I’ve been blogging for ten years. TEN! Well, I’ve been writing online for longer than that, because I was posting in garish-colored fonts on antique website before I even had a blog. But I’ve been blogging continuously for an entire decade now. (Yikes!)
And you know? While I don’t miss the animated clipart or MIDI sound files, I do miss the blogging world from ten years ago. Why? Precisely because it wasn’t a blogging world. It wasn’t a popularity contest.
Bloggers then was people with things to say, and plain little weblogs which gave them the space to spell out the words. Blogging then was writing. You could type as much or as little as you wanted. You didn’t have to promote it anywhere, because there was no social media.
Perhaps nostalgia is clouding my eyes, but I feel like back then, “Content is king” wasn’t just a good bit of blogging advice. Content actually was king. And it was something you had to create yourself, otherwise you didn’t have anything to post. There were no themed weekly series or linkups or duckface selfies. There were no #OOTD posts or shopping roundups.
And the mystery of how to drive engagement? There was no mystery. It was simple. If a reader had something to say, he or she manually typed it out in the comment box. There simply weren’t any other options (well, except for Xanga e-props). No one could star your post on Twitter or click the thumbs-up on Facebook because neither of those websites existed.
I’m not being a Luddite. I love the internet. I love the possibilities and opportunities the internet provides. I’m a technology — and social media — junkie. I think it’s nothing short of incredible that I can sit here with the world at my fingertips and plan out marketing strategy and email people the world over about a business idea. I think the global connectivity made possible by technology is incredible. I don’t think we should ditch our laptops and plug our land lines back in. I love my WiFi and my laptop and my Netflix and my camera and my phone and my iPod Touch. I don’t think we should all start buying wheat berries, churn our own butter, and learn Morse Code.
But I do think that those of us who have been blogging for a long time need to look back on why we first picked up a keyboard and a URL.
For me, it was the same drive that always caused me to pick up a pen and notebook — an insatiable urge to pour words out of ink, and push and twist them into life on the page.
As bloggers, maybe it’s time we injected a little more of that life back into our blogs.
I don’t mean we have to lose the themed weekly series and the linkups and the OOTDs and the roundups (although it would be nice if profile pictures were duckface-free). But let’s keep perspective. Let’s not become so crazed chasing higher follower numbers and obsessing over stats and wishing big blogs would invite us over to play that we forget why it is we started to blog once upon a time.
I’m typing this in the fullscreen mode of the WordPress editor, and each time I pause, a prompt appears on the screen.
It was the driving force of the early blogging movement.
And imagine what would happen today if we did more of it!