I got a Facebook message this morning from a friend asking if/why I quit blogging. It looks like its now been two months since my last post.
In my mind, I haven’t really quit. I’m constantly thinking of posts in my head – when I tried a new recipe, or re-decorated my great room, or bought Guinevere a fur vest (!) – these are all things I’d normally want to document. I’m constantly thinking about pictures and funny intros and topics that may be something I’d want to write down for myself but others would find interesting. But in that same mind – I’m over it.
Blogging was pretty badass back in 2007-2009. Everyone that I “knew” back then became a true friend. I checked their blogs daily as I became immersed in their lives, and they in mine. We commented on every post. We tweeted thoughts and suggestions and words of support. It was a community. We lifted each other up. In my circles, it certainly wasn’t “elite” – only one person I really knew from back then went on to become a professional blogger – there were military wives and baseball players’ girlfriends and a whole lot of people that I had known from The Knot and The Nest forums back in the day. I’ve kept in touch with most of the originals – we’re Facebook friends and real-life friends and email pals. And we’ve all slowly stepped away from the keyboard.
You see, its changed. Blogging isn’t about sharing your life, and building relationships with like-minded women. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten from people in the last few years about wanting to start a blog because they want to make money to quit their job and stay at home. It doesn’t work like that (it can, but really, it doesn’t). And these days, everyone has a blog. Blogging today is about followers. Its about sponsors. And its about money. Sometimes friendships forge – but I see more catty drama than meet ups and get togethers. I meet one person at a conference that is roomies and buddies with XYZ person, and later run into XYZ person who dishes and spills on the first. Um, what? Guys, I’m in my 30s. I have a kid. I have super awesome friends in real life. Ain’t nobody got time for internet drama.
I made the mistake of installing an app called Followers +. It tells me everyone that unfollows me on Instagram. I can also see all of the people that I follow that don’t follow me back. And I noticed that a big group dinner that I went to with like 20 bloggers at the LuckyFABB conference, where we took a picture and tagged everyone and all followed each other …all but one had then unfollowed me. I see constantly where people follow me, and then I guess if I don’t follow them back, then unfollow. Gotta have a higher number of followers than those you follow! Or something. Doesn’t make much sense to me. I follow people any time they leave me a comment or interact with me. And I follow people I come across that are interesting. I unfollow accounts that are inactive, and thats about it. I’m pretty consistent on Instagram – pictures of the kid, pictures of shoes, the occasional selfie. If you follow me, theoretically, its because you like those things. I don’t stray from that pattern – so how come in the last month 41 people have unfollowed? I can only assume because I didn’t return the follow back favor to bump their numbers, even though they never attempted to engage or interact. Only one was a person I actually knew or heard of.
I’m also REALLY tired of the sponsored posts. I loved my Google Reader because I could scan through and “catch up” with my friends. Now its promote this and advertise that. Kotex, Kleenex, Baby Butt Paste, cars, chapstick…you guys don’t really care. You all are applying for every promotion that Blogher or SITS girls or Clever Girls or whatever other ad network is offering, and just watching that PayPal balance shoot up. Or, you’re doing group giveaways. You could win this great prize, but you must follow 25 people on Instagram, Twitter, Bloglovin, leave a comment, and retweet – all mandatory entries!!
I’m sure for many of you, these paid opportunities are a blessing. And the money adds up – October 2013 was the last month I accepted sponsors or did paid promotions, and I made $800 that month. Thats a serious boost to household bills and debts for some. For me, I always tried to only apply to programs that I actually used/believed in. I did the Invisalign promotion after already having Invisalign. I did the Vidal Sassoon event because I purchased their products. But I was getting to the point where I was grasping at straws to justify my relation with a product – to still be genuine and authentic and still get a payout. Like the time I did a social media thing on Facebook and Twitter for milk. I drink milk! I should get paid to talk about milk! And I did. It was dumb. So I did some soul-searching last year and decided that I wasn’t going to do any more sponsored/paid posts or promotions. I might still do some affiliate links, but disclosed at the top of each post per my preference. But blogging is NOT a profit game for me anymore. And I don’t like seeing the blogs I’ve loved so desperate for income that the soul of their site is gone.
The blogging bubble burst, just like we all knew it would. Readers can’t trust bloggers – they’d rush out to purchase a lipgloss their favorite beauty blogger mentioned in 2008. Now, anything sponsored makes them a sell out. You see bloggers like Pink Peonies recommending one skincare product then another, so quickly that your head spins. Pretty soon, you don’t believe anything they push. The conferences are dying – Blissdom, Blogher wasn’t selling out, and quite a few other conferences are gone. Even huge blog powerhouses like Young House Love are closing up shop. I assume many more will follow suit soon.
As for me? I haven’t quite washed my hands over here. But its certainly not out of the realm of possibility.
I took a few steps back for several reasons -
1. I’m busy. I work for myself as an independent contractor and my career keeps me busy. I also may start commuting daily to DC for a new project – thats 4 hours a day commuting, plus an 8-9 hour work day that I’m away from my home. So I’ll probably never return to 5 posts a week because I’m terrible at multi-tasking, and even worse at time management, so my kid will come first, then my husband, and then the DVR and Netflix. And if I’m feeling a little crazy, you might see a blog post.
2. It became difficult to be honest. There were certain people that read here that I knew in real life. They’d read through archives from several years ago, and twist my words and intentions and make something innocent into something crazy. I felt violated and exposed – the one thing about blogging was that it always felt semi-anonymous. I hated having people that knew me try to tear apart my words, and I also felt resentful about sharing parts of myself with those types of people. I spend 98% of my life saying “screw anyone who doesn’t matter” – I put my family and friends before everything else. But sometimes I let insecurity and doubt creep in. I hate when it happens, but I’m human and I tend to be overly sensitive. I’m trying to get better about not taking it personally.
3. It doesn’t feel appreciated. I know, stroke my ego will ya? But when average and boring blog posts used to get 30+ comments a day back 6 years ago and now truly thought posts get 1-2, you wonder why you bother writing and publishing – it makes me want to go back to a personal diary or journal. I had a pretty rad LiveJournal back in the day. You just wonder why you bother with the sharing part. Of course, here’s the flipside – I’m terrible at reading blogs. That is an even lower priority these days for me than writing my own. So its real dumb for me to get annoyed by the current blog/comment landscape when I’m not reciprocating. But maybe that is even more of a reason for me to go private or just shut it down.
What HAVE I been up to? Life has been pretty dang amazing this year. I hired a personal trainer and am lifting weights 5x a week. I LOVE lifting and am getting so strong. Lets just say I can’t pass by a mirror without flexing. I’m also trying to eat better to start leaning out a bit. I’m getting better about time with friends. I spent a week at the beach with my best friend in September, went to Vegas for four days, have done a lot more happy hours lately and have an upcoming triple date with two couples at this place called Escape Room in DC. Apparently a zombie tries to eat you as you use logic to try to escape the room.
We also just convinced some fun new friends to join us in punting on a traditional Thanksgiving – we’re leaving Wednesday for Great Wolf Lodge with the kids and not coming home til Friday night. I can’t wait. I feel like I’m at a place now where everything is in a really good balance – motherhood, marriage, neighbors, friends, personal quality time. I’m happy.
Feel free to follow along on Instagram. I’m pretty active there. I mostly post pictures of Guinevere and I in matching shoes. You should probably NOT follow me if thats too adorable for you.
I only tweet when Guinevere says something funny, and I never read my feed because its overwhelming (too many years of entering contests that I never won but had to follow 67 people). And I do still post sometimes on my blog’s Facebook page. And if we’ve interacted before, I do add some blog friends on my personal Facebook page. So come say hi…I’m still around. Just maybe not here right now.