I used to have blogging in my back pocket but now I think blogging might be dead or at the very least, in a deep coma. I’ve been blogging (and vlogging on occasion) for years—ten to be exact. I love writing and sharing (*Edited by my husband to “over-sharing”) so when I discovered web-logging when I was home on mat leave with our second child I was like, “This was totally made for ME!” I had no clue about SEO or web design, but I had a story I wanted to share with other parents going through what we were.
In the early days when our daughter wasn’t acting the way “normal” babies do and doctors didn’t have any answers for us, I turned to the internet where I found some amazing blogs and support online.
And once I got over the shock of you know, everything, I started a blog about our new reality as parents of a child with medical and developmental challenges. I shared all of it—the ugly moments, the scary thoughts, the fear, the anxiety and PTSD, the mistakes, and the grief. But I made sure to include the sweet stuff and the lessons learned too because otherwise, what would be the point? I would be just another dark cloud, when in fact my life is exceedingly sunny, despite the challenges.
In the early days of forever in mom genes (named after Neil Diamond’s ‘Forever in Blue Jeans’…if you’re a millennial you’re probably all, Neil Diamond who?) I achieved some success—in terms of weblog notoriety, such as it is. I was recognized as a “most popular influential mom blog” and received awards for “top Canadian mom blogger.”
When I Googled myself, as one does, my blog often appeared at the top of the SEO rankings. I was in the top four thousand blogs in Canada and placed within impressive company globally.
But that was then. This in now.
Today my blog is a little fish in a big bloggy pond—a pond full of giant blogging and vlogging fish with huge Instagram and Facebook followings and excellent lighting.
I don’t write nearly as often as I did. And when I do, it seems to lack the passion and spark of past posts. To be honest, I feel a bit crowded. There are so many voices. I have a difficult time promoting myself. It feels weird and self serving. And I’ve often thought, “Why even bother? Who, other than my friends and family, are even going to read this?”
So twice a week posts, became once a month, if that.
And then I began asking in earnest…. Are blogs for real dead? (Solemnly does the sign of the cross over her Macbook.)
Are people interested in reading blogs anymore? Anything over a sixty second read seems too taxing for the short attention spans of today (myself included). Video content is the content du jour.
I’ve vlogged. I really enjoy it. Especially the editing process. But competing (because when it comes to stats and reach and social numbers, it IS a competition) against the millions of You Tubers is…daunting. How can a perennial mom be heard over the likes of Justin Bieber’s little sister?
I haven’t come across many vloggers representing my 45+ age group. Most of my peers are still blogging. But many have thrown in the towel altogether. Millennial and Gen Z vloggers make up the bulk of You Tubers. Most of their videos don’t hold my interest for longer than a few seconds. Nothing personal, but I’ve been there, done that. Pregnancy, childbirth, breast feeding, co-sleeping, organic baby food, potty training, picky eaters, finding yourself, work/life balance. I’ve already lived it.
Mind you, there’s a super fun millennial mom whose You Tube videos I quite enjoy. Amanda Muse vlogs and Instagrams (she might also Snapchat but I’d have no idea because I’m too old for that situation) her young family’s life. And because she’s totally real, uncensored, and just plain down to earth, I dig her vibe and watch her videos whenever I have the chance. It doesn’t hurt that she reminds me of a younger, you know, me.
I haven’t blogged a lot lately—despite the fact that I have so many new stories to tell—some painful, some triumphant and all probably of some interest to other mamas and dads who are living a life like mine.
I’ve missed writing, but I’m just a bit stuck. If you Google, “Is blogging over?” there’s A LOT to be said on the subject.
From what I can gather, blogs aren’t exactly dead, but old school blogging is definitely cold and stiff. Modern “story tellers” have jumped ship and have landed on new platforms—video diaries (“a day in the life” stream of consciousness posts, confessional rants, and ‘how-to’ demos are popular). Facebook live shows, and Instagram stories have captured our attention too.
All signs pointed to me pulling the plug on my blog and moving on with the times.
But the thing of it is…I don’t want to. We perennials are a forward thinking, but stubborn generation. We like to hang onto things. Like Baby Boomers, we save things for a rainy day. That’s why I never got on board with Snapchat. No posterity. No replay?! You post a nugget of gold and then it disappears forever? Horrible.
It comes down to this—I love my blog. Even if I’m the only one who ever reads a word, I’m keeping it. However, I’m not adverse to adapting. A little.
Social Media Experts agree that having a blog is a good idea. It can support your social media channels and it’s an additional platform for your content. So keep it, even if you don’t post very often.
Piggybacking on the experts I’ll add that having a blog or website means you’re more likely to be considered for sponsored content, if that’s your thing. I don’t write paid posts or reviews much anymore, but when I do I only partner with brands I trust/respect/love. Blah, blah, blah right? People say that all the time, but I’m dead serious.
Recently I was asked to write about a camp experience for my son. He didn’t like the camp, so I didn’t write the post. Goodbye $500. I was also going to throw my hat in the ring for a post for a brand I love. Sadly, it was in partnership with a lunch snack brand that I would never feed my kids so…. no post for me. Ethics are a real buzzkill. But, if you don’t have your integrity, what do you have? Oh ya, money and tons of free products. Just kidding. Mostly.
Aaaaannnnyway, I’ll hang on to my blog and tell stories with pictures and words, like in the olden days. But…I’m going to start adding more video content here on the blog and on my You Tube channel. If you’d like to join the other 20 subscribers, feel free. You can find me on You Tube at LisaThornbury.
And then there’s Instagram. When it first came around I thought the concept was ridiculous. Who cared about looking at other people’s photos? It was all, “Sit down for three hours and watch this incredibly boring slideshow of our trip to the Grand Canyon,” to me.
I was wrong. It’s absolutely engaging and delightful. I plan to share more on Instagram and Instagram Stories in particular because that’s where some of the silliest and sweetest and most sincere gems tend to live.
So to answer the question, “To blog or vlog?” I don’t have an answer for you, but I’m going to do both, and tell the stories I want to tell.
I may not get the big numbers or win the awards, but I don’t care. Maybe one person will read a story or watch a video about my family and it will give them hope or make them smile. At the very least, I’ll have a kickass slideshow to show my grandkids one day.
Happy story telling friends, no matter where you choose to share your tales.