Oh blogging, I love you yet I also hate you a little bit too. The rush for numbers that seems to be all encompassing lately is ruining it. People have always bought followers (and likes) and unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be going away, in fact it’s probably getting worse. Some bloggers were recently caught out by Social Blade. Social Blade is a really useful tool for tracking your own growth on Instagram/Twitter/YouTube. It can also be used to see what others are doing. It shouldn’t be the only means though, people like All That Is She for example was accused of buying followers when in fact her photos often go viral and Dominique is also currently getting a lot of media coverage. This is usually easy to spot though, you just need to look at the quality of All That Is She’s photos, how she engages and the comments she gets to see why Dominique is so successful on Instagram. Alternatively, it’s usually quite easy to spot when someone is faking their success. I’ll write more about this in a separate post because I’m getting way off track.
Back to the point, I’m adopting (or at least trying to) a new approach to my blogging. I feel more than ever blogging is a numbers game (real or not). I still want my blog to grow but I need to slow down. I need to find a style of blogging that will suit me; some of this is due to my physical limitations. My health severely limits my ability to keep up with the blogging world and it’s exhausting. Blogging has always been a way for me to keep busy, to have something that replaces work which I cannot do because of my health. It’s a way to connect, to escape and to feel part of something. So blogging is very important to me.
If you don’t blog (I’m so sorry for this post if that’s the case!) you probably won’t realise just how much work goes into one post. A product review takes quite some time. You have to use the product; for skin care a month minimum is my standard. Then there’s photography, editing the photos, writing the posts, proofreading, sharing the post, answering comments etc etc. Plus I usually have a three year old using me as a climbing frame while I’m trying to do this. It’s time consuming and I’m barely managing one post a week at the moment.
A more sustainable approach is needed for me and perhaps for you too. I’m going to slow down and enjoy the process, enjoy the writing, the photos, the sharing, while being more selective and thoughtful about the content I create. The wonderful Lex from Talonted Lex recently did a similar post about redefining blogging for her and I agree with all of it. Blogging (or specifically beauty/fashion blogging) was born out of the need to counter magazines and their unrealistic expectations of women (and men) but that’s been lost along the way. It’s ok not to be perfect, in fact that’s the only way you can be.
Being a “successful” blogger isn’t only about how many followers you have instead it’s about how engaged they are (if followers are important to you that is). There is absolutely no point in having 1000s of followers but none of them care about you or what you have to say. Sure it may look good and massages the ego but ultimately it’s an empty shell of success. The same goes for the amount of PR samples sent: PR samples do not maketh the blogger. I get that it can be a sign of validation but blogging, for me, isn’t all about PR samples instead it’s about creating my own space.
Increasingly blogging seems to be smoke and mirrors and I am really uncomfortable with that and it goes against the whole ethos of blogging for me. I’d rather be authentic will a smaller engaged following than a pretend one. Sara from Me and Orla recently discussed the meaning of success in a blog post here. You should definitely give it a read if you’re interested in redefining success for yourself. Oh and also Sara, I think, is one of those amazing bloggers who has managed to do it on her own terms and she’s a huge inspiration. And while I’m on the subject another blogger who I hugely admire, Lis from Last Year’s Girl, recently did this post about flexible working. So there’s lots of different ways to define success and blogging to think about and hopefully incorporate into our blogging lives.
Slowing down allows you to stop and think what is right for you rather than hurriedly saying yes to everything. Slowing down will let me enjoy blogging again. I’m not sure how easy this is going to be but I need to try.
Do you feel numbers have taken over blogging? (I’d love to hear your thoughts)