There are two quotes that come to mind. The first one, my father was fond of paraphrasing. The second one, my mother still quotes to this day. Even though they are decades old, both quotes ring true:
- "Wisdom through suffering." – unknown
- “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
Quite simply, my goal with blogging is to prevent others from making the same time wasting, expensive, and frustrating mistakes I’ve made. As well as sharing what I have learned from knowledgeable others.
There are however, many valid reasons not to even bother with a blog. Not the least of which are:
- I could very easily just post the same content to social media.
- Having a custom blog requires quite a bit of technical knowhow and maintenance.
- Hosting a blog can be quite costly.
Regarding social media as a blogging alternative, yes you can easily post and share information to any number of social media sites. Once you do, you lose control of your content. While it can be dug up, social media tends to promote your latest post and ignores older posts. Their algorithms promote newer content. It's a non ending cycle to keep the site fresh, drive engagement, and sell ads. Moreover, to my knowledge, major search engines don't generally search and serve up links to individual social media posts. If I'm going to take the time to write out an article, I'd like it to be readily accessible and not get buried in a social media site.
Besides, social media is really designed for micro blogging, not long-form content. Imagine scrolling through your friends social media posts and seeing a really long article like this. I know what I would do - keep scrolling. I'm not going to read all of that! For longer written content, the rest of the web is very much alive.
As a contrast to social media, self hosting a blog is more time intensive, and there is quite a bit of technical knowhow that comes in to play. For example, this blog was created using Ghost and is running on an Orange Pi.
Ultimately, it comes down to control and aesthetics. By customizing your own blog, you can choose which platform you prefer to write on as well as install your own theme that you can tweak to your heart's content. I've used Wordpress, Ghost, Hugo, Jekyll, and WriteFreely in the past. For now, Ghost makes the most sense for this blog as it is easy to use and works relatively well.
Lastly, running your own blog means that you are your own moderator you can post whatever content you wish. Now that being said, I don't put it past any hosting company, CDN, search engine, or even name registrar to fully support posting anything. If you start posting vile things, my guess is those companies will drop you without a seconds notice. Still, it's your own corner of the web and you're in control.
In conclusion, I enjoy and use quite a few social media platforms, but for sharing long-form written content, there's nothing better than a custom blog.