I’ve been blogging for just shy of 11 years now. I’m a Blogging (and literal) Old Timer. I’ve seen Bloggers come and go, I’ve seen Bloggers pass away, I’ve seen Bloggers have many children (and not always for the right reasons!). However Blogging has changed dramatically over the past few years, and I’m not convinced it’s for the better. Most people started blogs as an online diary – firing their thoughts and feelings out into the world. Sometimes people might stumble across them, generally, they wouldn’t. Your carefully crafted words would lay out-there, somewhere. If you write enough and write well enough, you might find folk will come back for more.
We became invested in the people we read about – everyone’s lives out there for the reading – like an autobiography written in semi-realtime. You’d see people grow and change through their experiences, words and pictures. You’d feel happy when they announced a new addition to their clan, and share their sadness when things went awry.
Sadly, blogging isn’t really like that now – we’re becoming less about the blogging, and more about the ‘influencing’. Blogs aren’t often started now because people want to put their thoughts out there – they want freebies, press invites, and sponsorship. Blogging is seen as a way of getting rich, getting ‘stuff’ – and yes, it is possible to get rich, yes you CAN get freebies, you’ll probably get invites to fun things – but it’s not always instant, and it doesn’t happen for everyone.
Everyone seems so hell-bent on being the next viral sensation. Everyone wants to write a bloody book. Everyone is just screaming ‘LOOK AT ME!!!’. We all do it, and it’s really sad. It’s not good enough to just write for the love of writing or sharing with the people who read your stuff. Writing about life doesn’t really cut it much these days.
There has to be an angle, a review, a gift list, an event, a ‘thing’ – no-one seems to write because they want to. There always has to be a ‘something’ crowbarred in. I saw something recently about someone losing their baby during pregnancy – a horrible and tragic thing. I felt sad and sorry for them. As I read further it became clear the post was actually about some jewellery that they’d been paid to advertise. It jarred with me, flogging some tat for someone else intertwined about your baby loss just felt – grubby. It would have made more sense if it was a post about a baby-loss charity or a company that specialised in memorial based jewellery. It wasn’t. It was a way of pushing an unrelated product.
When literally any aspect of your life is up for sale or opened up to earn you income – we’re heading down a slippery slope.
I don’t want to be influenced by bloggers.
I don’t want to be told what to buy, because you got one for free. If it’s good – great, let us know. But don’t wax-lyrical just to appease a PR person. Don’t fake excitement over rubbish. It becomes painfully clear that you’re not REALLY on board with anything you post, but that you’re just doing it for the money.
Money can be made from blogging. So many people use it now as a main source of income, to keep the wolf from the door, or so they don’t have to get a ‘proper’ job. I understand that. If you can take a £20 post from a sketchy SEO Gremlin to buy some shopping, or put some credit on the electricity meter – do it. Absolutely. Take their money, make it yours.
I just miss reading about people – how they are doing, how their lives are shaping up. Everyone is so busy hawking nonsense for brands and companies, no-one really writes about themselves any more. Everyone is trying so hard to be edgy, witty, or just so painfully perfect – no-one is really being themselves now.
I miss that.