As we come to the last day of November, I realized I've been blogging since November 2004, so this means I've just completed 16 years of being a consistent blogger.
I've seen a LOT of changes on this platform during these 16 years, ranging from the way we used to publish our blog posts initially, to the dynamic template options introduced, as well as other enriching features added, like CSS support system, advertisement revenue integration, comment moderation etc etc., but I'll write about those experiences if I am still alive and well by the year 2024 to mark my 20 years of blogging milestone. :D
As of now, there are just a few things I want to mention in this update.
First of all, no, blogging is not dead. :)
Sure, a lot of old time bloggers (especially among our Mizo community) have stopped blogging, some of them due to new found responsibilities like marriage, kids, jobs etc., but most people stopped blogging because of the rise of social media.
In a virtual world where people can now easily pen down their thoughts and opinions on a Facebook status update or even in a WhatsApp group discussion, people no longer have the time and energy to write lengthy content for their blogs. Not to mention people prefer viewing memes or quirky video updates rather than reading long texts, which makes blogging even more unpopular today.
Though the demise of blogging is true, there are still more than 600 million blogs as of this year 2020, out of which around 152 million blogs are said to be active with daily to weekly updates, which is still a very large number (though a vast majority of that number are from micro-blogging platforms).
So, yes, blogging is not dead. Yet.
Having said that though, for the past 16 years, I have hated this blogging platform because of the name. Why is this platform called "Blogger", of all the names? Blogger is a person who blogs, and it is a common noun. Blogger is also the name of this blogging platform, and hence a proper noun, like WordPress, Tublr, Medium etc., which are also other blogging platforms.
Very confusing, naw?
You might think the difference may not matter much, but it is a big deal, especially when you're searching online for new blog templates, tips and tricks, technical queries, statistics etc., which are specific to just this platform alone. You will keep getting other blogging platforms in the search result because of the generic name "blogger". Bad SEO indeed.
And it is even more ironic that this is one of the top products of Google, the company that redefined online search as well as SEO and SEM. :D
To make matters worse, Google's "blogger" platform uses Google's "blogpost" domain as default, hence confusing people even more on what to call this blogging platform. Should it be referred to as "blogger" or "blogspot"?
Then there was also a time when blogspot changed the domain name from blogspot.com to blogpost.in for those of us in India, hence making all our old links invalid, and then somewhere along the way, they happily changed it back to blogspot.com without telling anybody, again making all the links of the posts we had published with blogspot.in invalid once more. Aaarrghh.
Of course all that could have been avoided had we hosted our own domain name even while using this platform.
For instance, I own the domain name kima.in (as well as mawng.com too, lolz) for many many years now, but haven't really migrated my blogspot domain name to that yet, as I don't want to lose 16 years of blog links leading back to my old posts that had been hardcoded on so many different referral sources.
Bottom-line is, I'm coping and managing with all the setbacks. Overall, this is still a pretty decent blogging platform, and I like how Google generously spares maybe one or two of their precious engineers to improve the platform. :D :P
Jokes aside though, yes, we're still seeing an improvement made to this platform like once in 2-3 years, so at least it is not a shelved product. The last update was made just a few months ago.
The new changes were announced on May earlier this year and were supposed to be implemented by June, but the deadline kept getting postponed, probably due to the CoVid-19 outbreak, and finally this new change was implemented on October, which was last month.
And I had been suffering since then. :D
Now I really appreciate the dedicated Blogger team for this much due update. As you can read from their blog, the new changes have really enhanced our blogging experience, from refreshingly new UI layout in the editor section to new stats, comments, lists, search operators improvement and so on.
But the ONE big difference is that the new post editor is no longer a WYSIWYG editor. At least not like the previous version. For my non-techie friends, a WYSIWYG editor means a "What You See Is What You Get" editor. Basically, the rich-text formatting that you type in the editor is exactly how it will appear on your website/blog.
I always write my blog first on an MS Word document, along with all the required HTML tags like inserting a link and embedding an image. And when I copy-paste the content to the previous editor, that was it. My blog post was ready. That was how I used to update my blog for the past 16 years.
In this current new editor, if I copy paste from MS Word to the "HTML view" section, then all line breaks are gone! Everything becomes one single huge paragraph, lolz. So I have to manually press enter to arrange them in the required paragraphs. And if I copy paste it to the "Compose view" section instead, the line breaks are there, thankfully, but all HTML tags are now converted into text, so I have to manually insert all links and images again! Arrgh.
The quickest solution I can think of is to add two break commands <br /> after every paragraph, as you can see from the screenshot of this blog update below.
Ahhhhh. Quite a pain right?
To be frank, I really don't mind writing all my new blog updates this way, it is not that much of a hassle. The problem arises if I try to edit my old blog posts. Remember I wrote about how Photobucket screwed me up? For 13 years, I had been using their servers to host images for my blog posts, becoming a premium customer and paying $9.99 per month because of my high bandwidth usage. And then suddenly one day, with no warning, they jacked up the monthly charge to $39.99, disabling images for those who were unable to pay that highly exorbitant fee!
Suddenly, all the images across more than 650 of my old blog posts were disabled! That was such a dick move by Photobucket. Corporate greed at its worst.
And so I moved to different hosting services like AWS and imgur, and I planned to edit all my old blog posts slowly, one by one, changing the image host and re-linking them for each of those posts.
Yeah it's gonna be a huge headache to do that while at the same time putting those two line break commands for every paragraph as well. Aaaah, such is life. Nothing comes easy.
I did write to the Blogger team about this issue, but sadly I didn't get any replies.
Ahhh, anyways, that is my rant for this blog update.
Hoping to keep seeing you visit my blog, and if you're thinking of starting your own blog, please do so, nothing is too late.
Also, if you decide to start blogging, please don't copy my style of writing on a Word doc first and copy pasting it in the editor, as that is not only a big pain (as you can see from my description above) but it is also not the proper way in which you're actually supposed to be blogging. You are expected to type directly in the online editor, and if you do that, you won't face any of the issues I am currently facing.
Why do I still do it this way then? Well, what can I say, I'm just an eccentric old fart. :)