Many of us make jokes about blogs, and specifically how they used to be a thing. They were what we used to share our reactions and engage with others before Twitter, before Substack paid newsletters, podcasts, and videos.
But blogs… they don’t matter anymore. Or at least we don’t think they do. They’re slow; unlike social media, they take you out of the moment. You can’t have an instant reaction on a blog. They take a lot of work.1 They require a kind of thoughtfulness, at least in theory, the kind that plays against all the algorithms.
Which is exactly why they matter.
Why I started blogging in the beginning
My start as a “real” writer came as a blogger. I started a site I eventually called Blogging Theologically back in 2009, which is about 1000 years ago in internet years. I was already working as a writer for a non-profit, despite having no experience. So my goal with the blog was to process my thoughts and develop my writing skills. Over time, people started reading what I wrote. I started getting better at writing as I went. People kept reading. That blog led me to where I am now: an author published multiple times over, a Canadian living in the United States, and actually working in publishing.
Why I stopped blogging (at least the way I had been)
Over time, as my life changed and as I began exploring other avenues of interest—like podcasting, I eventually had to scale back on my blogging. I went from twice daily for 4+ years to around 5-7 times a week for a while. Eventually as various concerns arose with my first employer in the United States, and as their demands on me grew, I found that the only thing I had time to do was write for work. So, with the exception of writing I was paid to do by outside entities, all of my blog writing wound up on the blog of the brand I managed, or other ones owned by my employer.
Why I started blogging again
When I left that job in the fall of 2021, I came back to a blog that had largely been gathering dust. I also came back to it more or less burnt out. So I took some time to think about what I wanted to actually do with it. Did I still care about blogging at all? Was it still important to me? Did it still help me in some way?2
As I considered these questions, I realized was that, yes blogs still matter. I didn’t (and don’t) like the jump to conclusions game that generates attention on the social internet. It’s an approach to public discourse that conflicts with my values, and I believe to be in direct opposition to God’s desires for humanity in general, and Christians in particular. We are to be people who are quick to listen and slow to speak. People who recognize that “with his speech the godless person destroys his neighbor, but by knowledge the righteous will be delivered” (Prov. 11:9 NET). I need to be better than that.
We need to be better than that.
Why I think blogs still matter
If we are Christians, we are called to build people up with our words. And to build people up, we need places where we can take our time to think through weighty matters. The social internet doesn’t reward that, but that shouldn’t matter. We need places where we can have a kind of silence from the pervasive noise that every other site brings. Blogs allow us to do that. They allow us to reflect, to be unburdened by the tyranny of the instant, and explore how the gospel should shape our lives, both proactively and reactively. From where I sit, there can never not be a need for that.
So will blogs ever hold the kind of importance they did back in the 2000s-2010s? Probably not. But that’s the wrong question, because it’s based on generating attention. And I don’t think that’s what a blog is supposed to do. The real question is, do blogs still matter? And if the point is to encourage others, to challenge them to think deeply and carefully, then the answer can only be yes.
- Which newsletters, podcasts, and videos also require, but whatever.
- This is all part of why I relaunched the site at the end of 2021.