Since I recently got active on Facebook (I had a page for yonks, but never sent a friend request), explored LinkedIn and Twitter as potential marketing tools for the company I work for, I've had a couple of weeks to chew on the differences and come to the conclusion that...
... first and foremost, I am a blogger. I'd shutter my Facebook page in a second if I had to choose between the two.
I'm already noticing that I need to spend less time on Facebook and more time on the Omnibus if I want to keep my brain really agile. Hatchlings, pillow fights, mafia wars, etc. are addictive if you're even a tad bit OCD (and I am) -- it's easy and mindless. The great limitation of Facebook, to me, is that it's dialog limited to people you already know.
Twitter doesn't work for me either, because I think in paragraphs, not in limited number of characters. It's info for the ADHD of the internet world -- quick, easily digestible and doesn't require a great deal of thought to whip off. Yes, it's a great source of quick news -- but for depth of thought, give me a long, chewy blog post any time.
But the real beauty of blogging, to me, is that it was and is unlimited in who and what you might touch if you're out there.
In looking back, I started reading business blogs that related to my job. In the aftermath of 9/11 I tripped over the war bloggers and political bloggers who were reporting the second Gulf War information faster and better than the mainstream media was able. Instapundit, Blackfive when it was only Matt Burden blogging, A Small Victory (now defunct) and the Winds of Change were daily sources of fact and opinion that I gobbled up greedily.
Through Glenn Reynolds' blogroll, I discovered opinion, wit and dialog the likes of which I'd never find in books or newspapers or magazines. Bloggers like the incomparable Acidman (may he rest in peace) set my imagination on fire. And through his blogroll, I discovered humor, pathos, carnivals, trolls, bile, bickering, bantering and mind-boggling mental gymnastics -- and I jumped headfirst into the pool, first leaving comments, and later starting my own blog.
For over a year I tossed up post after post without a site meter... because I am a technotard and I didn't know why I needed one, where to get one or how to install one. I linked left and right, and the only time I ever knew that there was anyone out there was the occasional comment. Eventually, I learned what a template is, how to update it, installed a site meter and added a blogroll. Eventually I signed up for the Ecosystem and learned how to use Technorati.
In the meantime, I kept writing about anything and everything that caught my fancy -- links, jokes, humorous anecdotes, stories, politics, family, cats, news items, flinging post-in-a-bottle after post-in-a-bottle out into the blogosphere.
And a funny thing happened. People started linking me back. I made friends, some of whom have grown quite dear. I've drifted away from many of the blogs that I started out reading, and into new ones. Maybe their interests changed or maybe mine did. Some just plain quit and disappeared from sight. At least one significant influence died. I've met more people from more places than I ever thought possible, attended a bunch of blogmeets, and helped to organize two right here in the Chicago area. That simply would not have happened with Facebook. I can't imagine my life without some of these friends.
Change happens; you embrace it or you don't.
I don't have the readership of an Instapundit, and I never will. That's not why I started this crazy blogging thing in the first place. I won't wedge myself into a niche; that's not who I am.
Any idiot with a computer can start a blog. Sustaining one, however, takes a certain kind of hard-headed perseverance that not everybody has. (And I wonder if some of those folks who pigeonhole themselves don't eventually get tired of blogging precisely because they have limited their content.)
Being particularly mule-headed myself, if you come back years from now, you'll still find me flinging love notes in a bottle out into the internet.
I am a blogger.
P.S. -- I've never been paid for blogging. That's not my measure of success. If you're reading this, I'm a success. Thanks!