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:
- “Messiah Was Born Here! Get Commemorative Action Figure!” – about the Archbishop of Canterbury and the historical Jesus
- “John Rambo, Humanitarian?” – about Rambo obviously!
- “Hey, Is This the Church Where They Have Keg Parties?” – addressing some misconceptions that were circulating about our congregation.
- “The Painful Shallowness of the Christian Audience” – about Christian mass media
- “Echoes of Nuremberg” – the danger of having a personality cult around the chief executive
- “My Bill Clinton Confession” – yeah, what it sounds like
- “New Coke and Other Terrible Ideas” – thoughts on the problem with customer surveys
- “Medieval Madness: Marriages Made in Hell” – the Borgia and the current state of marriage
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.