Times had definitely changed since I wrote my first blog.
Ten years ago, I was an introverted teenage girl who found a blog so she could feel less lonely. At that time, a lot of people did the same; there was this huge community of bloggers for whom the blog was their hobby and as it served primary as a virtual diary, it was often very personal. Reading them was like getting to know the person; following them was like becoming friends.
The nicest surprise for me about having a blog was to discover the blogging community. I was excited to see the first likes and comments on the page but when people kept coming back it blew me out. From that moment on, the imaginary reader in my head got specific contours! We read our blogs, discussed under each post, shared our thoughts and ideas and were sorry when someone stopped writing… Some of us still follow along despite changing our domains for a few times, and it’s been years. Although we don’t know about each other more than what we share on our blogs (and we respect that), having a kind of “virtual friends” like this warmed and still warms my heart.
Then the business thing came. Some of the blogs gained huge popularity and people found out they can make money by blogging. So they began to sell stuff and advertise more. People who comment on these blogs rarely say something sensible; they do it only to promote their own blog so they can be popular and make money too. Many popular blogs now parallel magazines (the proportion of ads and writing is often the same). They offer nothing more but content that is very beautiful and professional but impersonal and cold. And though they plead to creativity, they all look the same.
Of course that the personal blogs didn’t vanish over time. And people who comment on your blog because they want to promote their own existed before. Perhaps their visibility and proportion of these people changed; and priorities of blog readers probably did too. I almost succumbed to the desire of popularity and making money through writing as well; as I always loved writing the idea of being able to turn my hobby into a job was quite alluring to me. So I read all these tips how to run a successful blog, how to write articles that would be read by thousands, how to use advertising and attract brands so I could start selling ASAP, etc. But it didn’t work because it didn’t feel right; my main interest was in Art which is an area not so close to many people, I couldn’t write those lobotomic “X things you need/have to do/whatever” articles without feeling embarrassed and success being my only motivation wasn’t enough for me to write something I could be proud of. The blog stagnated and I had this obtrusive feeling of something being wrong with it. So when I realised it, I threw all the tips and the hunger for success out of the window and went back to the basics – writing about things I love because I love it. Write for the sake of writing.
Founding this blog reminded me of thoughts and feelings I had back then when I started the first one. Curiosity for when this will get noticed and who will be my readers, nervosity for how long can I keep this going without running out of ideas, feelings of freshness, new beginning with a blank paper… We’ll see. But I hope I can rediscover the “old school” blogosphere where people write not to be rich but because they enjoy it; and where you can share your ideas and experiences like friends, not to fight with each other due to popularity.