Reflections and musings on the state of blogging 2012

I admit I may not be the best person to be giving advice on this thing we call blogging, after all my blog is small and despite being on Babble’s list of 2011 Mom bloggers, I don’t exactly earn a living with this gig. It’s a good thing that I am pretty damn good at my day job and despite some dreams have no intentions of giving up the day gig.

That said, can I just be honest and say I am so tired of reading tips on how to make it as a blogger.  It’s at the point that most of the so-called tips and suggestions sound like a rehash of every other article written on how to make it as a Mommy blogger. First off, I am not a fan of the term Mommy blogger, I am a woman who happens to be a Mom and yes, I do blog. I personally don’t have a niche which a blogger I look up to suggested may be holding me back. I agree that is entirely possible and I am okay with it. One of the reasons that I started blogging in 2008 was that I was tired of writing that required that I fit into a box. I have been writing for publication since 2003 and most of that work is focused on diversity, as a paid writer/columnist I have guidelines and word counts that I have to adhere to and frankly it can be a drag at times.

Blogging allows me to be me, and I can say as little or much as I want to say. I mean shit; this is my space, my slice of the interwebz.

The thing is that with over 3 million blogs that fall under the Mommy genre, let’s get real for a second, we can’t all think we are going to find our fortunes as Mom bloggers. Despite what the blogging/social media experts tell you, I don’t think there is enough room for everyone to cash in. In fact at a certain point I feel the so-called experts are selling us on these dreams so we keep them employed. Let’s face it, and believe me I am right there with you, but would blog conferences like Blog Her and the others be so popular if we weren’t all hoping we might be the next Bloggess or Dooce? Of course not! I mean how many of us beg, borrow or do whatever to attend these conferences to learn valuable tips? I mean hell, I have a tip jar on this blog in hopes that maybe I might actually attend a conference this year. Yet will I even make an amount equal to what I will pay out to attend even one conference? Probably not.

Yet we dream.

The thing is after blogging now for several years and reading blogs since 2004, can I tell you that there has been a change in blogging. As more and more of us are striving to earn a living or some parts of a living via our blogs we are following the formulas and I am not sure it really works. One of the things that made the big bloggers big is their willingness to be themselves, they told us a story, and they shared their lives and became our pals. When the girl child was a baby, I used to love grabbing a minute to look at SouleMama’s blog and dream that I too could be crafty like Amanda. As if by the simple fact we were both Mamas in Maine that would turn my two left fingers into crafting fingers. Sure, it was silly but I believed and bought her books. (Probably should give em away)

Yet the newer bloggers in following the “rules” no longer share so much of themselves. I have started trying to search out the work of newer bloggers in part because I want to pay it forward. I still have no idea who brought my work to the attention of Babble and while I admit in the past I have had issues with Babble and their lack of diversity, in 2011 I felt they made an effort to change things. However in my search to pay it forward, I have found very few newer bloggers that resonate with me. I want a reason to come back to your blog, share yourself. I need more than three hundred words and a shiny picture. I know…attentions spans aren’t what they used to be. That’s bullshit. People will read if you give them a reason too! No, you don’t have to give me every tidbit of your life but don’t be afraid to be real, to be yourself and have fun.  For me I love bloggers like Liz at Siz Year Itch and Mamapundit…why? They are not afraid to show us who they are. Showing who you are does not mean you have to get messy, look some of us do messy with no problems and some don’t.

I think that while blogging has become a business, the reality is it started to grow because readers liked the stories they read. If you stop having the stories, you stop having the readers. Yes, social media helps but if you are a Twitter gal, don’t worry then about Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube or anything else. Pick the media that you like best to help promote your blog and stick to it. Granted I think the best way still is reading other people’s blogs and commenting. Sure a thanks on twitter is nice but who doesn’t like seeing comments?

Furthermore blogging should be fun. Despite the fact that my job is pretty intense and I have a family and life is crazy. The reason I keep blogging is because I enjoy it.  Would I like to make money, sure, I am not rich but that is not why I blog. I blog because I am a loud mouth who enjoys it.  My advice to anyone looking to blog, is keep writing, find your voice and trust that the rest will come. Don’t allow yourself to become so formulaic that you lose the you in your blog.

4 thoughts on “Reflections and musings on the state of blogging 2012”

  1. I’ve only been a mother for three years, and have only recently resumed blogging. I missed the whole “mommy blog” thing for the most part because I blogged prior to pregnancy, and coincidentally, the people whose blogs I read back in the day all took a break from blogging around the same time I did – either due to graduate school or having babies. So even though I am a mom, and I blog, the evolution of mom blogs is not something I’ve been witness to.

    I think the social media experts and advice columns all over the internet are part of a larger movement that’s going on – everyone wants to get rich via the Internet. The idea being, “Hey, so and so got rich blogging and I do it, too – I might as well make some money. I only need a fraction of what so and so makes to be comfortable!” Doesn’t matter if it’s moms blogging or fitness addicts or tech reviewers or home cooks. I was at an event on sacred economics recently and it made me think about how tempting it is to monetize what used to be free. And most of us need or want more money so even though we miss the spirit of the time when valuable things were exchanged out of love and for free, we are fearful of missing out on the payday.

    I think to make money at blogging it really does need to be treated as a job – a very LOW paying job, if you look at it as an hourly wage. For some people, $100/month from blogging is better than nothing at all, and they really don’t have any other options, but there are easier ways of making money. I think for those of us who can’t or aren’t interested in blogging for money, that is not a bad thing. There are plenty of hobbies that have no hope of being lucrative (reading books, fishing, riding ones bike, cooking). Somehow people seem to think that blogging SHOULD be lucrative, but as you mention in your post, a lot of people pushing that idea stand to make money.

  2. I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for a while. I decided a while ago that I wasn’t interested in branding, working with marketers or becoming a big name in blogging. I started my blog as a way for me to chronicle what it was like for me as a first-time mom. Since I’m about to become a second-time mom, I suspect that the focus of my blog will change simply because my life is changing but definitely not because I was told to find a niche.

  3. I’ve noticed a change in bloggers also. I agree we used to tell our stories – how we were living our lives. Now we write about our favorite hand cream and the blogger conventions we are attending. We entice readers to leave comments with giveaways rather than good content.

    I started my first blog in 2006. I was searching for something interesting to read on my lunch hour while having a really lousy day. Not finding anything, I decided to write my own blog. At that time all I wanted to do was to try writing something interesting once a week. The fun was in searching for something interesting to say. It wasn’t until the last year I was told I had to find a niche, since then I have changed it numerous times. Nothing feels right. Even my latest, “Striving to inspire women one post at a time” doesn’t feel right. It is to rah rah for me. I don’t have an about me page either. An about me page is supposed to be about your blog not about you. How can I write an about me page when I don’t know what my blog is about?

    I just want to write something interesting each week….. but the experts say that writing what you’ve learned just isn’t interesting and won’t make me any money.

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