Has Social Media Replaced Personal Blogging?

When I first started blogging back in 2006, it was on a Myspace page. (You should be warned that this blog went through some dark place and I’m not terribly proud of some of the things I wrote along the way.) Before blogging was cool, I had run something of a personal email journal I called “Time to Think”. I would sign the emails as Qoheleth, the Hebrew word for preacher. Usually, I wrote one to three entries per week and sent them to friends and family.

“Time to Think” lasted from October 2001 until November 2002. During that time, I wrote what amounts to 175 pages of devotional thoughts that were seen by next to no one. All the same, it was an exercise that I felt I needed to engage in for that time. Writing the entries helped me sort through some really difficult questions I was dealing with.

Making the switch to blogging on WordPress instead of a social media like Myspace was an intentional decision. The blog was meant to be the center point of my conversations – a place where I could express thoughts and questions on subjects that mattered to me. It was less about connecting with people and more about just getting things down in a semi-permanent format.

In essence, you could say that I stumbled upon blogging. I started doing it because I had a terrible time keeping a journal. So, I took the “log” part of a blog very seriously, and I journaled online. This got me into some hot water because I would write things and publish them without thinking. It alienated a lot of folks – although surprisingly few of them ever took the matter up with me personally. (Later on, I was convicted about the offenses I caused, and I wrote letters to several people I felt I had wronged and asked their forgiveness.)

Since launching this blog as “Unorthodox Faith” in November 2007, it has been quite a journey. It has included posts like:

Well, you get the idea.

In the past year or so, however, I have felt as if blogging is giving way to social networks. Tumblr now has more subscribers than WordPress, and most of the folks who read my blog read from Facebook. Facebook itself has over 500 million subscribers, and I personally have over 600 friends. That means that anything I post on Facebook reaches more people in a day than my blog reaches in a month.

Personally, I love the social media. Facebook and Twitter have gotten me in touch with people I haven’t seen in years, and keeps me in contact with them. At the same time, there is simply so much going on in a place like Facebook that it is easy to lose the priority and value of the contributions something like the blog might have.

So, what do you think? Is social media replacing blogging? Are we living in smaller and smaller snippets of relationship rather than in longer formats? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

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4 thoughts on “Has Social Media Replaced Personal Blogging?

  1. The great thing about Facebook is that its gotten me in touch with people I haven’t seen in years, and keeps me in contact with them. The bad news is gotten me in touch with people I haven’t seen in years, and keeps me in contact with them.

  2. I think the two have always been interconnected. Remember xanga? There has always been a social aspect to blogging… with the emergence of facebook/twitter, people who were blogging primarily to be social are probably just being social. I would say there’s still a place for blogging that can be most effectively leveraged when combined with use of other social media.

  3. Different social media serve different functions that can be neatly integrated, depending on the communications goal. For essayists, myself included, blogging provided an outlet as print options began to disappear. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn offered a way to engage in conversation because of the shorter/limited word count. Writers who enjoy conversation (think: virtual salon) and community-building tend to use Twitter and Facebook for exactly that.

  4. I find that Facebook replaces most of the minor details of life that I used to BLOG about (and lowers the bar for what constitutes as writing-worthy). However, I still go to my BLOG for a real discussion or something at length, or something I want to preserve “my way” forever. Because I cross-post to my FB account, I find that most people leave comments on FB rather than the BLOG itself.

    But, I do have to agree that Facebook sucks away time and motivation from things that I used to BLOG about.

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