I was very active in the blog scene back in the mid-2000’s. I gave up blogging for many years, and I just recently came back two months ago. In these two months, I’ve noticed some differences in the blogging community. Particularly in how social media plays a role.
One of the reasons I gave up blogging was the rise of social media sites. I joined Twitter back in 2007, and once that started taking off, I began blogging less and less. It became easier and more convenient to just tweet my opinions or what was going on in my life rather than formulate a well thought out and time-consuming blog post. I did enjoy writing, but I felt like everything I wanted to say was already being said on social media. Why would people want to read my lengthy posts when they could get straight to the point with my 140-character tweets? I also shared all of my photos on Myspace and Facebook (before Instagram came along), so anyone who followed me could just see my pictures there instead of having to visit my blog. Apparently I wasn’t the only blogger to have this mindset. Many of my blog buddies at the time were doing the same thing. I noticed many of them started blogging less, and some of them eventually gave up their blogs as well. We all followed each other on the different social media sites, so we were all still keeping up to date with each other. Blogging just started to seem pointless.
It might have taken me many years, but I can honestly say that no matter how many social media sites there are, it can never replicate blogging. What social media can do, however, is be used as a network to promote your blog and find other bloggers. This is something new that I’ve noticed. Back then, you might tweet something like “New blog post is up!” That was basically the gist of it. There were no Follow Trains, Comment Trains, or accounts dedicated to promoting other bloggers. If you wanted to get people to visit your blog, you would simply comment on theirs and they would return the favor. People are still doing that, of course, but social media has allowed bloggers so many other ways to get their posts noticed.
I also see many bloggers promoting their sites on Instagram. They might create an Instagram story about their latest post, post a picture with their link in the caption, and/or post their URL in their profile. I have family members following me on Instagram, so I don’t feel comfortable posting my blog there just yet. For those who are comfortable with it, that can be a good tool as well. Instagram didn’t even exist yet back when I had my old blog.
Something else I’ve noticed is that blogging itself has become like a social media site as well. (Especially if you’re here on WordPress). I don’t mean that as a bad thing either. I feel like bloggers are able to connect with each other better now, since we can “like” posts, and we can all follow each other if we want. That was not the norm back in the old school days. You couldn’t “like” posts then, so the only way to know for sure if someone saw your post was if they left a comment. While you could still follow certain blogs, it wasn’t a common practice. At least not for me. In fact, my blog back then didn’t even have a follow feature or a way for you to subscribe. You had to just bookmark my blog if you were interested, just like I would bookmark other bloggers sites.
One last difference I’ve noticed is the blogging style. Layouts were pretty crazy back then, and we would spend hours upon hours just designing them and setting them up. A rainbow of colors and small fonts were all the rage. These days, most people just use pre-made themes (and maybe slightly tweak them with a header or something), and layouts are much more sleek and simplistic. (And easier to read, might I add). Also, a lot of current blogs are geared toward beauty, lifestyle, fashion, travel, or a combination of those things. I don’t see too many personal blogs around anymore. Personal blogs were the big thing back then. People didn’t really hold back, and you would know the most intricate details of their life. Basically, like a diary that was open to the public.
Bloggers back then would also just post average, ordinary photos from their digital camera. You seldom would see the top notch professional looking photos you see on many blogs today. I do think that perhaps sites like Instagram have had some influence over blogging (and the internet in general) in that aspect. It makes people want to have the perfect photos and the perfect image. It’s not like 2006 when the majority of the photos you would see were overexposed and over saturated. (And let’s not forget about the gaussian blur). Now photos must have perfect lighting and just the right filter. I admit that I’m also guilty of editing my photos and only posting what I think are the best ones.
Sometimes I do get nostalgic for the mid-2000’s blog scene, but I have to admit that I am really loving the current blogging community. All of you are so nice and supportive, and I’m really glad I decided to get back into blogging! I’m interested in seeing how both social media and blogging continues to evolve.