Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Is Blogging Dead?

Things in the blogging community have been a little bit weird for a while now, haven't they? I've thought about it. I've tweeted about it, and then Vix made a whole Twitter thread summing up everything I've been feeling for a while and it inspired me to finally write down my thoughts about this and honestly, this may have turned into a little bit of a ramble on all my thoughts on the blogging community at the moment, but I hope ya enjoy anyway!

I started blogging back in 2011; there were no rules, no bitchiness, and certainly no Twitter dramas. It was just wholesome fun, full of people talking about their passions and a lot of photography, with the worst lighting imaginable. I started my blog, just for me. I never had the intention of wanting other people to read it because I didn't want to be judged. I never shared it with anyone...and then people started to find it and comment and I was utterly freaked out, like GIRLLL. Who are you and how did you find my blog? But all of that quickly faded away, when I realised just how lovely the people of the blogging community were, they didn't judge, they just wanted to support you.

I soon made a Twitter account, alongside my blog and discovered the world of blogger Twitter chats and just how great this little community was. I loved the weekly chats so much that I'd even ensure to set an alarm on my phone so I wouldn't miss one. Each week, there would be a different topic that created a great discussion, but aside from this, these chats were also a great way of keeping yourself motivated, meeting new people and putting your little blog out there and I honestly think about 95% of my following came from these chats. I'd wake up the next morning and my latest posts would be filled with new comments from people that had just found my blog. It was great. 2014 was one of the hardest years of my life, but blogging was the one thing that got me through it all. Even though everything in my personal life was a little bit BLAH, I managed to keep up with a regular blogging schedule and shot all my own photographs, without using any stock images and it never felt like a chore, I absolutely adored it. But fast forward four years and everything is completely different...

So, what changed??

Somewhere along the lines, most of the Twitter chats just stopped and were replaced with the nightly Twitter dramas instead. If it's not a fake blogger trip to LA, it's calling someone out who may or may not be buying fake followers or debating whether a certain blogger deserved their latest spon deal. It never stops. Do you know what has stopped, though? The support. There used to be tons of retweet accounts or bloggers that would share your posts organically because they just enjoyed what you had to say. These days,  it's rare to see a blogger sharing content to be supportive. Instead, it's just toxic competitiveness and full of Twitter follow trains and Instagram pods, which are so unorganic, it's almost pointless. However, one rare gem in the blogging community is definitely Hannah from Hannah Hearts. I always see her sharing other people's content, no matter how many followers they have and she's also created a retweet account now. We need more people like her in this community! blogging dead?

No. Admittedly, it's a lot different now, but it's far from being dead. Back in a day, it was easier to gain followers and general support, but it's now become such a saturated industry that you need to raise your voice a little bit louder so you can still be heard. I think many bloggers fall into the trap that once their content isn't getting as much engagement, as it used to, they just lose all motivation and stop producing content altogether. I've done this myself and when you do finally start blogging again, it takes a lot of time and effort to gain that readership again and it can make you feel like just giving up all the DAMN TIME. First and foremost, you need to blog for YOU and do what makes you happy, and everything else will fall into place. You can't spend months and months writing about things that you think will just gain clicks because this will make you miserable and when you're writing content that you don't enjoy and still don't get the engagement that you want, it's an awful cycle that will make you want to just quit again and again. 

And then there's also that worry that YouTube is taking over blogging and everyone wants to quickly move ship. For me, YouTube will never take over blogging because who has the time to come home from work and watch 10 different YouTubers talking for 30-40 minutes at a time?? I know I don't. Blogging is great because you can click on the content that appeals to you and if you're in a rush, you can always skim through it or bookmark it for later.

If you're still thinking blogging is dead it's also important to look at who you're following. I had this realisation recently. It's funny to me how the people that have the most to say on blogging, the ones creating all the rules, are usually the ones that never seem to blog at all. They are also the ones ALWAYS tweeting about writing their blogging schedule so you wait for their upcoming content, but it never comes, and then they're back to creating a new schedule ALL OVER AGAIN. I don't know, sometimes writing a blog post doesn't need to be that deep. If what you're producing is good, people will read it whatever day you post it. You don't need to be a Charlie Kelly meme. Chill, babes.

I think sometimes we also put bloggers on a pedestal and don't really realise how toxic they are being. I finally stepped away and unfollowed a lot of the beauty bloggers that I used to follow and surrounded myself with film bloggers instead and it was honestly, a breath of fresh air. Not once have I seen shady tweets or jealous and unhealthy competitiveness. They all just support one another and if they don't agree with something, they will just talk to you about it and create a discussion, rather than sub-tweeting. It's great and I'm really falling in love with blogging all over again, but ultimately...

I think if we want that super supportive blogger community back. We need change...

We need to start caring about engaging with one another again. You can't be THAT blogger that ignores all the engagement you receive, doesn't want to interact or help out any other bloggers, but then moan about it when those people stop giving you that support. Lately, I've been really trying to interact more. Sharing posts that I loved and others that I think my followers may enjoy, but even I need to improve and make the effort to comment or tweet people when I've enjoyed something they've written because I think getting some positive feedback can really make someone's day and motivate them to keep doing what they're doing. Jayde has been super supportive of my blog lately and I appreciate it so much! 

And let's talk about sponsored posts. I see bloggers all time feeling pretty disheartened because everytime they post a collab, it doesn't get the same engagement than it would have if it was a simple organic post. This is so silly.  We're always preaching about women being girl-bosses and being independent and making that sweet dollar, but it also bothers you when someone has actually been paid for creating the SAME content they would normally??? You ok, hun? Why are you hating on someone for getting paid for a freelance job??? I don't get it. It's 2018. Let's stop all this unhealthy competitiveness and jealousy. It is not cute and never will be. If you see that someone on your feed has got your absolute dream collab, be better, not bitter. I've never been one to go green with envy over what someone else has because it's the motivation that I need to keep going and improving myself and my content. Tearing someone down will never make you better than them, it's just unnecessary and callous. 

"Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter."

In saying this though, I do think there does become a time when you become tired of supporting people that clearly just don't appreciate it, at all. Obviously, big bloggers can't like and reply to every single person, that's a given, but when it's someone that you thought was actually a blogger friend of yours and they can't even give your tweet a quick like, after you've gone out of your way to tell them how much you loved their latest post or whatever. Just interesting, isn't it? I used to convince myself that people are busy, busy, busy but I also think in some circumstances, people ignore you because they have a little bit of a Zoella complex and honestly, they just cannot be bothered to reply. This can be really disheartening, but it's important to remember that life is short and there are so many others bloggers out there that will value your support. Don't waste your time on anyone that doesn't value and appreciate you. 

Ultimately, I think it simply just comes down to remembering why you started blogging and treating people, how you'd like to be treated yourself. Also, remember, you don't HAVE to support someone just because they're a blogger. It's okay to unfollow/mute/block someone if they are affecting your mental well-being on a daily basis. If someone is a mean person, they're a mean person. Being a blogger doesn't excuse their behaviour. I think we've let a lot of unforgivable behaviour slide over the last few years because they are a fellow blogger. Surround yourself with people that encourage you to become the best version of yourself, online and in real life. I don't think I've ever felt like I really had a place in the blogging community, I've never been involved in any of the cliques or been in blogger group chats, but over the years, I have met some really lovely people that I would consider as friends and I hope I continue to meet great people like these that make me keep appreciating this little community.

If you have any thoughts on this topic, feel free to vent in the comments!

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