I've heard rumors that blogging is dying. Some of my favorite bloggers are shuttering their blogs. Others are taking long breaks. The other day my 13 year old son announced that YouTube and podcasts and Instagram are where The Internet Is Happening Now. That got me thinking: why am I still blogging? And is blogging dead?
I started my blog 8 years ago this month and back then, people read blogs the old fashioned way—on their computers. Not on their tablets. Or smart phones. Comment boxes pulled in 50-100+ comments easily.
In 2007, there was money in blogging. Or so I heard. That never really happened for me. I was content just to have basic operating expenses covered. I wasn't interested in becoming an Official Mommy Blog. I never saw blogging as a business. My brain just doesn't think that way.
I blogged for the connections, the conversation, the fleshing out of ideas, the sense of community. I wanted to practice my writing. And I'd always wanted to write a book. I hoped that by writing great content I'd attract an agent and someday write a book. And yes, I landed an agent and a book deal. Goal accomplished.
Turns out, my timing was fortuitous. I started my blog during The Golden Age of Blogging: 2006-2012.
In 2006, Twitter was just a baby, Tumblr wasn't even born and Instagram wouldn't show up for another 4 years. Facebook was still mostly used by teenagers and college kids. The point is, it was easier to build my online platform and garner thousands of subscribers through blogging because I wasn't competing with other social media outlets.
But here we are in 2014 and things have changed. Blogging isn't what it used to be.
First of all, conversations have moved to Facebook. I fought this for awhile. But it was a losing battle. Why would readers register their email and login to Disqus when they could easily like, reply and share stuff on FB?
I now realize that if I want to start a conversation, I need to go where the people are. In the last couple of weeks, I've run a mini-experiment: I've posted regular length blogs posts on FB. The feedback has been at least triple what I've been getting here on my blog. And the reach of my posts has been quadruple the reach I get here. That was eyeopening like WHOA.
As recently as two years ago, blogging was still the most efficient and immediate way to start conversations and gain new readers. These days, a traditional blog post takes 24 hrs. to get the kind of traction Facebook gives me in one hour. I mean, even Instagram gives me more likes and comments these days than my blog does!
I've made another mistake, too. And it's a big one. I didn't build an email list. I thought that was old-school. I thought RSS readers were more important. But now, my RSS feed is so wonky and broken, it doesn't even send out my posts reliably. If I'd built my list from people who have commented on my blog over the years, I'd have more than 30,000 email addresses by now.
I actually want to cry about that mistake. It was a huge missed opportunity. And guess what? Years ago, my husband advised me to build an email list. He's in marketing and knows email lists are like gold. But I didn't listen because I was a BLOGGER, brave new world, blah-blah-blergh.
If I had an email list, then maybe the demise of blogging wouldn't be so discouraging.
I dunno, maybe I'm just feeling all irrelevant and disillusioned and glum. Here's one comfort: even if blogging dies, I did make something of my writing: I wrote a book. And I want to keep writing books. But how will I convince a publisher I still have a valuable online platform if blogging is dying?
Well, maybe I should do what I should have done 8 years ago: build an email list.
Or do a podcast. Or make YouTube videos. Sigh. Can an old blogger learn new tricks?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go share this post on Facebook.
UPDATED TO ADD: you can find my Author Facebook Page HERE. :)