When a huge post worthy of a blog hits the average Facebook user, they either choose to skip it, or react to it in a positive way just so that you are not disappointed or end up trolling it. As a sincere blogger looking to express their views and engage in a fruitful discussion with your friends and followers, the last thing you want is an incessant troll pouncing on your post with a sly comment or a seemingly funny meme just so that they can garner some likes for their reply to soothe their inability to parse a post and understand what it tries to convey owing to their mustard sized attention span. While trolling has been part of the web for a long time, even before the advent of Facebook and Twitter, these platforms have taken it to the next level. In the pre-Facebook days, trolls were mostly unknown entities lurking the web, Facebook has brought out the inherent troll in everyone – you, your near and dears as well.
My past experiences with trolls have made me realize that they might be the antidote to save blogging from the clutches of Facebook. Why you ask? Most of these trolls
- are the least bit interested to have a good conversation about the content of your post
- have very short attention spans and can hardly get through a paragraph of written text
- don’t frequent traditional blogging platforms like wordpress
- even if they do, their attention spans make them close the tab within 20 seconds
- there is no incentive for them to troll because there are no ‘likes’ to fetch for replies
Thus, I’ve come to realize that to actually write about something deep and dear to oneself, Facebook is not the platform and can never substitute a traditional blog.