Cobb: Bring blogs back.

You don't own your own words. When you live on Facebook's property, you don't own your own words. They can be deleted by someone other than you. They can be banned by someone other than you. You can hardly even know what you said a year ago by searching for it. I don't mean to suggest that Facebook alone is capable of this, but it is the 900 pound gorilla. The same things are true of Twitter and the comments sections of hundreds of new media outlets.

When it comes to participating in the debates that a free and open society require, these social media spaces do not facilitate. That is not why they exist. That is not their business model. They were not created to sustain collaborative thought, but to let everybody connect in social ways. They are not town halls so much as they are gas station bathrooms on the information superhighway. They serve everybody without much discrimination, but their facilities often stink. Sometimes you wonder who came in here to write what you see on the walls, and you cringe. No matter how many bots or attendants you apply to a roadside rest stop, it will never become a town hall. That's something you design from the ground up. Social media needs a redesign.

However, there was a moment of glory in the past in which the level of discourse broadly available to the internet public was better than it is now. That was the age of the blogosphere. ...