Blog: From Web Log, From ‘Logging your thoughts and activities on the World Wide Web’
Once upon a time there was a thing called blogging. It still exists in name of course, for example this website is built on WordPress which is known as a blogging platform.
I first started blogging around the turn of the millennium when it wasn’t much more than a few nerdy types writing the odd banal paragraph about their lives and opinions. I didn’t do much at that time but I set up a website to use as an online journal. The website was built and edited using raw HTML.
Around eleven years ago I started a new blog using the Blogger platform. Then moved it to my own site using WordPress. The blog was anonymous at first under the pseudonym Skintwriter. It wasn’t long before I was just one in a worldwide community of bloggers. We each kept a blogroll, i.e. a list of links to other bloggers, who we hoped would reciprocate with a link back to us.
Anyway, because I used my own domain name there were no adverts on my site, nor on most of the others. We paid our dues to the purveyors of internet access and started building a community. No one else had control of the content of my site, no one could tell me what to post, no one made any money when others read what I wrote.
Then along came Zuckerberg and all the rest of them and grabbed hold of what was a grass-roots, essentially non-profit making movement and stole the bloody lot, much like the robber barons of yesteryear.
Now, despite the vast increase in the number of people using the internet, unless you pepper social media with spam, less people visit independent websites and blogs. Nobody reads anything in depth, online or off. Everything we do is monitored and analysed. We are bombarded with advertising and fake news. Zuckerberg and his ilk are multi-billionaires who continue to suck the lifeblood out of the masses and inject our social media bubbles with their toxic take on life.
I don’t know how to respond to all this yet. Maybe I’ll go live in a cave in the Brecon Beacons. More likely I’ll get off social media altogether and take up residence in a virtual cave like this, my own website – become a digital hermit. Maybe it’s already happened?
What do you think? (Don’t worry, that’s a rhetorical question, I know you haven’t read this far.)