I started this year with the intention of blogging more regularly. Specifically, I wanted to try to put up at least one post a day. Surprisingly enough, once month in, I am managing to do so.
It turned out to be a lot easier than I expected and, gratifyingly, I have found that I am spending a lot less time on various social networks and a lot more time doing and reading stuff that actually interests me. I think the take-home point here is that, while a lot of social networking activity does provide the instant gratification of an immediate response, it is also very easy to allow it to become too much of a time sink.
I do prefer the longer, slightly slower, approach that blogging necessitates. Counter-intuitively, I have also found that this is a lot less time consuming – and a lot more satisfying – than trying to express myself in the shorter form encouraged by social networks. I think there are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, and I have to acknowledge that this is not a heavily trafficked blog, blogging doesn’t feel like a live conversation in the same way that microblogging does. As such, I don’t worry about how quickly I release or respond to comments and an quite happy to engage in conversations that develop more slowly and (hopefully) more thoughtfully.
Secondly, and related to the first point, is the fact that I am increasingly recognising that there are some issues which I do think are important but about which I have nothing to add. While it is easy to tweet, dent or plus a link to some news article or online opinion, seeking to actually write a blog post is pushing me towards focusing more actively on things about which I actually have something to say.
That’s not to say that social networks are a bad thing and I have gained a lot of entertainment from them, but I do think it is useful to recognise just how much of a time sink and an echo chamber these things can be.
I started blogging way back in December 2002 and, for a long time, I got a great deal out of it. Over the last three or four years, I have blogged less as I became increasingly distracted by various social networks. I’m not about to abandon social networking – identi.ca is a great place to talk to smart people and Google+ is a handy way of posting links about which I have little to say – but I do find that blogging works best for me and is something that I am finding increasingly easy to maintain.