I admit to not using Google+ a whole heck of a lot. I do have a personal account and even my own page, but I just haven’t really had any incentive to use it much. What’s interesting though is in the little time I’ve spent on the service, I’ve been observing an increasing trend of people using it as a blogging platform. So, is that a good or bad thing? Read on.
If you love to write, and do so on a regular basis, it seems peculiar that you would eschew hosting your own content in favour of dumping all of your stuff into Google+. I see the appeal in it though, with the real-time commenting it supports and the level of engagement you get with it. That being said, there’s no reason why you can’t augment your own blog with Disqus commenting to get the same kind of features and results.
Hosting your own content can cost money, but there are so many benefits from it. Obviously the immediate benefit is owning your own content — from the top of the page to the bottom. With Google+ you’re basically dumping your valuable content into a service used to analyze your data so that it can eventually offer you highly targeted advertising. Of course, with the data liberation front, Google allows you to fully export your data — this is a good thing. That being said, we still loop back to the problem of why even bother in the first place?
If you can’t afford even basic hosting for say Squarespace or WordPress, you can run your own statically generated site using something like Jekyll, and host it on Amazon S3 for pennies. All you need is a bit of patience for configuration, and a little bit of knowledge on how to use Markdown.
Overall, I think Google+ executes well enough on UI and UX — at least much better than Facebook. Of course I’m still on Facebook, but the only place where I’ll even think of dumping my lengthy thoughts down are on my own site — which I manage, control and curate.
I’m sure many people who read this weblog are probably geeky enough that they run their own sites. If you’re new to this game, and are thinking of starting your own weblog, please save yourself the hassle and just host your own content. Let’s leave the pithy comments for disposable social networking services like Google+, Facebook and Twitter.