Today I am writing about bringing back blogs, especially blogs owned and operated by the blogger and not by a third-party organization like (say) Google or WordPress' hosting service. Although blogs haven’t gone anywhere, per se, they have diminished in importance, at least when compared to social networking and social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. This is a shame, considering the nature of ownership is unstable in the realm of social networking/social media. In fact, one of the problems with social media is the issue of ownership. This is readily apparent by the business models espoused by social media platforms like Facebook. Rigi and Prey (2015) argued that “four primary sources” generate revenue streams for social media giants such as “leasing advertisement space […] selling information to advertisers, and by generating profits from fictitious capital and speculative windfalls” (p. 392). In a realm where your information is a commodity to be bought and sold, there are some significant problems. In other words, you don’t own the data you produce, and, therefore, have no claim over what you have produced, meaning it can be bought, sold, and/or traded without your consent. (Technically speaking, you have consented by agreeing to the “Terms and Conditions” for the platform in question.) Furthermore, ownership is inherently problematic in the realm of the newer social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, and (say) Instagram, as the ownership of content is awarded not to the original creator, but, rather to the platform in question (Zhou, Leenders, and Cong, 2018), creating a rather interesting problem for creators like myself.
Blogging has been an important staple of the Web since the Internet went public in the 1990s. Rettberg (2014) explored the history blogging in her monograph, Blogging, where she found that blogging had (indeed) a rich history, one often ignored or forgotten by Web denizens today. Rettberg (2014) found that blogging had begun around 1994, when early Web pioneers began writing daily diaries and posting them on the Web. Since the advent of Web 2.0, that is, the current paradigm of the Web we see and experience today, blogging became easier and more ubiquitous. The first blogging platforms to democratize the form were Pitas, Blogger, and (a bit later) WordPress (Rettberg, 2014, pp. 9-10). Blogging has since become part of a larger social media ecosystem, where blogs are linked to social media platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. Social media platforms also link to blogs, making this a reciprocal relationship, where the two feed into one another.
Why blogs? you might ask. Blogs are an incredible tool that can reach large audiences. Moreover, they allow for a chain of ownership to exist that cannot be seen in social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Blogs, if done well, take time, energy, and require a bit of forethought. Yes, one could (technically speaking) hit publish in seconds. However, that doesn’t mean the blog will be taken seriously. Instead, bloggers, especially serious bloggers, take their time, edit and revise their work, and check their sources.
Rigi, J., & Prey, R. (2015). Value, Rent, and the Political Economy of Social Media. Information Society, 31(5), 392–406. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1080/01972243.2015.1069769
Rettberg, Jill Walker. (2014). Blogging. Polity Press.
Zhou, M., Leenders, M. A. A. M., & Cong, L. M. (2018). Ownership in the virtual world and the implications for long-term user innovation success. Technovation, 78, 56–65. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1016/j.technovation.2018.06.002
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