Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My future corner of the blogosphere

Here I go blogging about blogging again... but I've been spending a lot of time thinking about my little corner of the blogosphere and questioning where I want to go from here.

I started blogging in January 2007, very sporadically - and privately. When we made a long-distance move in September of the following year, leaving behind all that we had known for the past decade to live in completely unfamiliar territory, I took the plunge and went public, thinking that my blog would be a great medium to keep friends and family abreast of all our new adventures. My blog started gaining momentum that November as I became a more active blog reader and started making bloggy friends (many of whom would soon become friends, minus the "bloggy" prefix), found memes (I never did get the hang of the "wordless" part of Wordless Wednesday), and got a feel for what my little audience enjoyed reading most. By 2009, I was a blogger, having gone from writing 15 posts in a year to well over 100. Blogging was among my top five most favorite things to do, and having finally found my blog's voice, I felt fairly decent at it.

As 2010 began, I started feeling an increased pressure to keep my growing audience, people who were there for very different reasons. I felt as though because I had attracted some of my readers to my blog through a scrapbooking class, I had to blog more about scrapbooking... but would that put off my readers who were there only to discuss writing? And were my "IRL" friends bored and waiting to see the next set of goofy pictures from our travels? In addition, I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt if I didn't post regularly, apologizing to my readers so profusely that it was like I thought I had denied them air. My blogging persona quickly became a hot mess, and as a result, I started blogging less. Add to that a period of time when life (e.g., moves, layoffs, family emergencies) took over everything else, and my blog quickly entered the territory of "practically nonexistent." In seven months, I have written only 20 posts, most of which reflect not me, but a desire to put something on paper so that I can begin to reconnect with the people I miss.

My friend Jenny questioned the future of blogs a few days ago, and I agree with her that some of my favorite bloggers have also been blogging less lately. Is it because we are sharing through different mediums, such as Facebook and Twitter, with increasing momentum? Is it that 2011 has been a rough year all the way around and blogging is not as great a priority? Or is the blog a soon-to-be extinct genre? After commenting on Jenny's post, I realized that while I do tend to read Facebook and Twitter more than I'm reading blogs this year, I'm updating as infrequently there as I am here. So what gives? Partly, I think I'm going through a period of time right now when I'm simply a bit more insular, journaling thoughts privately instead of broadcasting them to the world. I think I've also been really focused on making local friends, which has turned out to be a great thing since I feel surrounded by a wonderful community here now, but that has sadly taken time away from cultivating my online relationships. So where am I going? I know that I still must have a desire to blog, even if only subconsciously, as I am still jotting down blog ideas, as well as constantly looking at websites for tips, inspiration, groups to join, and conferences to attend, so I don't think it's time to throw in the towel just yet, but it may be time to take a step back and redefine what being a blogger means to me at this time in my life.

I honestly don't know what my corner of the blogosphere is going to look like in the future. For now, it's enough to have figured out that I definitely want to have one.

3 comments:

Kisha said...

I completely understand what you are saying! I wasn't ready to just give up on my blog, but I definitely needed to give it a break for a while and figure out exactly where it ranked in my life. I just know that I'm not ready to give it up, and I'm glad you're not either! I love reading your work over here.

Brittany said...

I've stopped thinking about it; wrote from the hip.
You've been writing lately in your blog about trying to stop planning so much. It might help in this area too. It helped me.
I know the lack-luster feeling that you get after blogging so long (especially without feedback in my case).
When I get these feelings I remind myself (even if I've varied from my original blog ideals) that I started this blog for me (even if I wanted to keep others in the loop). Therefore I'm going to continue to do it for me, hell or high water ^_^.
I cut out social media. I was worried it would cut out my readers, but I've seen an influx in stats. My analytics tell me it's up 78% from the month before. I never wrote for a reader base, but it felt pretty good to know I'm putting in less effort, enjoying it more, and seeing a return.

Kelly said...

For me, it's so easy to get stretched thin and the blog takes the hit. I don't know if others prioritize the blog first, letting everything else fall behind it, or if they're just better at dropping bits of themselves and then running to something else.

Either way, I'm glad you're here and look forward to whatever incarnation fits.