Strong opinions, weakly held

The tradeoffs involved in personal web publishing today

Marco Arment breaks it down:

In many ways, we’re better off now: publishing online is far easier, less time-consuming, and more accessible than it has ever been, which has brought content, voices, and consumers online that wouldn’t have been otherwise.

But all of these proprietary networks that want to own and hold in your content are reversing much of the web’s progress in some other areas, such as the durability and quality of online identity.

This is why I prefer people write on Tumblr, or Posterous, or WordPress.com rather than on Facebook or some other walled garden. And if you’re going to be on one of those sites, be sure to grab your own domain.

Related: The Fred Wilson school of blogging. I don’t have a blogging strategy, but I do have online habits, and Fred’s mirror mine pretty closely.


  1. With the ability to save bookmarks, the prevalence of search engines, and the ease with which folks can reccomend stuff to each other, why is grabbing your own domain name still important?

    I mean, I understand the personal identity blanket of rc3.org as opposed to rc3.tumblr.com, but is there an objective benefit?

  2. I’m also disappointed to see so many ordinary people pouring their writing into walled gardens like Facebook, et al. But Facebook doesn’t just get ease-of-use right – they’ve also nailed the problem of reader feedback, without which a lot of people wouldn’t bother writing online.

    Owning your own domain name, meanwhile, would be a nice thing if you actually owned it. Depending on your registrar, it may be more like paying a ransomer.

  3. The objective benefit of having your domain name, as I see it, is having the ability to change your platform without having to change your URL. Over the years, I’ve run my own software, Movable Type, and WordPress. I like the flexibility. If I were starting a new blog today, it would probably be on Tumblr with my own domain name.

  4. The problem with even Tumblr is the need to “build an audience”, in other words, persuade people to come read your stuff there, which requires a certain kind of diligence and bloodymindedness and sustained effort at being interesting.

    On Facebook or G+ now, on the other hand, I can just say the odd thing and if I’m quiet for a week I won’t lose my “audience” because people come to the site for other things anyway. In that sense they act as very lightweight aggregators without all the hassles of setting up RSS feeds and so on.

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