How we write online has drastically changed (and improved) since blogging software first began being offered in the late 1990s. Up until then, people had to write in HTML and figure out how to set up a website to publish their words of wisdom. After Blogger, things changed. Just about anyone could set up a blog, especially since you didn’t have to know anything about HTML. It was easy and quick; write and save to an online form and within seconds your words would wrap around the globe.
And then, things starting changing with the advent of social networks. Tools like Twitter and Facebook transformed how we communicated–instantaneously using a limited number of characters. The word “microblogging” came into vogue, and people started posting and sharing those posts more quickly and with more power than through traditional blogging. Has this changed how we view blogging?
There are still major differences between posting to Twitter and blogging on WordPress. Blogging software provides you with a polished and professional website, along with navigation tools and customization. You can post as many words as you want. And you don’t need to be a member of a social network to read and write posts.
However, there are instances where using a social network either in conjunction with or as a substitute for your blog makes sense. When posting to a blog, you might want to enable instant updates about your new posts to your Twitter, Facebook, G+ and other social networks. Or, you can decide to post to your G+ Home page and then Tweet that post.
I guess the main conclusion to this confusion is that whatever you use, you can create an audience for your writing and add to your social networks. In fact, you may decide to have several types of blogs or online writing spaces.
Perhaps you are collecting recipes for a tailgate party and feel that Pinterest would work best. Or, you are writing your memoirs and want them to be highly visible and accessible, deciding to go with Blogger or WordPress. You might want to communicate with your students about upcoming homework assignment reminders and use your class Twitter feed. For your videos, you might want to share and comment through your YouTube channel. For a photo album, you might want to share using G+, especially since uploading of images is a no-brainer when using your mobile device.
Blogging is so much more than posting your thoughts online. It can include sharing images, videos, audio files, podcasts, embedding content from other sites, polling, advertising, commerce, publishing books, creating online newspapers, and stuff I don’t even know about yet. And blogging software isn’t just a series of online forms anymore. It’s sophisticated and powerful—something you can use to build a website that includes powerful dynamic features.
So my argument is that we need an expanded view of blogging today. Blogging is an activity that can showcase many media, serve many purposes, and allow us to express ourselves in multiple formats. It is an activity and a tool—something we can use to empower people, transform lives, and make the world a better place. Of course, not all blogs follow these high standards. But then again, we have the choice to not read them.
What are your current thoughts on blogging and blogging platforms? Has your blogging changed over time?