The changing face of blogging

Very recently — I won’t say exactly when, to cover my own rear — but very, very recently, I was super-angry.

It wasn’t the kids. It wasn’t Darling Husband. It wasn’t a broken-down washing machine (ours hasn’t broken yet *crosses fingers and knocks on wood anxiously* but I expect it will soon).

It was a professional problem from my work-life (as a freelance journalist) and even though it was consuming my thoughts, I couldn’t talk about it here. I make it a point to never talk about my work here, because my clients could read it — although who knows if they actually do?

Gone are the days when I used this little blog as a place to vent all of my frustrations and plot out my dreams and plans. The days when nobody read Laptops to Lullabies except for a few dear friends, and I could say anything I wanted. Remember those early keen posts about how desperately I wanted to be a mom?

I think that’s a problem most bloggers have. We start off earnestly with a cute little site, ready to share our thoughts with the interwebz. We don’t tell anybody about our blog, at first, because we’re afraid it’s lame. Then as we slowly start to make “online friends” and get positive feedback, we decide maybe our blog is OK, and we tell a few friends and family members about it.

Then, suddenly, it’s five years later and your blog is no longer just a cutesy hobby. It’s a sort-of business where people know you, and you’re paid to talk about things and review products. Not only do your friends and family members read it, but a healthy dose of acquaintances — and maybe even enemies? — read it, too.

Doing sponsored posts and product reviews are the perks of having a well-visited blog, and they’re great. But nobody talks about the fact that you do sacrifice the ability to realllllly say anything, at any time. By making your blog into a business — however bitty — you are building a brand.

Instead of posting unfinished rooms and messy spaces, we feel the need to wait for Pinterest-perfect finished products to show off — as Emily from Imperfect just mentioned in a recent post. It seems like every “real” blogger is posting nothing but gorgeous home photos, and perfect tutorials — complete with PicMonkey graphics! — and recipes with DSLR-shot photos. Bloggers are apologizing for using iPhone photos, you knows! (I don’t even use my regular camera any more — and when I did, it was a cheap point-and-shoot.)

A couple of weeks ago, there was a huge controversy in Bloggie Land, when I blogger (whose site I read daily) said some things that upset a lot of people. I was interested to hear what they were saying, and I found myself on a little site called GOMI: Get Off My Internets. It was a total wormhole, and I found myself fascinated with how these blog readers dissected posts and compared photos from the “major” blogs out there. Some of it is very cruel, and some of it is honest discussion about how certain blogs have been failing, changing, improving, etc.

While it was very interesting — and also kind of like looking at a car wreck and not being able to tear your eyes away from it — I was also terrified of being ripped apart like that. Of course, there wasn’t a forum dedicated to this little piece of the internet — we’re not that famous! — but the idea that a single blog post can get so many people angry/fed up/annoyed was eye-opening.

I have been blogging less and less often, it seems, and it’s not for lack of something to say. Mostly it’s due to lack of time. But sometimes it’s because I have things to say, but don’t feel I can say them here.

What do you think? Should we start a secret forum where we can call spill whatever’s on our minds, anonymously? Like PostSecret for bloggers? My first post will be about how the inside of my washing machine is kind of disgusting, but I never bother to do anything about it — how’s that for Pinterest-worthy content?

xo

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