Blogging Then and Now and My Journey Through My Suck Hole of a Blog
Are we living in times of a muddied up blogging mess?
I started blogging, I think, in 2008. It was on a whim when I was really passionate about auto racing and all the other racing information crap out there was just, well, crap.
It was so cool to start looking at computers as a publishing tool rather than just something to use to surf the web.
I was a geek from way back who screwed around with programming back in the mid-eighties when computers were still considered ‘geek’ culture. I dropped away from them for most of the nineties until my wife and I bought our first in 98’.
Within a year I was fully locked back in. My geek flag flew as I started ordering parts over the internet to build a new PC.
I nicknamed it The Barn Burner after Dusty’s converted school bus from the movie Twister.
Man, I love the movie.
I ordered the fastest AMD processor I could and maxed that thing out the best I knew how. I thought hardware was where I wanted to be in the computer world. I felt back at home in full geek mode.
Blogging in the olden days.
I farted around the hardware arena for several years until I found some cool things people called ‘blogs’.
At first, they were stupid in my point of view. They talked about what people ate for breakfast or summarized a dispute with the neighbor when the dog took a crap on their lawn.
Then I noticed blogs started getting serious. I saw bloggers quoted during the presidential race of 2007. They were on the news. Early bloggers were often portrayed like the renegade grunge rockers of the early nineties; slightly underground, but yet emerging in the mainstream as the new pop culture.
They seemed to have a massive voice people took note of even in mainstream media.
I wanted in.
My avenue was auto racing, and the platform was WordPress. This was before all the cute install programs they have today. Everything needed to be FTP’d up to the server. I was a hardware geek; not much of a programmer.
Google took care of me though, just like she took care of me through so many of my problems before and since.
I remember blogging being cool then. You could let your freak flag fly, press publish, and it was out in the world.
I had a sense blogging was going to evolve into something much bigger. But, it was so young, it was like holding something magical I just couldn’t figure out, like waiting for a caterpillar to turn into a beautiful butterfly.
Houston, we have a problem in the blogging world.
Then something happened. Blogging got serious, or I wanted to get serious with it. And it became no fun anymore.
It was all about monetization, content schedules, and SEO. I no longer felt like the free-spirited blogger. It felt like a business.
It felt like I should I be wearing a shirt and tie while I sat on my couch trying to figure this thing out. Sorry though, I’m still not wearing pants!
Now, people are starting blogs not because they have something to say, but because such and such is cashing in on their blogs. They are replacing jobs with blogs.
If you look on Facebook at the blogging pages, it’s more about page views, advertising, and getting more traffic than it is about ideas, changing the world, and entertaining.
Once, when a heated discussion arose on what color a ‘call to action’ button should be for best conversion, my reaction was, it doesn’t matter.
It does, but shouldn’t be worried about by beginner bloggers who haven’t yet wrangled a voice an audience is even interested in.
Write better stuff and people will like you more. The conversion rate starts at the top of the page, not at the bottom.
Well, that didn’t go over well.
Can we get back to where blogging was fun?
I’m not saying all blogging is dead. There are some damn good bloggers out there; sharing their opinion and offering suggestions to make things better or help people by teaching what they have learned.
But, I don’t think those ideas are mainstream anymore.
I think blogging or self-publishing in general (I consider self-pub, podcasting, vlogging, and blogging all the same thing, in case you are wondering) is about giving a loud voice to what was once squashed by gatekeepers.
Blogging is the underground newspapers popular with resistance fighters during times of revolt.
Blogging is meant to challenge the ideas of pop culture in a way to consider a change.
Blogging can be a form of exploration or entertainment like picking out a new magazine in the grocery store about something we know nothing about, and you just can’t wait to get home and start exploring.
They are a way to explore the unfiltered world through ordinary people just trying to make their way through life.
And, they want to take you along for the ride.
Maybe I’m living in a Kumbaya, let’s hold hands and chant rhythms of a pipe dream. But, I’m looking forward to a time when I can sit down again, blog, and not be worried about my stats.