Blogging is back

[Post updated on August 8, 2023]

I thought I would never say this: blogging is back! Although they never left completely, a return to the origins that the old guard celebrates is perceived in the environment.

The return of blogging

I am going to argue in the following points why I think (probably wrong way) that blogs are back.

The decline of Twitter. Someone acquired Twitter to destroy it. But even though, as Martin Weller says in Blogs are back baby, that was not true; the damage has already been done and many people have migrated to other cities. And although there is a chasm between Twitter and Mastodon, many of us realized that the stinky it’s more like what we envisioned when we did the blogging revolution.

Elon Musk wants to turn X (this is what the missing blue bird’s social network is now called) into a general purpose app (messaging, finance, etc.) similar to WebChat. X’s plummet is unstoppable.

We no longer believe in social media. Of course there are still many social media users. But in my case, I stopped using Facebook and Twitter as a meeting point with my community of followers. I deleted my Pinterest, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. And on Instagram, I only upload photos from time to time, in an attempt -perhaps- to recover the sensations of the early days. All this is due to excessive marketing, and the perception that everyone is little involved.

My presence on Twitter is now barely testimonial, waiting with sadness and nostalgia for the end of a network that essentially irrelevant in my life (in spanish).

The future of the network is decentralization. Call it fediverso, indieweb or whatever you want, but after having been abducted by centralized social tools and once we have reached the end of the road (to which the crisis of thebird site ), a decentralized network of nodes, interconnected with each other, seems to be the only viable solution to the problem of extreme commercialization, user submission, trolls, fake news, etc. A sigh of relief is what you feel when you realize that any one of those nodes can be a simple blog, and still have the ability to federate with any other node on the network.

If you need an introduction to Mastodon and how to integrate it with WordPress, I’ve posted a technical guide divided into four parts.

A place of your own where you have all the control. In a third-party social network, you, your data and metadata are the product. You are not in control of what you post and you are not even in control of what you want to see or read. What did you say, Alfonso Alcántara (@yoriento), «without a blog you are digitally homeless, spent all day on social networks«. On the contrary, a blog is an independent but federable and syndicable node, with which you can implement your digital identity without any external influence, without dominant algorithms and absolutely free.

RSS still works and makes syndication easy and simple. Another reason to intuit that blogs are back is that, in the context of decentralized networks, people are hearing a lot about RSS again (Really Simple Syndication or, in Spanish, Really simple syndication). The format allows content to be distributed -without the need for a browser- using programs -called aggregators news- and was very important in the sweet days of blogs. It never stopped being used, thanks -above all- to podcasting, since in this medium it is essential to share audio on the different existing platforms. Syndication of your blog’s content, via RSS, is a perfect substitute for the serendipity of social media.

Platforms like WordPress make it easy to create federated blogs. If there is a platform, free, open source and scalable, with which you can implement from a simple blog to the most complex website, that is WordPress. The state of the art of WordPress implies an immense facility not only to maintain a blog but also to develop, without code and -therefore- without the help of third parties, any website. In addition, some available plugins allow the implementation of federated blogs, not only in the fediverso (Mastodon, etc.) but also in the indieweb. On the other hand, projects like OpenPress (still in concept phase) are looking to add functionality and an interface to your website that allows you to run your own micro-publishing platform using available WordPress technology. Thus, your website and the content you are publishing will be able to connect to a network of other websites that also use OpenPress. The result will be a network driven by individuals, but connected as a community.

Here at Blogpocket you will find all information about Mastodon and the fediverso (some articles have a link to their corresponding English version)


For all these reasons, I think that we are facing a unique opportunity to recover blogs as a social communication tool and we should not be afraid of abandoning social networks and third-party services. However, I know that this is not easy given the level of use and habits acquired. But the restlessness, plus the movement in favor of a “return” to blogs and their decentralized philosophy, is perceived in the environment.

The question is whether I will enter initiatives as attractive as they are dangerous, in the style of Threads (something like a text instagram), that Meta wants to establish -the war with X is already an open war-. The supposed use of the ActivityPub protocol, by Threads, would allow its users to join the fediverse. The dilemma of Fediverso facing the threat of Meta: blocking vs. trusting and defending (in spanish).

And what about the newsletters?

In case an email marketing strategy is needed, associated with your blog, there are executable tools within WordPress, such as the pluginThe Newsletter. With this plugin, it is even possible to create newsletters from your posts (made with the WordPress block editor) and, with a paid add-on, automate the creation and sending of a newsletter with the latest updates from your blog.

However, this type of solution can be a crossroads that, in my case, was resolved withuna newsletter de SubStack.

Also remember that with WordPress you can have -therefore and in addition to a blog- on the same site a podcast, a video blog, a newsletter, an online store, etc.

Conclusions

Probably neither the blogs, nor the RSS be the solution. Boredom may be the biggest problem.

However, I think that decentralized networks, like ActivityPub’s fediverse, are a breath of fresh air that for me, if nothing else, has rejuvenated me. Perhaps, as José Luis Orihuela says, the misguided expectations, the antiviral design and the change of scale complicate the leap from Twitter to Mastodon. But if we think that a fediverse node doesn’t have to be a Mastodon instance, but a simple WordPress blog, then everything changes. That’s why I think the blog is back and that it wasn’t dead. I was just partying.

This post was inspired by Martin Weller’s article, indicated at the beginning and via Fernando Tricas en Mastodon. I had been designing an entry of this type for some time and Fernando’s toot finally pushed me to materialize it. The rapid succession of events around Twitter (now X) and Meta, led me to update this article on August 3, 2023 and I do not rule out upcoming changes.

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