Monday, April 8, 2013

The Ever Changing Blogland

I can imagine Lou Grant saying, "You know what? You've got change."
And blogland answering, "Well, yes..."
Then Lou's famous answer, "I hate change."

I don't hate all change, just the change in things I really liked, like the way blogland used to be. I've rewritten this post several times, and erased it several times because I don't want it to sound whiny or to point any fingers, but that seems the likely end. Change is inevitable, on the internet as well as everywhere else. Those who resist change get left behind. Just ask MySpace.

Let me stress that I love blogs.  I read them for entertainment, to keep up with friends, and to learn new things.  When I need to know how to do something, I always search blogs first.  I figure someone has already done it and has written a tutorial, and I'd rather find out how to do it from someone who has really done it than from a how to website or manual that only tells how it should be done.  I think that's one reason I'm troubled by the changes I've been seeing lately.

I know that a great majority of bloggers out there blog for the exposure it brings them, and many want to grow their blogs into a business, and that people who just plain ol' blog are fast becoming dinosaurs. I don't really mind being a dinosaur, as long as I'm not standing alone in a tar pit.

What I've been noticing over the last year are a lot more linky parties and promotional posts, so much so that sometimes I have to scroll down several days worth of posts to find an actual blog post. Don't get me wrong, I like linky parties, but not every day and not on every blog. I came across a linky party on a blog today where several of the links went to other linky parties. And on another recent linky party, at least a third of the links were to blog posts on how to promote your blog, and the etiquette of promoting your blog.

I think it's great that people have found a way to make money with their blogs, and I would turn on google adsense also if I could pick the ads, but I'm afraid I would get that one with the creepy, hairy guy and the title "Have you ever been arrested?" *shudder* No thank you. From skimming some of the "how to promote your blog" articles, I understand where the plethora of linky parties come from, but no where do I find how to tell when it's time to stop promoting.
I am editing this post to add part of a conversation I've had through email with Kate.  You know how it is when you reply to a comment via email and they reply back, the conversation continues between the two of you then.
But Kate brought up a point that I hadn't considered.  She said:  "I have seen a few bloggers who have been blogging for years have commented on their blog that they finally reached enough content that they either had to remove older posts or start paying a fee to keep all of their content."
After she said that, I recalled seeing a blog, which is now inactive, whose last post said that she had gotten a notice from blogger saying she had used up her free space and she had to decide whether to pay for space or let it go.  She chose to let it go.  I just looked back at her blog; she started it in 2009 and had 169 posts with about that many photos.
I've been blogging since 2007 and have over 500 posts and well over that many photos.  Yet, if there is a limit, I don't know what it is or if I'm near it.  However, if there is a limit, and I reach it, then I will have to decide what to do.  As a stay-at-home-mom (or whatever I am now that the kids are gone), I don't have the resources to fund an online hobby.  I would have to give it up, or change.  And you know how well I like change.  Food for thought.  Thanks, Kate!
The look of blogs have also evolved over the last year or so. The headings look like scrapbook titles and the content is arranged like newspaper or magazine articles. All in all, very modern and artsy. I intend to make a new header for my blog, and I should probably be spending this time working on that instead of this article.

I happened upon a blog several weeks ago that asked the question, "Do you delete blogs from your blog list if they have been silent very long" and it made me question the blogs I constantly skip over because I can tell by the title that it's a promotion or yet another linky party. Why do I keep them on my blog list? I guess I'm waiting for the increasingly rare real post from them.  I do like the blogs who have a regular blog post along with their linky party or give away.  That works for the people who have come to read a post and those who have come to join a linky party - the best of both worlds.

But that brings me to my main questions and the reason I am really writing this post. What do the rest of you think about blogs where nearly every post is a linky party, a give away, or a promotional post of some kind, especially those blogs that are wildly popular? Do you think this is the future of a new wave of bloggers, or will it be the end of blogging and the start of a new type of format?

Either way, this old dinosaur will keep cranking out family stories, cat stories, updates on our home remodel, and the various projects we create. And when we can no longer keep sight of progress, if blogging even continues, we'll sink into the mire and cease to exist.



Kate said...

Interesting questions. I read for the family stories, cat stories, updates on ongoing projects. I post to share the same (except for cat stories, sadly I'm allergic, so I have to get my cat fix from others). My main reason was to become a part of some quilting community as I don't fit into the local quilting community (guild meetings at 9 AM when you work just aren't doable). There are sites where I get that connection. I do participate in a few regular linky parties, but those are in areas where I get to share what's going on at my place and then get to see what others have done. It's the closest to a guild show and tell as I'll get till I retire. But I want content with those regular linky parties and a chance to form a regular connection with others who participate. I think there are enough of us to keep at least part of the blog community that way, so I don't think you be alone in that tar pit.

Marti said...

I know what you mean about getting that guild type connection. In fact, your linky party is the best around and the main reason I was hesitant to write this post. Because you (and others) do it right, IMO, and I didn't want to offend. I have made several great connections just through your linky party, you included. And there really are a lot of great blogs. I have just come across so many of the other kind lately, and that may be because I have been looking through my blog list trying to figure out why I am keeping those blogs on it.

Cheyenne said...

I'm a dinosaur and I will always be a dinosaur and I don't care what others think. I write for me and a little for others. I have very few followers and even less that comment. But I do wish we could go back a few years to the good old days when everybody wrote about life.

The blogs I follow don't have all those links you write about. And if they did, they wouldn't last with me.

P. said...

Very thought provoking post. I tend to skip over the promotional posts lately. Just don't have that much time, and I don't tend to follow the latest fabric lines very closely. I do link with a few linkies, although lately, I'm even slacking on that. I goes in spurts.

I still enjoy doing "random" posts, which is sort of a silly name for just talking about life and thoughts outside the realm of sewing/quilting, and I appreciate that about others' blogs as well. People who seem like real, well-rounded folks. It's a strange line, though. You (and by that I mean me) maybe don't want to put it all out there, thinking who your blog audience is and supposing there are the "just the facts" type readers. Sometimes I'm not feeling chatty, though, being an introspective person most of the time. Sometimes I go through phases where what has preoccupied me for a week or two is not something I wish to make public. Then I go quiet on the blog and usually see a little dip in followers. But whatever, that's life. People come and go, can't please 'em all, yada yada. I really have no designs on increasing readership, per se. I'm just not all that interesting a person, LOL.

Thanks for posing an interesting subject!

Marti said...

Exactly! I loved it when more people wrote about life.

thea said...

I must be a dinosaur too. I skim through so many blogs. I've been thinking of deleting some but don't want to because I might get some inspiration for a quilt or design or something so I keep them on. I've gotten behind in my reading (I have 150 or so posts to read), and am hand picking the ones I want to read; the others I'll just mark as read and move on. I'm disappointed that google reader is going away because I found that format easier to use than bloglovin - it's harder to get caught up when you get behind. I don't really want to have more followers. I like the friends I've made and don't feel the need to have more. Though I welcome anyone who chooses to follow me. I too like the stories and life and cats and so on. If blogging goes away, I'll have to figure out how to stay in touch with my new friends and also find another place to document what I've made and another place to put my "diary" of my life.

Marti said...

I like the blogs with people who seem like real, well-rounded folks too. I think we all go through the quiet times, and if you've read my blog long, you can probably tell that I am going through a questioning and thinking phase. And what's ironic is that after one of these phases, my blog usually changes a little. lol

Nancy said...

I'm a dinosaur and proud of it. I started blogging to preserve family photos and stories and to keep a record of the projects I complete. I have an occasional giveaway for the people who regularly read my blog. I refuse to place ads on my blog and don't like to read blogs that do.

Marti said...

I'm sorry to hear that about bloglovin. That's the one I was going to sign up with when google reader goes away. I don't read in reader much though, I usually see all I need from my blog list.

On another blog, someone talked about comments and followers and said that most people follow because they want to be followed in return and are only in it for the numbers. That kind of surprised me, but when I look at my followers, I see that very few of them have ever commented, and now that my sitemeter isn't accessible, I can't tell exactly where my traffic is coming from.

I don't know if blogs will ever cease entirely, or if they will just evolve into something different. But I too will have to find an outlet if it does.

Marti said...

LOL, I guess I'm in the right group then. It's not that I dislike give aways or linky parties, I do like them. It's when that is just about ALL a blog does that I dislike it. I started blogging as a way to record my journey to fitness and when that was a total failure, I used it to show the family what we've done to the house. And of course it evolved over the years as some of the family moved here and others moved away and cut the apron strings.

I would place an ad or two if it really was profitable and I could choose which ads. But from what I've read about adsense, the bloggers make very little (pennies a year) unless their blogs get a lot of traffic, and then adsense finds a way to pull the plug rather than continue paying.

Grandma K said...

I guess I will be a dinosaur as well.

Julie @ followyourheartwoodworking said...

I completely agree with you. Although I don't often blog about life, or families, I do blog about how to make things and show what I've made. There are far too many commercial blogs and bloggers who have sold out, as you say, for pennies. I delete blogs from my list that are just advertisements and giveaways and link parties. It seems once bloggers get big they rarely make anything any more. It becomes all about money... sadly.

Marti said...

I welcome your company. Yours is one of my favorite blogs too.

Marti said...

You're right, it does seem that once they get big, it's all about money and if they do make anything, they only show a tease of it on their blog and a link to a magazine where it is featured (which you have to buy to see it). I just afraid that blog hosts will encourage the commercialism and that will set the course for the future. Ebay did that several years ago and many of the small sellers who sold used items and crafts felt the squeeze.

I enjoy your blog and feel that you have a handle on how to mix your projects with your sales pieces.

Shannah @ Just Us Four said...

This is a really interesting post! As someone who does write pomotional posts and hosts link parties, I really like to hear readers' thoughts on those subjects.
Out of curiosity, if a post is sponsored but is actually featuring a tutorial or recipe, does that still illicit the same feelings? I have been trying to limit most of my sponsored posts to this type recently because I don't want my blog to feel like one big advertisement. I would love your thoughts {and the other commenters} on whether that makes any difference or if the post is still just seen as a sponsored post.

Marti said...

Thank you. I really didn't want to make anyone feel bad by writing that post, and that's why I hesitated so long to post it. I love your blog and have never really noticed any sponsored posts. Maybe that is because you do mix it with a tutorial or something, some meat along with the filler.

Like I said, I'd put ad on if I could pick them. It would be great to be able to make some money from a blog, and I applaud everyone who has figured out how to do that. I do get tired of looking at my blog roll and seeing so many linky parties or non-real-post posts. For example, on my blog list of about 150 with posts written in the last week, 50 of them are linky parties, contests, or ads of some kind. Friday has far more linky parties; I'll try to remember to count them too. I know, 50 out of 150 isn't the majority; it's just so many more than there were even a year ago that I see a trend moving away from the kind of blog posts I really enjoy.

There are really only a few blogs I used to read all the time that have quit writing any of their own blog posts, and all of them changed when they started writing for other publications. I think they started putting their good stuff in the publication articles and using their blogs to promote those. But I really miss the way they used to be. Those were blogs that had tutorials, creative ideas, and posts that made me do some research before I could fully grasp everything they said. And what I don't understand is that they still have tons of people joining their linky parties and commenting on their posts telling about the latest blogging event they attended. So obviously, they are doing what most people want and I'm the one who is out of step.

It will be interesting to see what others have to say about this, and what happens to the blogging world in the future. I'm trying to keep an open mind and go with the flow, but I'll tell you, the older I get, the less flexible I get both in body and in mind.

Shirley Fox said...

Hi Marti, I found my way here when you stopped by my blog. I found this post especially interesting because I agree the linky blogs are ones I don't read.

It's unfortunate to hear that some bloggers have quit because they reached the limit on photo space. The Blogger notice is a bit complicated but all you have to do is size down your photos under the 2048 limit and you can continue for free. This can be easily done with any free photo program. If you run across anyone else who thinks they need to quit or pay please pass the info along.

Marti said...

Thanks Shirley. I passed that on to a couple of bloggers who have stopped posting because of size limits.