Old skool blogging

Sunday, July 18, 2021 Permalink

A few of us have recently been talking wistfully about old school blogging. We’ve discussed the fact that many of those we once followed a decade or more ago have disappeared. It’s a weird feeling. One minute we know everything about their lives and next thing….poof.

I’ve been pondering why the original personalised style of blogging has seemingly died a slow but steady death. I started blogging because I loved words and writing. I had no outlet for my blithering. I’m not brave enough to submit to other places, too lazy to finish a novel and unsure what other options I have. So in early 2009 I put fingers to keyboard and launched my original blog (Write About Now, renamed in 2011/12 as Debbish).

Personal blogging and the good ol’ mummy bloggers

In those days the so-called ‘mummy bloggers’ ruled the world. They shared the ins and outs of parenthood and life with kids. They were enormously popular. A few other genre-d blogs appeared – style and fashion, health and fitness (including my own – then – Diet Schmiet). But most featured personal blogging (the sharing of interesting and inane things about our lives), albeit with a theme. Over time however advertisers started offering money, or at least free stuff, so many pursued monetisation and a lot of bloggers tempered their stories and carefully curated their content. As a result many readers were left feeling the voices they’d followed for so long were no longer authentic.

The rise and rise of Instagram

I suspect the rise of Instagram and its influencers also impacted on the original personal bloggers. I know on the book blogging front bookstagram seems to have become to platform of choice for publishers (as opposed to bookblogs). When I’m at my most cynical I wonder if our attention spans have waned and we’re only capable of looking at pretty things and reading a few words. Or perhaps lives are just busier and there’s more competition for our online time.

I’ve pursued book blogging but miss the opportunity to overshare my existential angst so tend to throw in an occasional personal post. And they always (ALWAYS) find significantly more readers than any of my book posts.

Is personal or old skool blogging dead?

I miss personal blogging. I know it seems narcissistic to assume anyone would find our lives interesting but I’m reminded I started blogging because I loved writing and I did it without an audience in mind. I then continued because I found it cathartic.

old skool blogging

I know there are some who never ‘got’ the whole blog reading thing. That perhaps they found it voyeuristic to be privy to someone else’s personal life. I recall (however) it offering a sense that we weren’t alone in our thoughts or feelings. That was always the feedback I got from my rather-blunt dieting posts. I was often equally surprised others were as weird as moi! (Or, of course that I was / am – in fact – normal!)

I’m making some changes in my little world at the moment and – though I’ve talked about it for a while – am thinking of cutting back on my book reviews so I can do more posts from a personal point of view again. I miss the release I used to feel from just… writing what is on my mind or in my heart.

Are you a blogger? A blog reader / website visitor? Do you enjoy posts about people’s lives or their thoughts and feelings? Does it depend on the content or their writing?

Or perhaps you definitely think old skool blogging is dead, that time is short and people need to focus on their own stuff? 

Linking up with Denyse for Life This Week.

28 Comments
  • Tracey (Carpe Librum)
    July 18, 2021

    I’m a book blogger and reviewer (as you know) and I’m interested in personal posts by book bloggers if they say something new or interesting. If you publish a review here, I can usually see it on FB and GoodReads as well, so there’s a little bit of an overlap in social media channels. Interesting topic.

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      I think it’s hard sometimes Tracey when people read some blogs for certain info: reviews of books; travel advice; fashion trends and the author starts talking about personal stuff… but I’m conscious I started writing personal posts and morphed so guess I’m a little unsure of my focus now.

  • Susanne
    July 19, 2021

    I’ve always loved personal blogs and to read about people’s lives. It’s very relevant what you say about not being alone in your thoughts and feelings. Through personal blogs we can share experiences of different areas of life and I think that’s important.
    You mentioned what you think when you’re in your cynical state… if we’re only capable of seeing pretty things and read few words… sadly I think that’s a trend that social media has started. I love reading, writing, the written word, and I feel desperately sad knowing that so many people don’t take the time to read longer content anymore. Or is that only my own theory or impression? I hope so.

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      I’m the same Susanne. I think there are so many options now that only the ‘readers’ probably do any reading. Others prefer to watch YouTube videos or stories or TikTok, look at images on Instagram or listen to podcasts.

  • Lydia C. Lee
    July 19, 2021

    I fail to understand people prefer vlogs and the video stories over blogs. I clearly read quicker than the time it takes for the video content to get to the point. I barely watch them. But having seen a decline in the 1000s of views, I think I’m just an old dinosaur stuck in my ways….but so be it. I love the Joan Didion quote and as I often say, my blog is cheaper than therapy. Glad to have you join us in the ye olden ways…ha! #Lifethisweek

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      I’m the same re my views Lydia, visitors have dropped a lot but I’d like to think I’d write anyway.

      I’m with you and can think of nothing worse than sitting at my desk watching videos…. A recent crime writing shortlist was released via YouTube and I’m still yet to find out who was successful!

  • Sue from Women Living Well After 50
    July 19, 2021

    Hi Deb, I enjoyed reading your post and have been thinking about this recently as I found I was moving away from what I had intended the blog to be when I first started. I suppose blogs do change over time but what really annoys me are the pop up ads and if a blog has too many I just click off. I also find that I can’t keep up with following too many blogs and comment in a thoughtful way rather than just a ‘liked your post’ type comment. I’m sure blogs will still remain but I agree there are many moving away from this form of connection. #lifethisweek

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      I remember following (subscribing to) almost 200 blogs a decade ago. I’d allocate time each night after work to reading and commenting and a huge part of the weekend. It translated into more visitors and comments for my site but I just got tired of it all so stopped my subscriptions and closed comments on most of my posts so people didn’t feel an obligation given I wasn’t reading many other blogs.

  • lilianmagill
    July 19, 2021

    Hi Deb,

    I started my blog because I do Genealogy and it was a way of connecting with cousins, other genealogists and just general writing. I struggle to write, some months but still prefer blogging to Instagram or Twitter. I did a blogging challenge in April and by May was mentally spent, so only did one post. I’ve also been doing a three month Covid post on what I did in the previous three months, that has been good.

    https://researchbylily.blogspot.com/ My blog is called Lilian’s Tree.

    Is where I hangout. Stay safe, hugs, Lilian x

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      I think there’s something to be said for using blogs to help process feelings or share thoughts Lilian and that’s something I miss.

  • Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    July 19, 2021

    This resonates with me so much! I am naturally curious (some might even say nosey) so I loved the insight into people’s lives that personal blogging afforded. I must say, I do find all those sponsored posts a bit of a turn off, I’d be right into a personal post and then wham, there it was, a nice little plug or sales pitch at the end. I think you’re right about Instagram and our attention spans, people are so time poor they just don’t have or can’t make the time to read more than just a few words. It’s all a little bit sad really, I miss the bloggy olden days and not least because like you, I found all my brain dumps so cathartic! Bring on your personal posts, I for one, look forward to them!

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      Thanks Sammie. I’m with you, I’m interested in the lives of others and if they’re not talking about something that doesn’t interest me it just means I don’t read it that day.

  • Natalie
    July 19, 2021

    I’m a blogger, a blog reader and web site visitor. I’m selective with the blogs I read both in terms of content and writing style. Even though I’ve seen longtime bloggers stop blogging, there are still many blogs in existence. I assume new ones are also added every day. #lifethisweek

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      Oh yes Natalie – an endless array of blogs and increasing numbers of alternative platforms as well I think.

  • Min Write of the Middle
    July 19, 2021

    I miss the old days of blogging too Deb. So many people who were regularly part of my life have disappeared. Not just from blogging but they also no longer interact with me on social media. Me being me I assume they don’t like me or think I’m boring or blah blah! I guess nothing ever does stay the same and change is inevitable. I do think the attention span thing is real. Instagram suits the short attention spans of today – a nice picture and a few words. People open up a blog post and see lots of words and can’t be bothered. This is why I try and keep mine reasonably short. I also think Podcasts are popular for a similar reason. You can listen as you’re doing something else – walking, washing up, etc. I love reading personal posts so I look forward to yours and I understand your need to get back to that because my personal posts are like my therapy and its also where I learn and discover stuff about myself. Have a great week!

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      I need to write shorter posts. I keep saying I will but don’t / can’t. I’ll make more of an effort I think.

  • Jennifer Jones
    July 19, 2021

    So much to say about this topic Deb as it’s been in my mind lately. I’m not sure if the future of my blog which is why this has been on my mind. I’ve got no time at all for reading sponsored posts.They really do annoy me. I still enjoy reading ‘life’ blogs if they are genuine. I also tried book blogging but quickly found it wasn’t for me.

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      I follow someone on FB (House Goes Home). Alana blogs nearly every day and seemingly doesn’t stress about number of readers or comments. She turns up day after day to write about her happenings. I don’t always read her posts but if something interests me I click on over.

  • leannelc
    July 19, 2021

    I’ve “only” been blogging for seven years Deb but my favourite blogs are still the personal ones. I find that I’m less inclined now to read anything that looks like an advertorial, or that spruiks a lifestyle that doesn’t resonate with me. I’m tired of pretending an interest I don’t have. That being said, I’ll keep blogging about what’s in my head because I love the process of getting it out and making sense of it all. Blogging has been a godsend for me during difficult times, and a joy during the good times – and I’ve met some fabulous people (like yourself) along the way – although many have sadly drifted off into the ether over time….

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      Yes Leanne I think I’ve just really missed being able to share stuff lately. I feel as if I’ve gotten lost along the way (blogging and life) and need to claw my way back to finding ‘me’ again.

  • Jo
    July 19, 2021

    I’ve always enjoyed your personal blogs & while I mightn’t comment on the book blogs, I’ve been known to be standing in front of a book in a store madly checking your blog because I sorta remember that you reviewed it and liked it. Posts with sponsored content annoy me as do posts filled with heaps of ads that slow down the site.

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      I closed comments on my book blogs Jo as I used to feel bad (for authors) if their book got very few or no comments.

  • Debbie
    July 19, 2021

    I love this subject Deb and have written and thought about heaps of times lately it seems. I’m a personal life blogger and love the way the words can appear from nowhere when I’m in the zone (Joan’s quote is me). I unload all that’s in my head, sharing things and engaging with others along the way. I agree with you and others about the attention span thing, many people are put off by too many words it seems – sadly! I enjoy blogging, the creativity of it, the sharing, the photos, my thoughts….and love reading about other people’s lives, the good and the bad.

    I also adore that first meme and have saved it for use in the future :). The Joan Didion quote is just perfect. Your book reviews on Goodreads are always my number one reads and you blog book reviews are great – as I’ve found so many books to read from your blog, many thanks!! #lifethisweek

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      Thank you for your lovely comment on my reviews and I love that quote as well. I think I moved away from personal / life blogging at some point as I started thinking about how I might be perceived or because I was using blogging as a cop-out rather than dealing with stuff in real life.

  • Sanch @ Sanch Writes
    July 21, 2021

    I miss old-school blogging! I used to really love getting a sneak peek into people’s lives and getting to know them as opposed to a curated version of them. I do like Insta {and must confess I am active on there} but I also get bogged down by the politics of it {just as I did with Twitter}. I really, really hope personal blogging doesn’t completely die!

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      I still enjoy Twitter and guess it’s more about words and language than Insta.

  • Denyse Whelan Blogs
    July 21, 2021

    I read this the day you posted but have come back later to comment. I think when it all boils down to it, having a blog and having someone that you “know” via blogging is a conversation and a connection I can’t have in real life. Blogging has had its ups and downs for me, but since 2016 into 2017 when I really started sharing more personal stuff (and this link up had started in Sept 2016) I love knowing I have a community that cares about me as I care about them. I prefer reading a blog post and looking at an Instagram image (real not staged) and one via twitter than any kind of listening and viewing. I am a quick reader and find it burdensome to wait for people to get to their point…I don’t need it. I have other places where I listen and learn. But it’s not from fellow bloggers. I want to know more about them and I am, mostly prepared for them to know more about me.

    Thanks so much for linking up this week for #LifeThisWeek. Your blog posts are welcome contributions when you share. I appreciate that a great deal. Next week is #ShareYourSnaps. It’s an optional prompt of course. Hope to see you then. Denyse

    • Debbish
      July 25, 2021

      I’m a quick reader as well Denyse and even if I have to ‘watch’ something on YouTube or listen to a podcast, I always check to see if there’s a transcript first!

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