My blog is 8 today.
Eight years ago today I took the advice of Sophie at Super Amazing Mum and started telling the stories I’d been sharing on Twitter on my own blog. As the original tagline said “because 140 characters isn’t enough”.
Life hasn’t been the same since then really, I have often said that blogging has changed my life, and I am not kidding. The opportunities I have been given, the things to review, the days out, the holidays, the friendships, the opportunities would never have been possible without this space.
Back then, before Instagram took off, you couldn’t be a blogger, a content creator, an influencer (delete as you see fit) without a blog. Now you can, but back then things were different. We felt like a band of game changers, forging our own way on the internet and it felt good to be sharing stuff on line. Some detailing their struggles with post natal depression to help others, their struggles to conceive, documenting their growing families, or dumping stuff out of their heads onto a blank canvas like me. I didn’t matter what we talked about we were all bloggers and we looked after and supported each other. Meeting up at conferences, hugging in real life for the same time after having chatted online for years sometimes was always wonderful.
Blogging has changed hugely in eight years and I was shocked at how many were no longer online at all when I did a broken link check a few months ago and discovered hundreds of comments with URLs now pointing to dead spaces online. I pondered where those people were now, what they were up to and hoped they were all still doing well.
The blog landscape itself really has changed you can be a blogger / content creator / influencer and only be on Instagram for instance. There have been lots of other changes too, not all of it for the better if I’m honest. There’s a meanness to some of what I read on line these days that I really don’t like and it does feel like blogging now is seen as a dirty word to many. That bloggers are to be looked down upon as just in it to make money. That has never been the case for me and whilst I do make money from this blog, it is not nearly as much as I would like it to be, as others make, or as it could. But I really don’t want it to be an advertising space that people feel they are being sold to all the time. I AM fiercely protective of this space, and of you as a reader.
For me blogging has always been about the community and about the friendships I have made, both here and on Instagram and Twitter. It’s about having my own space, my own set of rules that I live by online, where nobody can tell me how to do things but more than that it is about the people I have met through our shared space on the internet.
If I could ask for one blog birthday wish today it would be this: if there’s a blogger/content creator/influencer in your family or close to you please go and like their stuff and comment on it. Regularly. Almost religiously.
Like it or not this IS a numbers game for those of us trying to earn a living online and we DO need to demonstrate to brands our engagement, our following or our subscriber numbers. We might not agree with it or like it but most brands want to see at least 10,000 followers on Instagram before they will consider working with somebody, or a really healthy engagement so if we want to be able to work with brands or make money on line we do have to jump through those hoops. Sadly, that engagement figure doesn’t include you looking and not double clicking or commenting but meaning to. Thinking you will come back later and do it then. Double clicking on a picture on Instagram, or commenting on a blog post is a sign of support, encouragement of cheering on your friends.
Maybe even turn on notifications for the people you value and love the most. We all know that Instagram decides what to put in your feed, it is not chronological, so you might be missing the stuff posted by your favourite people and, therefore, not able to engage on it.
We are often quick to do it on the big brand accounts but not on the little guys. So please show your love and support for your friends.
And send birthday cake. Please. Birthdays are always about the cake, right?