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  • The blog is dead…long live the blog? Ten reasons why it’s still queen to me

    First off, an apology. This is a blog post about, well, blogging. So if you’re 100% not interested in this then here are some posts about interiors, parenting and London instead.

    The blog is dead...or is it? Thoughts on blogging and social media

    Secondly, for anyone who’s still here (anyone?!) The blog is dead, right? Dead and buried.

    Apparently so.

    I’m pretty sure people have been saying this for as many years as there have been blogs, but everyone seems to be shouting particularly loudly from the insta-rooftops at the moment – the glossy instant glamour of photo-sharing reigns supreme! People have no time – or attention span – to write or read longer-form content! Traffic has taken a nose dive! Every man and his ex-blog have now moved on to podcasts instead!

    But is this really the case?

    Obviously, hands up, as a blogger, and one who blogs for a living, I have a vested interest in this. But I’m also the biggest fan of social networks for both business and pleasure, like Instagram – I love the creative challenge, the seductive nosiness of stories, the instant response, the people – I’ve also been on Facebook  and Twitter forever, with railroads into YouTube and spend about 99% of my non-parenting time, when I should be asleep, on Pinterest.

    I have a lot of love for the eternal time-suck of social networks. And how, why and where we consume and create content changes constantly depending on a million different factors (as a parent, my biggest factor is usually time). But for me, my blog is always squished in the middle of the social media sandwich.

    So why do I still think the blog is king? I’d love to know what you think, if you’d like to leave a comment. But in the time-old blog tradition, here’s a list of ten reasons why:

    The blog is dead...or is it? Thoughts on why the blog is still queen of content

    Your blog is *your* baby: You 100% control it and own it (OBVIOUSLY, you don’t control or own your babies! But you know what I mean…) But it does mean you alone are responsible for nurturing it and helping it grow. In the same way that social media platform owners are in control of their platform, not you. Which means at any point your account can be frozen, monetisation can be stopped and your account and content can be deleted, for whatever reason. Social networks also own the rights to the content you post, unlike on your blog.

    Blogs are pregnant women’s best friends: As a first-time pregnant woman, I consumed all the information I could find, like a giant pregnant sponge. I had a lot of glorious free time on my commute, and my favourite thing to read was week-by-week pregnancy updates on blogs on my phone (I remember Alice’s blog being a particular first-time favourite, as well as Molly’s during my second pregnancy). I loved the personal touch of no-holds-barred pregnancy updates on blogs, which was in part why I wrote my own weekly updates with pregnancy one and pregnancy two. Admittedly, Insta wasn’t the beast it is now six years ago, and I know people do post regular updates and brilliant bump shots, but it’s impossible to reliably search for this type of content and it doesn’t show up in Google. People will always have babies and there will always be an appetite for this type of information; I know this as I still get hundreds of hits a day for pregnancy posts I wrote years ago, like how to get a baby on board badge, dealing with pregnancy anxiety or what no-one tells you about the first trimester.

    Blogs are the answer to the 3am parenting Google question: Apart from using the NHS website for ‘Is this Slapped Cheek or just the central heating?’ type searches or Mumsnet for a million AIBU enquiries, blogs – and the parents who write them – are often what I turn to for everything from advice on parenting issues, to recipes my children will actually eat, to last-minute World Book Day costume inspiration (Amazon Prime is always the answer). Or I turn to Pinterest, which mostly links to…blogs.

    They are a perfect naptime and night-feed companion: Because you DON’T need sound to read a blog. Quiet at the back there! A lot of the early days of parenting involves being silent with your child, be it feeds or naps or lying underneath them, trapped, on the sofa. And even now, when my children are out of the baby days, I still do a lot of stealth scrolling on the quiet. Literally. This rules out podcasts, YouTube videos, talky Insta Stories. I love all those, but can’t listen to them most of the time. Sometimes I love a mindless Insta scroll, sometimes I want something more detailed to read to keep me awake.

    It’s a perfect secret bedtime scroll: Lying on your children’s bedroom floor, trying not to make a noise? See above. (And yes, I still sit with both my children till they go to sleep, sue me).

    The power of the peer-to-peer: While I’ve been tempted by and bought many a thing from Instagram, if it’s a bigger purchase or something I need to research then I’ll take the power of the peer-to-peer long blog review, or YouTube if I want a closer look. Again, while people do post reviews on on Insta, you can’t search for it. And I know it’s not just me, from the amount of daily searches to my Bugaboo Bee 5 pram review, for example. Or my SnuzPod bedside crib review.

    People are fickle: Including me, obviously. Remember MySpace? Or Friends Reunited? Social networks all have their moments in the sun. However, they are trend-driven and transient and come and go. If you base your entire career on that one thing, what happens when someone like Kylie Jenner tweets about it and people turn off in droves?

    You make the rules! You decide what goes on your blog, and control who you work with and your own ethical code (side eye to recent allegations about some social networks and data use). I’m strict about companies I work with, even if it means losing out on money, and only ever recommend things I genuinely use or like.

    I love writing, and telling stories: I think ultimately it all comes down to why you blog. There are a million different reasons, all equally as valid, but for me I love writing and talking about my experiences and observations and ridiculous things that happen to me, and always have. Whereas I might occasionally run out of enthusiasm and time and my post schedule may vary, I love writing still. And it makes me happy; as Rachel says here, there is still joy to be found in blogging, and blogging well, and in this vaguely depressing age, that’s incredibly important.

    Because you’re reading this, aren’t you?

    The blog is dead...thoughts on why blogging will always be queen

    And here’s some more posts…how do you know when you’re done having babies? And weird things people never tell you about your body after pregnancy

    7 Comments

    1. March 29, 2018 / 3:04 pm

      This was so thought-provoking, Gill! I love to blog and like you started it because writing is fun. But I have also seen people slowly defect to Social Networks (*sideyeing Instagram*) and it makes me sad. For me there’s nothing quite like blogging, and I’m going to do it FOREVER!!!xx

      • gillian
        Author
        April 1, 2018 / 6:30 pm

        Instagram is definitely the man of the moment (if it were a man) isn’t it? And I do love it and think it’s a really key element of being a blogger…but alongside my blog. I think there are definitely different skills involved too xx

      • gillian
        Author
        April 1, 2018 / 6:30 pm

        Instagram is definitely the man of the moment (if it were a man) isn’t it? And I do love it and think it’s a really key element of being a blogger…but alongside my blog. I think there are definitely different skills involved too xx

    2. March 29, 2018 / 8:30 pm

      Completely agree. I LOVE Instagram and I have definitely seen a drop in interaction on my blog, but I think they’re different beasts. Instagram is for… well… an INSTANT hit; blogs are for more in depth information and firsthand experiences – and they’re much easier to search for/through if you’re looking for something specific. There’s room for both.

      • gillian
        Author
        April 1, 2018 / 6:32 pm

        Yes, exactly this! I love them both (and think Insta is increasingly important for blogging / bloggers) but they are definitely different. And obviously blogging is more writing focused – which I know is key for you too xx

    3. April 1, 2018 / 4:45 pm

      I love this post so much Gill and agree with all of it. It’s the same for me too. I think I read blogs just as much as I ever have but how I find posts is probably a bit different now. Plus I’m more likely to RT a post or comment on Facebook than on the post itself. I’ve seen my traffic remain pretty steady but engagement on blog posts dip with an increase on social media engagement. So yes, the blog, for me, is most definitely not dead!

      • gillian
        Author
        April 1, 2018 / 6:36 pm

        So so true, I definitely find blogs differently now – I get the Bloglovin daily blog email which is handy, but then find lots through Pinterest and also Instagram, and also that’s where most of my traffic comes from (vs Facebook a few years ago – which is also an interesting example as obviously that used to be the big name in social networks for blogs but now you have to pay to get traffic and to get your posts seen by at least as many people). And yes re commenting on social networks (so thank you for commenting here!) xx

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