Seems to me there's a lot of combinations. Plain journal/stories (Livejournal!), personal blogs with a brand, personal blogs with a brand that get success and branch out. Then there's a choice about abandoning what made it successful in the first place. So, what you said.
Exactly what you said. I absolutely couldn't agree more.
I want to get back into this because I really used to enjoy it; I miss writing online and the connections that I know can be made through this medium, but yeah, all of that. Plus I'm just plain out of the habit. AND I feel like it's been so long, if I was truly going to dive back in I'd have to devote a certain amount of posts to catching up.
Blogging lost its shine for me when I realized I had to weigh the consequences of every word I put online, no matter how innocuous. Every humorous story has some weird flipside that's related to someone's personal tragedy. Small details about your life can amount to big reasons for someone not to hire you in the future. I've said things like, "I've been walking a lot lately. Walking is good for you," and have had people on the fringes of my life practically in tears thinking these two sentences amounted to some sort of flat-out personal attack on them.
These people on the fringes, people whose names you barely remember, end up knowing way too much about you. And the dangerous part is, what they don't know they fill in with their own crazy ideas.
In the end, I was second- and third-guessing everything I posted, and then immediately feeling regret about it. It wasn't fun anymore. Plus, the community was decimated, overwhelmed by the flow of minutia spewing out of Facebook. Simply put, it stopped being fun.
The thing about bloggers is that they're not all drinking the same water. Because they're all so far away from one another.
Blogs = magazines. That's totally it. You nailed it. And everyone has to have a conference or retreat or course or something now too. Everyone's gotta be Oprah. I am so not feeling it. I feel like all the bloggers I used to read are now just after my money while pretending to care about making me the better me.
It was really early when I wrote that comment, and I thought it was very funny at the time.
RSS Feeds Killed the Blogosphere Stars.
How so, gijyun?
I think the ads were the thin edge of the wedge that lead us all to wonder what our brand was, which was disastrous for personal blogging in a lot of ways. The professionalization of personal blogs created a split where some people thrived (like Maggie) and some people gave up and went to Tumblr, Faceblob, Twitter, etc. I feel like I tried to go pro and not-pro at the same time, which led to some epic burnout. Still not giving up, though. I think there's a way through if we just keep paying our hosting fees and showing up from time to time.
I was an avid blog reader, never a writer. I started reading blogs when I became a stay-at-home mother. I felt connected to the outside world, a very wide world, bigger than the one outside my door. Most, if not all, the blogs I read I found in your links section. I felt heavily invested in the lives of the writers. But as the different writers began selling ad space it began to feel much less like a conversation and more like a commercial. I missed the open, raw conversation. And hey, I totally get the ad stuff. If you spend that much time writing on your site, you might as well get paid for it if you can. I would! But it changed the whole experience for me.
I think your reasoning here is so interesting. Because while I agree that too many blogs have become magazines, and I've unsubscribed from a lot of them, isn't that the whole point of the internet? You can have your own space to do your own thing? This magazining and monetizing thing may be the trend right now, but it is not a mandate. You can keep on keepin' on with your short stories.
I realized as I was typing that that might come off as a judgement, like "your reason isn't good enough." Not meant that way AT ALL. More like "hey, just because other blogs are changing, it doesn't mean you can't keep on with your own style we have all loved reading!" I'm awkwardly trying to let you know that I will leave Que Sera Sera in my google reader forever, and rejoice if we get periodic posts like this.
The sub-point about just using your time differently, though, of course. Happens to everyone, just some of our interests/hobbies that we quit have readers/followers, and some don't. Nobody knows or cares that I've (thankfully) given up my Snood habit. harhar.
i'm so glad to see you here again, even if you're here to say in part that you're unlikely to be here again. your writing has given me that new yorker experience for years, and some of your posts have made me cry, in that way that people cried before they started crying over flash mobs and badly-edited birth stories and, like, madewell. someone once dissed my blog by saying it was a personal journal that "could happily sit on the hard drive" instead of warbling and beeping out across the internet; i took that as a compliment, though i also took her point and tried to give my stories a bit more context. (it was 2001 and i was 23. in my defense, context was hard to come by.) these days i work at an actual magazine, which...has perhaps made it even easier to resist becoming one on my own site? that's misleading, though. why art-direct or monetize my personal life?
long, pre-morning-coffee story slightly shorter, i hope you come back and tell us more. you're a class act, sarah b, and you make me feel like the robots won't take over (or that we'll give them a fair fight, at least).
Sarah Brown, thank you. I loved reading this. I agree wholeheartedly with you. I also think that what used to be a "post" is now summed up in short "status updates" which has fucked with our idea of what smart writing is. I've always considered myself a writer but sometimes worried that if I didn't blog then I wasn't a legitimate writer. I've been a reader of yours for the past ten years and I'm so glad you are still putting your thoughts out into cyberspace. You are adorable and the real deal. A writer.
I absolutely agree with this. Also, I feel like perhaps some of it ties in with people who had been at least somewhat anonymous becoming non-anonymous (because of the whole "personal branding" and monetizing and whatever else-ing of stuff) and that maybe led people to be more constrained in what they felt like they could and could not write about. Like someone commented above, if you're writing under your own name, then anyone and everyone can know way more about you than you might prefer. But since everyone (except me, but everyone else) uses Facebook and Twitter and all other social media things that all connect back to them in real-life, it's no longer super acceptable to write stuff for public consumption without also handing over your day-to-day privacy, too...or that's how it feels to me. I mostly stopped writing things online because I was beginning to feel beholden to strangers who were reading them in ways I wasn't comfortable with, but I stopped reading a lot of other people's things for exactly the reasons you mention.
Interesting post, SB! I do love that I don't see weird ads for cleaning products or "sponsored posts" everywhere when I visit QSS. :)
The transition of someone's blog from a fun thing they do just 'cause into their primary means of income is basically when I stop reading, because I know there's an underlying motive in even posting and that's to make sponsors and ad-people happy. :(
I just wanted to say that I think it would be a hilarious/cool project to create a magazine-like blog with all the links to the coupons EXCEPT the links to the coupons would all be fake! (And possibly lead to porn sites.) There's something delicious about the idea of subverting the consumerism that ruined our favorite thing. :)