I have used every blogging platform at one time or another: I still use wordpress; I tried blogger; I batted my paws at tumblr; I post silly selfies to intragram like a pretentious fool; I promote my writing and my literary journal at twitter; I use facebook to keep in touch with the people in the four other countries I have lived. I have found returning to lj-style blogging here at dreamwidth incredibly interesting, and I have few thoughts on why it has been:
- At first, I chalked it up to nostalgia and simplicity--there is a necessarily minimalist aesthetic to this kind of blogging. I started using this in 2001, although my best-friend got me reading it as early 1999. She kept her blog running until just before I left for the Republic of Korea. I remember remarking to her about "the weird narcissism of keeping a public journal" as I started training in anthropology and journalism in Uni. We all have our small hypocrisies, but I was also wrong about that. As a form of social media, LJ style blogging was, in some ways, the least shallowly narcissistic form of social media, in that requires sustained engagement with others and some patience with the longer-form thoughts of others.
- The facebook algorithm has been much maligned as "social media creating echo chambers" which it does. However, this has been built into the media since about 2011. When Facebook encourages large friends lists so you can see pictures, market yourself, etc., but it means no one can management them all. There the likes and sharing became a proxy for what would be prioritized in your feed. Not just who says it, but what they say. You can get around this, but it is difficult. Furthermore, to encourage selling access, the promotion of personal blogs and the notes function have been deliberately made less efficient. So you get what facebook thinks you already want, you get lots of it, and you get lots of centralized functionality like the days of AOL or Compuserve for those of us who remember those services. My facebook feed resembles my most recent rant, not even a good sub-section of everyone I know; the results of this leveling has been increased envy though, and more and more of my Facebook friends, particularly the political active ones, have to regularly nuke their profiles and use only messenger, which remains the best way to contact non-local friends. IN fact, multiple studies show that more facebook usage correlates STRONGLY to depression. This kind of status anxiety didn't seem to emerge as much as journaling because people tended to be more intimate and even banal about what they say in writing versus what they show.
- There is little way to make this kind of blogging "profitable" so the need to turn everything into clickbait just isn't there. It's hard to fight though in more public blogging where you can make a social media personality turn into a larger media figure. As a podcaster and writer, making hyperbolic attacks on the sloppiness of Neil Degrasse-Tyson or commenting on people misunderstanding Trump developments with highly charged titles got my blog hits, but also shallowed out a lot of what I was writing. Getting people to think critically about the difference between Al-jazeera in English (which is highly "left-liberal") and Al-jazeera in Arabic, which more clearly reflects the concerns of the Qatari state and its relationship to conservative Islamic elements, and why that might be case, didn't get nearly as much hits as making fun of a meme or using obscene amounts of hyperbole.