Or....do people even blog anymore???
This has been on my mind a lot lately. It is something I have wanted to post about for a while but life and other stuff just got in the way. Also, I just wasn't too sure how to approach the subject. I don't want to offend anyone. That is never the intention of my blog. But, then I realized, it is my blog. I use it to share my thoughts, my ideas, my whatever. Then I started noticing posts similar to what I have been thinking popping up on some of the blogs I follow. So...I am just going to go for it and put my thoughts out there and hope that people will recognize them as my thoughts and opinions and that they are not meant to offend anyone.
I started blogging in November of 2005. I know...a long time. But I should mention that for most of 2006 and 2007 I was a terrible blogger, sometimes going months without posting a thing. I really started getting back in to it in 2008 and have been going strong since. I started blogging when I discovered other blogs out there about topics I enjoy: crafts, art, papercrafting, decorating, design, photography, baking. I thought, "I can do this!" I love to write. I love to share. I love "meeting" new people. Once I decided in '08 to really commit to blogging a whole new world opened up to me! I found AMAZING blogs full of all of those topics I love PLUS bloggers sharing their lives! It was so REAL! I loved every minute of it! I am enormously proud of my family and I love to show them off. I love where I live and I love to share that with people. I have passion for so many things and being able to share that with others that have a passion for the same subjects is so great. I love to laugh, and there are some freakin hilarious bloggers out there.
But, lately I have noticed a trend in blogging that almost seems to be taking over. Sponsors. PR. Advertising. Insane amounts of giveaways. When did blogs turn in to one big commercial?!? Don't get me wrong. I don't begrudge anyone doing what they want to do. And I will admit I have entered, and won, some giveaways. And I have done a few giveaways here on my blog. However, the giveaways I do are not sponsored. I am not getting anything free for doing them. I am purchasing the prizes myself, for fun. It just seems that so many people are not actually blogging anymore. Blogs have somehow turned in to this for-profit entity for so many people, and I don't think that was what blogs were originally intended for.
Frankly, it is boring.
It is also insanely competitive. And clique-ish. Like, high school clique-ish. Recently I read on a favorite blog of mine about a comment she read on another blog, one of those blogs that is like a commerical no doubt. apparently a blog PR company or something like that left a comment with some helpful tips on promoting products on a blog. I guess the owner of the blog took exception that the constructive advice and went off on the commenter. When did bloggers become so high and mighty? Then I read on another blog about some feud between two bloggers. Both of them have pretty big followings and I guess sides were taken by other bloggers and feelings were hurt and who knows what else....it seriously reminded me of high school. Why are bloggers doing this to one another? Shouldn't we support each other instead of getting cutthroat? I think that is one of the biggest problems with all of these blogs going the way of the ads/PR/giveaways. It has made many women compete with one another. Not cool. We as women should be lifting each other up, not cutting each other down.
And this is where Followers come in. I fully admit I have gotten totally caught up in gaining new followers, and I get genuinely excited when I see that someone has chosen to follow my blog. I write for me, of course, but I enjoy having others read, and comment on, what I write. So I have done the whole SITS thing and Friday Follows and such. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few fabulous new blogs I have found, I have been disappointed. SITS is such a great concept, but it leans very heavily towards the whole "mommy blog" phenomena. I don't think I have gained many followers from that, and as far as comments, they haven't been much more than the standard "Stopping by from SITS..." And the other follower events I have taken part in seem to be, for the most part, overrun with PR/ad blogs looking to increase their numbers to in turn increase their PR/ad revenue. I am grateful to these for introducing me to some wonderful new blogs I may not have otherwise found, but mostly I have felt like people are following me so I will follow them and bump up their numbers. I have no interest in that. I want to read REAL blogs about real topics. I want to learn and grow and be made to think. I don't care what the latest and greatest diaper is. Or window cleaner. Or sex toy!
I want to read blogs of substance. I want that glimpse in to people's lives. I am interested. I want to learn and grow and be challenged by what I read. I want to walk away from a blog post that I have read and think. I have developed some great friendships with fellow bloggers and I want to continue to be able to do that. And I want you to enjoy what I write, too. I want to hear from you. And I will reciprocate!
With all this said, I leave you with a list of what I have learned about blogging over the years with thanks to my blog friend Sandy for giving me permission to copy her! :-) She must be a trend-setter because I have seen several of these lists popping up on blogs lately!
1.) I have learned that I can't stand word verification! It is a pain in the butt, especially for someone like me who is half-blind! I don't use it and I pretty much never get spam, and if I do I just delete it.
2.) Ummm, in case you missed it ;-) I learned that I don't like blogs that are one big commercial.
3.) I really enjoy reading posts that either make me think, make me laugh, or make me learn. I love posts that are personal and real. I love seeing how you all decorate your homes! I love learning new craft projects! I love to read about your travels! I love new baking recipes! And I love love LOVE photos!!!!!
I don't enjoy drama, so please, save the drama for your mama!
4.) I do love welcoming new followers! And I love finding new blogs to follow! But please follow me because you want to, not because you need to bump your numbers to increase your sponsorships.
5.) I learned that you can make AMAZING friends in blogland, even without meeting in person. I have "met" some wonderful people through blogging that I probably would not have met otherwise (Alicia, Jodi, Nikki, Mary, Bibi, Melissa, Cheryl, Kathy, Carma, and many others!) and especially my great friend Christa, whom I am not only lucky enough to call a blogging buddy but she lives nearby and now we hang out all the time. And our husband's get along great, too...bonus!
6.) This is another one I learned from Sandy because it was something that I, unknowingly, was guilty of. It would be so great if everyone had their email address attached to their blog. I love when I can reply to a comment. Sandy pointed out that I had mine set up as a "no reply commenter." I never even realized! I love it now that I get replies to comments I leave on other blogs and I want to be able to do the same!