Ode to the Bloggers: Why I'm Loving Old-School Blogging Again
I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while now and have wanted to share my thoughts with you, but I really wanted to let it “steep.” I revitalized the blog this year and fell back in love with my RSS reader—keeping it old school—and honestly, it’s giving me life.
The Golden Years of Blogging and Why it Ended for Me
I was pretty passionate about blogging in 2011–2014(ish). I’d say those were the “golden years” of blogging for me, even though many bloggers would probably say I was late to the game.
I mostly blogged about my personal life, faith, et cetera, and that particular blog was so cathartic for me. It definitely served more as a diary than anything, and while I wouldn’t feel comfortable posting a lot of that content today (not that it was necessarily oversharing), I’m glad I had that outlet.
In recent years, however, I kind of stopped following blogs. The rise of YouTube and Instagram just made it less appealing to scroll through large blocks of text, and I eventually became an online creator is a different way. I missed writing, but as my career as an editor took off, I found I was pulling my creative energy in different directions.
I was fine with that.
Creeping Back into that Blogging Life
Creating videos, creating podcasts . . . being present on Instagram, it’s been a fun and creative endeavor. But writing is how I make sense of my tangled thoughts, and I know I’m not alone in that. Even if I had zero readers for this blog, I still think I would have resurrected the whole “blogging” thing. There’s just something so relaxing and wonderful about hitting Publish on a post.
And I admit: With Instagram stories and the way social has turned into a more “instantly out there” kind of beast, I tend to be much more casual with my online writing. And honestly? It’s kind of freeing. I don’t stress about it.
But in recent weeks, something interesting has been happening.
I found I didn’t just enjoy blogging—I started to enjoy reading other blogs again. And I know, I know: some bloggers never left and have been blogging for eight-plus years. I think in general, though, blogging was on the decline, and I’m convinced it’s picking back up for a lot of online readers and content creators.
I’m falling in love all over again with the blogging community—particularly the book blogging community—and I think there are a few reasons why.
1. The blogging community is a breath of fresh air in all the “noise” of social media.
Choosing to follow, read, and engage on a blog feels 100 percent more intentional and intimate to me. If someone comments on my blog, I feel more connected to that person than if he or she commented on an Instagram post of mine. Not that I’m not thankful for the Instagram comments and engagement—because I still do love that community—but there’s something special going on in the blogging community.
It’s smaller, more intentional, and people find you or you find them because you share the same interests. This may be true across the board for all social media, but with all the noise on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, it’s much easier to be heard in the blogging world.
2. I cherry pick what I want to read and my RSS feed won’t manipulate my feed or bury my favorite creators with new algorithms.
I can also make sure to follow news sources without the constant screams of Twitter, and important information won’t be buried this way either. RSS readers are making a comeback. I’m convinced. I can curate what I see and I don’t have to wonder if Instagram has hidden anything. It’s more organized and less chaotic. Call me nerdy, but I get a giddy feeling every time I add a new blog to my feed.
3. Comments, you guys. Comments. It’s easier to engage.
This is really the same sentiment as #1, but I want to specifically address comments again. I’ll admit I still lurk from time to time, but I’m trying to get better at commenting on blogs, because I know how much it means to get a comment. It’s more special than Instagram comments.
The fact that someone read my long-form post and took the time to comment means infinitely more to me than commenting elsewhere on social media. It’s just a closer-knit group, in my opinion. I find bigger bloggers respond to my comments via their blogs much more frequently than if I were to add to the constant stream of comments on Instagram.
Also, by engaging on someone’s blog, I’m considering the whole post, even if I don’t comment on every little detail of it, so I feel like I’m getting a more holistic view of that blogger’s opinions or thoughts. You just get to know the person better, IMO.
4. Writing and reading blogs forces you to slow down.
I don’t really have to expand on this, do I? We live in a world in which skimming content and video/visual is much more digestible. But there’s something rewarding about taking the time to slow down and read a whole blog post. Same with writing a post. Maybe it’s just me, but I can rattle off my thoughts in an Instagram story, but the time I take to think through a blog post is more valuable to me.
5. A site/blog/online space that is entirely your own will always be there. Other social platforms will not.
Vine, Snapchat, etc. There are so many platforms that are gone or declining, and while blogging may not always be a thing, having your own website and your place to use your voice and archive all of your thoughts will. Maybe there will be seasons when you don’t actually post to your blog or website, but that archive doesn’t go away unless you want it to, right? I find that so comforting, especially as new forms of social media crop up and others die.
6. Longevity is more appealing to me than ever.
Again, not much else to expand here except that I love the idea of seeing my personal life growth—in whatever capacity that looks like—in written form, archived on my blog. I know others enjoy this about Instagram, but again, you don’t have to wonder if it will ever go away.
Maintaining a blog takes work and commitment. It’s exciting to me to think that if I continue with it, it could grow. Not necessarily in a monetized way, but in documenting my thoughts and seeing them change. As Instagram becomes more focused on Stories, I think the here-today-gone-tomorrow content will continue to be the norm. And there’s a place for that! But there’s also a place for archived content that’s always visible and accessible.
7. Blogging gives me a little more room than Instagram to stretch and flesh out my thoughts about books, but it doesn’t take the amount of time, energy, and resources needed to make YouTube videos.
This one says it all. I just think it’s the perfect space to share my thoughts, and while I may share those same thoughts on Instagram, I can always expand. I can always point people to my FULL thoughts, without having to spend hours setting up and editing a video.
8. It doesn’t have to be about the followers or subscribers.
Not that there’s anything wrong with keeping track of these numbers or listing the number of readers you have on your blog, but you don’t have to include that on your blog if you don’t want to. I also find people look at those numbers less often than Instagram and YouTube. Maybe it’s just me, but it does give me a sense of freedom.
9. At the same time, getting traffic to your blog helps people find you all over the interwebs.
So if you are adamant about growing your other social platforms, it’s a great way to make sure people can find you everywhere. Your own little landing place and small corner of the internet. It’s just so appealing to me. As a freelancer, too, it’s incredibly valuable.
10. Blogging and engaging with other bloggers reminds me of all the authentic voices out there.
With fake followers and bots and inorganic growth on social media and the shift in focus (in a very general sense) to brand deals and acquiring big reach, Instagram and YouTube are dangerously close to becoming spaces of inauthentic voices, lack of transparency, originality, and integrity.
Now listen. I love Instagram and YouTube, and I will support the people I follow and celebrate their success when they work with brands and advertisers. This is exciting.
What’s frustrating is when other lesser-known authentic voices get lost in the shuffle because of algorithm changes and lack of visibility. I truly think engagement versus reach will become more and more important for businesses working with influencers, and I think blogging is coming back for this very reason. Having an authentic voice and loyal readers is much more important.
Happy blogging, and happy reading! x