I started blogging in 2001. My blog was hosted on Blogger, prior to it becoming a Google property. That was the point that I officially had what was called a “blog”. Before that I had a pre-cursor to the blog. I had a certain page that I just updated regularly to reflect my current likes/dislikes and other pages of static content about topics I found interesting. (All of that stuff started in 1993-1994 ish… So this means I’ve had my own online presence for 20+ years!)
Blogging in the early days was so different from the world now. Just about everybody that had a blog was someone who worked in a tech capacity. So even if we weren’t all blogging about technology, all of us were tech geeks in some form. Most blogs didn’t even have comments at first, so we were writing stuff that was potentially read by others by we didn’t interact with each other. As comments became more prolific, people started to build even more connections through blogs. Once Google acquired Blogger in 2003, it seems like the number of blogs out there started to increase rapidly.
The process became easier and easier and soon anyone could set up a blog. We started to see the rise of more and more niches… but the Mommy Blog zone really had a lot of growth. I made several friends online in the 2005-08 time that would probably be called mommy bloggers. (I would not have been called one, as I was not a mommy at the time. But we wrote about some of the same topics, with the difference of them writing about their children interspersed into their writing and I wrote about… more of the same other crap? Whatever I wrote about at the time as a woman who worked out of her home with a husband gone all the time and before I had developed a running habit. What did I write about? Oh yeah, about going to the gym and doing yoga.) Anyway, moms found it a really great way to connect with other people, especially those that were stay-at-home moms. It was a community.
Then the product reviews and giveaways started to grow because moms are influencers! They buy stuff and they talk to others about buying stuff. Blogging conferences came on the scene. And some bloggers got more and more of these products from companies. And trips. And cars. Some of the big blogs just kept getting bigger and bigger. There was resentment, jealousy and envy from others.
And now I’ve seen an article passed around by several of my friends. Many of them are saying that it perfectly explains why they don’t blog anymore, or why they don’t comment anymore, or why they don’t read blogs anymore. [How The Blogger Killed Herself Off]
A part of me wanted to say, “YES!” when I first read it. I’ve seen the posts that are full of product placements. I’ve seen the bloggers fill their Instagram feeds with screenshots of their blog for their various giveaways. I’ve unfollowed people who fill all their media with too much of this.
I receive products for free to review on my site. I have been guilty of posting several posts in a row to meet the obligations I have with companies that have so graciously reached out to me. I can’t speak for all the other bloggers in the world, but I really do post a lot of these things because I think they would be of interest to my readers. And if I can’t use the product after testing, I pass things on to others who need/want the item. I have a full-time job, this blog isn’t my income nor does it really pay me much. I get a little bit of revenue from some things and that mainly goes right back into the site. I buy my hosting, I pay for things to review, I purchase a theme, etc. My blog is entirely a labor of love.
I have less time to spend on posting these days. I have companies reaching out to offer me product and I feel that if I accept something, they deserve to have a post geared toward their item and I feel that you as the readers deserve to get a more comprehensive review than if I just say that I received that item while mingling it in with content about what I’m currently eating. (I won’t go off on a tangent about that right now.) I won’t just take product because it’s offered for free, I feel very strongly that I need to have it tie into my general blogging theme. From my tech geeky side, I feel that the companies deserve a singular post about their product with keywords interspersed and SEO tactics applied. From my personal side, I feel that more and more it’s not worth my time to receive products that are worth $10 that require lots of testing and then time put forth to writing the review and then promoting that on social media. So my site grows and changes from year to year.
Blogging evolution needs to occur. And it is occurring. That’s just how things work.
There are growing pains, some bloggers lose their voice. However, they’re all just people trying to navigate a changing arena. I try really hard to maintain my integrity on this site and not get swept up in the whole “I’m sponsored by Companies X, Y, Z as well as A, B, C and an ambassador to 1, 2, 3.” The interesting thing is that in this evolution, it seems that commenting on blogs is dropping off on a large-scale. People prefer to skim and move on, or respond on Facebook/Twitter. And so often it seems that the really active commenters are trolls. (I do feel really fortunate that I’m not inundated with a lot of trolling, just a few from time-to-time. So thank you for that.) So if readers on the whole are still cool with the site’s content, they may not be commenting and sharing that appreciation as much. We’re all busy! So negativity is the message that pervades comments online.
This whole thing just came from the fact that after reading that article on LinkedIn, it hasn’t sat right with me. I don’t know what the future of blogging is (I seem to have left my crystal ball somewhere, if you see it let me know, aiiiight?) All I know is that there are elements of truth in that article, but also elements of frustration and annoyance and a gamut of human emotions because we’re all just people navigating the changing tides of the world as well as well can.
*I like big buts and I cannot lie