Who’s still blogging? Are people doing that anymore?
An OG blogging friend posed the question on her Facebook page yesterday (two days ago?), and I’ve been mulling it over in my head ever since.
I know the exact minute blogging turned ugly for me. The very moment when I faced the dilemma of continuing to put myself out there or taking my URL and going home.
I was at Target. I got a Google notification on my blog’s name, something I now wish I’d never set up but which was, at the time, considered good practice. It was another way to interact with your audience. If you know who’s linking to you, you can find the conversation and join in.
But nobody talked about what to do when the conversation wasn’t one you wanted to know about and wish had never existed. When joining in the conversation could make things way worse.
I found myself in a vulnerable spot. The ugliness of blogging had turned its attention my way and at a time when I was fighting a pretty epic in real life battle with anxiety, though I wasn’t really talking about that because I didn’t want to face the reality that I wasn’t okay. I hadn’t reached a point of radical acceptance of depression and anxiety as chronic illnesses, issues I would and will face for the rest of my life.
That battle got worse when my dad died not even two months later, though no one saw that coming. It was really just one of those terrible coincidences which happen sometimes. But in light of it all crashing together at once, I just got into a very dark place with it all.
I wanted to write, but I didn’t want to share my story. Or any story. I was scared. I wanted to know who hated me so much that they could say such terribly hurtful things behind the cloak of anonymity while–I believe–being people I interacted with online or in person.
That was the worst part of it, I think. It’s easier to turn a blind eye to the mean things people say about you when they don’t REALLY know you, but it’s much more difficult to do when you have the sneaking suspicion that the people talking about you know you.
Four years later and I can see that I was being rather insufferable, turning to the internet to shout into a void instead of turning to my doctor to get some help, so maybe there’s some lemonade to be had after all.
Despite all of the negativity, all of the not wanting to write for fear of opening myself up to criticism (again), I’ve had this blog. I’ve kept a URL current, periodically updated my header, played around with themes and directions and topics. I’ve gone to blog conferences and developed real friendships with people I’ve met through blogging.
I’ve kept writing and sharing. But it hasn’t been with the same excitement I once felt when hitting publish.
And that brings me back to the question asked this week.
I think that I’ve maintained this space and I’ve kept sharing some parts of my story because I really miss what blogging brought me over a decade ago now. I miss the chatter we had in comment spaces. I miss discovering new people.
I miss reading people’s stories.
At some point, blogging turned into keywords and SEO and trying to make money, and I tried to chase that rabbit, but that rabbit is not mine to catch. Other people? Sure. This is their bread and butter and they are killing this content game.
I’m incredibly proud of the people I know who have taken blogging and made a career out of it. They’re doing amazing things and having wonderful experiences because one day they decided to sit down and start a blog.
I’m just coming to the realization–well, I’m speaking it publicly–that that’s not me. That’s not why I’m in this. It’s not why I was ever here.
It’s always about the story for me. The shared experience. The “me too” moments we find when one soul dares to open up about their life.
That’s the thing that’s kept me here. That’s the thing that keeps the lights on.
So the real question is, can blogging be what it once was? Can it be more than comment exchanges manufactured in Facebook groups, or artificial link shares based on “all or nothing” schemes?
I want to believe we can be conscious and get back there, or sort of there, mostly because I know some people never left.