Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy

The death of the personal blog

The page cannot be foundThe death of the personal blog has been coming for some time it seems, but with the addition of Facebook’s new Timelines feature, is the death nigh?

I had a brief chat on Twitter with my friend, Chris Ennis, about the implications of Timelines to personal blogging during Facebook’s f8 Developers Conference. It’s not so much that personal blog content is dead, it’s that that content will reside on Facebook, rather than on your own blog. This concerns me for two reasons.

First, if we heavily depend on Facebook’s Timelines to share our lives, what happens if Facebook decides to change profiles again? What happens if they decide to terminate that feature later on down the road? What happens if Facebook goes down?

Second, what becomes of our digital footprints when we die? Derek K. Miller who sadly passed away recently continued to share his life on his personal blog, which is built on Movable Type Pro and is being managed now. But if we don’t own the content and arrange for it to be managed, what then?

I presented at BarCamp Nashville a couple of years ago about this question, about preserving our digital legacy. If we store our digital lives on free services like Facebook, Tumblr, Posterous, etc. What happens if these services go away one day?

I’m not saying that we should not use the above great services, they are great. Tumblr rocks, Posterous’ recent changes are cool too, and Facebook… at first I wasn’t thrilled with the Timelines feature, but I think it’s going to be fun to explore our past in such a visual way. I’m already getting a kick out of seeing my history on foursquare using 4squareand7yearsago.com.

The thing is, will people just be posting their content to Facebook? Or wil they be personally blogging (on their own hosted blog) and feeding Timelines with that content? I expect it will be the former.

I want my content available to my kid’s and their kids after I’m dead and gone.

What’s your plan for your blog? Or is this the death of the personal blog?

Dave

http://www.davemadethat.com

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  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • I don’t think it will be the “death” of the personal blog but I agree that for most people it will be easier to just post to Facebook. I don’t think the average person has even considered their digital legacy.

    C

  • Thanks Christine. I don’t think so too.
    It’s important to consider though. My friend Adele McAlear has written at length about the topic here: http://www.deathanddigitallegacy.com/

  • To be clear. I meant I don’t think people have considered this, I’m still uncertain about the death of the personal blog though.

  • So my thought turned into a graf turned into a post which I moved over to my (apparently soon-to-be-superannuated-by-the-Facebook) blog (Link shamelessly shared here http://webslog.com/post/10557853430/all-of-your-digital-life-are-belong-to-zuck).

    Ultimately, I think you point out a conversation that must gain urgency as the founding fathers/mothers of the internet are beginning to pass on to their great reward.  In a world driven by new, next and shiny-shiny, what should we as individuals be doing to allow some amount of permanence to arise out of all of our stuff.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking read.

  • Thanks Web. Check out Adele’s blog on the subject.

  • Once again, I am way ahead of the curve; my blog has been dead since before I opened a Facebook account. In an uncharacteristic flash of proactivity, I stopped writing in it immediately after creating my WordPress account. (It seems, the first step in preserving your digital legacy is to create one.)

    Responding to Christine’s comment, most people don’t consider their legacy, period… digital or real-world. Those are doing well who have considered which items to throw out during spring cleaning, and it has a lot to do with having the ability to foresee which things will be valuable over time (cf. everyone’s “Mom & My Comic Books” story). 

    My family history was transmitted mostly orally. By the time I came along, my parents were well into middle age, my siblings grown and with families of their own. The family stories had been rehashed often enough that there was little interest in trotting them out for my benefit (or, more likely, no one could remember whether they’d been told in my presence). No one thought of writing any of it down. (Or if they thought of it, what they thought of it was “ridiculous!” Family histories were for “important” families like the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers.) All that remains are tantalizing crumbs that no one can fit back together, suggestions of events that may not have ever even happened. 

    That mindset is changing, and we have digital media to thank for it. It’s become easy to preserve the most mundane of thoughts. But it’s also become a tree in the forest question. How do you know to ask for what might be carefully preserved in the Smithsonian’s sub-sub-basement? The forgotten component of “preserving” is knowing that a thing is there to look for. 

    It turns out that the only way to preserve anything is to take it out once in a while and carefully, lovingly handle it. 

  • To be honest, I think without questioning the term ‘blog’ we’re not going to have a particularly productive conversation. Personal blogs, as in ‘went to the movies blah blah’ will almost certainly end up residing on Facebook or wherever, and since the blog will be of little interest to anyone except the writer and immediate friends/family, I don’t think it’s that big an issue.

    However, those people who blog in specialist areas will continue to do so, because they’re blogging for very different reasons, and the walled garden approach of Facebook mitigates against their desire to get their thoughts and comments out to a wider audience.

  • Specialist areas equals business or professional blog. I’m speaking more of personal blogs about interests, which can include technology, social media, etc.
    I do think that the personal stuff is important. That’s my point.

    For future generations to understand their grandfather, great grandfather, etc. Preserving the personal blog is important.

  • Thanks for this Michael. I loved your comment!

    I’ve been obsessed with the thought of recording answers to interesting questions that future generations would be interested in. I even started answering the questions on paper, but I thought it may be more interesting as recorded audio or even video. I suppose it will be important that I pass along some tech-savvy, so that my kids will be able to change the recorded file format should it become obsolete later.

    These questions seem like a great start: http://genealogy.about.com/cs/oralhistory/a/interview.htm

  • Funny you should post this – I had a personal blog for years. But stopped blogging, moved to a more private place. However I opened up a public personal blog last year and this year have tried to get back into blogging. I have my own self-hosted wordpress blog because, like you said, I want to keep my own personal record of what I’ve been saying.

    Another reason I’ve (re)started my personal blog is I want to network a little, within my own interests and work area. Finding people with similar interests and sharing. That’s what I think I missed about having a personal blog. 

  • That’s a great use for a personal blog Jaina. Please send us a link.

  • I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

    – Dave

    Dave Delaney
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    – Dave

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    Social Media Coordinator at Griffin Technology
    Greater Nashville Area

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  • I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

    – Dave

    Dave Delaney
    Social Media Coordinator at Griffin Technology
    Greater Nashville Area

    Confirm that you know Dave Delaney: https://www.linkedin.com/e/-t7tcpg-guhp0tvd-2d/isd/4770051382/Ja4xHNdH/?hs=false&tok=2LnUvK5sW6LAY1

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