It is a steaming hot and lazy Sunday afternoon and I am catching up with things. A subject came to mind that I’ve been interested in writing about for some time. It concerns blogging in America today. Specifically how it has changed over the last several years. Boy, it has changed!
- Everyone is on the Internet now. It isn’t a semi secret place to write anymore.
- Search engines are so advanced now that you can start a blog this morning and have readers pissed at you by noon. It is difficult to go unnoticed.
- People are fired from their jobs every single day because they expressed a personal opinion publicly online.
- America has become one big group of angry people, and they have no tolerance for free speech.
Back in the early days of blogging, it was sort of a poorly kept secret. Unless you were really into the internet you didn’t read any blogs. And most people knew nothing about the internet. I remember watching a commercial on TV and seeing the first company to offer their web address. I thought that was so cool.
Back then you could say anything you wanted to say online and chances are, no one ever heard you! The web was a baby just learning to stand on it’s wobbly little legs, and it was difficult to get noticed. You had to submit your blog to search engines like “Metacrawler” which was the hottest search engine until something called Google came along.
But, free speech was easy. If someone did find your blog in the corner of the www, they would leave a comment and be done with you. People being fired from their jobs was a rare thing. Unheard of in fact.
Eventually everyone got on the internet. Even my 86 year old mother in law. Facebook came along, (after myspace) and became in my view the greatest alternative to blogging. It became a blogging platform itself. LinkedIn came along for professional networking.
Now you can start a blog in the morning and have someone screaming at you in the afternoon, upset with your exercise of free speech. By the next day you are fired from your job. Not because you broke any law. Not because you encouraged anyone to break a law. Just for having an opinion.
Today people are getting fired because of exercising their free speech rights every day. Be it on a blogging platform such as Blogger or WordPress, or on Facebook. Recently a high school principal in North Miami was removed from his position because he expressed a personal opinion in support of police. A Pembroke Pines city commissioner took heat for a comment he made about Bruce Jenner. (He did not lose his job though.)
If you write something about anything, someone in America is going to disagree with you. Enough to get you fired. Literally everyone is on the internet now.
I remember the famous South Florida Daily Blog written every day for years by Rick. It evolved out of “Stuck on the Palmetto” which had to close suddenly because Rick’s cover was blown and I guess he had to keep his blogging totally separate from his job. I remember having some epic “discussions” with Rick there. I truly enjoyed those debates and many times my personal views were successfully challenged. I learned from that experience.
Sadly, Rick had to close down SFDB as he was apparently once again exposed, or was at risk of being exposed. He is back, as we all knew he would be, but this time writing a closed blog at South Florida Daily Blog. One must be invited to be let in. (Obviously, I have not received an invitation.)
I think it is very sad that people cannot expressed their opinions on their off hours. SFDB was the best overall blog in South Florida. Now it operates in darkness behind closed doors. The community is the ones who have lost something.
As for me, I have moved to FaceBook as well as several other internet locations. What happened to Rick has made me exercise more care. We all live and work in an environment where freedom of expression is frowned upon. And people are punished if their views do not conform to the approved narratives. I now comment on some websites, news organizations etc, but of course using a fake email address and alias.
I still blog here from time to time, but if you have to measure every word you write to politically sensitive standards, why write?
I have a special handicap in that my real name is extremely unusual. Enter my first and last name in Google and the very first twenty links are me.
Since my views are either far left or far right, I have the ability to piss off pretty much everyone. My employer, if aware of my posts would indeed have an issue with them. Which is why over the last several months I have been deleting or archiving some of my more risky posts. Hundreds of them have been removed from the blog, and I still have hundreds to go through.
That is what has changed about blogging. The wonderful freedom of expression, the mixing of ideas, is not tolerated in America anymore. Voices are falling silent.
It is a shame.