this may end up being a rant

... or blogging in the wilderness.

My friend Amy has just returned to blogging after a some time away and  posed the question to FB friends, "... is there a fancy trick to getting more people to follow your blog these days?" The answers varied from you need to crosspost everything, everywhere to my grumpy observation "blogging is dead".

Most mornings Tom and I chat about life over coffee for an hour or so before heading out on a walk through our woods. I know. We do live a charmed life. And this morning I mentioned Amy's dilemma as well as my pessimistic view. We discussed how the internet has changed from when we first started our webdesign/marketing company back in the mid-90s.  In our defense we did fall short of, "well in MY (our) day...!!" But we toed that line. Closely.

What was the catalyst?
When did we move from (beyond??) making solid personal connections to clicking that ubiquitous "Like" button as our sole means of affirmation?

We mused whether Facebook was at fault, as so many seem to think, shortening the collective consciousness to nanoseconds or 144 characters. Or that mobile technology has made it virtually impossible to do much beyond read, nod, click Like and move on. Pretty hard to write a thoughtful response on that teensy-weensy keyboard. Harder still if you have to pay by the letter!

And I felt sad. Because I have made so very many authentic, strong, meaningful connections "out here".  Ones I never could have made in Real Life. Or over 144 characters. And so many people won't have that opportunity. Or think that blogging is synonymous with making money or branding yourself or creating hype ... self-promotional marketing. And it can be so much more than that, dare I say IS more than that.

I'll leave you with this very poignant, very hopeful quote from Hugh MacLeod of
And if it isn't obvious by this point, I'd love for you to comment below ... about this ... about that ... about anything. Just. Say. Hi. I'm here. :)


Cliff Worden-Rogers said...

I think the answer is time... as in no time to take a minute and just read someone else's thoughts. The world wants us to be perfect and blogging is not perfection, it's just statements/ramblings.

Unfortunately, I've learned the most from other peoples ramblings. So hopefully people keep sharing their thoughts because without that, what else do we have?

caelista said...

My husband and I were just talking about how the internet has become so full and busy that it's nearly impossible to keep up with various blogs unless you use some kind of aggregate like Facebook. And Facebook has gained enough momentum by now that it's going to keep on going for a while. Still, I hope that The Next Thing that comes along is a bit more personal and reflective. It would be nice if we could swing the pendulum the other way instead of making our interactions (even)shorter and (even)shallower.

But then a friend just told me last night that our local newspaper has new owners who want the reporters to blog frequently, and that means less depth in their news stories...

Just Jen said...

Firstly, thanks for taking a minute to write YOUR thoughts. Because you're right, without that exchange, backwards-forwards, what else DO we have?!

I do wonder about the time aspect though. For some reason it's become "cool" to be SO busy. I don't think anyone is THAT busy. I think it may be more that it requires effort to think, to ruminate, to formulate our own opinions and so it's just easier to say, "I'm too busy." (or Ain't Nobody Got Time For That). And that? That's just so very very sad. :(

Just Jen said...

Interesting! I've never thought of FB as an aggregate for keeping tabs on all that is "internet". I may still be the only person, but I still use an RSS feed reader ( if you're interested) for blog reading. And Pinterest to store resources for later use. But FB? Mostly I keep up on family's doings. And to remain in touch with my art peeps that abandoned LJ and their blogs!

I too hope that we can take a minute and really stop and smell (read) the roses or we may be losing way more than we think!

Karen Isaacson said...

sigh. I love blogging. I love writing, I love reading, I love the relationships. and I still use a feedreader :)
When I get to that point where I'm not interacting with the blogger I take a good look at why. am I just being lazy and taking this person for granted? (and assuming he/she can see me nodding along in agreement as I read) or does this blog no longer meet my needs? I've cut my blog list way back to keep it limited to the ones I really enjoy or want to interact with. if I catch myself being lazy, I ramp up my efforts to comment, but if I've had nothing to say for months, I cut the blog from my feed, so that my feed doesn't become just one more big "to do" list in my day. it's when I'm inundated by a flood of info and images that I start taking the "like" shortcut.

Carol said...

Hello Jen! (I finally found your blog by seeing you post a reply to APeacock.)

I have left FB because I got tired of the lack of communication there. You are so right with the 'like' comment. I love blogging, and reading blogs. I remember back when I first got on LJ; when I became a new follower/friend of someone, I would read every single post by them from the beginning to the end to get to know them better. I realised that now I don't do that, and and because of that realization, I now try to at least read some of the older posts they have to see what their fuller story is.

I know of a blogger, that I really like, but he has more than 700 followers. Makes me think of back in the day when you bought more than one album at a time; I would think to myself "then how could you really get to know those albums then because you don't have time to really listen to it over and over because you have three or four more to get to" Does that make any sense?

Blogging isn't dead - it's changing and branching out. I'm sticking to simple branches of the blogging world. I dislike blogs with a lot of ads and rarely read those.

I just woke up and wanted to comment - so I apologize for any confusion.

bridgette said...


Just Jen said...

I hear you on finding like-minded folk online Christi. I live in a VERY rural area which always at least 5 years behind the times so conversing with others who like rust and dollheads and slow stitching and and and and ... is tough. There are more now but 24 years ago? Not so much! Which is why "out here" meaningful connections were ... ARE... so important. Afterall I wouldn't have found you, would I?!? xo

Just Jen said...

And I love reading your writing Karen!
And ... I think maybe you've uncovered one of the secrets of continued personal blogs ... slow down, find the folks that mean something to you, honour them with your time, your (one not specifically YOU! :) ) words, and leave the liking to those who feel they are "too busy" (wtf THAT means!!).

Thank you for weighing in. xo

Just Jen said...

Carol, hi! Glad to meet again here!
I hear you on the reading everything someone has posted to get to know them better. It's how Christi (aka Miss Sweetpea upthere^^) and I got to become friends.

I don't begrudge people who have a shit ton of followers particularly if their blogs are their means of making a living which let's face it, is just as legitimate as being a personal venue for self-expression. And I don't envy someone who wants to connect with their readership but can't because of volume. There must be a way though. I'm sure of it. As you say, maybe we just stick to the smaller, less travelled paths.

Just Jen said...

Lisa! that last line? That girl, makes all the rest of the soul searching and questioning and throwing one's voice into the wilderness all worthwhile.

I agree with your historic assessment ... I suspect a lot of people saw those who'd really worked their blogs achieve some level of success (whatever that is/means!) and jumped in hoping that they too could get in on the action. Of course, what most people never get is it ISN'T about just hanging out a shingle and the throngs will flock. Maybe at the very very beginning but certainly not in the last 10 years!

And truly it isn't the writing but the commenting aspect ... or lack thereof... that makes me ponder. Why did everyone just. stop.? I think I'm going to follow Karen's (^^) lead and pare down to only people who make me sing, who I want in my life. And acknowledge their words and time beyond a Like click.

And maybe start up some challenges here again too!

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