Sweet sixteen

I completely forgot that February 22 was the sixteenth birthday of this blog. So here, a week and a half late, is this blog’s sixteenth birthday post.

Blogging is completely different now than it was on February 22, 2005, when this blog started. Back then, blogs were social media; there was no other social media to speak of. Back then, blogs were mostly run by individuals who were willing to learn how to install cranky software on remote servers, and social media was mostly a labor of love. Now, social media is dominated by big corporations like Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube, which seem bent on destroying democracy. Now, social media is a big business where your data is the product that’s being sold. So now that “social media” is a dirty word, I’m proud to say this blog can no longer be considered social media.

Other things have changed over the years. Back in 2007, I attended Podcamp Boston and learned from innovative people called “vloggers” who were using videos to blog. So for the next twelve months, I uploaded a weekly video to my blog; the videos were hosted on a service called Blip.tv, which went defunct a few years later, taking all fifty-plus of my videos with it when it died. (And it’s just as well those old videos are gone: I still have files for one or two of them, and they were pretty crude.) To produce online videos in 2007, I had to purchase a fancy camcorder, edit the video footage on my laptop, make sure the encoding wouldn’t choke the host service, then upload it to the host. But today, people can shoot video with their phone and upload it directly to TikTok or Youtube.

And I’ve watched the audience for this blog change over the years. In 2005, my readers were the forty other UU bloggers, plus some tech-savvy people who thought to do a Web search for “UU blog.” By 2008, the peak of blogging was over; Facebook had begun its climb to dominance of social media; Twitter was just starting to become popular with what was then known as “microblogging”; and Youtube was becoming a destination on its own rather than just a host for video content. I had already begun to see a shift in who was visiting my blog. Half the traffic to my blog was readers looking at the front page to read the most recent posts; but half the traffic was through Web searches that found older posts. Today, most of my visitors are going directly to older posts.

But I still have a few regular readers who stop at the front page to check out the latest posts. I hope I continue to publish material that’s interesting enough that you, dear readers, continue to return here for another sixteen years.

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