Compared alongside older telecom tech like email, blogs are still the new kid on the block, but they’ve gained a storied tradition and venerated practices held dear by many. There are as many different blogs as people who use them. And even in the age of social media supremacy, blogs remain a viable option for those have a message to share.
But in the legacy media, all we ever hear about is tweets, tweets, and more tweets. Maybe that’s because celebrities tweet, or maybe because tweets are so little. Regardless of the reasons why, we’re still waiting on the appearance of the next blogger superstar. Will it be you?
Blogging in The Old Days
Blogging hasn’t changed much since the 90s when it first emerged: a website that automatically generates new pages called posts, dated, and displayed in reverse chronological order (newest at the top).
The hallmark of blogging, aside from the technical traits, has always been the journalistic, conversational tone of bloggers. Once known as the blogosphere, an active community of bloggers who shared and commented on each others’ posts, the landscape for blogs has taken on dizzying and competing forms. But the the blogger voice remains a constant fixture.
For some, a blog is a personal space for sharing experiences and ideas, and for others it’s a massive enterprise composed of hundreds of contributors from all over the world. Meanwhile, some nefarious tricksters use blogs as elaborate spam traps meant to harm and deceive consumers.
In the early 2000s, blogs blossomed as the techno-futurist dream alternative to the legacy media. For the first time ever, readers had instant access to a thoughtful, deeply personal take on the news of the day, a favorite book or recipe, or the occasional angry tirade. And the readers could respond via comment form. There were even comments commenting on other comments. While some bloggers forbid commenting, many of the diehards considered it an inextricable part of the blogosphere, and they even refused to edit the feedback they received—including, perhaps most importantly, opinions that were diametrically opposed to their own. In no way imposing barriers, blogs were for all peoples at all times and in all places. All you needed was some web hosting and a blogging program. At the time, your best options were Movable Type and WordPress. (The latter would soon outshine the other.) And, if you weren’t interested in finding hosting, there were free options like Blogger and WordPress.com. In a matter of minutes, you’d find yourself floating in the blogosphere.
And blog superstars abounded!
The Social Bump
But there was trouble for blogs on the horizon.
After only a few years of blog supremacy, social media services began to appear. Sites like MySpace took bits and pieces from blogging, bulletin boards, and other social Internet activities and merged them into one unified, simplified, watered-down experience.
These new social sites lacked the potency and creativity of a unique blog page, but they made the process of getting online easier for the uninitiated, removing important obstacles like web hosting and the responsibility of crafting original, well-written content. Instead, you could “Friend” another user, effectively linking your two pages to each other, and indulge in a rather odious activity that would become known as cyber-stalking. You could even rank-order friends by your own idiosyncratic criteria.
Facebook took the friending to the next level and did two things that would forever change the social media landscape: they added a Like button, and put their app on your phone. Now, there was no need to read through a blog post in order to get an instant hit of other minds, there was a constant feed of activity tailored to your unique interests.
And yet, in the face of the social media juggernaut, the blogosphere survives and thrives. We have political bloggers, mommy bloggers, business bloggers, video game bloggers, and many of these earning significant income from their websites. There’s likely a blog for every major media sector you can name.
Starting a Blog in 2019
Blogs are just as viable today as ever. And they still provide a significant return on investment for anyone willing to jump in and get their hands dirty. WordPress, which is still a blogging application at its heart, is behind most of the websites you’ll visit every day.
Starting a blog has never been easier. All of the options you had in the old days are still available today. And interesting new forms have come about. For example, there’s no longer a big difference between self-hosting a WordPress blog or using WordPress.com. New hybrid WordPress Hosting accounts allow you to reap the benefits of speed and ease that go along with hosted WordPress and the freedom and flexibility of self-hosted.
Whatever your business or interests, starting a blog can give you the kind of long term return on investment to keep your message viable in the years ahead.