Google Plus is being murdered on 2 April.
Back in the day, until about 2017, I used to be very active on Google Plus. It was the anti-Fakebook, free of adverts and cat videos, with a high intellectual level, and, at first, little to no censorship.
But Google was not making any money out of it. So it killed it.
The writing was on the wall for a while, really. Google stopped, for all intents and purposes, maintaining Google Plus around 2016. It allowed it to wither away, while looking for an excuse – any excuse – to kill it off. And the wishes of its users be damned.
That excuse came in the shape of a “security breach” a year or so ago, which even Google admits did not expose its users’ data to anybody (unlike, you know, Fakebook). But, rather than just fixing the breach and moving on, Google chose to close down the social network altogether.
It’s just the latest in a long, long, line of things Google has killed off. And it almost certainly won’t be the last.
The next, or the next but one, or the next one after that, I believe, will be Blogger.
The signs are unmistakable.
Between 2006 and 2012, I was on the greatest blogging/social media website ever created, Multiply. It was killed off after being taken over by a South African corporate criminal called Stefan Magdalinsky, who was far too greedy for his own good, and chose to convert it into an e-shopping network. While he only murdered Multiply in 2012, the signs had been clear since mid-2011, though, that the site was doomed. And those of us who recognised those signs, like me, began to look for an alternative site to move to.
Today, I see those same signs in Blogspot.
Let’s be clear about this – I do not trust Google as far as I can throw it. I do not trust it to not kill off Blogspot, which it owns, because it can.
But, more than that, I have some observations.
First, most of Blogger is free. It has no adverts. The majority of users don’t pay Google to use it. What that means is that Google is not making any money from it, and we know Google is all about money.
Secondly, and, yes, I am blaming most of you who are reading this, blogging is headed down the road to the same extinction that visited such concepts as chat rooms and Orkut. Why? Simple. You don’t read. Even those of you who would think nothing of writing ten thousand word long stories ten years ago don’t want to read anything longer than ten word long memes and tweets now. You don’t have to pretend – I can see it in my stats. And that means, in turn, that I have less and less incentive to spend my spare time doing the hard work of writing. Right?
Right. And though I’m just one person, the whole of Blogger is headed down the same route. And it's getting worse. People who used to write a hundred or more posts a year ago can scarcely be bothered to type out one or two short blogs in six months now.
Do you think Blogger and its owner Google are unaware of that? They are not unaware of that. No.
The other signs are equally clear. I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but Blogger has become, essentially, maintenance-free. Spam comments are no longer delivered to spam folders, but to your inbox. All these years, and Blogger still hasn’t managed to create a comment edit function, something, you know, just about everyone else has had for fifteen years if not longer. And more!
Recently, it’s become harder and harder to post or edit posted articles. Typically, when I post something and click on save, I get this:
And no matter how many times I click, I keep getting it. Only if I open a separate window to my blog do I see if the damn thing has posted/updated or not.
This is most definitely Not A Good Sign. This is not a sign of a site which really cares any longer whether it still exists or what the hell you do on it.
In other words, it’s a site which is, sooner or later, doomed.
As such, I have decided to look for another blogging site. I need, at the very least, to create an online backup of my posts here. Here are my requirements:
1 It needs to be free (I can’t pay in dollars even if I wanted to, and I don’t).
2 It needs to be no-censorship, as Blogspot still is.
3 It needs to be easy-to-use (without any fancy formatting troubles).
4 It must have no limits on uploads (unlike WordPress, for example).
5 Readers ought to be able to comment with the minimum of trouble.
6. I need to have a reasonable expectation that it won’t vanish tomorrow.
I realise that most of these points could be addressed by my own website, but I’ll be frank.
First, much as I want my own site, I cannot afford it, and will not be able to in the foreseeable future. You realise that unlike a lot of other bloggers, I do not have a donate button, I do not beg for money via Patreon from you people, and anything I put online is free for you to read and share. But by the same token, I do not make a penny for my writing, and I cannot afford to divert funds from more important purposes in order to pay to maintain a website of my own.
Second, I have zero skills at web design, and the costs of paying a professional web designer to set up a website for me are far more than I can even conceive of affording.
Third, a readymade blogging site comes with other users and readers. This is not true of a website I have to start from scratch. I do not expect more than five of you (you know who you are) to follow me wherever I might go.
Therefore, I need suggestions. Tell me what other blogging sites (not WordPress, thank you, I already use it for my cartoons and I hate it, thank you very much all the same) you know about.
Thanks in advance in case you have suggestions. Or, you know, not.