S who blogs over at ‘Flying on Empty Thoughts’ was wondering whether WordPress personal blogging was dead. She points out issues that irritate me too ranging from the Block Editor, the forced modernization that should have been an option and not a force-fed daily blood pressure enhancing experience, to the biggest mistake that WordPress ever made: letting go of the Daily Prompts.
It was wildly popular by a variety of artists. Not just bloggers used the daily prompts. Writers seeking for haiku inspirations, those who journal on Twitter as it started as a micro-blogging site, and even those who sketched used it and, shared their works online.
The Daily Prompt became a community of bloggers who were excited to start their day logging in, checking the prompt, checking in with their fellow bloggers to see what they made/wrote/sketched. Not continuing this program was a big mistake. But there’s another one.
A long time ago, the WordPress courses, see here, held a feature that doesn’t exist anymore: the Commons. The Commons was a private room where all course participants could gather and talk about the writing assignment, ask others for feedback, get encouragement when they were stuck, and exchange thoughts that remained amongst the participants only.
This feature was immensely popular with all who took those courses. We felt encouraged as bloggers, we were each other’s support system and early readers. We started following each other and in doing so, supported fellow bloggers to build up their online presence.
The moderator was there too to clarify the assignment if needed and always opened the room reminding us not to run on the pool deck. The Commons was our club house. The blogosphere was our pool.
I started following WordPress courses years ago and remember the excitement of finishing a post and heading over to the Commons. I could see who was there, who had already posted, ask someone to help me with my English, get feedback on an idea, follow a fellow course participant, and basically see how my blogger friends were doing that day even if they skipped one assignment. Gone, a great feature gone.
The Commons was not just to chat about the writing task at hand. It allowed participants a safe space to make friends, build up an audience, find their voice, and encourage them to allow their work to be read outside of the Commons. It was a great way to get your feet wet before you jumped into the deep end of the pool that is the blogosphere.
So, if the personal blogging aspect of the blogosphere is dying then to me, WordPress had a hand in it. I know many bloggers kept their personal blogs going but you could see the Reader, the WordPress newspaper that you compose yourself by adding blogs that you follow, getting less exciting. The bloggers were writing but no longer talking as vividly about writing as they used to do.
WordPress is used by many to run their professional websites and that, they do extremely well. But the personal blogging part may have suffered more than they realize.
So, is the blogosphere as a whole dead? I don’t think so. But I do feel that the personal blogging side is on life-support and would benefit from a return to supporting creativity approach.