No promises, as usual, but I’ve been thinking about blogging lately.
One thought was inspired by my cousin Jesse, in his recent, last post on Facebook before deactivating his account. I can’t quote him verbatim because deactivating an account, for better or for worse, causes all posts made with that account to disappear. (This brings up a related thought, which I’ll get to next.) The gist of it–and I hope that he’ll correct me if I’m misrepresenting his statements–was that Facebook, in the final analysis, just isn’t a good thing, and there’s only so long that a person with good intentions can continue to participate in it. As to why that’s the case, well, that’s a question for sociologists, which I’m not. He went on to say that seemingly we’re better off finding other ways to communicate with each other, convenient as Facebook may be, particularly decentralized ways such as personal blogs.
Another thought–which actually pre-dates the first–is that personal blogs provide a means of sharing information which is open and freely accessible. Facebook is a walled garden: you have to be inside it to see what’s going on. There’s a huge amount of information inside its walls, but you have to be within those walls to access it. Google and other search engines don’t go behind those walls. On the other hand, if you search for something like “sawdust furnace” you’ll probably end up here at my blog, because (most) blogs are easily accessible by search engines.
The third thought is that Facebook owns all of that information. The agreement that everyone agrees to when they create an account is that everything you write, post, whatever on Facebook belongs to Facebook. You’re signing over your rights to all of it, without compensation. Facebook turns around and makes a vast amount of money with it. You get the benefit of being able to smell the flowers inside the walled garden (along with smelling the fertilizer), but at the end of the day you’re generating content for one of the most successful corporations around, for free. Eventually you have to ask yourself whether you want to keep doing that. Part of that cogitation should include the truism that, at any moment, all of that information could disappear, without warning, forever. They own it, they can do whatever they want with it.
I didn’t actually sit down to write a critique about Facebook, but that seems to be where I’ve ended up. I don’t really do that much on Facebook, other than keep in touch with a few people I might not keep in touch with otherwise. I’m not sure it’s worth it, though. (One of the people I talk to via Facebook messaging recently told me that he prefers email anyway.) The main reason I started there was for business purposes, and time has shown that those reasons were fallacious. I think that it won’t be something I choose to participate in for much longer.
On the flip side, I recently got back in touch with a friend from high school. We’ve been in touch briefly in the past, but are chatting more now (via Twitter, currently) than we have in the past. I spent some time reading his blog to learn a little bit about what he’s been up to. It made me appreciate the value of blogs, even if they’re not updated regularly, as written histories of things which have attracted our attention for one reason or another. This made me think that I should add to my own such history now and then. So, here I am.
No promises, though.