In which she pines for the glory days of Blogging 1.0

by DaniGirl on March 24, 2009 · 15 comments

in Meta-blogging

My friend Barbara, also a social media junkie and mom-blogger, sent me a link yesterday to an article about a contest sponsored by Scholastic to find the “best Mommy Blogs on the Web.”

No wait, don’t leave just yet, I promise I’m not out to whore any votes for this one! The voting is over – apparently, more than 10,000 unique votes were cast – and the winners revealed. And between us, neither Barbara nor I have heard of a single one of the winning blogs. No Dooce, no Amalah, no Rocks in my Dryer, no Finslippy. (Ah, I can’t be bothered to make the links. Google ’em if you’re curious.) None of the winners were any of the big names you’d normally associate with mom blogs, in fact. Or maybe they are the big names now, and I am just too far from the epicenter to know it. Maybe once again I’m a vinyl girl living in a CD world.

I don’t think so, though. I think the blogosphere has just gone through one of those fundamental shifts in the last year or two, leaving the landscape irrevocably changed. I’ve been noodling ways to express this idea in a couple of posts that will likely never escape the vortex that is my drafts folder, but I can’t quite seem to get it to come out right.

What I’m trying to express, with virtually no success, is how different things are in the blogosphere than they were back when I started bloggin in early 2005. Back then, the parenting blogosphere was like a big high school; there were cliques and clans, and there were a few genuinely popular blogs that everyone seemed to link to, but we all kinda-sorta knew each other — or at least of each other. If a blog had been around a while, you’d likely at least have heard of it, if not visited it once or twice. Now, the blogosphere is like a country the size of Canada, and the chances of you knowing even the bloggers in your own city are as remote as the chances of you knowing Phil from Saskatchewan when you live in Corner Brook.

Along the same lines, I was nodding my head in agreement the entire time I read a recent article and post written by Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil (another old-skooler from back in the day) about how mommy blogging is lately less about story-telling and sharing perspectives and more about SEO optimization and branding. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am completely NOT opposed to the idea of people making a profit from their blogs — far from. But it seems to me that the essential charm of the mommy blog, what drew me in to the medium in the first place, is getting lost in all the noise from the product hawking and advertising deals.

So what’s my point? I dunno. I’m just sitting here on my porch rocker, waving my cane at those young whipper-snappers with their review blogs and revenue generating opportunites. Back in my day, I tell ya…


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Loukia March 24, 2009 at 9:00 am

Every day, I stumble upon a new parenting blog that I love. It’s amazing how many great blogs there are out there – truly.

I enjoy reading quite a few blogs on a daily basis. I enjoy adding my favourite’s to my blogroll. And I love it when people comment on my blog, or just drop by to say hello. I think it’s a really neat community. It’s especially fun to interact with other local moms, and get to know one another through emails, etc.

You also start to really feel for what other mom’s are going through… for instance, the mom of 4 over at http://www.mycharmingkids.net has her baby boy in the hospital right now with heart problems. It’s really upsetting to me, you know? I’m sure as a blogger, you too get emotionally connected to some blogs you read.

I don’t know where I’m going with this either, except to say that I like to blog, I like to read other blogs, and it’s a fun way to stay in touch with other moms and get to know new people, even through the Internet!

2 kgirl March 24, 2009 at 12:28 pm

I want to read good writers whose style and life and stories I connect with. My bloglines are full of bloggers no one else has heard of, I’m sure (myself included).

Many of the big bloggers are spread pretty thin, leaving their personal blogs with little substance at this point. No offense, because she is a true pioneer, but I stopped reading Dooce when I had to start wading through reams of pictures of her dog just to find a word or two about motherhood.

3 mrsgryphon March 24, 2009 at 12:59 pm

I’ve been reading blogs since 2001 and blogging (securely, just for family and friends I know “in real life”) since 2004 and holy smokes, have things changed!! I read Dooce before a blogger had ever been on the Today show, and the idea of BlogHer was so far-fetched… and I kind of miss those days, too. I’ll admit that I don’t go looking for new blogs very often because I like the history that I have with the ones I’ve been reading for years, and I definitely don’t have time to keep up with any more!

4 andrea from the fishbowl March 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm

I hear ya. I’ve been feeling the same way lately. I don’t read nearly as many blogs as I used to.

5 Rebecca March 24, 2009 at 2:16 pm

I love reading blogs – I think it gives me a taste of what other moms are thinking/doing; a way of communicating with other adults.

I had signed up to blogger when my son was born 2 years ago with the intention of blogging and just didn’t have inspiration. Now that my daughter is here I feel ready to share, and I’m finally doing it. Why? Mostly as a place to show off my skills at google search and frugal shopping – instead of emailing my friends random things I found about a new green laundry detergent, they’ll read about it on my blog!

My point to this comment is like in my blog – I don’t have one ๐Ÿ˜‰ but I think it’s a great medium. It’s social in a non-traditional, nearly anti-social way and I love it!

6 Kai March 24, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I saw that article too and was stunned at the “winners”. One of them has only been blogging for a few months! Very odd.

7 Phantom Scribbler March 24, 2009 at 2:36 pm

I was thinking about this a couple of days ago in the context of the continuing problems with Typepad keeping some people from commenting. It seems to me that a couple of years ago, that would have been A Huge Problem, because we were all using each others comment-spaces as a place to hang out. Now the hanging out is going on in other places (Facebook, Twitter), and comments are less essential than they used to be.

I’ve had a lot of conversations with Jody about whether or not bloggers who started a couple of years after we did are going through the same cycle of socializing that we did, and we just don’t know it, because we’re not reading those blogs. Could be, right? But I agree — our cohort seems to have mostly moved on from blog-as-high-school-lunchroom.

8 bea March 24, 2009 at 3:20 pm

You’re right – the momosphere has gotten too big to be a real community anymore, and what that means in practice for most of us semi-oldbies is that we kind of hunker down in a fairly narrow circle. A lot of my favourite bloggers have quit, and rather than seeking out replacements, I just read fewer blogs (and comment even less). I’ve become more of a blogging introvert now, cultivating deeper long-term relationships with smaller groups of people rather than dashing all over the blogosphere striking up new acquaintances.

9 Laura March 24, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Well, I am brand new to the blogging world, only been doing it for a little over a month I think. I put an ad on the teacher classifieds asking for blogs that people liked and someone put me in touch with this one! I bookmarked it right away knowing it was a match for me. After a few days of figuring things out, I looked at your list of blogs and started looking through saving the ones that seemed to match. It’s true you can only follow so many, so I am starting with what I have and then deleting them as I realize the commonality is not quite there and then adding more as I encounter them.

What I don’t know is what I want my blog to do? I originally wanted it only for my friends and family – sort of creeped me out having strangers on my page, plus I list all my family names, etc. on my blog. Then I added a comment to one of your blogs and next thing I knew a stranger had posted on my blog and … it was so cool! I’m not sure how to get more people to read my blog (or if that is in fact the goal?). When I post, I know I want to talk about whatever is on my mind, but I also don’t want to only be giving day by day updates of how sick my kids are and what we had for supper. The blog is helping me think about my life and what I want people to know about me and my family. By reading other blogs I get interesting ideas, think of things I hadn’t before and get inspired! I’m enjoying the blogging and if anyone wants to give me some blogging 101 advice I will take it!

10 Amber March 24, 2009 at 6:42 pm

If it’s any consolation I haven’t heard of any of the winners either.

As for me, I’ve been blogging since 2003 (although it’s only recently I’ve seriously ventured out into the actual blogging community). I distinctly remember asking my husband to build us a ‘website’, and he created a ‘blog’ and I was peeved. Nobody knew what a blog was, including me, surely it was some weird thing nobody would like. Is there room on your porch for my rocker, too?

11 DaniGirl March 24, 2009 at 7:04 pm

It’s funny, I thought this was a real throwaway post (it’s been a throwaway kind of day — sigh) and yet I feel so much better after reading all these comments. Amber, hell yeah, there’s plenty of room on the porch, pull up a rocker!

Laura, first of all, thank you for reminding me that things are not really all that different, and I’m so glad you’ve been poking around. You must have found a lot of dead ends in my blogroll list, though — I was updating it just last week and was surprised at how many of my faves have closed up shop. More reasons for ennui, I guess.

My best advice to you is the same advice I’d’ve given a blogger back in 2005: write well, think of your audience, be true to yourself and your family. Link liberally to other bloggers, and get out and comment on other people’s blogs. I think those are still the fundamentals on how to build a blog community and carve out a space for yourself. I *still* remember the thrill of my first comments — about a hundred years ago. Makes me smile to think of it! I still thrive on comments, too…

12 Shannon March 24, 2009 at 7:29 pm

I read that Suburban Turmoil post the day it went up and couldn’t stop nodding my head the entire time I read it. I had noticed in the few months previous to reading it that some of the blogs I really enjoyed were starting to constantly review the most annoying products. And simultaneously I found writing styles changing and a lot of the writing became mediocre. (This is of course not true of all blogs, but definitely a chunk of the ones I had been reading about 4-5 months ago.)

I totally agree that blogging has exploded and the size of the community is gargantuan now, I am in complete agreement with kgirl – the big name bloggers are spread too thin these days – I always leave feeling “empty” after reading some of their posts. And no wonder, many of them are publishing stuff in 5-10 different areas.

Your advice is perfect and more bloggers should heed this – WRITE WELL and be true to yourself!! And of course I don’t mean you . . . I’ve only been reading your blog for a couple months now but I think its style and quality are fabulous. ๐Ÿ™‚

13 Annie @ PhD in Parenting March 25, 2009 at 8:01 am

I can count at least 3 people on that either wrote or commented on this post that live in the same city as me and that I have never met!

…BlogHer is going to be insane. I can’t wait!

14 Amy @ Muddy Boots March 25, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Here’s another link with all of the blogs listed (if anyone’s interested): http://www.scholastic.com/parents/blogcontest/

I too was surprised to go through the list and click on each link. Some of the blogs seemed really “meh” to be completely honest. However, I love Pioneer Woman and Like Merchant Ships. That’s neither here nor there though in regards to this discussion.

Being pretty new, I’m not sure I have much worthwhile to add to this discussion. I do get annoyed when I click on links to blogs only to find them full of nothing but “buy this” and “try that”. While it would be nice to be able to make a bit of money through blogging, I really DON’T want to be like that.

I’m not sure where I want to draw the line though…

15 chichimama March 25, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Sitting there rocking with you (while clicking through the link just to see…)

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