The State of the Blog 2018

After (and even during) participating in yesterday’s Reverse Readathon, I started thinking about Blogging, yes, with the big B, not just with my own blog but blogging in general. My thoughts began spiraling about Blogging after I went to the “Linky” on the first post for the readathon to visit other blogs, but when I clicked on a few links, I wasn’t taken to a blog. Instead, I was taken to links for Instagram, Litsy, and Tumblr. While I have nothing against these platforms, it made me realize (continue to realize) that blogging is not the same as it was when I started more than a decade ago. Not only are there more than one or two blogging platforms (Blogger and WordPress were the two kings), there are a variety of other “platforms” from which to choose, from the Big Three of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to “services” and apps like Tumblr and Litsy, just to name a handful of the myriad of choices.

When you only had two platforms, I think it was easier to establish, build and cultivate Community, again with the Big C, but I don’t mean the TV show. There even were ways (openID) to comment on blogs in different platforms. Now, at least to my knowledge, there is no (easy) way to comment across platforms. Plus “back in the day,” you had memes and groups to join that cultivated community or at least attempted to do that. I’m thinking of Weekly Geeks, which was established by Dewey who also began the 24 Hour Readathon, of which this past weekend’s readathon was a spin-off. I’m also thinking of The Sunday Salon, which still exists on Facebook and “has” hundreds of members, at least in name, but is nothing like it was when it first began. And I’m thinking of Humor Blogs, a community of humor bloggers of which I was a part for a few years back when I began blogging.

So yesterday after going to Mr. Linky on that first post, I did visit a few blogs and commented. I then went to Instagram and commented there and also tried to find the blogs of those there, if they have a blog, some only had a link to Goodreads, yet another platform. Not that it was my intention to get comments on my own blog and blog post about the readathon, but later I noticed that only one or two people had commented on my blog post — and they already were regular visitors to my blog. I won’t lie while not my intention, I had hoped to get a few people visiting, but alas, that era of commenting and getting comments back has gone the same way WordPerfect has gone. It’s too much work to find a person’s blog. For example, on my Instagram posts, I mention there is a link in my bio, but really who wants to go through that when our attention span already is so limited to a few seconds of scrolling through photos and hitting the heart button?

I also make it more complicated because the link in my bio is a link to another site that links to multiple blog posts. So even if a person was to find the initial link, then they have to go to yet another link to actually get to my blog post.  Ugh.

All this brings to my own blog, small b, and by the numbers a very small b. I probably should superscript the b that’s how small it is. I do have 50 followers, but only have two or three regular commenters out of those. As for visitors per month, I have about 1,000 or so, depending on the month and much less than that in views of actual blog posts. I am beginning to understand why so many book bloggers just have given up their blogs, but not only in terms of numbers but also in terms of time. Why put the time into a blog no one reads when there is time to do other things, especially beginning with work and spending time with family.

At the beginning of the year, I had the idea of increasing the number of blog posts I did per week from one to four with different themes. I even double downed on the idea in a list of 25 things to do before I turn 50 next year. To date, I’ve probably done all four once or twice. It’s been more like one or two per week, so being realistic, I now only am going to do one per week which yes, I will share on Facebook with The Sunday Salon group, because even though it’s not the community it once was, I still visit a few blogs there and the bloggers reciprocate and visit my blog. I should add that most likely I will continue to do Library Checkout posts at the end of the month and my look back at the last month and look ahead to the next month at the end of each month, but other than that, it will be a post once a week.

Once again, my Sunday post will be eclectic instead of just focusing on reading. As I have done in the past, most weeks it will include what I’m reading, what I’m watching, what I’m listening to, and what I’m doing. I had planned for separate posts on what Kim and I were watching, on what I was listening to and on what I was photographing with a special snapshot each Saturday. That last post now will move to Instagram. The listening part just will be a video or playlist at the end of the post. If Kim wants to do a guest post once in a while, she can do that, but there’s no pressure on her or me to do a post once a week.

I think what I’m saying is that I’m just going to go with the flow across different platforms or maybe I should say I’m just going to go with the (continuing) fracture(s) across different platforms. If you can’t beat them, join them…even if there really isn’t a “them” anymore.

22 thoughts on “The State of the Blog 2018

  1. I’m not all that interested in readership these days. I enjoy interacting with people and I think I have a lot of regular posters who I also see on FB and Instagram quite a bit. I feel as if I have really gotten to know them. Those are the relationships I choose to hold and maintain. I’ve never really held myself to a schedule because breaking it would bother me so I post when I have something to say and don’t when I have nothing. It works for me.

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  2. For the first time, I have given this some thought too. My Sunday posts have always been rather eclectic – more a life update than anything else. I am so regimented about everything else, and I like that to some extent. Does it mean alienating a group of readers because I do not deviate from books all that much? Probably. Would I enjoy myself more if I was more diverse? In some ways yes and in some ways no. I have always been a proponent of “You do you”, especially when it comes to blogging. And I still enjoy writing and posting reviews. I get a sense of satisfaction in writing them. For some reason, I do not get that same feeling when writing them solely for Goodreads or LibraryThing. And yet I have been beginning to wonder if it is worth it. Does the satisfaction I feel outweigh the time spent? Right now, I think it still does, but I do wonder if the tipping point is approaching. Time will tell.

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  3. I used to be on LiveJournal, and I was just thinking about how much I miss it. Like you, it wasn’t just about blogging but about the community. Most of that community has moved onto different platforms but I’m going to just stick to blogging.

    I think 50 followers and 1,000 visitors per month is a lot. I have more followers, technically, because I’ve linked my blog to automatically crosspost to FB and Twitter, but I’m pretty sure I get way fewer views than you.

    So anyway, the point is that I put time into my blog because it’s something that *I* like. And once I changed my subtitle so that my blog wasn’t just book focused, I’ve liked it even more.

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  4. This is a great post. When I started blogging it was just an extension of my hand written journals. But I loved being able to electronically keep track of my books and recipes. Then someone left me a comment! That was sooo unexpected as I didn’t think anyone read my ramblings.

    That sparked a love of community and participating and commenting back. Talking through blogs, sharing and discovering new books, foods and reading about what other people are doing.
    But it’s changed so much.

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  5. There really is no blogging community anymore and as one of your commenters said: I am definitely writing into the void, but oh well..if it entertains one or two people and helps pull them from the shallow vapidness of Instagram where people often just want to “look” good and offer very little authenticity then i’m all for that too.

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  6. I know exactly what you mean. I miss that social aspect of blogging. Mostly these days, I don’t really plan out too much what I write. I like my Wednesday and Sunday posts, because they allow me to process whatever’s going on, and I’ll still put up book reviews, but I don’t plan days or schedules or themes. Those are things I’ll want record of even if no one is reading, so if I talk into the void, so be it. It feels like we’ve all moved on to other things, and it makes me miss those early days a lot.

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  7. I think Instagram probably lends itself to readathons much better than blogging. But blogging now – like most say – you’re doing it because you want to. Engagement – or interaction has changed but that’s life – changing all the time. Something else will come in the future. And let’s not forget about Youtube.

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  8. I’ve been thinking about this off and on too. One of my goals for this year was to blog once per week, to see what it is like to make blogging part of my regular routine again. And as much as I’ve loved that writing, I think the community aspect has gotten even more difficult — I have never been a very active commenter, and so with fewer blogs and a fractured bookish community, it sort of feels like writing into the void sometimes. I’m not really sure what the solution is — I love having a blog to keep all my thoughts in a single place — but the landscape of the community has definitely changed.

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  9. I’m sticking with blogging. I love to hear others thoughts about good books, and the people who share the best thoughts about good books also seem to be the people who share the best thoughts about life, too. Yes, I’m sticking with blogging, but I am also the same person who still has the same shower curtain she received in her wedding shower forty years ago.

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  10. Great post, Brian. You hit on a lot of relevant points about the state of blogging these days, particularly the difficulty in commenting, which, IMHO, has become ridiculously complicated. I don’t want to prove I’m not a robot or click on images that have street signs in them. So, nine times out of 10, I usually don’t. (Exceptions being, of course, if it’s a personal post from a blogger I know and enjoy or something I feel compelled to comment on.) But it does erode the sense of community we all once had.

    My personal feeling about the state of blogging is that we’ll see a resurgence at some point. I’m not sure when that point will be or who will be around to read the blogs we write, but I’m hopeful it will come back.

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