Do you still read blogs? My friend and talented writer, Vikki Reich, (whose excellent work I have shared on this blog before) asked that question this week on her site. She brought up so many good reasons about why she has found herself reading fewer blogs over time. I’ve written about the changing landscape of blogging, too, when I wrote a long post in June titled “What’s Next For Me as a Writer.” That post was about my “meh” feelings about where blogging seems to be headed, and I don’t just mean the blogging we do on our own sites. That “mehness” includes the topics and lists—oh, the lists—on all the other sites that many of us write for and frequently see on all the social media channels.
I’ve also watched blogging buddies and leaders like Alison Lee decide to stop blogging. I want to emphasize here that I agree with Vikki’s changing feelings about the blog world. And I fully understand and sometimes even envy Alison’s decision to stop writing on her site. (She is still the submissions editor at Bon Bon Break and a writer for them, too.)
And yet, despite my post from June and despite my full agreement with Vikki and almost-envy of Alison, I am still blogging and still reading blogs all the time with no plans to stop. Vikki’s post inspired a long comment from me, which I want to explore more here. You really have to read her post first though. Have you done that yet? I’ll wait.
One thing I noticed right away is that Vikki’s post inspired many comments from people, including me, who all agree with her assessment about what has gone a bit south in the world of blogging, but we were still all (mostly all) there with our blogs intact having stumbled on her post somehow whether through social media or in my case, a blog reader like Bloglovin. I think readers are still there, but they’re choosier about what they’ll click on and even choosier, rightfully so, about what they’ll take time to stop and comment on. The rest of my post is a version of the comment I left for Vikki so I’m sorry if you’re seeing some of these ideas for the second time. (All two of you out there.)
Many of us commenting at Vikki’s mentioned how much we were nodding vigorously with every one of her excellent and spot-on points, and yet I know that I, for one, may be part of the problem. I have also publicly bemoaned the takeover of the list post yet have written list posts. (Not often, by the way, because the loss of essays has bothered me. But still, yes, I have written lists posts like I did recently at Club Mid.) I have also stopped writing on my blog as often in favor of being paid to write elsewhere. And when you’re paid to write “elsewhere” (wherever that is), there is an expectation of promoting that work. It’s part of the deal. I think that I’m consistent in promoting others, too, and I have always been consistently and publicly against things like Tribrr that make it so a person is always promoting the same handful of people without even reading the posts. I think that auto-promotion of the same people adds to the disingenuous feeling that I personally feel is out there sometimes. Vikki mentions other reasons as well for the question of genuineness. Remember to read her post!
Do I know that promoting my work must be super annoying to readers? Yes. I try to be careful about not overdoing it. Am I one of the people who gets on other bloggers’ nerves? I hope not, but it’s certainly possible.
Do people still read blogs?
I want to answer Vikki’s main question, “Do people still read blogs?” I still read blogs all the time. I keep up on Bloglovin and I don’t see it as a burden. I really enjoy it, but I for sure do not feel that I “have to” read every post out there. I think that because a good chunk of my writing falls into the “Jewish stuff” category, I’ve always known that all of my stuff would never appeal to All the Readers, so I never had pressure on myself to read All of Things that everyone else writes. I think it’s the key to how I have kept up with the reading of other blogs if not constantly, at least consistently. I read blogs every day, just not always the same ones and not every post from every person. I have simply never felt the pressure to do so. Another reason for that is that I’ve rarely posted more than once a week, which helps me feel no pressure to read someone else’s work three times a week and so on.
And then to get more psychological about it, I sometimes click to Bloglovin (like I did this morning) when I am supposed to be writing. So the reading becomes a procrastination tool. And hey, this time it inspired an entire post. In fact, every kind of reading inspires me including blog posts, print articles, novels, short stories, and essay collections.
But I know that blog reading is also down in the non-blogging world. At the beginning of the summer a close friend of mine told me that she doesn’t read any blogs anymore, including mine. It hurt my feelings for a minute, okay more like a month, but it was a good reminder that as a writer I must enjoy what I am doing first and foremost for ME. Readers come and go. That’s just the reality. If you don’t LOVE to write, then you will put too much focus on numbers and readers, etc. I do love to write, which is why I’m still here.
(Putting on my friendship columnist hat for a moment, I don’t think it’s necessary to tell writers directly that you don’t read their stuff anymore. I think a white lie like, “I haven’t read anything of yours in a while, but I’m looking forward to it” is significantly kinder and worth a touch of dishonesty in favor of helping someone else save a little face. I also think it’s more than enough to even just visit a good friend’s site a few times a year and click around for 10 minutes to see what she’s been up to. It may seem like nothing, but it probably means a lot to your friend, just like you might enjoy when your friend asks you details about how your work is going.)
Now where were we? The comments on Vikki’s post are great. Everyone provided different reasons for reading fewer blogs and all those reasons were relatable and sensible. But despite how much I agree, I’m still here writing and reading. My feeling is that until I’m ready to write a book (ever? ever?) then the blog and web content world (hate that expression, “web content”–ugh–but it is what it is) is where my writing is going to be these days. I’m proud of the essays and short stories I’ve produced over the past almost nine years (nine as a writer and almost five as a blogger, too.) And although I’m STILL never sure where it’s all headed, I’m committed to enjoying the journey, including witnessing the journeys of other writers both online and offline.
Thanks for reading if you got this far. Do you still read blogs? Why or why not?