(click for image source)
Like everyone else and their dog this week, I was bombarded with an influx of #vine profiles in my favorite instagram feeders. So, after grumbling a little bit to myself, and feeling akin to a single cow in a giant herd making a mass exodus for the hills…I, like others, succumbed to peer influences and created an account.
And then I clicked ‘follow’ on all my favorite bloggers (all 2 of them) and then I clicked on who they follow, and clicked ‘follow’ again on most of them…hoping for some fun and interesting inspiration in my daily feed.
What I’ve been finding instead, though, is a creepy mix of children’s bedtime/dinnertime/bathtime rituals (is anything private anymore?)… shaky filming, really poor editing skills, and a lingering feeling that I am sitting in the family room of a stranger watching boring-to-me home videos…wondering why I am even there in the first place. Am I alone on this point? I’m not saying the app doesn’t have potential, once people figure out how to use it properly, or I mean, at least artistically. But that’s the thing, isn’t it?
What is proper use?
I heard on NPR yesterday afternoon, that it historically takes people at least a generation to figure out how to safely operate new technology. I don’t profess to be an expert on any type of technology nor the Internet, nor social media, nor blogging, but I’ll take NPR’s word for it and assume that in the millennial age of the Internet, we’re not quite there yet — particularly when it comes to our general lack of self regulation and propensity to over-share, and place implicit trust in the small percentage of people profiting billions off of those two qualities.
That said, as a blogger (and I reluctantly label myself that), I think it’s time to put my 2 cents in on what I’ve observed over the past year or so, from personal experience and from an observer. I feel specifically inclined to comment on the small niche of internet that I frequent daily: mom blogs, design blogs and pinterest.
And I’m just going to say it. Ladies, things are getting out of hand!
Without further ado, I bring you my list of the 8 things that bother me about the blogging community at large.
[please note, these are not criticisms of particular blogs, just blog trends in general]
1. Blog Conferences & Carbon Copies
2. Perpetual Photo Shoots
3. Over Accessorizing
4. Over Designing
5. Over Advertising
6. Over Sharing
7. Over Branding
8. No Interesting Content
And because I love to elaborate and write, even though most of this list is self explanatory, here is an exhaustive summary on why each of these things are problematic for me.
Blog Conferences & Carbon Copies. Every time I have seen a major blog conference happen (or get promoted online, and see blips of it on instagram), I subsequently see (a) shameless advertising for #bing (hmmm) (b) excessive worry about what people are going to wear to impress other people (c) following the money here – the web developer or search engine hosts an event for exposure and notoriety, top bloggers get paid to speak and get a free trip, and then the wannabes foot the bill – and (d) after the conference ends, bloggers/instagrammers start to morph into one another to stay “on trend.”
I think if your blog is worthwhile, people will find it and enjoy it, and no blog conference will turn you magically from a fledgling blogger into a starlet. Sure, there are great opportunities to party and network – but, I mean, network? You’re a blogger – isn’t that what the internet is for? Unless you’re speaking and getting paid, or want to pay to make new friends, blog conferences are kind of overhyped.
Perpetual Photo Shoots. I’m just going to leave this one unexplained.
Over Accessorizing. I’m all for a good arm party or classy fashion post, but when you start looking like a 4 year old little girl who has hacked into her mom’s closet and dressed herself with everything she can reach, you may be trying a bit too hard. Fashion bloggers, it’s beyond okay to skip a few trends from time to time, or, in some cases, often. Keep it classy and you’ll minimize regrets 10 years from now (when p.s., those pictures will be just one google search away).
Over Designing. I’m the first one to appreciate good design. I love designing! But so many miss the mark on this one, over-designing or worse, badly-designing every single photo shoot, post, linky, advertisement, title, etc. to the point that it is actually no longer enjoyable and overwhelming to look at. The key to EDIT people. Focal points apply to blogs too! Also, when everything is special, is anything special? Something to think about. Juxtaposition does wonders for good design. On a related side note, please cool it on the patterns and colors overload!
Over Advertising. I can’t even tell you how many times I have excitedly clicked on a pinterest link over to a blog tutorial, and almost immediately clicked away because I was immediately inundated with banner adds, pop up adds, sidebar adds, adds designed to hover over exactly what you are trying to read. I mean, you may as well throw trash all over your blog and call it a day, because that’s exactly what I do 2 seconds before I close the browser and move on, and never come back.
Over Sharing. Again, the practice of disciplined editing would add remarkable value. Above all, think of the children.
Over Branding. I know that the internet would have us believe otherwise, but people are not, in fact, brands. People are people. Brands are brands. People have pets, and children, and relationships. Companies have brands. If you feel inclined to brand yourself and everything in your life or on your blog with ‘your mark’ or worse, another company’s mark, please start a company and brand that instead.
No Interesting Content. Okay, this one is totally subjective to readership, admittedly. But am I wrong here that some serious, full time bloggers have almost nothing interesting to say, even though they have a beautifully designed page and decent pictures?
Okay, the rant is officially over. I suppose this is me resisting to the pull of blogging trends, and per my usual protocol, marching to the beat of my own drum with unlikely, unwarranted conviction.
This blog gets over 20,000 hits per month. Originally, it seemed logical to aspire to monetize and make money from advertisements, but it quickly became apparent to me that advertising and sponsorship is not the way to go, even though I invested my own money into buying a domain and server host, and I have spent countless hours building and designing it. It’s not the way to go because turning this blog into a business might dilute the purpose of creating the blog in the first place – and I don’t want to run that risk. At least, not for a very long time.
So, for now, dear readers and friends, you can certainly count on us here at everythingforthelove NOT joining in on the hyper-amazing-festivities happening elsewhere. Hopefully, to your refreshing relief!