So why are you here?
Back at the end of October I read this article on IFB about the death of Fashion Blogging based on some information from a BlogHer survey, and I thought “hey, I should write about that”, but then I didn’t as I was too busy posting photos of my outfits, and then Amber, one of the few blogs I read regularly, posted about it, and said most of what I was thinking, so then I thought maybe I shouldn’t bother at all.
But I keep thinking about it, and I have nothing “useful” to say today. So I thought I’d write about it anyway.
The BlogHer survey mentioned above claims that only 52% of their readers are looking for Style Tips and that this information means FASHION BLOGS ARE, LIKE, TOTALLY DEAD and we should all be posting recipes.
Back in the day, when I started blogging, and no one read it, not even my Mum, I had a Google Reader account that terrified me. It had hundreds of blogs on it that I felt obliged to read in case I missed something vital. There were the huge “name” bloggers that were all about the fashion, dressed like they fell into a dressing up box and generally bored me to tears, but I figured I must be missing something as thousands of other people loved them, there were the tiny niche bloggers who I met on Twitter and I felt obliged to follow, there were the random blogs I found on someones blog roll and decided to follow because I liked the shoes they had on their latest post and any number of other blogs that I have no recollection of adding. I frequently had over 500 unread posts on Google Reader and it made me want to cry.
Then Google Reader closed down, I breathed a sigh of relief and added the blogs I actually enjoyed to Bloglovin‘.
These days my Mum actually reads my blog so that she can text me about the spelling mistakes afterwards and I consume my blogs in a very different way. When I’m reading blogs with useful information, they are probably those random blogs that get shared on Facebook or Twitter and I think the title looks useful so I go read, but I rarely follow them. The blogs I follow regularly are the ones I read for entertainment, inspiration, because I’m nosey about other people’s lives or just because I feel a little connection. I like to know that there’s other women out there who got all glammed up for a night out then stuck their heel through their petticoat and fell down the stairs, or who nearly spent all day in a see through dress with their petticoat stuck in their knickers. It’s a unique blend of real life glamour and real life disasters that I can only get from blogs and keeps me coming back to a Facebook page or Instagram feed as well as a blog.
So I do I think blogs are dead? Well the readership on this blog has remained fairly consistent over the last 3 years, so someone, somewhere, is still showing up to look at pictures of me doing one of my stock poses, read about all the things I would buy if I hadn’t walked out on a well paid job to blog for a living and therefore ever had any money and listen to me witter about whatever is winding me up this week, whether it’s vanity sizing, being glamorous or why I’m not actually very vintage. I’ve also got the odd post on here that is “useful”, like how to tie a headscarf or a how to curl your hair and they get a lot of traffic from places like Pinterest and Search Engines.
When I write content for this blog, I don’t try and be useful. If I was useful I’d have a proper job. I try and write the sort of content I like to read and write about things I’m passionate about in the hope I can take you all along with me for the ride. If not, well I’m sure my Mum will point out my spelling mistakes anyway (you know she’s going to get all upset that she’s offending me now, sorry Mum, I like having you as a proof reader!). My favourite takeaway from the BlogHer survey personally was the reason that people STOP reading blogs, because they are boring and inconsistent.
I think blogging has changed, there’s no room in my life for 4000 teeny tiny blogs that only post once a month with a poorly taken picture of their new shoes, I feel no connection with those bloggers, so I don’t follow them. I regularly follow a very small selection of blogs, they don’t have to be “big” blogs, and there’s always room for new additions if someone grabs me but they have to be people who’s style and life I connect with. If you’re looking for recommendations then I think my current top reads are probably Diary of a Vintage Girl, Esme & The Laneway, Forever Amber, Fuller Figure, Fuller Bust and Gala Darling.
I like to look at other people’s outfits, if they’ve got a similar sense of style to me then sometimes they’ve got cool stuff I haven’t seen and I might want to buy. I like to read other people’s opinions on stuff so I can disagree with them, agree with them, or formulate any opinion at all on something I might not have thought about. I like to see places they’ve been and things they’ve done because I’m really very nosey and sometimes I wish I could do those things too and think my life sucks. And, finally, sometimes I like to feel a little bit inspired, like I could totally clean my living room, sort out my life and be a better person all round after reading one of their blog posts. I like reality touched with a hint of glamour and I like to follow people on their journey and feel part of it, even though I know a blog, or instagram, or Facebook is only a tiny edited and carefully curated window into someones life.
So I don’t think blogging is dead, but I do think it’s really hard and that the days of having a blog with thousands of readers that only gets updated once a month are long over. I see plenty of blogs I used to enjoy that are now abandoned as life takes over, and plenty of blogs starting in a blaze of glory only to fade away as their authors realise that they’re not making thousands of pounds a month in affiliate sales from day one (or ever) and that actually even the simplest of blog posts can take HOURS to research and write.
If you’re willing to put in the effort, write consistently, share a little bit of your life and you like to connect with people, then I think blogging can be hugely rewarding for both blogger and reader (and sometimes we’re the same people!). Blogging fills a little gap that traditional media finds hard to fill, by skipping the publishing middle man and letting the writer talk directly to the reader, free of editing or proof reading (apart from by my Mum). I like to read blogs with personality, and often they’re not the biggest blogs, because each one by it’s very nature has it’s niche. When you try to appeal to everyone you lose that very thing that makes you interesting.
If everyone stopped reading this blog tomorrow I’d probably keep writing, because this blog is part of my life, after all, I wrote it for a good 2 years with no one reading it when it started. But I would really miss that connection with the people who read it, and I’d feel very sad. So, y’know, don’t leave me!
So that’s why I’m here, and why and how I read blogs. How about you?
Photo from Mike Licht