A few months ago, around the same time I started to question my use of social media, I spent some time thinking about this blog and what I wanted to do with it. Specifically, I was trying to sort out whether I wanted to keep the space and post on a schedule as part of an effort to “brand myself”, give it up completely, or find an alternative.
Things finally clicked for me when I was in the middle of reading yet another marketing blog post about content creation. I can’t remember what blog the post was from (it was a random click from my now-defunct Twitter account), but I do remember that the advice it gave was to basically look at what other people are writing about and write about that same thing in order to appear current.
I found myself thinking “So I should regurgitate advice and information that’s already been said a thousand times just to drive traffic to my blog?”
And then, “Do I actually care about blog traffic?”
And further, “I miss the days when I had a list of favourite blogs that I would read and comment on regularly, and when other bloggers would do the same for me.”
Which is when it hit me that over the past year or two or five I had lost that sense of blogging community I once found so satisfying. Instead of reading the blogs I’m really interested in - the ones where people share their day-to-day lives, ideas, and opinions - I was reading blogs I thought I should be reading - the ones about content marketing, building a following on social media, etc.
Basically, I had foregone devoting real time to actually reading the blogs I truly enjoy and crafting genuine responses in the comments in favour of skimming blog after blog full of articles saying the exact same things. Which is not to say that those blogs don’t have a place (of course they do!), but that place was definitely not in my feed reader.
So I started slowly, rediscovering blogs that I read on the regular years ago, giving them my careful attention and taking the time to leave a comment or two. At the same time, I decided that my own blog - this space - didn’t have to be updated on a regular schedule or follow a theme at all, really. I would post here when I had something to say, share recipes from my kitchen on Fridays as time and life permitted, and make every effort to be more genuine in my posts and not...self promotional? Straight up fake? I don't know. Not NOT genuine, anyway.
These days I seem to have something to say here more or less once a week, which feels pretty good to me. Better yet, I’ve built a small collection of blogs that I read and comment on regularly, and some of those bloggers have been kind enough to reciprocate. I also share my posts on Facebook, and sometimes it sparks great little conversations in the comments that help me learn more about my friends and their worldview. Those few interactions are worth so much more than thousands of page views, in my opinion.
Next up is developing an old-school blogroll page for this space that showcases some of my favourite bloggers. Conventional wisdom these days says that you shouldn’t direct traffic away from your blog, but you know what? I don’t care. I really don’t. So keep an eye out for that sometime in the next few months or so because I’ve got some good ones to share.
Do you have favourite blogs that you read and comment on regularly? Is feeling a sense of community in the blogging world important to you?