I have been using social networks to blog for a long time. Facebook for personal stuff, Google+ for professional interests, Twitter for news, Pinterest for sharing inspirational links. While I love all these services for various reasons (especially because of the easy interaction with my family, friends and colleagues), recently I also found them to be somewhat limiting. I decided to start a blog and here are my reasons why a dedicated blog is good to have besides all the social networks:
- I control my content. Social networks come and go. The old MySpace, Friendster, Ping, Google Buzz, Google Wave and countless others all closed after a while. All the content posted on these is lost for most people, it's best to have your full control over your own content. I tried Diaspora* which allows you to run the social network on your own servers, but it hasn't caught on just yet for me to consider it as my main platform.
- Formatting isn't limited. Google+ has the best formatting options, it allows you to set your text in bold, italicized and even offers the text-decoration called Strikethrough, but you can't do lists or quotes. On a blog you can use any formatting you like.
- Type of content isn't limiter. I can add a video, images or a link on a social media post. In a blog post I can add them all at once in any combination or quantity I want.
- Google will discover your content for a long time to come. On the other hand most social media posts will only be shown in google searches for a short period of time unless it's on Google+.
- You can have your RSS feed. Most social networks don't have it because they want you to consume the content on their platforms and not through the reader of your choice.
- You can have your own theme for your content. Social media services allow you to add an avatar and a cover photo but you can't change the design altogether. That's a limitation but at the same time a good design decision because many of the users do not know where the limit is when customization is allowed for them. Just think of the horror MySpace was.
- You are in control of the features. For example if you want a "Don't Like" button you can have it.
- You can run your blog without ads. On social media you don't have a say. Even if you use ad blocker (which I don't but that's another story) in some cases your activities and your content is used to advertise various services.
- You can save a draft and refine your blog posts until it's ready for posting. You can also edit it freely after posting and allows you to save previous versions for future reference. Google+ allows you to fully edit your posts but not save drafts.
On the other hand of course there are several things you can't do in in blog that are important:
- Sharing something with a selected group of people only is not easy on a blog. By default everything is public.
- Creating video conferences or other high-tech features are not straightforward or even possible on a blog. It's easy on social media.
- There aren't as many choices for blog posting. Although there are some decent iOS and Android apps available in the iTunes and Play Stores to manage Drupal, Wordpress and other blogging platforms, but I'm not sure if you can text (SMS) updates to your blog like you can on Twitter and Facebook. Also, social media is deeply integrated into may operating systems. You can tweet an image file from Finder in OSX or share a webpage you're reading from iOS.
- When you run your own blog you need to take care about the security and feature updates. When using social media everything is taken care for you.
Do you blog on social media or do you have a dedicated blog site to record and share your thoughts? Did I miss anything in the lists above? Let me know in comments!