Ton’s post on 15 Years of Blogging made me realise that I had reached similar milestone all the way back in June.
From all my online experiences blogging has given me the most. A habit to write regularly, a space to look back at my own progress, a network of people that I feel connected to even if we don’t interact much right now. It has also given me a benchmark of what I’d like to experience in an online social space.
That brings me to more blogging, less Facebook again. It’s not an easy target, given the addictive nature of social networks in general and easyness, access rights control and instant gratification of sharing little moments on FB. What also doesn’t help is that FB managed to get different groups of my social contacts in one place.
- It helps to reach parts of our family in different countries in a way I didn’t managed to reach with photos on Flickr.
- It gives me access to my friends that were previously locked in Russian social networks.
- It slowly takes the best out of my Russian-language network on Livejournal, which is understandable, but so hard to see given the selective algorithms and lack of proper access to older posts on FB.
- It has a lot of people from my “old times” blogging and professional network, that are hard to reach via blogs now since my RSS reading habits broke and lots of people are hardly blogging anyway.
- And it is the primary communication space for my homeschooling networks. In a way it is my work instrument now, where lots of learning and sharing happens (behind the closed doors of Dutch homeschooling groups), where appointments and events are made, details are discussed in a chat and photos are shared without all the effort that shooting and sharing publicly accessible photo with many kids require.
A lot of it comes back to the broad reach of FB that I haven’t seen in any other platform I used so far and the easiness of having everyone accessible from one place while controlling visibility of a particular piece of content. Ton also has lots of good points on the last one:
To me FB, while certainly exploiting my data, is a ‘safer’ space for that (or at least succeeds in pretending to be), to the extent it allows me to limit the visibility of my postings. The ability to determine who can see my FB postings (friends, friends of friends, public) is something I intensively use (although I don’t have my FB contacts grouped into different layers, as I could do). Now I could post tumblerlike on my own blog, but would not be able to limit visibility of that material (other than by the virtue of no-one bothering to visit my site). That my own blog content is often abstract is partly because it is all publicly available. To share other things I do, I would want to be able to determine its initial social distribution.
So, is there a way out? I don’t know yet, but there are several things that make sense to work on and Ton’s post makes me thinking deeper on those.
- Just blogging. Sharing something here gives me presence outside of FB, as well as reliable archives.
- Sharing small personal things as a separate category with the possibilities of configuring visibility of it. Examples of Elmine, Ton and tech details from Ton.
- Rebuilding blog reading habits and creating conditions that help others to stay updated with my own weblog (lots of tips from Peter Rukavina).
- Exploring alternatives to FB such as Diaspora and Mastodon.
- Building a semi-closed sharing space for the kids in our homeschooling network (which would have a bunch of education-related benefits) to see if we can reach momentum with that.
See also (how ironic): discussion on FB.