Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Big Blogging Morph

I've been blogging for four years now. 

(Interesting side note:  This post marks my 912th post.  Wow.  That sounds more prolific than I feel.)

Now to sound like the granny I am:  Back in the day when blogging was young, people blogged to meet like-minded people (or unlike-minded people that you would come to love through their writing).  People blogged to voice political opinions or parenting tips.  People blogged to show projects they'd been developing or ask for help with a difficult child.  People blogged to document their family's lives--kids' activities, birthdays, weddings, births.

Bloggers hosted giveaways and participated in link-up parties in attempts to garner more followers on their sidebar.

Bottom line:  Blogging used to be about remembering and connecting.

Fast forward to today, and blogging has changed. 

In order to successfully blog, you need to Facebook and Twitter..  You need to understand RSS feeds and Instagram.  Your projects should be ready for a magazine shoot, not just some shlumpy thing you threw together. You should be a professional photographer, because if you're not, how will anyone ever pin your photos?  And you should never share problems or questions or . . . .heaven forbid . . . a messy house.*

Now bloggers have advertisers and sponsors who require a certain level of traffic from your blog in order to pay you for the privilege of showing up on your home screen.

I will admit to getting caught up in the whole popularity game of blogging on more than several occasions over the last four years.  I've counted comments and wondered why one post struck the comment gold mine while another received no comment love.  I've hosted link parties and giveaways and pandered to bloggers whose writing I found insipid, hoping to find some self-satisfaction in their validation of my writing. 

Slowly over the last year, and especially obvious over this past summer, bloggers have been evaporating quicker than General Petraeus's reputation.  Unique to cyberspace is the ability to be best buddies one day, and the next day to never return to the internet.  A quick comment on an old blog post to check on a friend vanishes as quickly as it takes to hit publish.

I will also state the fact that Facebook seems to be one of the most destructive inventions to the existence of the casual blogger.  Many of the bloggers I've connected with over the years and now consider friends have become casualties to the quick convenience of a Facebook post.  A Facebook post takes much less brain power and time than a thoughtful and thought-provoking blog post.  These former bloggers have found places either in the Facebook world or on Twitter or Instagram, neglecting their previously loved blogging corner of cyberspace.

I've taken some time over the last few months to review older posts for kids' birthdays or just to reread memories I recorded, and I can see how my blogging has changed.  Recently I have I rarely taken time to record deep thoughts or ask probing questions.  I haven't taken time to post funny quick moments of our lives--like my deep abiding love of my Spotbot or a silly series of photos just for fun.  I spend countless hours editing and enhancing photos, sometimes rejecting a post idea just because I don't have a good enough picture to accompany the story. 

I've also made a conscious decision not to court sponsors or sport ads on my blog. For some (if not most bloggers), ads make the time and effort of blogging worth it. To me, it defeats the purpose of my blog refuge.  It's for me and my family and my readers, not a place to make money. Commercializing my blog would create unnecessary pressure to produce a product, not just the joy I find in writing for me.

Maybe you're thinking that I've missed the boat--that my antiquated views of blogging will leave me behind.  That my simplistic ideas will get me nowhere--and nowhere fast.  And I acknowledge that you'd be right about those things.

I still love comments and page views and traffic and followers and acknowledgement of my ideas, but as I've taken the time to review a few blog posts, I've realized a few things I had missed in all the popularity game fog. 

First of all, my writing has gotten much better.  Even though my deep posts are fewer and farther between, I can see how I've progressed in this craft.  That's no small achievement, especially coming from a former proofreader/editor who never dreamed of actually composing the prose.

Second, my photography has improved as well.  I've gone from point-and-shoot to aperture and shutter speed and Lightroom.  Even though the photography side of my blogging is taking more time, the end products are much better--still has a long way to go, but definitely better.

And most important of all (didn't Grandma Olsen always say, "Last the best of all the game"?), I have recorded family memories and personal thoughts that I never would have penned had I not felt some obligation to post here--Heidi leaving for college, Angelo returning to his family, Tucker's mission call, Ben's football successes, Lily's diving triumphs, Micah's concussion, Hyrum's magic cotton candy, Evie's first haircut. I will be forever indebted to blogging for the memories it has preserved--for me and for my children.

For these three reasons, I just can't see myself quitting, as much as I've thought about it over the past few months.  Blogging may have transformed into the gateway to financial independence and Pinterest fame, but my kids will never care how many pins I generated or how many followers I had. 

The blogging world may be morphing, but for me it will always be what I need it to be:  a place to remember the good, the bad, the messy, the ugly, the fantastic, the great.

A place for the inmates of the Sanatorium to thrive.

I'm still hanging in there.

Are you with me?

*I must admit that I do read Facebook and even occasionally post on it.  I have an Instagram account, a twitter address (that I've never used), and I am an admitted Pinterest addict.  I will sometimes post one of my own photos to Pinterest as well.

And to those of you who are blogging as a second source (or primary source) of income, I think that's fabulous for you.  No insult intended.  And I still read your blogs.  See?  No hard feelings.

23 comments:

  1. I loved this post Jenny. I have recently looked back on almost 3 years of posts and am so grateful I have recorded memories that I would have surely forgotten had I not taken the time to blog about them. I know my posts have been so few and far between lately...but I am trying hard to not throw in the towel. I sure don't fit into the mold of most bloggers. I'm not the best writer, I think I'm the only one out here still using a point and shoot, and half the time I have no idea what I'm doing. I still cannot figure out how to upload a darn video! But as I look back on my old posts...I too realize that my family will not care how many pins or comments I've had. So, I will try to keep that in mind as I keep plugging away our family memories. Loved your post.

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  2. Amen.

    and Amen.

    Blogs like ours are not old-school, they are vintage and classy. Everyone will want one again in a few years. ;)

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  3. I loved this! I love reading your blog and part of that is probably because I don't have to deal with ads as I read, but I get to read your sweet thoughts and funny stories about your family. You've also been a source of comfort to me as I lost a baby a few months ago and your posts about Ella were incredibly helpful. I love your blog!

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  4. That's why I stopped blogging for a while (not that I do it much now), because at some point blogging became a marketing scheme. When I started it was a great way to articulate and share ideas and connect with my friends on a new level. Now I'm lucky if one or two of those friends are still blogging. I hope I will continue blogging, I just don't know how excited I can be to do it when there are so few people out there who seem to do it for its own sake.

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  5. A wonderful step up from a journal is what I thing blogging should be and you have it down to a "T". We love reading about anything you write. Keep up the good work. LOVE

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  6. Jenny-I love your blog just the way it is. I have been a reader of your blog for about a year and half now and I LOVE it! I look forward to your blog posts. I am not sure how I stumbled across your blog now but I am so grateful that I did.
    Thank you!

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  7. I'm Here! Present and accounted for!
    I have evolved along the same ways as you have--what started out as a journal of sorts got morphed into a money/product commercialization deal, and then it wasn't fun anymore. So to change that, I stopped answering all the marketing emails and went back to just being Me. The Momza of this House.

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  8. Amen....I love what Anna m said... Our blogs are vintage!

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  9. Jen, even though we are connected on Facebook, your blog is the one I look at first - every day, even weekends in the hope you might have added an extra post in for the week. I love that it is unadulterated with promotions for this and that and have you met this months sponsors. It is about you and your family and I feel like I want to get to know you all better and hope that one day we might meet in person.

    Don't change and stay true to the reason you started blogging - I know I appreciate it.

    Cath

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  10. I loved this post. I've actually been thinking of the same thing lately. I love your blog, although it seems I have far less times these days to read, I always come back here. I also envy your photos, they truly are wonderful! Keep it up Jen, Keep it up!

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  11. Even though you don't really know me I've been reading your blog forever it seems. Well Evie was a little tiny baby anyway.
    I'm so glad that you are keeping it as is and not trying to follow the trends as they change. Love your blog!

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  12. Some blogs I tire of after awhile. For different reasons I have stuck with you, Clover Lane, Barefoot in the Kitchen, & The Nesting Place. Four is plenty for me to keep up with.

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  13. I completely agree with you. It's been an interesting transition. And certainly I've changed a lot in my 5 years of blogging as well. It used to be all consuming for me, and now, i can barely find the motivation to write something. BUT, I love your posts, no matter how they come. And I fully agree that when sponsors are involved, it becomes a job and not something that you love, and then I find, a lot of times, their writing becomes labored. And ok, I'm done. thanks for sticking around. I'm with ya!

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  14. I agree with you so completely that I could have written this post myself. And I'M not quitting, either, though I've become less of a daily poster and more of a 3-ish times a week poster. Dave is to blame for that one! ;)

    Besides the value of recording family happenings, spiritual experiences, and such (which I have now printed into hard cover books pm blog2print), I have written more poems because of my blogging. I have almost 300 of them on my poetry site now, and I doubt I would have been even close to that without my blog to spur me on.

    =)

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  15. Yes...I'm in! For the same reasons. It's like a scrapbook my kids can "pull up" on their phone any time they want to. I hope to always remember the important people that I blog for. You best keep at it.

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  16. Well thank goodness. I would be horrified to find the Sanitorium closed! You and I have very little in common, yet I love your blog - your insightful outlook on things has had influence on mine. And, omg, if you quit this blog before that dear-heart arrives back from his mission, I would be devastated!

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  17. i'm so with you.
    i love, and have always loved how you are able to articulate exactly what i've been thinking about, stewing over.
    i've been blogging for 4 years too, and i can completely relate to the rollercoaster of growth, maturing in writing etc. the reason i love your blog is that you write like a real person, no "heart giggles" nonsense. after chase i am so tired by the end of the day that i get my blog done and go to bed. haven't read blogs like i used to, but it's helped my writing develop and my ideas develop so much more b/c it's me writing about what i'm really thinking about. i still keep coming back to you though. i love your views and wisdom. you're such an example of motherhood to me. thank you!

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  18. Great post, Jen. Very good post indeed! I think you are right about how blogging has changed these past few years and I admit that sometimes I find myself victim to that need to be constantly commented on and the need for attention from others. It's probably why I've cut back so much this year. Sure I lost a lot of followers and the comments have fallen to maybe one or two (or none) a post but I always remind myself that in the end, none of that matter because I just want to document and share my life with family and friends we cannot see on a regular basis. I've been told by them that they read my blog but they just don't comment because they don't like sharing comments that can be read by anyone.

    I think another part of me fails to blog more often is because I don't want to feel the obligation to go and read other people's blogs just because they came to visit mine. I think the whole commenting thing kills me because sometimes there really is nothing I can think of to say to another bloggers post but because I feel obligated to do so, I go and leave a comment out of courtesy. For me, that kind of defeats the purpose of reading blogs. I visit blogs and read comments because I want to and because the posts I read resonate something within me. But this thing where you feel like you have to go and leave a comment on other people's blog just because they left you a simple comment on yours feels forced and not genuine. I don't know if this is just something I feel though but it's part of the reason why I stopped joining in on blog memes because they normally ask that you leave comments on a certain number of blogs in order to join.

    And I also agree with you about how we just turn to Facebook updates instead of writing long thoughtful posts. To be honest, I'm one of those people who record more on Facebook than on my blog but only because I use Facebook sort of as a diary for all the mundane little events in my life. For the more deep and detailed thoughts that I want to share, I try to write them out on my blog as much as I can (or whenever time allows).

    Sorry that my comment is so long and epic but at least it's my proof to you that your post truly spoke to me in such a way that I just had to make a long comment :)

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