By Sarah Martin Hood, technology blogger
We live in an age of easy, instant information. Have a question? Google it. Wondering what ever happened to that old high school friend? Check Facebook. But are we evolving into a world that’s more interested in headlines than details? If we can’t get what we need in 10 seconds or less, do we give up?
Facebook gives you photos, check-ins, and status updates. Twitter gives you 140 characters. But blogging? Blogging gives you endless possibilities! No word limit, no photo limit, no tagging, no ever-changing privacy settings. Just you, a blank screen, and whatever pops into your head.
So why are so many people abandoning their blogs in favor of the brevity of a daily status update?
We’re on the move. While most blogging platforms give users the ability to blog via their smartphone, very few bloggers take them up on it. Who wants to write an entire blog post using only their thumbs? Anymore, I see more posts in my Facebook News Feed from a mobile device than not — Facebookers are updating with photos and anecdotes while they’re out living their busy, every day, organized chaos. They’re making less and less time to sit down with that blank screen and pound out a blog post.
We are family. We humans love to be around other humans — and that’s doubly true for Moms! We seek each other’s advice, we share stories of success and heartbreak and humor and angst. We love the warm, fuzzy feeling of family and friends — and Facebook has become one giant social circle for many of us. When our kids do something funny or embarrassing, we can’t wait to share it! When we find the perfect recipe for sweet potato casserole, all our Facebook friends must know! If we have a crappy day at work and have to sit in traffic all the way home only to arrive to a messy house and cranky kids, Facebook is there to listen!
While it’s true most blogging is also designed with comments and feedback, Facebook is a SOCIAL network. You’re connected to your “friends” and can catch up on their lives with an easy scan through the News Feed. Blogging can definitely foster a sense of community, but it’s not as instant and not as ingrained as in a social networking site like Facebook. Often the social aspect of it all outweighs even the actual content.
It’s a bit of a contest. You can pretend it doesn’t bother you when you post a cute picture of your kiddos or a funny note about your day, and you don’t get a slew of comments and likes on Facebook. But secretly, that’s half the fun, am I right? You want to see what other people think — Will they comment? WHO will comment? Are other people’s cute pictures with Santa getting more comments than mine? YOU KNOW YOU THINK THIS WAY. Maybe not all the time, sure, but it crosses your mind. It’s not your fault! Facebook is designed to be a bit of a social metric. On any given page you can tell how many friends a person has, how many photos they’ve posted and how many likes/comments they have on their last few posts. Facebook provides a way for you to have your 15 minutes of fame — every single day.
So what does this mean for the future of blogging?
Are blogs going to shrivel and die, forgotten and abandoned in favor of shiny, new social networking sites? Nah. Actually, I think the strength of Facebook is nothing but good news for blogs. I think pulling the short, quick soundbites and snapshots-on-the-go from blogging frees up the blogosphere for deeper, richer content. Instead of thousands of bloggers feeling the need to update the world on every disconnected detail of their lives — they can leave that up to Facebook and focus their blogging on true storytelling, capturing the details, and creating the kind of content that makes readers want to put up their feet and stay awhile.
Blogging and Facebook should respect and appreciate each other’s differences and strengths. They need each other. There’s a place in the life of any good 21st century social media socialite for both the beautiful brevity of Facebook and the splendid storytelling of blogging.
So if you’re one of those Facebook-addicts who used to have a bustling blog — dust it off. Take a few minutes a week to capture the whole story behind that midnight check-in at the emergency room with your clumsy kiddo or that snapshot of you and your hubby at your favorite tailgating spot. The headlines are great, but the details are even better.
Sarah would love to hear from you with questions or feedback regarding gadgets, apps, technology, or blogging. You can also stop by Sarah’s personal blog, Musings of Mother Hood to say hello or follow her on Twitter @sarahmcow. To read previous installments of Techno Mama, click here!