I’m having one of those times again. One of those times when the sadness and the confusion and the anger have all swelled to a point of bursting and my mind is ablaze with a million thoughts and feelings and I just have to get it all out. That need, and a recent article from Site Pro News, are the fuel for this particular post.
What I read last week was that personal blogging was dead. No one is doing it anymore, and even the search engines are pushing for “expert” content, penalizing “low quality” content, and going so far as to say that even hobby sites need to pay professional writers to do their pieces for them. I do know that there has been a decline in online journaling, and some of that may have been a good thing, I don’t think that it really is, on a grander scale.
Sure, there were hundreds, probably thousands of blogs out there that were people journaling boring things that no one really cared about. Some of it was little more than daily drivel that we all could have lived without. However, there were a lot out there that were written by people with interesting thoughts, different perspectives, creativity, information and so much more. There have been blog posts, some of my own included, that irrevocably changed people’s lives, and much for the better in most cases. There was a lot of blogging that was well worthy of being posted. Whether it simply gave people an escape from their own lives, let them feel connected to another human being or provided something of greater value, there were many blogs that deserved their place on the internet.
I can’t help but wonder why people stopped blogging, though believe me, I have a number of theories. Most of my hypotheses are based on things that I myself have experienced or thought at some point. For instance, as time has gone on and social networks bloomed, for better or for worse, people turned to them for quick expression and stopped writing anything at length. The brevity of it all has become almost a running joke, but the ease and speed may have drawn some away from writing more in depth. Now people are hardly able to post full sentences, much less whole paragraphs or pages.
Another thing that seems to have happened is that we have grown apart as people. The internet is a massive collection of ways to unite and find one another, but at the same time our personal connection has been failing. People are little more than screen names, and we don’t feel like we know them anymore. Gone are the days of forums and chats where we felt the people we electronically interacted with were our friends and family. Now they’re just passersby in a wide world of digital distraction. It eventually starts to feel like no one really cares about what you have to say anymore.
Then there’s another theory, one I’m not alone in speculating about, that the push for “professional” content and SEO is actually an attempt to stifle independent thought. If everything one writes has to be presented as an expert, written with computer spiders in mind, meant to be searchable, then the feeling and individuality go out of it. Everything looks like everything else and a writer feels like their opinions and feelings aren’t “search engine friendly” so there’s little point in presenting them.
I know that I have gone quiet for quite some time, though I assure you, my desire to write has never faded. Unfortunately, I started to think less of the catharsis of letting my feelings out and the connection that came from any comments I received, and more about whether or not it would help my business or hurt it. And of course, everything I read said that if I wasn’t writing a certain kind of content, I was shooting myself in the foot. Oddly, I had more success when I was writing whatever I pleased than when I was writing what I thought I should or not writing at all.
I think that people should write. I don’t think we should allow personal blogging to die. Why should we let the internet turn into a search engine ruled mass of repetitive content? Don’t we all have the right to express ourselves? Aren’t our individual ideas valuable, even if they’re not easily indexable? There are people out there who want to read, and there are people who want to write. Get your thoughts and ideas out there.