Yes. Blogging Should Be Easy.

Rajiv Abraham recently asked "Do We Really Want Blogging to Be As Easy and Simple As Tweeting?" and, despite all of the concerns that he raises in his post, the answer is unquestionably "Yes". There should be zero barriers for any person in the world to share what they want to share online, regardless of our opinion of the content. This is the freedom that was promised with the general availability of the Internet, and it's a freedom that we should fight to protect. To discriminate against ideas — even bad ones — sets the stage for powerful groups to censor anything they disagree with. As someone who has a history of having bad ideas and being wrong, I am not keen on losing my voice so that someone I've never met might not take offence to my words.

The crux of Rajiv's argument is laid out in his first three paragraphs:

The problem with the Internet today is that just about everybody is an expert. People have labeled themselves creator, blogger, influencer, journalist, author, etc. The problem really isn’t the labeling, it’s the access to platforms like Twitter and Facebook that has given everybody the power to troll and spread misinformation, even deliberately.

Imagine that happening with independent blogs. Right now all you need to do is block Twitter and Facebook to stop with most of the negativity, trolls, and the fake news. Give these 2 websites a wide berth, and you are safe for the most part, though mainstream media continues to be a problem.

Now imagine all of the fake news, trolling, and negativity amplified a 100 times. Going to be really hard to get away from, but that’s exactly what will happen if the barrier to blogging is as simple and easy as access to Facebook and Twitter.

Funny story; we've had this before. Between 2005 and 2012 the number of blogs containing deliberately misleading or "fake news" measured in the millions, and search engines indexed them all. SEO was all the rage and people who were investigating anything online would have to wade through dozens if not hundreds of poor-quality websites to find real information. As walled gardens such as Twitter and Facebook captured people's attention away from blogs, people who wanted to spread their words (and malware) adapted to use the social networks and the blogs that preceded the social network migration became derelict and eventually faded as domain names expired and hosting packages were cancelled.

Something in me wishes that self-hosted blogging continues to require some knowledge of domain registration and web hosting, use of FTP/SFTP, some basic HTML and CSS, knowing the difference between categories and tags, some knowledge to be able to link out to other websites, etc.

"Bad" websites didn't go away because there was a barrier to entry. An afternoon on WPBeginner will give a person the requisite step-by-step to acquire hosting (free or paid), buy a domain name, install WordPress, and begin spreading lies and hate to anyone who might be interested in the topic. But an afternoon on WPBeginner can also give a person the step-by-step to set up a blog where they can share pictures of their dog, or their favourite recipes, or foreign language writing practice. Throughout my life it's been made incredibly clear time and again that for every jerk we encounter, there are several dozen awesome people who unconsciously make this world the interesting and wonderful place that it is.

Should blogging be as easy and simple as Tweeting? Absolutely. 100% yes. Would an artificial barrier to entry protect anyone from reading articles they deem to be trash, or "fake news", or hurtful lies? Not at all. If anything, any artificial barrier to entry would just make it harder for the billions of awesome people we haven't met to share their sliver of happiness.