I’m reappraising my blog. When I first started blogging on Thursday August 11th, 2005 the world was a very different place. I started initially as a living example of how easy blogging was during an RBI Editor’s Conference. It did an excellent job. So much so, that I kept blogging regularly to the largely internal RBI editorial audience and the blog evolved from there.
In the beginning I used the blog to point to things on the web which I felt would be important for journalists in a media company to know. I found these either through searches or, more often than not, through my newsreader which was consuming the feeds from lots and lots of blogs across the world.
But that function has long since been usurped by Twitter and Facebook. Google canned Google Reader at the beginning of 2003 and so I, like many, moved to Feedly. However, I find I rarely look at my newsreader any more. And mostly I simply re-tweet a link to something that has caught my eye. And practically every site makes it really easy to do this through “Tweet This” buttons.
Although my blog evolved over the years to include many longer and, I like to think, more thoughtful posts, the time I spent keeping it up diminished as the alternatives proliferated. I am now on Facebook, Twitter and, half-heartedly, Google+.
Recently, however, I’ve started to rethink, partly inspired an excellent presentation which Aral Balkan gave at the RSA (and again – more or less – at Thinking Digital). Called “Free is a Lie”, the premise is that the business model of free is leading to “digital feudalism” as we give away more and more of our privacy in return for “free” services. He argues passionately for well designed, independent tools (phones, social networks, messaging systems) which can compete with Google and Facebook but which fundamentally respect the privacy of the individual.
One of my early journalist colleagues got in touch recently to encourage me to sign up to her blog Notes On A Spanish Valley. It was really nice to see a blog being used as it used to be – a mixture of pictures from the location, thoughts on life, even recipes – some of which I have cooked and which have joined the repertoire. She could have done this through Facebook, but somehow all mixed up together in her own style on the blog she designed it is much more powerful and personal.
Robert Scoble, one of the pioneers of blogging, recently announced he had given up blogging and moved completely to social media. I realised that I was unintentionally sliding down that same path.
And I realised that I didn’t want to.
So, I’ve decided to try to come back to my blog with more persistence. And I’ve decided to migrate it from Blogger where it’s been since the beginning and move onto the WordPress platform. The usual reason people do this is for the increased flexibility of WP. For me, though, it is more because Blogger is firmly part of Google and I have to sign in with by ubiquitous Google username and password to use it. Aral Balkan’s talk has make me wary of this, so this is my first small step away from the big platforms.
If I make the move smoothly, nothing should change. If not, well, time will tell!