BOOKS ....... FREE STORIES ....... TALES OF TAM YS ....... ARCHIVE ....... EDITING ....... SARAH

The Rules of Popular Blogging

Following yesterday's post, Sue commented that my idea for posting was resonate of instagram, a fact with which I had to agree. She referred me to a post by A Bookish Baker which discussed how "the rules of blogging" had led to its decline. I do think rules have something to do with it - or rather, the feeling of inadequacy that drew people to follow rules which might make them more like the popular bloggers. It sent me into flashbacks of primary school, where the gorgeous sparkly bit of fabulousness who was Most Popular Girl in our class used to tell me all the rules of her playtime games - for example, no mention of bunnies or kittens, despite them being the key to inclusion only yesterday. Yes, the rules kept changing. The system was set up to keep her popular and in power, and I was never ever going to be admitted to her circle no matter how many of those rules I followed.

I have no doubt that girl went on to be hugely successful in her life. She understood her power and how to use it. She was confident in herself and knew that this confidence translated into having a spark other people wanted to be warmed by, or to catch themselves.

I see the same thing in blogland. What I personally believed caused the decline of the community is the monetising of blogs. Those bloggers with spark and self-confidence learned how to use their lives, their families, their self-confidence, to make money. Good for them! That's not a bad thing. But all too many other bloggers were like I was as a small child - trying desperately to follow rules they didn't quite understand and would never be able to because they were shy, or magical, or had freckles, or were bad at sports, or liked the wrong music, or they wanted it to be always bunnies and kittens.

If they didn't try following the rules ... or tried but failed (because after all the rules were simply the structure of other women's success, and not designed to encourage competition, despite all the "how I did it and you can too" posts, which are after all part of the structure as well, making people feel like they too can be beautiful, satisfied with life, rich, excellent gardeners, or imperfect but adorable mothers) ... if they were not ever going to have that same success with their blogging, they just faded away.

I am still blogging because I love to write. There's really nothing else to it. I would write here if only one person read it, because my whole way of being is Writing.

I should say that there are still many healthy blogs out there which aren't essentially magazines run on the basis of what readers desire and what sponsors require. There are ladies with large audiences who love their discussion of tea, recipes, and faith. There are art bloggers. There are book bloggers. I don't have many good recipes (I can't even cut a tidy edge on my cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches) which is why I thought to try book blogging. At least writing about writing and reading, I would be authentic.

I hope that the instagram craze will settle enough that space is made once more for the complex and in-depth conversations blogging allows. But I don't really think that will happen. Humans seem to evolve towards ease.


  1. i agree with much of this. it tallies with my own observations. i never gave a rat's arse about what other people thought of me, unless i truly cared about and respected them as individuals, and i still don't. this doesn't mean i was or am bloody-minded towards people, because i'm actually really polite and kind even to those i don't like at all. it has given me a tremendous freedom to be who i am unapologetically. it may be possible that it has something to do with my lack of "success" in other areas, however... ah well, everything has its trade-offs. i'd love to see people return to deeper conversation and thought in social platforms and in daily life, but like you, i fear it is asking a lot of people who are busy, or lazy, or under-educated, or over-exposed to media from birth... which is a very sad thing indeed. fingers crossed, though. one never knows! perhaps the novelty of *deep thought* will return it to the attention of people...

  2. "Humans seem to evolve towards ease." Oh, yes!

    I think everything you've written here is spot on. I also think that there are other factors that have led to the decline of blogging. As a society, we are living in a moment where deep conversation has stopped pretty much everywhere. (For a really insightful perspective on one man's experience of this (whether you agree with his politics or not) listen to Irish reporter John Waters' talk: Ireland and the End of Debate: https://www.youtube.com /watch?v=6oxFpb7WnWE ).

    As you have written in this post, one of the flaws of social media is the power it gives to the "popular", or as they are called online "the influencers". In my mind, the shift toward monetizing blogs and focusing on numbers corresponded to a move away from valuing unique content to valuing a paricular "professional" aesthetic. The scariest thing about social media is its pressure to make us all of a kind and to commoditize our individual creativity.

    Sarah, I don't see why you can't do everything you want to with this blog. Why not write about books and writing sometimes? And also post a photo and a few sentences sometimes? Or a poem or story? Or your thoughts about the world? Or your sadness about what is happening to the trees and flowers and wildlife in your neighborhood? Or the music you are listening to--sometimes, as the mood strikes? Maybe you can do all that you wish to, in the way that you want to, and be a wild, gentle, quiet, rain-shadowed wilderness on the web--a rare invitation to others to see anew and begin the process of deep, conversation within themselves. ♥

    1. PS: I love that photo--the cardigan, cameo, and white blouse, the lavender tied with picot-edged, light blue ribbon--what a beautiful feeling it gives me! ♥

  3. I agree with every word here. I long ago decided that blogging was for me, not for anyone else, although I hope that sharing my slice of life can ignite something in my readers. A flicker of commonality, perhaps. I know that I have been inspired by many bloggers, and not just the "popular" ones. Indeed, I've left off reading many of those, for they sometimes lack authenticity.

  4. I'm so glad you are still here. xo

  5. Several of the blogs I read when I first found blogging have since become "famous" or sponsored and I've just lost my taste for them. I blog because I have things to say and no one (IRL) to say them to. Over the years I've developed quite a long list of blogs I follow but am noticing that most have disappeared or gone the way of Insta. I much prefer blogs, to Insta and in fact haven't been on my own insta account in probably over a week. I find I don't miss it at all.
    I'm glad you are still here. I would miss you if you left.

  6. This is really interesting. As somebody who hasn't got any social media accounts at all, I find it increasingly difficult to see the blogs I used to love to read dwindling. The move away from blogging towards favouring platforms like Instagram for a quick fix make me feel like I am getting more and more left behind. But having glimpsed at the polished worlds and generic airbrushed content I am happy to be left behind. Keep producing what your heart feels you want to produce Sarah. People appreciate it and are grateful you are still doing so.

  7. Something I've noticed is that the commemts' boxes are quieter, even those blogs that still have the non-advertisement, circle of friends atmosphere ... Lots of people comment on Insta gram and maybe it's just all so much 'easier', as you say ... I don't have an insta account, but I do have several favorite folks bookmarked. I love photography and I am able to keep up with blog-friends' lives, because, yes, so very many of them seem to do insta in place of blogging. Fair enough.

    I do still find that there are enormous numbers of throughful, engaging, well written, accessable blogs. I have plenty to read :-) ... what is hard for me is the blogs with all the blinking ads! Ugh. I don't like those, it's difficult for me to find and enjoy the actual content ....

  8. Thank you everyone for your comments, I wish I had time to answer each of you individually (and even better to give each of you a warm hug) xx

  9. Thanx for share this kind of post.


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