Jan 03, 2024

2024 is the Year of the Blog

I know, it might be wishful thinking, but there’s no doubt that we’re seeing a resurgence for blogging. It’s to be expected, given that the biggest hit to blogging was Twitter. The barrier of entry is much lower when you can shoot a couple of sentences and be done with it, which is why microblogging took off. It’s grown up, even though Twitter has degraded into a steaming pile of ... something, thanks to Mastodon and Micro.blog. And yes, Tumblr is still in there somewhere, although it continues to be a different beast, much like Bluesky is sure to end up as.

But I digress!

The crazy things on X (formerly Twitter, before Elon Musk ruined it even further), and newsletters taking a hit as Substack promotes fascists, means the case for your very own online presence is stronger than ever. It could be something simple, like what you’d build with Carrd, or what I’ve got up on TDH.me, but it probably should be a blog. I hope it’s a blog.

A lot of us need an outlet. Even if it’s just to replace shitposting on X, it’s better to own that outlet yourself. You don’t have to own the server or software that you’re using to publish your thoughts, but you should own your online identity.

So, here’s what you should do.

  1. Get a domain name, something that is you. You can buy through web hosting services, from Cloudflare, Iwantmyname, Namecheap, or any of the other actors out there.
  2. Pick an email provider and make sure you own your email, too. Email is the skeleton key to our online lives, still, and to not own that identity is ... not great. You can use Gmail and just point your domain there, but I suggest you go with something like Proton, Fastmail, or Purelymail if you’re so inclined.
  3. Choose a blogging platform. WordPress is the big one, open-source and all, so that’s probably the right choice for most of you. If you don’t want the hassle with web hosting and security updates, go with WordPress.com or any of the other managed solutions out there. It’s often free to start, but pointing your domain name (see 1) there is key, and that’ll probably cost you a bit. Other options are Ghost, Micro.blog, Blot, and so many more.
  4. Pick a theme, name your blog, write your first post or page. (If you do, send it my way so that I can read it.)

Now you own your online identity. Depending on your technical skills this’ll take anything from fifteen minutes to, well, more. There are plenty of people willing to help, not to mention the web hosting companies’s support departments. They want to sell you domains and web hosting, after all.

It’s looking to be a mess of a year, again. There’s an election in the US that’ll shape a lot of the conversation, no matter if we want it or not. Media are covering two wars, but there are more of that crap happening, and plenty brewing. Not to mention the trolls, the harassment, the online crap that ruins social media for so many people.

Your home online can be free of all of that, or participate in a controlled manner. It’s up to you because it’s yours.

This post was sparked by WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg’s 40th birthday wish. He wanted a blog post, so here we are. Happy birthday, Matt.