I own ("own") this blog. It is served by a Virtual Private Server (VPS) that I pay for and your ISP resolves the domain name that I purchased. I have spent the time to install the blog software, figure out how to get it running properly, and how to proxy it through the web server. I take the time to think about and write posts, and link to them on some social media. I put effort into this blog.
All of the above is true. However, much of this (some might sal most of it) is because I have many privileges. I have the money to spend on something that is a luxury and time to tinker with it. I have few enough worries that I can lazily plan blog posts. To dig a little deeper, I had time in the past years to get interested in computers and the time to explore. I wasn't discouraged from tinkering and my family had money enough to have internet connection when I was growing up (not that I've fnished growing up). I have many privileges that are salient to my blog ownership, and I am grateful for them.
Tumbler and Twitter
There are a lot of Tumblr blogs. And that's a great thing. Tumblr means people don't have to do what I did: get a server, domain name, blog software, and set everything up. It's all ready to go. It democratizes internet content and encourages people to share content. Tumblr allows a huge amount of visual customization and even lets you use your own domain name, if you have one. Actually, Tumblr is pretty damn awesome.
And to be clear: I did the work I did to set up my blog because I wanted to. Not because I feel it makes me better than people on Tumblr, but because I wanted to muck around with a server.
Several months ago a friend made a comment about something on Tumblr, and I responded, "oh, those people on Tumblr," in a patronizing way that only I as a special-snowflake white man can do. I didn't get it. I had to read a post by someone (on Tumblr, of course) about how free content publishers like Tumblr and Twitter were really important to marginalized groups to get it. I didn't, don't, couldn't, and can't understand what it's like to not have a platform to push my thoughts. Society accepts my viewpoints and publishes them. People like me have ALWAYS had voice and representation. I didn't feel the need a more democratized platform because I have never been marginalized.
Another feature of Twitter and Tumblr is that they are to broadcast content to the public, unlike Facebook where content is constrained to small social networks. This is a crucial feature (in my eyes) to distribute voices that are marginalized and ignored by society. Blogs and tweets are easily shared by links and you don't have to and an account with either to read the content.
Tumblr and Twitter aren't amazing wonderful unicorns. They are companies and part of the establishment. If they decide to change or shut down, many of their users won't have options to go elsewhere. I have some more freedom to move and replace should any part of my operating chain go extinct or go rogue. But for what they are now, free web content publishing sites are important ways that the web can, in a small, teeny-tiny not nearly close to good enough way, be democratic. And that's pretty cool.
These days I read a lot of Tumblr blogs and I'm sincerly thinking about using Twitter more properly to follow people I don't know, rather than just to keep in touch with those I do. And I'm grateful that people are brave enough to put their thoughts and feelings up in public where idiots like me can read them. That is to say, the users make Tumblr and Twitter what they are. The people are more important than the platform.
Tumblr and Twitter are neat. So is having a self-hosted blog. How do you all feel about blogs and microblogs? How do you interact with them? Have you ever read such a disjointed and poorly-written blog post? Let me know by whatever method you like. But seriously, please comment below.
I'm really tired right now: I've been sick the past few days and I feel very fuzzy at the moment. I hope this is coherent enough and not offensive. If its garbled and horrendous let me know and I'll take it down. I feel like this definitely isn't my best work, so sorry everyone. But you should feel sorry too, because you read this far. Ha.