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.