With Google's latest censorship edict and subsequent retraction, there has been a lot of discussion about the future of blogging and the direction of our community. These are topics of great importance to me.
No one can know the future, but we can certainly speculate based upon what we do know. I last peered into my crystal ball back in 2011. Now, it seems like a good time to revisit and reconsider that analysis.
I identified seven possible future scenarios:
As I review these predictions almost half a decade later, here's what I see:
#1 - Remains a possibility as Twitter and other media grow, but blogs continue to fill a niche not otherwise addressed.
#2 - Has largely come to pass, but I consider some fragmentation to be inevitable given the growth we've seen. This isn't a serious threat to our community today.
#3 - Best describes the past five years.
#4 and #5 - Have not happened, and we have no evidence they will.
#6 - Remains a legitimate concern, but I have more faith today in our community's resilience.
#7 - Could happen someday, but probably not in the next decade.
So what can our recent past tell us about the direction of our spanko blogging community?
I foresee a bright future. That is not to suggest that there won't be bumps in the road. But in the long run, those little bumps won't matter.
I am more convinced than ever of the strength and permanence of our community. There is no conceivable scenario where we turn back the clock to 1980s when we lived our lives unaware of like-minded neighbors. Corporate censorship can inconvenience us, and probably will, but we will survive. We've been kicked out of places like Delphi, AOL, Geocities, Yahoo, MySpace, and Facebook. Today, Tumblr and Google delete blogs and harass kinky bloggers seemly at random. None of that has stopped us. We dislike having to move, but we've certainly done it before.
A community is a collection of people committed to a common vision. We associate because we are stronger together. The friendship, support, understanding and love we share bind us into a greater whole. I don't see that changing anytime soon.