Is Personal Blogging Changing?

by Ginger on July 12, 2012

in Blogging & Social Media

There must have been something in the air today, because I had four different conversations with a fairly wide variety of people about personal blogging, and how things seem to be shifting. I’ve mentioned it before, but I try to keep a pretty close eye on what’s going on in the online world for both personal and professional reasons. I set the online strategy for my day job, I advocate for blogger campaigns to the higher ups when they feel like a good fit…and, oh yeah, I’m a blogger. So I spend a fair amount of time thinking/watching/analyzing. And so I find it interesting when these conversations happen, because they end up impacting me in a lot of different ways that go beyond me as a blogger.

Anyway, a couple of themes kept coming up, and it made me think I’d like to find out what other people are thinking and feeling. So let me present to you some statements from a variety of my conversations, and I’d love to hear what you think about any/all of them:

I’m bored with my blog.

I don’t really read blogs anymore, besides a small handful.

I don’t care about finding new blogs/it’s too hard to find new blogs.

I feel like blogging is pointless–there are so many blogs, it’s impossible to stand out.

I think the only people who are blogging now are trying to make it a business, which doesn’t leave much air for the rest of us.

The same people get the same opportunities over and over. I’m over it/them.

The community has moved to Twitter/Facebook.

Some of my favorite bloggers have stopped blogging. I miss them.

I still love blogging.

I know, I know, those are some fairly large questions. But I’d love to hear what you have to say, if you HAVE anything to say.

No tags for this post.
Nanette July 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm

For me, I find that I get much more response on my personal Facebook page than my blog. It’s so easy to post a pic, silly status or life update there — stuff I used to blog about — and get an immediate response from people who either read my blog and don’t comment, or don’t read my blog at all but are quick to “like” or comment on a FB posting. I don’t care about growing my readership or making myself a brand. I just want a way to journal my life, and so much of that has transitioned to Facebook.

I read a lot of blogs, but I’m a rare commenter. I enjoy what people have to say, but unless I have something more to say than “That’s awesome!” then I don’t bother commenting. Awful, I know.

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I tend to get more response on Twitter than FB, but then, I don’t post much on FB. I love the discussion that can happen on Twitter or FB too. I mean, I obviously love blog comments, but the discussion is so much more real time on those other platforms.

Fearless Formula Feeder July 15, 2012 at 8:23 pm

I, too, find that most of my blog-related conversations are happening on my Facebook page. I often feel redundant, because I will post a link to something I plan to blog about, and then a conversation ensues with my readers, and next thing you know, there’s nothing left to say.

Also, (and this isn’t in direct response to Nanette’s comment or Ginger’s response but rather other stuff said later in this thread) I am starting to feel kind of burnt out on the blogging thing. I can’t seem to get the readership I want, and it’s going on four years that I’ve been doing this. I also am running out of topics to cover as mine is a niche blog. And because I don’t really do any of the money-making blog things, like ads or product reviews or what not, it’s become a finance-sucking endeavor (because I spend time blogging when I could be taking on more paid writing assignments). I also find that it infringes on my personal life; I have no time for my husband, friends or most importantly, my kids, because I’m always moderating my FB page or comments or answering reader emails, etc.

Anyway, I’m just ranting… but as you can tell, I feel like my blogging career may be coming to a close. I still think blogs have shelf life, and are worthwhile, but maybe the only ones which can last are the ones that make money and have a general-enough slant to attract a wide readership and provide a variety of topics.

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I do think it would be pretty hard to keep up the enthusiasm after a period of time with such a niche site as yours. The one nice thing about “life” blogging is…uh…there’s always SOMETHING to babble on about 😉

And the redundancy thing is definitely there. I’ve had some amazing conversations on Twitter and then…why bother writing it all over again, you know? But I do want to “own” those conversations rather than FB or Twitter owning them…I love going back and seeing the conversations that have happened in the past on my site & it’s really hard to do that on FB/Twitter.

emily @ the happy home July 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm

i want to keep loving the art of blogging, but i am starting to feel that (unless you’re some sort of wunderkind or are independently wealthy and can just start out being fabulous and have a marketing team) the opportunities just keep going to the same people, over and over again. honestly? it’s getting kind of dull.

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I do feel that a lot of the opps go to the same people over and over, which does get boring (hey brands: diversify!). I guess my big question in there is…does the gap between the bloggers “making it” and the bloggers who just “do it” matter? Or will that gap widen to the point where only the ones doing it as biz stick it out?

emily @ the happy home July 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm

in my brain, i see the connection between blogging and my (first?) love of magazine publishing. i remember when i used to be able to go into B&N and see hundreds of different titles. then slowly, slowly it was just the titles with the largest backing and marketing budgets that won. sure, the indie titles still exist, but they’re hard to come by and are so expensive, only the die-hards still buy them. when products and the “good” stories always go to the highest bidder, is it surprising that the smaller titles fade away? and this entire process of withering away is only sped up because it’s on the internet.

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Oh, I can see that comparison. Although, if you take a look at the current state of even large scale magazine publishing, that’s not a very favorable outcome in the long run for the entire “industry” of blogging, large or small.

Andi July 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm

There was a great post this week by Cecily K on Babbble.com about the role of “little blogs” which I think it the nail on the head! (http://blogs.babble.com/momcrunch/2012/07/09/how-small-blogsbloggers-play-a-big-role-in-influence/) Since I also work in social media (and I am a “little) it annoys me when companies don’t see this!

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 8:59 pm

One of my favorite parts of my job is coming up with blogger campaigns. We have a really small marketing budget (like, really, REALLY REALLY small), so I *can’t* work with the big bloggers. But you know what? I’ve found amazing small and medium bloggers who have given us an amazing amount of bang for our (limited) buck. But it takes work, and lots of companies don’t want to do the work. Which sucks.

Kim July 12, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Man, I kind of agree with all of those statements. I’ve been blogging since 2007 & I still love it, although I get zero fanfare & my biggest commenter is MY MOM (seriously, it’s my mom). I post links to my blog posts on FB & I’ll get a million FB comments, but no one (except my mom) actually goes to the trouble of leaving a comment on my blog, which people used to do.

I used to spend every morning writing a blog post & clearing out my Google Reader. Now it’s more like once or twice a week. And my Reader is so clogged, I’ve just started deleting blogs. The ones I like rarely post & have become so un-personal as a form of self-protection that it’s generic & uninteresting & the ones that do blog all the time are clearly getting paid sponsorships & are incredibly artificial & a little pretentious.

I don’t know the answer. Maybe blogging is what 30-somethings do & Twitter is what 20-somethings do. God help me in 4 years when I enter the other decade.

Good post!

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I’ve heard the claim that blogging is for mid-20 somethings and up, while the younger set is taking more to tumblr and twitter. Might be true, but I do wonder if that really matters (I’m not sure I have that much of an audience with early 20 somethings, you know?).

Tara July 12, 2012 at 7:28 pm

I still read personal blogs and I still write on mine, but not nearly as often as I used to, just because I don’t have much to say. But I never have been trying to make a business of it, and I don’t really care for or read many blogs of those that are. I guess I don’t know the answer. But I’m 30 and use Twitter most often, Facebook second, and blogging third.

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I do feel like a lot of the stuff I used to just dash off on my blog now gets dashed off on Twitter–I definitely save my blog for long form writing/thoughts. I have to think that mindset has changed things up too.

Tragic Sandwich July 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm

I don’t know. I’m still finding new blogs, and I overhauled my own blogging a year ago, and I can tell that my blog is getting some traction. Not Dooce or Bloggess traction, but more traffic and more comments (and commenters) than I had before. The overhaul definitely was key–I’ve been blogging since 2005, but I’d reached the point where I didn’t know why I was doing it. Once I took the time to really figure out what I wanted to put into it, I started getting more out.

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm

You make a really good point about knowing what you wanted to put into it. I think that makes a huge difference. For example, the main thing I want to put into my blog is…me. My opinions and thoughts and stuff. So that makes it easier for me to say I continue to love it, because it’s about me, not about building a following or whatever.

I think if you had mixed messages even within your own mind, it would make things harder, for sure.

(And I’m constantly finding new blogs and bloggers. It’s a favorite pasttime of mine!)

angela July 13, 2012 at 6:35 am

I don’t know. I keep finding new blogs (like yours!), but I do see a shift. And I feel restless in mine, but I’m working on making it a place I love AND a place that makes sense for other people to read.

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I definitely think that the balance is important. I love writing here for me, but I’d be lying if I said that it wouldn’t bother me if people stopped reading. In part we do this for the readership, either for community or for support or for validation or any other number of things, so it has to be a balance of what we want/need & what readers want/need.

Michelle July 13, 2012 at 7:51 am

I’ve definitely been feeling “blah” over the direction that blogging as a whole has gone. I mean, I don’t begrudge people making money from their blogs, as I would also like to make money from mine (haha. right.), but I feel like the only measure of blogging “success” is the giveaways and sponsors.

I would love to connect with other people through blogging, it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to find a blog that I really like to read AND that I want to connect with the blogger. I don’t always want a connection with the writer behind the blog, I just like to peek into a perfectly staged life or get some craft ideas. Or their life is just SO different from mine that I just like to read about it. Anyway.

Yes, personal blogging is changing, because it’s not personal anymore if you’re making money on it. Content inevitably changes to fit the sponsors, or a niche.

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm

You know what I think bothers me the most? I feel like the money part has changed it so that people don’t want to start a blog unless they have ideas (however far in the future) of someday monetizing. Which is fine! I have no problems with! Except, I do miss getting to meet and know the new PERSON not the brand, you know?

Alyssa S. July 13, 2012 at 8:16 am

I’ve decided the blogging phenomenon is a lot like the whole gold rush thing. Everyone came running once they saw the fame and/or fortune it brought a select few and bought into the notion that they could “strike gold” too. Eventually people found out that it’s a lot of hard work and often, with very little if any return.

Personally, I’ve always been in it for a good read and making friends. I won’t lie, I’d love it if more people read and commented on my blog, but at the end of the day, I’m not willing to give up posting because I enjoy it and I find here an there I’m connecting with people. Sometimes it’s reconnecting with old friend or engaging them in ways I haven’t before. Sometimes it’s making new friends. I love stumbling upon new and interesting blogs. I’m willing to stick it out.

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Oooh, I like that gold rush analogy. I think that’s perfect!

And every single thing you wrote in the second paragraph, I wholeheartedly say DITTO!

Coffee Lovin' Mom July 13, 2012 at 9:42 am

While I totally get every statement up there and probably have said at least half, I don’t ever post with hopes of getting anything out of it other than sharing or release. Too many people go into it thinking they will get rich quick or that it’s a popularity contest that someone has to win. For me it’s about memories I don’t want to forget and the connections made whether that be from the blogging community or twitter itself. It’s because I want to hear someone else say “hey, me too” and know I’m not the only one..

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I’m right there with you on why I blog (and why I love reading other personal bloggers), but I have to wonder if the fact that so many people DO go into it for the $ or popularity is diminishing overall the people who do it for the reasons we do it? Or at least, if it keeps new people from starting up?

nerdmommathfun July 13, 2012 at 9:52 am

Huh. As a blogging newbie, I didn’t even know that people could make money or get “successful” at blogs. Weird. I could see where that would totally get overwhelming & discouraging / a hard standard to be held to!

I will definitely stay tuned to this post to see what other folks have to say – feel like I’m learning so much from folks that have been doing this for so much longer than I.

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I think the problem is that there are a handful of super successful bloggers, and a lot of just barely successful bloggers, and then a bunch of us who just do it for the fun/community/etc., but somewhere along the way that mix got all kind of wonky as far as expectations of the individual bloggers and where they fell in the spectrum. I just don’t know if I’m only saying that because of the various viewpoints I see it from (blogging for 4 years, heavily involved in my day job in monitoring bloggers in lots of categories), or if that’s just a warped perspective that isn’t true to life.

Kim July 13, 2012 at 10:19 am

I love all the questions you’ve posted here–and I know I’ll be thinking about these for days. My initial thoughts are that you have three broad groupings of blogs out there: 1) Business: these have their place certainly and, depending on the situation, I might check in on some from time to time especially if I find the info valuable, 2) Blogger: these are the blogs that have a clear purpose or mission whether it be to educate their readers, provide humor, etc. I follow several of these types of blogs and have no issue with the writer being compensated in any way. They are putting in loads of time, providing me with free info and I don’t want them to stop. I will try to comment on these periodically These blogs are like frequent mini magazines to me (and I LOVE magazines), with the option to be interactive 3) Journal bloggers: To me, this is where the problems arise. If you choose to make public your diary/daily journal that’s fine, but you need to realize that your readership might be very limited (I would only follow this type of blog if I personally knew the main character(s)). These are also the blogs that tend to be more sporadic in their postings (or fast and furious and then….crickets), and guilty of frequent grammar/spelling issues. It reminds me of getting stuck at a cocktail party (who am I kidding–school event) with someone who talks only about themselves and on and on and on. And posing a question which in essence is, “so, what do you think of me?” doesn’t prompt me to respond.
So…..my lengthy opinion can be summed up as, the best blogs naturally have a give and take.

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I definitely think there’s a give and take, whether it’s of information or interaction or humor or storytelling. But I guess what I wonder is where the line between 2 & 3 is and if that line is part of where things are changing the most.

Take me–I would consider myself sort of like a journal blogger (I talk about myself probably about 80% of the time), but I like to think that I do it in a way that has a resonance with my readers (at least some of the time). In my opinion, some of the best personal bloggers talk about themselves, but in a way that connects them to their readers. But is that enough these days? Is it enough to tell your stories, or have things changed to the point that everyone expects more than that? (obviously, I exclude things like horrible grammar and spelling. That’s just…bad blogging either way. And I say this as someone who takes far too many liberties with ellipses).

Kim July 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I didn’t mean to imply I don’t like bloggers who discuss themselves. We write what we know and the medium is geared toward personal reflections which is part of its appeal. I was thinking more of the blogs that seem to post stats of the day–“had a turkey club for lunch then took the boys to the pool”–without any enlightening commentary–“when I order a turkey club I always cross my fingers that they’ll bring one of those huge Disney drumsticks. Now there’s a turkey club for you! They didn’t. At least there’s bacon.”
Like many fads, blogging seems to be enjoying a hey day. A few years from now, there will probably be less to weed through. The strong should survive whether that means a strength of commitment or in terms of numbers/financial success.

Erin July 13, 2012 at 10:22 am

I’ve wondered if I’m getting too old for blogging. Seems like a lot of bloggers I used to really enjoy reading just dropped off the map in the last couple years and decided it wasn’t for them anymore. That said, I still enjoy it, even though I get very few hits. I need to write or I get twitchy, so blogging serves its purpose in that regard. I do find it frustrating that certain bloggers who are not really even that good and/or seem not to fully appreciate their fan base have monopolized the money/attention out there. Although I acknowledge I have no room to complain since I’ve never attempted to make money or “get big” doing this.

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I read someone somewhere saying that they thought blogging would eventually swing back to what it was in the beginning, a small group of writers who felt compelled to write, but that it would take a while before the monetization model changed enough to allow that. I’m not sure if I agree with that, but it’s an interesting theory.

I do find it frustrating when bloggers who aren’t very good (original/interesting/funny/well written/etc) are able to grow like crazy because they have the time and luxury of spending time marketing themselves. And then I have to tell myself to stop being jealous of their time. 🙂

Barmy Rootstock July 13, 2012 at 11:02 am

Hi there. I started my blog just over a year ago because I wasn’t prioritizing my writing and it created a public commitment for me to write regularly. While I have a lot of subscribers, I feel safe saying that at least 90% are other bloggers. I’d love to find a way for the blogging community to be less insular. It’s a strange place where the readers and writers are one and the same, and I think people are willing to put up with all the ads, giveaways and reviews because they want to be doing it on their blogs as well. Non-bloggers have much less patience for that.

Are the days of successful personal bloggers waning? That completely depends on how we wish to define success for ourselves. I agree with Tragic Sandwich that knowing what you want to get out of doing it makes a critical difference. I decided from the start not to take advertising, do reviews or giveaways because I want to know that my content is the engine driving people to my blog and I want to attract a broad audience. I am writing as a release, as a way to leave a legacy for my son, as a way to practice and improve my writing–none of which requires anyone reading it for me to feel successful. But I’m also an insecure writer who craves validation and for that I need readers and comments. And I do want my writing to become my vocation, but not by selling ads on my blog–by building a readership who will eventually buy my books and go see the international blockbuster movies that will undoubtedly be made from them. 😉

But no matter what your subject matter, if you choose to define success by the number of readers then you’ve chosen a direction that takes a lot of work. And yes, it’s harder to get noticed today than it ever has been.

And finally, Twitter and Facebook are much better at facilitating conversation than blog comment sections. I think we are seeing a shift to those platforms for dialogue. The irony is that I think we can expect stand-alone blogs to continue to become less popular and we’ll see a shift back to “websites” with frequently changing content that includes a blog and corresponding Facebook and Twitter feeds all integrated together. What’s all that mean? I haven’t a clue, really.

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Wow, you’ve got a lot of great stuff in this comment.

First, yes, I think most blog readers are other bloggers. As a matter of fact, I think the truest measure of success for a blogger is when they start picking up non-bloggers as readers. Seriously, it’s an insular world, and I think that when it breaks outside that insulation is when you see real REAL “success” (whether that’s financial or not).

I’m not sure if I agree or disagree about non-bloggers not accepting ads on blogs. I might argue that they don’t necessarily know why it’s an issue either way, but that’s one I want to ponder a bit.

I do agree that knowing what you want out it is crucial. The times I’ve been most dismayed by my own blogging is when I’ve been iffy on that. When I know what I want, I’m content no matter how many comments or likes I do (or more often, don’t) get. But what if what you want out of it is financial success or popularity? Then it may be harder to get your fulfillment if you’re not living up to whatever that level is in your head. Especially given how hard it is to get noticed.

And finally, yes, FB & Twitter are much better at facilitating conversation. In a way, it’s crazy to think that blog comments will be able to sustain, because it is so much easier to have a back and forth in those mediums (case in point, I had a great discussion about this very post this morning on Twitter. It was a wonderful back and forth, IN REAL TIME. Which I think is the key). Maybe when facebook owns the whole internet, that’ll be functionality built in to every blog 😉

Andi July 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

I have definitely pondered some of these thoughts from time to time. I still believe in blogging, it a personal creative outlet for me. But I do get bored from time to time, or maybe it is a form of writer’s block. I read over 400 blogs a week, I love finding new ones and reading all the talents writers out there!

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I wonder if the people who look at it first as a creative outlet and second as…anything beyond that are the ones who are able to stick with it the most?

Jocelyn | ScooterMarie July 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I think I would tend to agree with almost all of those statements. I often feel like my blog is boring (even though I use it primarily as just a personal update space, not a business-driver by any means), but I know a lot of my friends and family do still read it. I have especially felt lately, though, that a lot of the “big” bloggers have just kind of taken over the blogosphere, leaving little room for anyone else. Does that even make sense? It’s kind of hard to put into words what I’m trying to describe. They all seem very brand-oriented, too, instead of personal. I like reading people’s stories, not why I should buy this or that. A lot of my once favorite blogs have become very commercial, which is kind of off-putting. Blogging in general seems to have lost some of the novelty and pizzazz that drew me to it in the first place.

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm

It makes perfect sense. You start to see the same 10 bloggers EVERYWHERE, on every campaign, getting every award, and every link, and…they kind of suck the oxygen out of the internet for the rest of us.

Rebecca Rider July 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I definitely feel sometimes like there are so many bloggers out there that it’s hard to stand out. I am working hard to make my blog as reader-friendly and interesting as possible, and I hope that I can make an impact, but I am a bit insecure about it.

Ginger July 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I totally get the insecure thing–it’s hard to put yourself out there but worry it’s not gonna be enough!

Trisha July 13, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Thank you for this great post and also to your readers for their insightful comments. I think I have felt all of these things myself in my fairly short trip into the world of blogging and I think it all comes down to being truthful and honest with yourself about why you’re doing it. I question myself about blogging all the time, “why bother writing if no one is going to read it?” Recently though I have started answering the doubts by just remembering how good it feels to write, the sense of accomplishement that comes when I hit “publish” and I just try to focus on that. There will always be others that are better at it than I am, who win awards and make money from it but at the end of the day, blogging makes me feel good and that’s what matters to me.

Keep up the great posts – I love reading what you’re thinking!

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 9:05 pm

As a personal blogger in particular, sometimes it’s hard to keep it up when it feels like no one is reading–at least for me, it’s like putting ME out there and getting told through inaction that I’m boring, lame, not interesting enough. Which, ouch, my ego!

But you’re right, if you can stay honest and true to yourself and why you want to do it, it doesn’t have to be something that other reactions dictate.

Jamie July 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I’m fairly new to blogging still, but have learned tremendously in the past year. If you’re bored of your blog, change it up to something new =) I wonder why people choose to not read blogs? I subscribe to quite a handful, and each day I flutter through my inbox, and click on the links to the titles that grab my attention. Every day it’s a new blog that takes me there. I personally love looking out for new blogs because a new voice gives an entirely new perspective. I can relate to the “same people getting the same opportunities speech,” but then I remind myself that they’ve earned those opportunities coming in, and they’ve connected with the PR and companies on a personal basis and have earned it. There’s enough opportunities for everyone, but yes, I agree that companies should change it up now and again. Okay, I talked your ear off 😉 LOL

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 9:11 pm

I have to wonder if the social media boom has been part of the problem, in the sense that there’s SO much to keep up with now that it can be overwhelming: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest…it’s a lot. So on top of reading blogs, you read those social media sites, and in the end, we all have lives on the other side of the computer. At some point, the time can become an issue, so it’s easier to keep up with Twitter & FB, which can be done on the fly?

I don’t know, I’m just sort of thinking out loud. But I know that when I’m slammed with real life, it’s much easier to start unsubscribing from blogs I’d been on the fence about before…

San Diego Momma (Deb) July 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm

I hear you on all fronts. I’ve said all those things. But I’m in it for the stories and the writing and I hope I can continue to find my tribe (like you). In the end, that is why I’ll continue to blog. Creative expression is why I got into this space and it’s why I don’t care what happens around me, I’ll still be a personal blogger.

I DO miss a lot of us, but I hope we stay true to what we’re in it for, and fight the good fight. 🙂

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 9:12 pm

It’s the stories that brought me here, and the stories that keep me here. I don’t have a problem with the rest, as long as the stories are still there!

Alma July 13, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I have been blogging for one year and I totally love it. I don’t compare myself to anyone. My goal is to have fun and keep going. If I can find great opportunties then they are a bonus. I am enjoy being a writer and taking my kids on assignments. I hope to someday make enough to quit my day job.
http://fieldtripmom.blogspot.com/

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 9:15 pm

That is the BEST outlook to have–to do it because it’s fun and everything else is a bonus!

Joann Woolley July 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm

There’s how many blogs? And there’s how many book titles to choose from at Barnes & Noble? It is much easier to have a blog than commit to writing a memoir -and even easier to keep a blog than keeping a baby’s first year book – that may be why blogging has become so “big” as in numbers. At first there is this attraction or allure… like anything else in life you see some get disheartened for one reason or another. Most people aren’t good at commitment, here think exercise and dieting or think about the statistics on marriages that end in divorce. If people want to do something they have a passion for and then later they lose that passion, I say it is up to them to stir things up, search deep for something new. One not need be a good writer to be a good blogger – of course it helps – but we’ve seen examples of someone just have a character that we are drawn to and even if the writing is not that great, somehow we want to keep reading them.

For all we know through blogging there may have been opportunities created for some of your favorite bloggers that filled that spot the way blogging had and so they’ve moved on – or the purpose for them was to see if they could do it and get to a certain number of monthly views or some numerical value – they did it and now they’ve got bigger fish to fry. I don’t know why people quit – i do know why they begin… as humans we love beginning new things, it is in our blood. Beginning a blog seems so non-commital too so it is the perfect thing to begin. I had a blog – not too many posts – but I did have one back in 2006 on kaboose.com and I missed the memo that they were shutting that part of their site down – everything lost – I had gotten busy between a baby and a toddler. People evolve. I don’t even call my friends whom I adore because I hate the phone. Which is funny because as a teenager I LOVED the phone. Then I had a job in customer service. That made me hate the phone. If blogging ever became likea “have to” for people it is easy to see why they withdrew.

In the history of the internet I think blogging has lasted a good while, there are new and evolviing people to add their 2 cents to the world wide web and blogging seems to be a good place to share it to who ever will listen.

If there is a shortage of something interesting to say or share, that would be the end of human kind. Blogging is going to continue to be here, because those of us who like connecting will keep finding new ways to evolve with the blogosphere.

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I love so much about your comment–there’s a lot to unpack there! I remember a stat from when I first started blogging about 4 years ago that was the majority of blogs (I think like 70%) that started were abandoned within 8 months. That speaks to your point about how easy, and non-committal, it is to start a blog. And why some of them disappear.

Maybe the bigger question isn’t “will people stop blogging” and more “will the blogging platforms evolve to reflect the new ways people can connect online.” Because I think you’re right, that people who want to connect, who have something to say, will find a way–but maybe what we think of as the “blogosphere” will be a different set of tools and platforms in a few years than what we see right now. Hmmm, food for thought…

San July 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I find that a lot more people are blogging to get comments, but are not willing to put the effort in to comment back and build relationships with their readers.

I hardly read any blogs where I don’t have some sort of personal relationship with the blogger behind the screen (be it through Twitter conversations, comments and/or emails and Facebook).

My blog started out as a sort of diary for me to log memories and for friends to stay in touch. The community has grown and I am thankful for it, but I still strive to be authentic and just me on my blog… I guess, if you’re striving to have thousands of followers, it’s going to be hard to keep up with all of them on a personal level.

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm

It does seem hard to grow a relationship in the comments section the way it used to, even on smaller blogs. Maybe Twitter and Facebook have taken that place? And on a bigger blog, for sure, the personal connection is definitely hard to find (though I’m not sure it was ever easy on the bigger blogs).

But if the connections are still happening, just not “on” a blog, is that a bad thing? Or is it just a different way, and place, to extend the conversations that a post initiates? I guess it depends on if the posts are still getting written to begin with…(sorry, I’m just thinking “outloud”).

Mary July 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm

What a great discussion, Ginger! I have only been blogging for afew months now yet STILL have had moments where I can relate to all of what others have said that you mention. I think the key for blogging is to at the end of the day have it be what YOU love to be doing; as soon as it becomes a chore, I think its time to re-invent yourself or think about what direction you are going. For me, & what has kept me excited are the key things with sharing your thoughts; when you get the comments that your entry really helped someone (I cover alot of gluten free info, which is such a growing topic), when a post you think is average becomes your most liked write up or the people you connect with that you otherwise would not know.

As a newbie, I am still thriving on the opportunities that keep popping up; today from FedEx I got a great product to review, I began my FB page this wk & know other exciting things are sure to come along, too. With social media, theres always something new to be apart of, & I think thats what makes blogging a great tool & hobby:)

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm

This: “For me, & what has kept me excited are the key things with sharing your thoughts; when you get the comments that your entry really helped someone… when a post you think is average becomes your most liked write up or the people you connect with that you otherwise would not know.”

I’ve been doing this for 4 years, and I STILL get a thrill every time those things happen (I’m totally geeking out over how many people are talking in the comments of this post!). But you’re right, when that starts not being enough for someone, or when it becomes a chore, they should reevaluate. Blogging should be something you enjoy, at least more than you feel obligated to do it!

Sharon Greenthal July 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I started blogging for the love of it. Now I am looking to make money doing it too. Unfortunately I am not a (for lack of a better term) Mommy Blogger – I am a midlife empty-nester. Advertisers are not banging down my door. I have begun a giveaway program with small businesses – Etsy shops mostly – and it has been very successful – my numbers are way up. I am being patient, and heading to Blogher12 to try and show advertisers that I am a worthwhile place for them to be.

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm

It sounds like you have a good basis for why you blog, but also a plan for building it as a business. I think what happens at times is that bloggers end up with one OR the other, but not both–and that can lead to problems in maintaining the passion AND the business.

oilandgarlic July 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I have too much to say just for Facebook or Twitter! Why I Blog: http://oilandgarlic.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/why-blogging-is-better-than-a-diary/

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Oh, that is PERFECT. I feel the same way (although, I never was able to get more than about 20 pages into journals as a kid before I gave up until I got another one the NEXT year), which is why I love blogging so much!

gigi July 16, 2012 at 7:03 pm

I am all over the map with your questions.

I’ve thought about all of them myself, and asked many similar questions on my own blog.

It’s kind of like we’re all on this baseball field, but not everybody is playing baseball. Some are trying to be soccer players, others tennis, some baseball. We all have different motivations and drivers for why we do what we do (blog) and different goals for doing it (hence why some of us are playing soccer, others tennis, and some of us running around like chickens with our heads cut off doing a bit of everything).

I have secretly dreamed of shuttering my blog several times. I value the connections, but sometimes feel that the commitments overshadow those connections anymore. I like to read other people’s blogs, but often feel torn or guilty that I don’t read more. I get weary of people sharing every single post they’re writing as a freelancer on their personal Facebook accounts to get traffic. I’ve lost the energy to interact on Twitter anymore. I get frustrated with voting contest after voting contest.

I have serious malaise.

The problem is, I don’t really know what to do about it. I can’t imagine not blogging: in part because I like having my own “space’ and in part because the little bit of cash I make off my blog is my “get my hair done” money, and in part because I don’t want to lose the connections with the people who I’ve found special. But man, sometimes I feel like a little hamster on a hamster wheel.

This doesn’t do anything to answer your questions, but I like that you asked them. 🙂

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm

I love the sports analogy, because I often feel like I’m playing a completely different game than some of the bloggers I see. And that’s not a bad thing, it just can be disorienting to think you’re talking about a kickball and they’re talking about a football.

I do wonder if there’s a way to address the malaise without napalming what you (not YOU you, but the general you [you know?]) have already built. Maybe it’s as “simple” as cleaning out the noise in your reader/twitter feed/facebook page (although, can we all agree that the voting stuff is among some of the most annoying crap on the internet?). Somehow I doubt that, but I have to think there’s a way to take the things you love and feel connected to, without letting it wear on you to the point of feeling like a hamster. I (clearly) don’t know the answer, but I like pondering.

laura July 16, 2012 at 7:27 pm

WOW!! I love this post. So ok… here are my thoughts on some of the statements:

I think the only people who are blogging now are trying to make it a business, which doesn’t leave much air for the rest of us. ~ I can see how many could feel like this. The ‘popular’ blog seems to put on the front of making money, and of course brands are first going to connect with those popular blogs as they will have the bigger reaches and higher SEO rankings. But there are a lot of us who blog for the love of blogging. If I make a little cheese from it, great. And I love the outside freelance writing opportunities that have knocked on my door because of my blog. Bottom line, though, for me, is that I blog for the love of blogging. I love to write and express, and luckily enough there seem to be people out there that enjoy what I publish. For that I’m grateful, and ever encouraged to keep on bloggin’ on.

The same people get the same opportunities over and over. I’m over it/them. ~ This is frustrating and I have felt this way at times. It all goes back to the popular blogs, their reach, and rankings. Naturally I can see the appeal from the brand’s perspective, however I’d like to see some brands connect with the ‘little guys’. It could be the break they need.

The community has moved to Twitter/Facebook. ~ I feel like the conversations have moved to these places. I don’t many comments on my blog, and admittedly don’t comment on other blogs as much as I used to. I also believe, though, that what comes around goes around so before I pout about not getting comments I know I first need to put out a better effort to comment on other blogs.

Great post!!!

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm

The comment thing is interesting. If the conversations are still happening, does it really MATTER if it’s not on the blog? I mean, obviously, if you’re looking to build your blog as a financial tool, then yes, it matters because you need to grow your traffic to grow your income. But just in the general “connecting and discussion” does it really matter? People are still talking, just not in THIS space…

Katie July 16, 2012 at 7:29 pm

This is a REALLY interesting set of thoughts (also..hi! new reader via Gigi!).

I’ve seen this topic floating around lately and when asked, I don’t know what I think. I had my blog before I knew blogging was a “thing”. I thought it was just a free space to put my words and share them.

Now that I know it’s a thing (five years later) and I have readers who aren’t related to me, I haven’t changed much. I do some sponsored reviews here and there, but only for stuff I would probably talk about anyway. And I do have ads, but only to pay the bills. 98% of my blog is about me and my family because that is what I set out to do. And if blogging wasn’t a “thing” anymore because of too much of everything? I would still keep writing in my space for me and my family.

I DO agree that MANY of the blogs I used to read I just don’t because all they are is business. They used to be cute stories and pictures and serious heart-pouring. Now they are sponsored post after review after giveaway after sponsored post. No personality left.

That part is sad. I hope it’s a phase and those people will either come back to telling stories, or disappear completely. Harsh? Maybe.

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm

(hi! Always glad to see new readers!)

Blogging is still so (relatively) new that I think we don’t know yet how it’s going to pan out. I think there may be a tipping point on the sponsored post thing–and I say that more from the marketer side than the blogger side (side note: I’m a marketing person in my day job, and part of my job is blogger outreach. I keep a pretty close eye on the “business” of blogging for that reason)–which makes me wonder if we’ll see a balancing of the storytelling/business thing as time progresses.

I know that for me PERSONALLY, I’m in this for the stories and the people–I don’t begrudge people making money, but I really want to know the person more than the business, so I want that balance.

Devan McGuinness July 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Oh how I love these questions and the conversation it’s started. I know for me personally, I have a bit of a blogging identity crisis. I don’t know any more what I want to write about vs what my ‘readers’ want to read. I think for me I have lost a bit of why I write — vs what will get more page views, comments etc. I have to get back to ‘that space’ where I just write for me.

I think some of that comes from seeing other bloggers getting ‘bigger’ and what works for them and the same thing with getting a bigger and more immediate response from Facebook. I also wonder if it’s the age — I am transition from SAHM with young kids to a WFHM with kids who are in constant need of interaction and no naps and crazy energy.

Just Jennifer July 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Hi Katie! Everything you said, I ditto! 🙂

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 10:31 pm

I do think it’s hard when you’ve become known or popular for one thing and then you want to write about other things. But losing WHY you write I think can be one of the fastest ways to STOP writing (easier to say from the outside, I know). In which case, the question becomes–do you want to keep going, and if so…why?

As so many of the commenters have said, if you stay true to yourself, it’s probably easier to have longevity. But the question is always whether you’re able to maintain popularity at the same time. That’s the million dollar (ok, maybe more like hundred dollar ;-P ) question.

I do think too, that as life stages ebb and flow, that blogging ebbs and flows. At times it’s easier than others, both in content and in available time. What that means in the long run? Heck if I know!

Just Jennifer July 16, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I feel like I am just here, doing my bloggy thing, wherever it leads or doesn’t lead. I’ve been at it for 2 years and I still love it. I kind of don’t care what others want to do with their blogs. I’m just here, blogging, reading & commenting, using Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to let people know I’m out here saying stuff, and waiting to see if they want to read me. I know I’m authentic even though I do accept some sponsored things, because I won’t do something that is totally irrelevant to me. I don’t force it and I don’t hold back either.

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I absolutely think you can be authentic AND do sponsored stuff. I just think you have to know WHO you are so you can be authentic to you and not to the “this is what’s popular in blogging” thing. (I’m not saying you do that of course! Just that it happens). It’s when a blogger starts to lose their voice that I get sad about how much sponsored stuff they’re doing–if you can maintain YOU while getting paid, YOU ROCK!

pattie July 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

I agree that some of the opportunities tend to go to the same people. Usually bloggers with “fake” numbers not acquired through hard work and dedication like most of us. It’s a little upsetting and feel like companies only want the numbers, not the interaction.

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 10:46 pm

It’s frustrating when you see those fake numbers. Trust me, as a marketer, when I see companies who just blindly look at numbers, it makes me want to SCREAM–it’s the short-sighted approach to blogger outreach, and it sucks as a blogger and as a marketer who wants other companies to do it right!

Carolyn West July 16, 2012 at 9:35 pm

In the three years that I’ve been blogging, I think I’ve gone up and down on all different types of social media. I blogged but didn’t do facebook and twitter. Then I did facebook only. Then I got on twitter and got hooked on that and facebook seemed pointless. Now that my blog followers is growing, so is my facebook page and I’m more involved in that than on twitter. I still love to read blogs but I do find that I get bored easily which is why I try and mix up my blog so much… to keep people interested.

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm

I think that mixing it up is good–if it keeps you and your audience interested, it’s definitely a good thing! And I’ve found that the different social media platforms offer different things–each has their pros and cons!–so it makes sense to play with and spend time with them all, as your needs change and grow over time!

Nina July 16, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Hey there. Here via Gigi like some others. I don’t have too much new to add except that it DOES amaze me how many blogs are out there and I guess it truly is hard to stand out. I feel my blog has a dedicated, smart, and generally wonderful readership, but it’s for sure the same faces week after week. Not complaining, just noticing how easy it is to get stuck in a way. I’m looking at your blog and the people commenting . . . other than a few they are all new faces to me (including yours). I don’t know how we can all find each other . . . or even if we did how we’d keep up with each other’s blogs anyway.

I often struggle with the do I want to be a writer or a blogger question? I’ve held off on ads because the minute I have them I think I will be giving up on the writer part . . .

No answers, but you asked great questions here. I mean, look at the excellent discussion you started.

And nice to meet you! Off to find you on FB and Twitter.

Ginger July 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Always love seeing new faces (man, I’m gonna have to give Gigi a finder’s fee ;-p)!

I do think there’s a challenge with finding new blogs that you enjoy given the sheer quantity that’s out there. I swear, there’s a blog for every obscure niche group you can imagine, and for some of the groups, like parenting, a million or so blogs. Finding and supporting blogs within those groups? It’s tough. I have something like 200 blogs in my reader–how many more can I add without overloading? And yet, I’m always on the hunt for more blogs to read, more bloggers to connect with. That connection is a big part of why I love blogging, and I’m kind of a hog about wanting more more more of that connection. But finding new blogs? And building those relationships? And maintaining them? Tough.

And oh, the blogger/writer conundrum. I’m not sure there will ever be an answer that is satisfactory to everyone. I will say that *I* think you can be both–you just have to be intentional about how you approach each part of the equation. Making money doesn’t automatically preclude someone from being a writer, and vice versa!

Christa the BabbyMama July 17, 2012 at 6:43 am

My blog is still one of my favorite side projects because I’ve built a little community of nice people who support me there. It’s also a great place to try out new writing ideas when I want to debut thoughts without making them extra public. It doesn’t really make me much money, but it’s fun to share!

nicoleandmaggie July 17, 2012 at 6:58 am

Here’s why we blog: nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/why-do-we-blog/

Bottom line: no good reason

Ann July 17, 2012 at 9:38 am

It would be like me to be late to the party–I love blogging; reading, discovering new ones, writing and dredging up stories and ideas for new posts. I feel like this is all so new to me, although I’ve been blogging for about 1 1/2 years; I learn new things every day.
I just wish I had more time for all of this–especially the reading and discovering of new blogs!

Kate July 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Phew – 77 (!!) comments!!! Where have I been?! I still love blogging, but it’s a time thing, so I make sure I do it for me – no one else. It’s my outlet and place to share my feelings and practice my writing. I use blogs as a place to read about the people I really enjoy (you!) and get tips. My reader is my favorite place because I can ignore them for a while and then check in when I have time. (see it’s that time thing again…). But, I do love facebook for the real-time conversations and sharing things up to the minute. And, now… you have 78 comments!

Ms. Adams July 24, 2012 at 9:56 am

I think it’s really hard for any kind of blogger, especially personal bloggers, to keep an audience happy for long periods of time. No matter what blog I follow I come to a point where I get annoyed with them for whatever reason (too many ads, too “commercial”, too whiny, etc.) and end up taking a break. Then, a few weeks later, I’ll wonder what’s going on with them and pop back in. It’s like a constant rotation of bloggers. Anyone else feel that way?

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