Joe Litobarski wrote a post earlier today entitled “Blogs are Dead… Long Live Facebook!” Like a lot of Joe’s stuff it’s a thoughtful case, but, ultimately – in my view – wrong.

Far from becoming redundant, blogs are simply changing – blogging and the mainstream media are merging (more from Charlie Beckett here), so as some blogs become bigger and more influential, so many hobby bloggers stop. I’m not sure this is a problem, and it’s definitely not the death of blogging. Joe and I are largely in the same boat – we don’t make money directly from blogging, but the pursuit complements the rest of the stuff we do.

The question as a blogger is then: who are my readers, and how do I engage with them?

For me, the answer to this splits in two – a lot of people reading here are people I do not know in real life, people I would hence not become friends with on Facebook. Those that I do know in real life I am friends with on Facebook, and they – in the main – read these posts when they are imported into Facebook as Notes. That gives me discussions in two places, but that’s a problem I can live with.

While Facebook becomes more and more of a professional networking tool, it essentially remains a place for connections among friends, and the reach of this blog is wider than that. Secondly, the sorts of people I hope read this blog – academics, journalists, specialists in the public sector – are people who are likely to be discerning enough to not use Facebook to run their entire lives.

Joe’s post also raises the issue of using a Facebook login (and Facebook Social) to allow comments on blogs. I steer clear of this, wanting to make it clear that commenting on my blog (my platform) is according to my rules and my technology. How non-Facebook users behave when confronted with a Facebook comment form I cannot begin to imagine.

Also worth noting is that Facebook is not as prevalent in all European countries as it is in the UK – have a look at CheckFacebook, and check Germany for example. Plus as Facebook becomes more and more hegemonic, so a vigilance towards its walled garden is ever more vital, and if there is one thing that should persist among bloggers its the need to challenge the mainstream, to be subversive. I don’t deny the importance of Facebook (and indeed you may read this post there, or share this post on Facebook) but likewise you can interact fully with this blog without needing to go anywhere near Zuckerberg’s evil empire, and that’s a good thing in my view.


  1. Kallisti


  2. Very important points you are making, Jon. I saw this post on Facebook, but decided to comment here, instead of liking it on FB.

    I read Joe Litobarski’s post earlier today, and now I just noticed that he has made a change – he has now shot down the Facebook comment system after lots of reactions…

    However, we should be concerned about Facebook, their strategy and the walled garden they are building within the internet. This is one of the best articles I’ve seen about Facebook Comments and how adding FB Comments on your site (ex newspaper or blog) will not index the comments in Google:

    I’ve tested it myself on readers’ comments in a Norwegian newspaper that is using FB Comments, Aftenposten (their travel section). If you search for specific phrases from the comments, they will not appear in Google, ex

  3. I broadly agree–for a start, I encountered you through here first, and tend not to link to anything on FB from outside FB, that’s for friends and acquintances, contacts, but not everyone or everything I’m interested in.

    Second, I get traffic to my blog when I’m talking about local stuff from local people, Jennie went climbing today and the owners of the newly opened climbing wall in town looked for her specifically as a result of her blog post yesterday and her mentioning she was going today on Twitter–that’s quite useful, but wouldn’t have happened through Facebook posted stuff.

    I’m growing much more attached to logged in commenting, but would never want to push for one platform above all others–the Facebook system does allow OpenId, but not well, the JanRain setup is quite nice, supporting Facebook, oAuth and OpenID (which are likely to merge in the next major release of OpenID anyway).

    But anyone that ties themselves to just one comment provider, like Facebook, is likely asking for trouble in my mind, then, not tried it yes, don’t really know.

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