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Blogs have lost their soul

Before I sat down to post this video, I was going to declare to you that this was going to be the first video of a 30 day vlogging challenge.  Something that I decided to do on a whim yesterday.  But this morning, I had one of those light bulb moments that people go on about.   And my thought was this – I’m a blogger and I have at my disposal different forms of media I can use to tell a story, video is just one of them.

I know the Internet marketers try to steer us toward choosing one medium over another. 2016 is being hailed as the year of video and live-streaming, so everybody, especially us independent self-employed types, should be making videos if we don’t want to miss the boat and be left behind.

It was in this spirit I was about to start making videos.  But then someone reminded me that the word vlogging is actually short for video blogging and in it’s truest sense all those slice of life videos you see on Youtube are simply a type of video blog post.  Seems so obvious right? And it is, except if you listen to too many social media marketing people, who, like snake oil salesmen, are trying to hock their wares to you.

This blogging stuff isn’t complicated – and here I’m going to sound like a dinosaur – when I first got into blogging way back in 2004 with my LiveJournal account – chew the bottom of my shoe,- blogging was simple.  It was a medium of self-expression – much like the writer’s journal or the artist’s sketchbook or the observant person’s diary.  Blogging was a place people could share their thoughts and interests.  It was a place they could share little slices of their lives with the rest of the community.  We didn’t need gamification tools like – ‘likes,’ ‘follows,’ or ‘hearts.’  People reached out to you in the comments section of your blog.  The comments section was the campfire people gathered around to share their take on the blogger’s story or news.  And we travelled to other people’s blogs and listened to their news and stories and sat around their campfires. Remember blogrolls?

Blogs have lost their soul.

Now it’s a world of listicles or niches so deep and narrow that you have to be a nerd for the subject to appreciate it.  But that is what the Internet marketing people say is the only way to get traffic to your blog – be super niche like write 500 blog posts on ‘how to write a blog post.’ All of this, of course, says the marketers, is to help you get traffic to your blog  so you can monetise it.  ‘Cause it’s all about the money right? Oh I can hear Rod Tillman yelling now. 

What happened to blogging for the love of it? Back in the day, your blog didn’t have to be niche.  The “content” didn’t even have to be great.  It just had to be human and you had to be human and willing to open up and be vulnerable.  We all came to blogging in the spirit of friendship.  Now it seems we spend all of our efforts to lure you to our blogs only to then badger you to sign up for our newsletters because as everybody knows, the newsletter is where the money is. Get them to your site. Get them to sign up for your newsletter, then pulverise their inboxes with endless promotional material.

Of course now that we have social media, blogging is surely dead.  Nobody reads blogs anymore, do they?  (If you’re reading this, perhaps you’re a rebel or a non-conformist tired of the system telling you what think.  Or maybe, like me, you’re just a dinosaur trying to hang on to the glory of the old days.)

I don’t know, what do you think?

Oh and that’s the other thing people in the blogging community used to do, they used to leave comments in the comments section, not spam.  I’ve met some of my best Internet buddies – people like Catherine Kunst and Raw Dawg Buffalo –  from the good old days of blogging, before Twitter, before Facebook, and Snapchat, and Instagram, and so on and so on – in the comments section of my old blog.

Am I ranting?

Probably…

Ok, let’s do this then, if you’re a blogger that primarily blogs for self-expression or to share news and views, then let me know and I’ll add you to my blogroll (which I’m about to go create right now).  We can be blog buddies.

Oh yeah and here’s the video I mentioned at the beginning:

  1. Well said! I stopped blogging after we got back to the UK and it’s doing me good to step back a bit – I thought you had to be ‘smart’ about it, niche it down and jump through the usual hoops in order for anyone to even find your blog. But after a while I realised my voice had got lost amongst all the bells and whistles and keywords – and then what’s the point?

    Maybe I’ll go revisit the blog and see if I can remember how to write like it’s just for me. Thanks for the nudge!

    • Hi Jenny,

      I think many of us went from being bloggers to being marketers. We adopted their approach. Used their language. And got ourselves lost in the quagmire of “producing content” instead creating art (and do believe blogging is an art form in and of itself).

      Hope you get back in the game. What’s your blog address?

      Cheers,
      Clay

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