When Andrew Sullivan announced he was going to quit blogging, it sparked a spate of articles (like this one) declaring the death of blogs—at least the old school kind. Though I never actually read Sullivan, what these articles say is something I have been feeling for a long time. Maybe close to two years now? Certainly by the time Bigger Picture Blogs, of which I was a contributor, decided to disband.
When I started blogging in 2008, I almost immediately found a wide community of fellow bloggers with whom I loved to interact. We would spend hours reading each other’s personal thoughts, commenting and conversing, and sharing our photos and our lives in a deeper way than we often did with people in our real lives. Of that original community, I can only think of small handful of bloggers who ever still blog, and even they join in only sporadically now.
Of course, blogs that have a team of contributors writing short, informative articles, especially lists (“The 10 Things You Need” or “The 5 Reasons Why”), and producing several articles daily, are still alive and well. However, I think of them more like webzines than blogs.
Meanwhile the blogs driven by a single writer producing personal essays are dying on the vine. I’ve tried to speculate on why things have changed. Perhaps the mommy bloggers who once had little babies now have big kids, and as the moms have grown in confidence, mommying is easier, and there’s less need for that communal support. Perhaps it’s because people have switched from going online on their computers to going on their phones, and commenting and deep engagement is just much more taxing from a phone. Perhaps our attention spans are shorter. Perhaps as the internet has grown, there is just too much interesting content vying for our attention.
I have thought long and hard about what this means for my own blog. It takes a significant amount of time to put together a decent post with photos, and as I’ve had to scrape together that time in the wee hours of the morning, the number of “decent posts” I can cobble together has waned. And if the community I’m talking to is disappearing, when does the effort expended exceed the returns?
But here’s the thing: I just can’t quit blogging. I would miss it too much. I fail at personal journals and don’t have the discipline for scrapbooks. For me, blogging is still the perfect medium for working through my thoughts and creating a history that I can look back on to remember a lot of the big and small moments in our lives. It’s a slice of creativity when I can’t fit it in otherwise, and a healthy habit for keeping creativity vibrant even when I can be creative in other ways.
And it’s a great way to keep the friends and grandmas in the loop about how Cy is doing.
So I’m not going to quit blogging. But I think I do need to change how I approach it. One of the rules of blogging (if you want to have a thriving blog) is to blog often and consistently. I’m going to break that rule and instead of posting because I’m supposed to, I’ll post when I have something I really want to share. I’m also going to nix the comments section on my blog because almost everyone who comes to read it regularly comes from Facebook and comments there anyway, and this way I don’t have to moderate spam (which is a serious time suck and the thing I like the least about blogging). In the meantime, I’ll be spending more time posting on Instagram and doing microposts on my Facebook page. Hopefully this means I’ll get to focus on engaging with the lovely, thoughtful and encouraging comments from my friends, which I can do from my phone when Cy is napping, and not have to waste any more time excommunicating links to jewelry sites in Russia. However, this also means I’m stepping down as a contributor at Communal Global, which makes me quite sad, though I still plan to visit from time to time.
I’m not sure what the outcome of these changes will look like. I do hope some of these changes will help revitalize what blogging once was about: sharing the things I’m itching to say and deep (if not wide) community. For those of you who have been with me over the years, thank you for sharing this space with me, for sharing your thoughts and reactions, and for all your encouragement as I’ve tried to grow as a writer and artist. I hope you will stay with me as I try out these new changes, but if not, I still want to say how much I appreciate you coming along with me as far as you did.
Until some other medium comes along, you can still find me here, at Tasting Grace.