Just after I wrote about my own neglectfulness of the blog, there was a Friend Friday theme on community. I didn’t answer the questions, partly because I wasn’t able to get my arse in gear in time, and partly because I wouldn’t be saying anything I haven’t already said a million times before.
But I was interested in this question:
Blog comments, twitter interactions and meaningful Facebook threads have decreased in the last several months. What are your thoughts on why that is?
I had no idea they had as a general thing! They have for me, but I pretty much assumed this was because I myself have been commenting less, so fewer people were returning the favour. I don’t mind too much, to be honest. I love when people comment, even if it’s just to say hi, but I also understand that if I just post pretty photos, there’s probably less of a reason to come out of the reader just to say ‘nice photos’. And the few more substantial posts I did manage, like that one on bras, have been getting some excellent reactions, so I kind of assumed that once I do more of those again, the commenters will return.
I also stopped using twitter completely, so I have no idea what’s going on on there. I think twitter is a great thing if you are properly on it all the time, but it’s not something you can do by halves. If you’re not about regularly, when you do want to chat, no one notices/responds. That’s what happened to me, and that’s why I stopped using it. I might return as purely a follower, because I do think it’s a great way of getting information, but as a tweeter I don’t miss it at all.
I had noticed a few rumblings of discontent and disappearance this in the increasingly small circle of blogs I read though. Eyeliah doesn’t care about fashion any more, Steph wants to escape the pressure of changing to content she knows will be successful, Dee has a new job, Iris has lots on and was neglecting her boyfriend, Diana has sometimes not been getting any comments at all and is questioning whether to continue. Loads and loads of other bloggers just started posting less frequently, or at all. It obviously isn’t just me.
What I’m wondering is if this is a generational thing. I’m 31 now, I’ve been blogging for four years and posting outfits online for 7, and most of the people whose blogs I read were picked up long ago. I’m aware that there’s been a huge influx of younger bloggers, who often seem to have been attracted by the fame and book deals of some of the bigger style bloggers, and motivated by a vague idea that their blog will lead to some sort of related career, but I don’t actually read these blogs. I wish them well, but they just don’t interest me, if I’m being perfectly honest.
And so I’ve been sticking to my old faves, who are, like me, going through stuff in their lives that refocuses their priorities away from the blog. Sometimes the content of the blog changes and it is more difficult to find a ready made community. This is partly happened to me. I would still consider myself a personal style blogger, but I’ve actually lost all interest in shopping of any kind. I used to relish the challenge of digging up gold in charity shops, but I haven’t been for months and months. So I’m kind of ‘out’ of the thrifting blogger community but not ‘in’ anywhere else. I’ve seen so many people drift away, but I don’t have the time/energy/interest to really make new friends online and to find a new niche for what my interests are just now. And so the community I’m in slowly dissolves, organically. Without any bad feelings at all.
It’s sad in a way, but I don’t think it’s such a terrible thing either. People’s lives change and people find new passions. And sometimes the format changes. It reminds me of what happened with the Wardroberemix flickr group, which used to be really active, and then one summer, the comments started dwindling. I really tried very hard back then and commented loads, even in parallel with the blog, but eventually I gave up. I still post most of my outfit pictures to that group but I never comment and I now just get the occasional comment from some other long timers. Things just moved on. I guess it was the same with livejournal, which people talk about in such glowing terms, and must have been amazing, but eventually people, for whatever reason, went elsewhere.
I wonder if this is what is happening now, if now that there are too many blogs and it’s all professional and SEO and branding, the people who want a conversation and real interaction will find another place to go, wherever that might be. And who knows, maybe I’ll even be part of it.
I’m aware this all sounds terribly negative, and it’s not meant to. I won’t abandon this blog just yet, and maybe I’ll be proved wrong about myself and my community of online friends. But I’m prepared for it not to recover, and if that happens, I’ll be ok with it. It’ll still have been a wonderful few years.
What do you think?