I used to blog for its own sake. I had things to say, and ideas to explore, and I put them all in the same place. Lots of people were doing the same thing, and we talked to one another. It was social. Sometimes it was useful.
Then I got focused on becoming something.
Branding. OMG, branding. Being consistent so that people knew what to expect, why they should follow you, when to come to you for advice… what are you about?
If I were to look back at all the things I wrote before I got caught up in “being a blogger,” I could say this: I was trying to make sense of the world in a way that might be helpful to other people who had (some) overlapping problems. I was feeding kids and planting things and raising chickens and coming to terms with the gap between my education and the day-to-day monotony of my life. I wanted to figure out how to be a decent human being and also have some fun. Blogging was part of what I did for fun.
Do you remember when blogging was fun?
But THEN we all were encouraged to make something of ourselves. Haphazard social media turned into pages and groups and circles and you had to be consistent and… see above re: OMG, branding.
The money part took all the fun out of it. I mean sure, somebody had to keep the lights on, but this was a bad deal, I think. I keep reading Cory Doctorow talking about the “enshittification” of social media, and I feel like it drained the life force from our blogging by extension.
Did that happen to you, too? FB stopped showing people your stuff, so you had to try to build a mailing list so that people would actually get to read what you wrote, and thus… you got… split… into… pieces… And then you had to get good at graphic design. And video. And sound. And replicate your posts in multiple locations. And schedule them. And tweet and IG and LI and do everything several times a week, but always about the same thing or variations on a theme… and it was overwhelming, and I kept jumping through the hoops until after I made a couple of IG reels, which was when I threw my hands up and said, “OK, Mark, you win, I give up!”
Actually, what I said was, “If I wanted to do TikTok, I would just do TikTok. But I’m too old for TikTok. And also, I am verbose and thoughtful and nuanced, and SICK OF SPEECH BUBBLES WITH PEOPLE POINTING AT THEM AND TRYING TO LOOK INTERESTED INSTEAD OF TELLING ME SOMETHING MEANINGFUL OR SHOWING ME A PICTURE OF SOMETHING COOL!!!”
I never made any money blogging. But I made an awful lot of friends, and I miss that.
I wonder if we could still do that, somehow.