There was a time when blogging was my primary point of contact with the world. I’d write things, people would read them and comment, and discussions would take place. Then social media came along. Everyone flocked to Facebook and Twitter, and due to their convenience and ubiquity a lot of people refused to step outside of those boxes. Rather than visiting a variety of sites, they went to their social network of choice. If you weren’t there, you ceased to exist.
I say this from experience. There was a point where I was off of Facebook for 14 months, and while a few people kept in touch via email and read this site, most stayed put. To have people wondering whatever happened to you when a Google search will bring them right here is… I don’t know how to describe it. You learn a lot about relationships.
This comes up because Twitter just released new Terms of Service. They are, to put it mildly, problematic for creative people. You essentially need to agree that they can use and profit from anything you post, with no compensation for you. Post a picture? They can add it to a stock photo collection or license it for advertising. Say something pithy or clever? They can put it on a t-shirt, or license it to someone else to put on a t-shirt. Those are examples. That’s not saying they will, or that it’s the limit of what they might do. But it’s a problem.
As I am a writer and publisher and prefer to retain ownership of my own words, I’m going to shift back to blogging. This frees me from the restraints of 140 characters on Twitter. It means I no longer have to worry about whether Facebook is going to “reward” me for keeping it short by allowing me to use a colorful, large-font text box, or penalizing me by truncating my post and adding a “read more” link. I can say what I want to say in the amount of space I feel I need to say it effectively.
Whether anyone reads it or not is almost secondary. At some point, it’s better to have creative freedom and a small audience than to be chasing followers from a box. Quality over quantity.