I first started blogging in early 2004 on Xanga, a blogging site where it seemed like everyone I knew had a blog. I was living in Knoxville TN and literally every person I met had a Xanga blog. Everyone went by their usernames. I blogged daily, for years. I enjoyed it immensely and found quite a few friends on the way — including my wife, Gretchen. At one point early in the last decade, Xanga allegedly had over 40 MILLION users and was the biggest blogging site on the Internet. Then things started to unravel. I started noticing one friend after another simply disappearing from Xanga, some offering no goodbye at all. Boom, they’re just gone! Many migrated to Facebook, which I think has been the big Xanga killer. Many others went to Blogger and some to WordPress, others to TypePad and other blogging sites. I quit blogging on Xanga about three or four years ago, as I was heavily into Facebook and most of my friends had fled Xanga. It depressed me to even go to that site. However, after a year or so away, I found I really missed it, so I returned to Xanga, intent on blogging once more. To my dismay, I knew almost no one at all. Gretchen was still there. So were a few other friends. But by and large everyone I knew was gone from Xanga. Now Xanga has a nice feature called blogrings that allow bloggers to join groups of people based on common themes, like blogrings for Steeler fans or Bipolar people or poetry lovers, etc. I belonged to a number of blogrings and decided to join some more in an effort to make new Xanga friends. So I did. And shortly, to my dismay, I discovered they were all dead. Some rings would have 800 members, but only three updated. No one else did. Everyone had disappeared without deleting their Xanga accounts. They were just ghost town blogs. I got discouraged, so a couple of years ago, after exploring different blogging sites, I started this one here on WordPress. It’s not the same as Xanga. I really miss the old blogrings where people were active on them. Here you have to rely on tags to find other blogs. It seems like such a pain in the ass. But I like the look and feel of WordPress blogs and I like what you can do with them, so I’ve been pretty happy. My only disappointment is I often feel like I’m just writing for myself. On Xanga, a post would generate 10 or 20 or 30 comments. Here I get none. I have 163 followers and only one of you comments at all. Some people “like” some of my posts, for which I’m grateful, so I know my posts are being read by some people, but it’s not the same as Xanga.
Strangely, just a couple of days ago Gretchen asked what would happen if Xanga died. We talked about how much she’d miss it and her friends there. So, imagine our surprise when today Xanga posted this: http://thexangateam.xanga.com/773587240/relaunching-xanga-a-fundraiser/. It basically states that they can’t stay in business. The only way they can is if they migrate to, of all places, WordPress and Xanga members have a month and a half to come up with 60 grand to help with the migration. Otherwise Xanga will be shut down. We don’t think Xanga stands a chance at raising 60K in 6 weeks to keep it going on WordPress. How would that work anyway? Would URLs be “xxx.xanga.wordpress.com”? Would WordPress just incorporate Xanga into its system? It’s not explained in Xanga’s press release. I also want to know what’s going to happen to my domain I bought through Xanga — bukowski-rules.com. Will that just disappear into thin air?
Gretchen and I are sad, cause it’s the passing of an era. This is something we’ve talked about a lot over the past couple of years — how Xanga seemed to have fallen behind the times, how they didn’t have an app (they do now), how they were late to the party, how they didn’t fight back against Facebook. They liken themselves to MySpace and LiveJournal in their press release, so it sounds to me that they’ve already given up the fight. It’s a real shame, because it used to be such a great place to write and meet like minded people, as well as others. And they crapped it all away, refusing to upgrade, refusing to adjust, refusing to acknowledge basic changes in the blogosphere. It’s a real pity. I’ll miss you, Xanga.
5 thoughts on “Xanga: The Passing of an Era”
Interesting post…my first time hearing of Xanga. I use to have a blog on blogger many years back. Blogger is still going but it is definitely not as popular anymore. It will probably be gone in 15 or more years. And probably ten years from now, there will be a new blogging site that will make WordPress less popular as everyone migrates there. People tend to get bored easily and are always looking for something new.
I still blog there occasionally, mainly the stuff I can’t put on FB. It was an amazing thing, Xanga. I met you there. I met my bestie there. It’s how I survived my divorce (cos ya’ll were so very supportive when I was falling apart). And now…*sigh* I’ve seen communities pull that much money, but a lot of Xanga traffic that I’ve seen is kids (well, not kids, they’re adults, just way younger than us). They’ll just move on. 😦
What a shame. I’ve got good memories there. I met you there.
the difference with xanga and a lot of other blogs was how much community support you actually got. while my xanga account was not exactly public and didn’t generate that much feedback, i loved reading other blogs and all the comments. it makes you feel like you are not alone.
Yeah, I do miss the sense of Xanga community, but you can find people on WordPress via tags, so eventually you might get a sense of community here. It’s not the same, but with Xanga disappearing (probably), there’s not much choice, right? Good luck with your WordPress efforts.
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