Anyone could talk, even though not everyone was as skilled a rhetorician (or even grammarian) as the professionals populating the pages of professional newspapers. The imperfections of our posts, we hoped, would help legitimize a more human, less controlled form of public speech.
But, we thought, the most important challenge blogging posed was to the idea of the self in self-expression. Blogging was more about connecting with others than about expressing ourselves. Truth, we thought, was more likely to live in webs of ideas and responses than in the mouth of any one individual braying from soapbox, whether that soapbox was The New York Times or a blogger read by five people. By linking and commenting, we were consciously building a social space for voices in conversation.
An op-ed earlier a few months ago in the Boston Globe tries to explain why blogging still matters. I’ve started writing on here again on a regular basis—16 days in a row now—and I’ve spoken at conference (notably at the 2015 Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference) on the state of blogging.
Personal content creation is something quasi-sacred to me. It is not only a person’s externally unfiltered self-expression and voice—branding in the business sense, but it is something that is often close to their soul. It belongs to them. They have a special piece of ownership in it, either in whole as I do on my very own site or in part as wen I write for a multi-author blog.
I’ve written on this site in a blog form since 2002. Even being very active on Twitter, moderately so on Facebook, and with an account on Medium, this is my home. I want to own my self-expression. I don’t want it to be dictated to me by the particular marketing gains that Facebook hopes to realize. The independence of blogging is still important.
This is true for strictly personal sites or for single-subject sites. Blogging isn’t as trendy as it was before, but it is more critical then before in maintaining an independent voice online. The whims of social media can go in many directions. New platforms are born and die regularly. I still have a great time engaging on different platforms—new, old, active, or not (howdy Plurk!)—but I do so fully aware that the creative self-expression that I truly care about lives here on my own blog.