Blogger Did A Thing

Blogger Endures

It’s hard to believe Blogger has been around since the last millennium! 21 years is a long time for any tech thing. And despite Google’s record for killing off services, somehow Blogger endures. In fact, it was updated last month, a rare thing.

Easy Does It

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking Blogger is no longer relevant, but Google must think otherwise. And I’m glad they do. They think enough of it to keep it up to date. A new post on the official Blogger blog details the changes.

If you head over to Blogger via your Google account, you’ll see that it’s now totally refreshed with Material Design painted all over. And it’s as simple as ever, with an aesthetic that’s more crisp and clean than iceberg lettuce.

There’s not much to it, but all the basics are clear and present. Gray icons, white space, and orange accents make the site inviting. The simplicity is attractive.

Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

One aspect I find delightful is the Label feature. Like labels in Gmail and in Keep, they appear and act the same in Blogger; they’re easy to manage. The best thing about them is the simplicity: there are only labels. That’s it. Contrast that to WordPress that has Categories and Tags; it’s more complex.

Blogger does have its own complex area: customizing your theme and layout. It still has the classic look to it. I can only guess that will be updated at some point in the future. Of course, that assumes Blogger will have a future.

The revitalized Blogger, still a free service by the way, also looks and works well on mobile. When I checked out the web app on my Android phone’s Chrome browser, the interface was a match!

Keep On Blogger

I guess I will always be fond of Blogger. The attention Google’s given it recently makes me smile. The overall simplicity makes the platform attractive, almost tempting me away from WordPress.

But Blogger’s basic nature sacrifices features I’ve come to rely on at WordPress.

However, if you dislike the Block Editor on WordPress, you will love the straightforward Editor on Blogger!

Blogs are dead? Don’t tell that to Blogger.

What do you think? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

What Happened To Blogger?

The Blog Spot

When it comes to blogging, there’s one site that always comes to mind: Blogger. My earliest blogs were hosted there with a blogspot address. Believe it or not, Blogger is still around, but it seems to have languished under Google’s passive watch. In fact, I’m surprised it has not already ended up in the Google graveyard, outliving even Google+. So what’s up with Blogger?

Spotty Blogging

Recently, I tried to follow the Blogger account on Twitter, @Blogger. I wanted to be in touch with the platform that I once enjoyed. But for some reason, I can’t follow Blogger’s Twitter account. I was told my “follow” was pending. I’m pretty sure the tweets were public before, but now the account is private. So why the change?

No Blogger Buzz

When you look at the updates on the Official Blogger Blog, what you find is saddening. The last update was over a year ago, in 2019. Then you’ll see there was only one update in 2018, and one in 2017.

In the last three years, there have been only three official updates for Blogger. That is very little activity; not a good sign.

The last hopeful news for Blogger was in May 2018. It promised “exciting updates coming soon…” We are now nearing the two year mark, and I can’t tell what those updates are or were. The only official announcement since that 2018 promise was about a feature deprecation (no more Google+ stuff). I hardly think that sparse update is exciting.

The single update in 2017 was about new themes! Now that is exciting, but that sort of change seems like it should be normal as part of staying fresh and moving the platform ever forward. Nonetheless, it was a sign of life. I can’t say I see any signs of life at Blogger in 2020.

I’ve always loved the orange color of Blogger.

The most encouraging blog post had to be the one in November 2016. It started out with hyping the popularity of Blogger as a publishing platform. But over three years later, it seems neglected or vacant now. How do you explain that? The post was hopeful, stating its overall purpose was:

“to bring you a faster, easier to use and more beautiful Blogger.”

Not Blogger Bashing

I’m not hating on Blogger. I’m asking these questions because I care. As a blogger with fond memories of the platform, and with a continued interest and appreciation for the simplicity of the Blogger interface and it being a Google product, I’m sad to see Blogger appear destined to follow Google+ to the Trash Folder.

Google is full of resources and experience, tools and talent. Surely it can make Blogger thrive, if it wanted to. That’s what bothers me about this. Blogger could be so much better. Imagine if it became more integrated into the Google ecosystem. For example, I love to use Google Keep for notes, and one of its best features is how integrated it is within other Google web-apps like Calendar, Gmail, and Docs.

Blogger is a writing and publishing platform. What if Google weaved it into Docs and Keep, two other places where you write within the Google ecosystem. There could be ways to write drafts within Docs and from there auto-publish to Blogger, similar to the WordPress Add-On I use!

And what if Blogger was tied into Google Calendar. I would love to see something like my scheduled posts on Blogger appear on my Calendar as a Reminder or Event.

A Few More Bits

I did end up finding a bit of new info about the ongoing support of Blogger. A story on 9to5Google in October 2019 reported that something new happened with Blogger (which was curiously not blogged about on the Official Blogger Blog). The Android app for Blogger got updated for the first time in 3 years! Well, that’s something.

This news also includes some updated info about the Blogger web app. A good place to check for Blogger updates outside the Official Blogger Blog is the Community Help Forum. So these updates are a few rays of hope that Blogger has not become abandon-ware.

Bleak Blogger Future

I know not to get my hopes up though. Blogger overall looks defunct, neglected. And Google has a history of killing great things despite being used by many: Google+, Google Reader, and Inbox to name a few. Although many bloggers are likely concerned over the state of Blogger. Another interesting article detailed a few reasons why Google is not (yet) shutting down Blogger.

Here’s my theory as to what is going on. Two major things have caused Google to ignore Blogger and let it flounder. First, Google+. The company was all-in on their major social network, weaving it into every other Google product. The resources expended on it left little room for much else. Then it slowly declined into oblivion. Meanwhile, Blogger was tossed around in that maelstrom.

The other thing is that while social media took over the internet, publishing and media as we knew it fundamentally changed. The paradigm shift left blogging upended, thus Blogger became less important.

Somehow, after all this, Blogger still exists. It has survived; I’d love to see it thrive. But at this point, even if it dies, I just want to know one way or the other. What’s up with Blogger these days, does it have a future or not?

Wonder what’s up with Blogger? Have you ever used it before? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Bloggers Gonna Blog

Can anyone who blogs call themself a blogger? Seems like a dumb question, but I guess it depends on what the definition of blogger is. To oversimplify – one who blogs. Is it that simple? Because that would be too easy, right?

What you do and what you are

I’ve struggled with this blogger identity. On my Twitter bio, I still have not claimed that label for myself. Instead of saying what I am, I simply say what do, “I blog…” And if that makes me a blogger, cool.

But what you do does not necessarily make you whatever that thing is. I sleep, but I’m not a “sleeper.” A dog barks, but it’s not a barker; it’s a dog. My wife bakes, sometimes, but she’s not a baker.

Another example is photography. It’s a side-hobby of mine (see my Gallery). I label myself an enthusiast for it. I own several cameras. I geek out on the gear, the craft, and the art. I’ve practiced shooting. I try to develop my eye for shots. I take and make photos in camera and in post processing software (Lightroom).

But I am not a photographer. Why? Because I don’t get paid for pictures. So I’m not a professional photographer. My day job is not photos, or writing.

Regularity is key

Let’s bring it back to being a blogger. What is a blogger? It’s a person who publishes or shares their thoughts online. But a key word to add to this definition (thanks to the Oxford dictionary) is, “regularly.”

Posting to a blog on a regular or consistent basis is vital. Blogs are considered defunct when the blogger doesn’t post for months at a time. For me, this is a big deal. I’ve started many blogs only to end up missing in action. Even my Jason Journals blog has gone on hiatus before – yikes! That is why I’ve always hesitated to self-identify as a blogger.

Consistency is not my strength. It takes lots of planning, self-discipline, and concerted effort on my part. And that still doesn’t always make things work out. So I’ve kind of had this personal standard: I can only call myself a blogger after I’ve blogged regularly for one year. Because if I could stick with it that long, then the label would stick.

But I admit, I feel closer to accepting the blogger identity now because I’m on my longest stretch of regular blogging ever! Yeah, I feel good about that. Part of me just wants to assume the identity of – blogger. I like writing, word-smithing, etc. If I keep it up, I may even get good at it someday!

Labels and identities

Beyond the blogger label, in general, I think someone who posts words online can also be called an Author or Writer. But “author” seems more associated with published books, not blogs. And they’re usually paid for their writing.

But by definition, a blogger is one who writes online regularly, not professionally. They publish their writing often, and money may or may not be involved.

Anyways, I’ve got to stay focused on the doingjust blog stuff, man! I enjoy it, so my chance of success in being a blogger is decent. I don’t know if that necessarily means that what I do and what I am relate to who I am. But that’s getting too deep.

Keep it simple. If you blog enough, then yeah, you’re a blogger.

Oh, and drink coffee. Seems like that’s part of being a blogger. Works for me!

Are you a blogger because you blog? Or do you blog because you are a blogger? What do you think? Write below, or write to me here! I like hearing from you!

The Blog Turns Two

Jason Journals has arrived at its 2nd anniversary! Yeah! It only took two years to get here! […crickets…] While I wish I blogged regularly during the past two years, I have no genie in a bottle to help me out. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll post every month in 2019! Either way, it’s been interesting.

Looking back, I’ve blogged much more in my 2nd year than in the 1st. Last Summer, my blog had a short hiatus. But I re-committed last October and, so far, have been on somewhat of a blogging streak – cue happy dance.

Last month, Jason Journals reached a mini-milestone of gaining 100 followers on WordPress. Not a big number, but still, that’s progress! Any sign of growth is a good one to me.

Speaking of growth, I dare to think that my writing has improved – a little – in the past year. Maybe I have found my natural voice for typing the wispy notions from my 3-pound brain. They’re not all mind-candy, true, but that just means I still have room for growth. Nothing to brag about. I wrestle with the whole quality versus quantity issue for posts. But I hope that, with more practice, I will get better at prose.

For this year’s anniversary post, I’ve got four things for you:

One, announce an email address on my contact page so you can write to me. Here it is!

Two, announce and launch my blog’s newest theme, Rowling, by Anders Noren.

Three, announce a new feature on my blog, the Gallery. Here I showcase my favorite or best photography (my side-hobby) since I no longer use Flickr and I deleted my Instagram. (As of this posting, the Gallery – unexpectedly – isn’t displaying correctly; it should improve in the near future.)(Update: it works correctly now; thanks to the WordPress Happiness Engineers!)

Four, I’m listing four of my past posts about blogging itself in one handy place below. Maybe it will be informative and useful to you!

Raising a cup of coffee, here’s to another full year of blogging!

How long have you been blogging? Do you read many blogs? Leave a comment, or contact me here. Thanks!

An Awesome Blog Designer

If you’ve ever blogged, then you know there are super choices when it comes to themes. The design of a theme is a big deal because your blog must look like the-best-blog-ever, and it must work. I’ve tried many themes; I gravitate to those by one particular awesome designer Anders Noren.

I like searching for the ideal theme that’s got the prime balance of features I want. The style my eyes land on is clean, crisp, elegant, and minimal yet not bland. Typography should be bold but not audacious while also being easy to read.

Basically, Anders Noren style!

The design aesthetic of Anders exemplifies all the traits you could want. He knows how to handle both text and images, not just displaying them but showcasing them.

The icing on the cake is that many of his themes are free! And who doesn’t like free?

Lovecraft theme by Anders Noren

Rowling theme by Anders Noren

Of the many themes Noren has created, I have tried three of them and am about to switch to another theme of his. A fresh coat of paint could be nice to coincide with my blog’s 2nd anniversary coming up.

Here’s the thing that surprised me – as I found myself scanning the WordPress themes gallery and checking out different ones, I went by features and looks first. Yet I noticed that, somehow, I happened to prefer one by Anders Noren – again!

Right now I’m using the Lovecraft theme. But I wanted to move to one with more imagery while not appearing cluttered. So I have landed on Rowling.

Other great themes by Noren that I have tried in the past are Baskerville and Hemingway. You should check them out. Studying other themes will give you new ideas to spruce up your current one, exposing you to features or layouts you may not have been aware of.

What theme are you using now? Why did you choose it? Sound off in the comments below or send me a message here. Great to hear from you!