I was sitting in front of the computer this morning, reading blogs; something I hardly ever do anymore, I'm much more likely to read them sitting in my easy chair on my Ipad. That got me started thinking about how blogs and blogging have changed since I first started in Feb 2007.
(When I say "blogs", I mean blogs I consider to be a similiar vein as mine- about antiquing and crafting. I have no idea if my observations also apply to tech blogs, business blogs or political blogs, but I'm guessing probably not, although I'd guess they've gone through their own evolution.)
Back then, hardly anyone had ads on their blogs. Or if they we advertising, it was their own shop or website. Today, blogs are full of advertising. For the most part, I think it's great. If you can make blog interesting enough that its generates enough traffic to make advertising revenue for you, more power to you.
On the other hand, there are some blogs (and websites) that have so much going on, with blinking ads, pop-ups and headers on every picture that I've stopped reading them.
Remember blog parties? A host would come up with a theme, announce it ahead of time, maybe even make a blog button. And we didn't just "link and run". I think most readers tried to visit all the blogs and leave a comment.
I'd try to put together a really good post for those parties, knowing that the party would probably generate traffic to my blog and hope that maybe I'd be able to get some of those readers to come back.
Because back then, for me, it was all about the numbers. I really did check to see how many visitors I had after I posted, and my mood could go up or down depending on the results.
Blog parties are still around, but more and more I see posts linked to multiple parties. For example the bottom of a post will say "Linking to Make it Monday, Treasures for Tuesday, What I Made Wednesday". Bloggers are linking one post to multiple parties. It's probably a great way to network but it seems that some of the "small party" intimacy is gone.
Gifts and giveaways used to be a big part of blog life, too. People would put together nice packages of craft supplies, or something they'd made or a book or magazine they had an extra copy of. A giveaway was how I got my first package of vintage wallpaper...and look at what that started! All you had to do to enter was leave a comment.
Today, many of the giveaways that require comments, Facebooks posts, "likes", tweets and shouting from the mountain tops. I understand the concept of a giveaway as a marketing device, but I entered a lot more contests when all I had to do was leave a comment.
When I started reading blogs, almost all of the blogs I looked at had a column (sidebar) on the right or left side of the main post.
You could find "blog buttons" for partcipation in things like swaps or attending events like Silver Bella. Sometimes buttons would be "awards" from other bloggers for being a "good blogger" or a "friendly blogger", and then eventually I started to see a lot of buttons that said "Award-free" blog. In other words, don't give me another button to put in my sidebar.
A lot of blogs also had a sidebar list of links to other blogs. That was a fun way to find new blogs. If you were reading a blog you liked, check out the links on that blogs and you'll probably find more blogs you like.
I don't see very many of those lists anymore. I had one on my blog for several years, but it was hard to keep up. Blogs would disappear, or move and I didn't want to send anyone reading my blog to a dead link, so I just got rid of it.
Those links were fun, though. I can remember how excited I'd be when I saw a link to my blog on a blog I was reading. It was one of those Sally Fields moments "You like me, you really like me!".
I've heard a lot of bloggers make the comment "there are so many more blogs now than when I started blogging". I'm not sure what the basis of that is because I have no idea how many blogs there were in 2007 or how many blogs there are now.
I do know that a lot of blogs that I've read and enjoyed over the past few years have disappeared or gone dormant. I'd guess the reason for this is those bloggers got out of blogging what they were looking for. They had a business to promote, a talent to share, or were looking for like minded souls to connect with. For some, blogging has been a platform to new jobs, new careers or allowed them to turn a hobby into a vocation.
Blogging isn't for everyone, it's a time commitment, and there are days when I hit "post" and I wonder if I've just said something really stupid. There are other days when I wonder if anyone is reading what I say. But as long as my Mom, mother-in-law, niece and Louise still have internet access, I know someone is out there.
Thanks for indulging me with musings about how blogs have changed. I could do a whole separate post, probably several posts on how blogging has changed my life.