The blogging debate: my thoughts, experiences, & how I feel about what blogging has become.
The blogging debate; my thoughts & experiences.
Over the last few months, I have seen a lot of discussion on social media around blogging, and in particular the question 'Is blogging dead?' - it's a question that has got me thinking, and thinking a lot. I know a lot of people have written very similar posts, but I guess this is me joining in with the discussion, chatting about my experiences with blogging, looking back on how it's changed, and how I feel about what it is now.
Disclaimer - I'd maybe grab yourself a cuppa, this has turned into a pretty long one. Whoops!
I started blogging in November 2014 and I have to admit, it was all very different back then. I started my blog as a hobby, as a creative outlet and as a way to explore the things I was starting to enjoy doing in my spare time anyway… like taking photographs, watching YouTube videos and spending way too much time curating my Insta grid.
I stumbled into the blogging community completely by accident, and it was probably one of the best things that could've happened to me at the time. All of a sudden my Twitter feed was filled with creatives and bloggers, supporting each other and creating fun and light hearted content. I loved Twitter at this point. It was a positive, uplifting place where you'd find bloggers constantly chatting with each other, giving advice and just generally lifting each other up, and I know for a fact that a lot of genuine, long-lasting friendships were made and it was so great to watch and experience this happening.
I found some of my best friends around this time, too. In the January of 2015, I joined a WhatsApp group with some of the loveliest blogging girls, and in the following year or so we met as a group a number of times; we went to blog events together, took ourselves off on our own little day trips, and even went on a weekend away together in the Peak District. It was the best. (I mean, the point of the WhatsApp group was to go to the Harry Potter studios, and that still hasn't happened, but still… it was the best.)
Our social lives are different, we're focusing on building careers and relationships outside of the internet and well, it's hard to find the time sometimes to dedicate as much time to blogging and the community as we used to. Which is, of course, really sad when you think about it, but it's also just a part of life and can happen with anything and any hobby. I genuinely believe this is part of the reason why blogging has changed so much in the last few years.
I do, however feel that blogging has become so much more competitive now. We've been made to feel like we have to have the latest blog template or camera or we won't be as good as everyone else. We feel like we're failing if we're not being approached by brands for paid collabs all the time. And, there was a time when it was only ever the 'really big' bloggers who hired photographers or web designers but now everyone is doing it because we feel the need to keep up.
(Let's not even get started on the whole bots/buying followers/the follow-unfollow game, shall we?)
Yes, people still cared about their Instagram feed but it was no where near as intense or competitive. We all commented on blogs more, too. If you received a comment on one of your posts you'd return the favour and comment on one of theirs. It wasn't about the backlinks but about support (although this could tie into the lack of time now too as before).
However, despite all of this, blogging is unique, and it's yours. Like a lot of people are pointing out, your blog is the only social platform that you own. Instagram and Twitter could shut down tomorrow and all of that time you've put into curating and growing those platforms could be for nothing in seconds. But your blog? Your blog is always going to be there.
I've changed my own mindset on how I view my blog in recent months. Yes, there was a time that I wanted to really focus on my blog and grow it and my dream was to take it full time at some point in the future. But now, now I don't want that anymore.
I want my blog to be something that I can use to document my life so that I can look back on it in years and years time and remember what I was doing and feeling at certain points. Something that I can read back and see just how far I've come and what I've achieved. Something that I can be proud of and maybe, just maybe, even show my kids someday so they can have a good giggle at what life was like in the 'old days'.
I don't think blogging is dead, and I don't think it will be for a very long time yet. But it's definitely certain that it's changed, and while change in anything is inevitable, I'm not entirely sure if it's been for the better for the blogosphere as a whole.