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Blogging community, priorities and platforms

Sunshine on my shoulder (Explored)

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.

Anyway.

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?

photo source

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Terri 13 June 2012, 7:33 am

    I think I’ve noticed this dwindling you’ve described and I can’t quite explain it. I know when I first began blogging style that I was inundated with stuff on SEO and branding, and I didn’t get it…I’d blogged for a long time before that and I wondered why I HAD to think of it in branding terms. I was not selling anything. Somehow, I suspect that this emphasis on branding has come to replace regular human interest between people based on simple shared interests. BUT, I also know that when I blogged on different topics previously I was never really able to develop any following. I’ve come to interject more of my personal life in my blog…
    Terri recently posted..Visible Monday: Adventures in Marriage EditionMy Profile

  • Rhianne 13 June 2012, 9:26 am

    I have definitely noticed this and struggled with it – mainly because I want to keep blogging though… not in a clinging onto it for dear life kind of way but in an evolving kind of way, hopefully. I’ll guess we’ll just have to see where things go.
    Rhianne recently posted..Yellow…My Profile

  • Vix 13 June 2012, 10:12 am

    To be honest I hadn’t noticed a significant reduction in blog comments, I usually get around the same amount for each post although some old regulars have dropped off. I don’t post as frequently in the summer as I’m busy with music festivals, going out more and making the most of the lighter nights by spending time in the garden and /or decorating.
    Other than publishing my latest blog posts I rarely use Twitter or Facebook for anything else. I don’t have a fancy mobile phone that connects to the internet so if I’m on-line it’s just to email people, trade on eBay or read blogs.
    I still love blogging and have met some fab people I now call real friends because of it. x
    Vix recently posted..No Direction HomeMy Profile

  • Elbe 13 June 2012, 10:54 am

    I don’t usually read the comments, so I haven’t noticed. Are your hits down, too? Maybe the people posting the comments are busy.

  • Kerry 13 June 2012, 10:57 am

    Interesting, perhaps it’s just to do with the cycles of blogs and online content. I’ve been getting more comments on my blog and more followers recently so I’m on an ‘up’ in my blogging, 2 years after starting. That’s not to say that in the future people won’t be so interested in what I have to say, and won’t be so moved to comment. As things change in my life, my priorities will be different I’m sure, so my blog might not appeal to the same audience but blogs evolve.
    I have left Facebook because I dislike it and have never been on Twitter. My blog is my chosen method of online interaction and I continue to get a lot out of it.
    Kerry recently posted..Pattern Monday #26 The Return of the Witches of EastwickMy Profile

  • Louise 13 June 2012, 11:04 am

    I feel the same way as you. I’m very close to finishing up my blog. I’m three weeks away from turning 34 and have so many competing priorities. I still love vintage fashion as much as ever but I think I’ve blogged about everything I’ve ever want to blog about and I’m looking for a new creative outlet. I do think the increasing professionalism of blogging has pushed out the amateurs a bit, and I think commenting has dropped off too, but there is just SO MUCH OUT THERE now. Life ebbs and flows … we can’t all do the same thing forever.
    Louise recently posted..Two for the RoadMy Profile

  • Cynthia 13 June 2012, 12:12 pm

    Right now, I’m trying to write a textbook, going up for full professor, working on various program-building activities, and getting two grad students ready to graduate next year. My blogging has dropped off to a trickle, and comments and pageviews have as well. I just figured it was because I’m not providing the HIGHLY EXCITING level of content that I used to, ha ha. I’ve actually contemplated that I need to build a social media presence related to my career, rather than screw around with this style blogging stuff. If I were going to think about SEO and branding and all that, it would have to be for something that I am doing professionally to earn money, not for a hobby blog. I get sick of reading other people’s blogs with all the tips on how to raise your Klout score or what have you. Clearly my heart is not in this in the way that some people’s is. And I think that’s OK.

  • Jane 13 June 2012, 4:43 pm

    My blogging has been sporadic over the past 4 years due to pressures of family and work. At times I had thought about giving it up but I am glad I didn’t.
    I notice that some people who started blogging around the time I started now have fancy blogs with lots of sponsored posts. I never wanted that.
    My aims were:
    To find my style through posting pictures.
    To communicate with other like-minded people.
    To fiind inspiration from other bloggers.

    Four years on my priorities are still the same.
    But each to their own.

  • eyeliah 13 June 2012, 5:42 pm

    I just kind of wish I didn’t give my blog a specific style related name, I tried writing more about other things that interest me (cooking, concerts, photography) but those posts get even less interest than my outfit posts. It’s weird sending these posts into a void where it feels like no one is reading anymore, and I don’t want to read and comment on 20 blogs a day just so that they will come to my site, that is too phony and time consuming for my life now. As well for me 4.5 years after I started the blog my life is vastly different. But where to go from here, I don’t want to stop blogging but have to get comfortable with the lack of readers/commenters.
    eyeliah recently posted..We Should Never Meet Our HeroesMy Profile

  • Alexandra Thérèse 13 June 2012, 7:32 pm

    Hi Franca, I think it’s ironic that this should be the first post of yours I comment on in such a long while – indeed on any blog. Like you I’ve noticed the decline in comments and posts; not necessarily on my own blog (and though my comments and stats have declined I put it down to infrequent posting on subjects which differ from my original direction of fashion as well as the fact that I’m in the middle of GCSEs and haven’t been blogging as much let alone commenting) but in the blogosphere in general. For example, I logged onto Bloglovin’ this evening (which is how I found this post) and expected a mammoth number to indicate my “unread posts” as I haven’t looked at it in weeks and I follow exactly 50 blogs so I was expecting the number to be somewhere between 250 and 300. 131 was the actual number, with some bloggers who used to pop up daily with new posts actually publishing only one or two times a week – others even less. I’ve been blogging for 2 years this month and I feel almost like my aims and perspective have completely changed.

    Whereas when I started I lusted (if that’s the right word and it feels appropriate somehow) after comments and geared my writing and subject matter of high profile and designer fashion and style, I now concentrate on literature, cultural events, debate, women’s and feminist issues and education with the odd bit of fashion related content or personal style photos. Since acquiring a Canon 500d – my first dslr – I’ve gotten into photography of a landscape nature as opposed to street style although this may change if I ever spend a significant amount of time in somewhere like London where getting snapped on the street is commonplace and I’d feel less conspicuous then I currently would. I also feel that now I’m at the age where I’m trying to gain works experience placements in the fields of journalism/press/pr/publishing/fashion my blog is much more of a portfolio of my writing and editing skills and ability to converse confidently about a broader range of subjects. I never post for the sake of posting and I find that it is often really late at night when I’ll get a sudden burst of inspiration to write about something – perhaps after reading a thought-provoking article or watching a bit of film footage.

    As to the blogs I follow, my favourite selection encompasses street and personal style as well as personal blogs, journalism industry/publishing/book based blogs and blogs by girls of my age who are also interested in literature and culture etc. If I comment now I don’t comment for the sake of getting comments back which I will admit to doing for a short period of time; I now comment on pieces that I find interesting, amusing, entertaining or indeed thought-provoking like this one. I think blogging is now being overtaken by Twitter and Instagram and I can’t see blog Facebook pages lasting long either. I check twitter daily and use it to read great articles from the likes of The Guardian and Huffington Post which I wouldn’t otherwise check. It’s also great for events and things or for contacting bloggers more directly than emailing them. To put it plainly, without my interest in pursuing writing as a career in journalism I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be blogging as I wouldn’t want to go into brand promotion and simply be a medium for advertising. I love writing and even if only a handful of people read it I’m writing for myself and even feedback whether praise or constructive criticism is a bonus.

    Anyway, I’m now aware that this is an incredibly long comment/ramble but I just wanted to say that you’ve really made me voice a lot of subconscious thoughts that have been swimming around in my head. One final point – which I don’t think you’ve touched on – is that I think that blogs are often about the people who write them and if someone closes their blog it’s as if they’re shutting off a world of people who perhaps have regular online conversations with them or always comment and who would perhaps feel like the time they spent building blogging community networks was wasted upon that certain individual. It’s nice to keep track of people and how they are progressing in life – for example I really enjoyed the photos in the run up to your wedding and the stories about it and all the guest posts during your honeymoon. Ultimately blogging is different for everyone and I think that new generations will perhaps get bored with web tools that don’t provide instant gratification of the kind that Tumblr and Twitter can. Although the former has never appealed to me whatsoever it is difficult to deny it’s popularity. I will actually finish here; finally, good luck with everything Franca + I hope your life is back to normality soon and that you are happy. I really enjoy your blog + your honesty. Alexandra xx

  • MarieAnge 14 June 2012, 12:00 am

    I think Alexandra hit the nail on the head when she said “Ultimately blogging is different for everyone and I think that new generations will perhaps get bored with web tools that don’t provide instant gratification of the kind that Tumblr and Twitter can.”

    This as bloggers is what we’re coming up against. I agree with you Franca, I also don’t have time for Twitter or Tumblr. I have limited access to a computer and no fancy phone to keep me plugged into the network. So I blog about what I love to do which is designing crochet and knit patterns for whatever I feel like. I publish my patterns, people like them and buy them or leave them and move on. All that is fine with me now. I had to come to terms that not everyone would love my patterns and I’m ok with that. I have a small faithful following which to me means more than 100’s of followers. I know those who follow my blog and I know that they are cheering me on.

    As for posting comments, yes, that has fallen away but again, that’s ok. With blogs offering the option of subscribing via email, there’s less of a drive to actually go to the blogger’s blog to post a comment. I’m even guilty of that! I read all my blogs via my email. I don’t have time to log onto each one separately so I subscribe to email updates which I can quickly scan and decide if I want to comment or not. Gone are the leisurely days of browsing through blog posts, writing long comments, etc… It’s a question of choices. I’ve chosen to keep up to date with the blogs I love via email… so the comments fall away, but it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy reading the posts! I had to make a choice. So when I don’t see comments on my blog posts, I’m pretty certain that the reason is because my followers have also subscribed to email updates. No hard feelings, it’s just easier that way if you’re short on internet access time 🙂

    I do hope you continue blogging. I enjoy your posts, even more so this year because you’re in Belgium. My husband is from Belgium so I love love love seeing your take on the Belgian culture.
    And also, there is nothing wrong with switching speeds on your blog. If you’re not so excited about fashion, then blog about what you like now, what’s your new passion!!??!! I’d love to read about that!

    Angel
    MarieAnge recently posted..Sunshine Award!!!My Profile

  • Desiree 14 June 2012, 3:08 am

    I haven’t noticed many changes in blog land but maybe that’s because of the types of blogs I like to follow – not really high-fashion focussed, more like people who are rummaging around for treasures and don’t mind admitting if they come up empty-handed or a project doesn’t go smoothly. Some go quiet if they’re going through a bad trot but I love catching up with them when they’re ready to post again. I don’t mind admitting I lose some followers, but it’s certainly not something I worry about. People’s priorities change all the time and so do mine. I find myself steering away from any trend-based blogs – they bore me. Thanks for this post Franca:)) x
    Desiree recently posted..Crafting Can Get a Bit TestyMy Profile

  • Anne @ The Frump Factor 14 June 2012, 4:39 am

    I hadn’t noticed a general dropoff, but I’ve certainly noticed a change in my own interests and reactions. I scroll past things I once would have read and commented on; I no longer want to write about things I once did. I would think this would happen to everyone. We cycle through different interests and different priorities. I do wonder about all the marketing/branding hype out there — does it give bloggers an “all or nothing” feeling — like the only way to blog is to post 4-5 times a week and be on social media all day long? It’s hard to sustain that. I wonder if some folks just burn out. I think the bright spot is that many bloggers will change and evolve in interesting ways. Parts of their “old” communities will be enriched by following them as they change; they may form new communities, as well.
    Anne @ The Frump Factor recently posted..Once in a lifetimeMy Profile

  • chelsea 14 June 2012, 12:25 pm

    I deleted all of my old blog and took two months off before coming back. Blog fatigue has definitely been going around. I’ve read so so so many posts on it. It is kind of strange that everyone is vocalizing it all at the same time, but not really. We are verbal creatures, are we not? And blogging is all about photos and writing. There is a next big thing out there, to be sure. I was on LiveJournal and Myspace before we all moved on. Personally, I’m still trying to bring back the art of letter writing.
    chelsea recently posted..boyishMy Profile

  • Helen 15 June 2012, 6:09 pm

    I agree that blogging has changed dramatically in the last 4 years… I’ve had my ups and my downs. I love looking back and reading through my old entries though and looking at old outfits for inspiration for things hidden in the back of my wardrobe. I blog more sporadically now, I can go through phases of blogging every other day for a month and then struggling for weeks! However, I’ve learnt to blog for myself and what I am interested in and I don’t care about the lack of comments. (I think that if I received just 1 or 2 on a post though I would be a bit taken aback…). It’s ironic that my comments are decreasing while my subscriber count is still rising – I guess people just like to read but don’t take the time to comment anymore other than a ‘nice photos!’ I also have people tweeting me at with comments about my blog posts now and that creates an interesting conversation as it’s more instant for me to reply.

    Personally, I find the blogs where people are true to themselves and don’t churn out the same old rubbish the best – like yours! Change is good, if things stay static then they get boring and stale. I don’t quite know what other platform would work quite as well as blogs – I love photos and commentary and twitter just doesn’t do that in the same way (although I love twitter too).
    Helen recently posted..Bettys in YorkMy Profile

  • Bella Q 16 June 2012, 8:24 am

    What a great post- and I dont find it negative in the least. I do think there’s so many blogs out there that its impossible to keep up! I can’t even keep up with the old ones I do like much less try to discover new ones. And then there’s online burn out- I’ve been there for over a year now- just not into fashion so much, and then the shopping- I am bored of it. Bored of reading about it and writing about it, and yet I don’t like “kitchen sink” blogs (that veer everywhere) and don’t want the Citizen to become one. I keep fighting off the urge to post, to tweet, to update: I am so sick of consumerism! I don’t care about your Sally Hansen nails or new Jeffery Campbell boots or Mac lippy. I want more real life and substance. And ironically, I feel the community change, and dissapate a bit from what we had a couple of years ago- there’s good and bad of it. I say- the plus side of blogging was discovering a global community- of reading/knowing/loving people like you Franca, and we will figure out how to stay connected blog or no blog.
    Bella Q recently posted..Inspiration: Advanced StyleMy Profile

  • Penny Dreadful Vintage 16 June 2012, 9:02 pm

    I’ve had trouble myself with keeping up; I think if you are doing it for pure enjoyment there usually will come a point when you grow tried of it. I do also find it hard to keep up with comments these days, and I think that is why mine have dropped off – you have to put in what you get back. Blogging can take up so much time, and you put so much heart and soul and energy into it… if life starts to get busy in other ways and it isn’t actually paying you anything, it must be hard for most people to justify spending the time in that way.
    Penny Dreadful Vintage recently posted..New in Store This Week: Vintage NightwearMy Profile

  • diana 17 June 2012, 4:00 am

    I think this is a blog post I really didn’t want to read, especially coming from someone I’ve been reading for some time.

    I’m also 31 and even if I’m not a style blogger, my style itself has changed the last 9 years (gosh I hope it did at least). I love blogging but I’m so overwhelmed with sudden life changes, I don’t want to blog. I don’t know if it’s a personal depression but it’s a trend I’ve noticed. The first commenters ever on my blog are the same ones I’ve been reading for years (yours for example) and we are all going through the same blogging dilemma it seems.

    I personally hope you don’t stop blogging but I also support you no matter what you decide to do.

  • PinQueen 17 June 2012, 2:25 pm

    Great timing with your post, I’m going through the same thing. Why do I spend an age writing, photographing, struggling with technology all for 1 comment? Your post gave me a bit of comfort in that it’s not just my blog! I think I’ll wrap it up, I have better things to do with my time – BUT, here’s the thing, I would really miss a lot of the blogs I currently read if they too decided to call it a day. One lady stopped blogging, and has completely disappeared since last November, and I find myself worrying about her!
    Thanks for this post- I will miss you if you stop!

  • joann, sidewalk chic 21 June 2012, 1:48 am

    I had noticed that comments and follows were decreasing with my blog, but I figured it was because I didn’t update as much. I’m sorta glad to know that I’m not really alone and that it seems like this is happening across the blogosphere. Although I really can’t blame readers, since I’ve become more of a blog lurker and don’t really read or comment on as many blogs as I used to for many different reasons (personal schedule, lack of interest, etc.). Pinterest and Twitter have provided more instant gratification than clicking over to just one blog.

    I’m not sure if I’ll continue my blog for the longrun — but I do know that I still enjoy taking photos, so maybe I am doing this more for myself now.

    I’ll understand if you close up your blog, but I will miss your voice just the same if you do. 🙂
    joann, sidewalk chic recently posted..LatelyMy Profile

  • Lorena 21 June 2012, 5:24 pm

    I have been blogging to almost 3 years and have noticed some interesting word content blogs have gone away. Also comments seem to be more sporadical.
    What I do see more and more are bloggers practically harassing to be followed. They seem to want the numbers to take them to the next step- whatever it is in their head.
    I blog about what i wear and sometimes other stuff. But I also have to juggle around work and work trips, going back to school to get another masters and trying to organize a community group- so yes, when we prioritize, blogging could be put in the back burner.
    Lorena recently posted..Difficult garmentMy Profile

  • Heather 22 June 2012, 4:52 am

    This was such an interesting post. Thank you so much for your honesty surrounding this issue. I personally haven’t seen the number of comments go down, but I have good blogging friends and we comment on each others blogs, so maybe that’s why. On the other hand my numbers, so consistent for the last few months, have been all over the place the last few weeks.
    I adore my blog, and it saddens me to hear that other people are bored and don’t want to do it anymire. I always recommend they take some time off rather than stop the whole thing. Maybe it’s the pressure to “go pro” so to speak. I’ve noticed that IFB is all about how to become a professional blogger now. Was it always?
    It’s interesting and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the future. The web is always changing.
    Heather recently posted..Caving in to PinterestMy Profile

  • diana 23 June 2012, 4:42 am

    Just wanted to let you know i wrote my personal post on the topic as well. From the feedback I’ve received on twitter and in the comments, a lot of “old school” bloggers are quitting. I don’t think i could, but it’s interesting.
    diana recently posted..On (Not) Being a QuitterMy Profile

  • THE-LOUDMOUTH 5 July 2012, 4:48 am

    I think this post is very realistic and honest and not negative at all. I really appreciate you bringing this up because, as you said, it’s something that I’ve thought about as well (thank you very much for the shout-out, by the way). I’m wondering if fashion blogging is just another trend that’s slowly fading, though I don’t want to stop working on my writing and photography, and having a blog is the perfect place to display that. Only time will tell, but I agree — it’s been fun while it’s lasted. Keep in touch, babe!

  • madam0wl 5 July 2012, 4:53 pm

    I haven’t been reading blogs much so I haven’t noticed if there have been a lot of those types of posts lately. I definitely have less of an urge to blog, and with it, less of an audience, though I’ve never had a big following and that is okay. I agree with you that it might be a bit of a generational / changing lifestyles thing. I was on livejournal and then did family update blogging before wardrobe_remix, which is when I dug up a neglected personal blog and started dumping personal style posts there. For awhile I tried writing ‘article’ type posts with research and everything, but after a few of those it just felt like I was trying to be something I’m not, and went back to posting whatever/whenever I wanted. As in real-life, I’m fine with being a wallflower on the sidelines of other people’s communities, never been all that focused on building my own. 🙂

    There are several people from those old days that I’ve noticed not blogging much if at all anymore. I keep them in my google reader though, just in case. 🙂 One of which is someone I consider very “on point” or ahead-of-the-game trendwise, and so it doesn’t surprise me, if fashion/style/lifestyle blogging really is just another trend, then her lack of blog posts is an early indicator that similar people of that age/interest group are likely seeking other creative outlets, or will be at some point too.

    Every once in a while I’ll feel like snapping a picture of my outfit, but I rarely follow-up on it anymore. What with my new-ish smartphone, I’ve been drawn more to micro-blogging a la Instagram/Tweets where it feels like less of a time & emotional investment. Though I have been tinkering with the idea of just “sharing” those same tidbits to my blog instead. That might keep it alive a little bit longer.
    madam0wl recently posted..Back to RealityMy Profile