I’m Kon Mari-ing the blogs I follow so hard that it hurts.
Where have all the craft bloggers gone?
Actually, it really does hurt, as I delete women’s words, women I once almost thought of as friends. They stopped posting maybe 2008, 2009 … or they lasted a little longer, stopping 2011, 2012 or 2013.
They wrote craft blogs, intertwined with glimpses of their lives. Are they still sitting there, behind their screens, just like me? Not knowing where to go now that most of the amateur craft blogs have professionalised, found their schtick and SEO-ed the heck out of themselves?
Did professionalism kill the craft blog?
Do they still have things to say? Probably! I followed some of those women onto Instagram, and they’re still thoughtful, funny women. They’re still making things, whenever they find the time.
Is there something about the professionalisation of blogs that makes amateur, non-commercial efforts seem pointless now? Is their style of blogging no longer supported, respected? And have the tools, the technologies behind blogging, moved on without them?
Is social media the problem?
Blogs need readers, of course. Without Google Reader, readers only find blogs via social media promotion. Re-tweets and Likes. Quiet, personal blogging isn’t something that’s easy to promote on social media – how do you ask people to re-tweet your confessions of craft failures? Can you ask (generally friendly) readers to like your musings on the difficulties of parenting? Particularly if you don’t offer a glib solution at the end, or push a product?
I know what you’re thinking: Instagram
I know what you’re thinking: Instagram killed blogs. Maybe it did. I’ve always wondered if Ravelry killed knit blogging – my main reason for reading knit blogs was to find out what patterns looked like on a real person, and Ravelry does that. Ravelry does that so very, very well. There isn’t a sewing Ravelry (yet), but it’s true most of the crafting action has moved to Instagram. I’ve been Instagramming myself, since August 2012. Six hundred and sixty-four posts so far. I guess it’s easy.
I’m still not convinced Instagram is the full answer, ‘tho. In its heyday, Flickr co-existed with blogs. Sure, Flickr allowed links in a way Instagram doesn’t, a significant change in technology. But is that the full explanation? Was it the double-whammy of the end of Google Reader and Instagram’s rise?
Maybe. But I’m not convinced blogging platforms have tried or succeeded in being as easy to use as Instagram/Tumblr/Facebook. And culturally, I feel, we haven’t found a good format for short, easy but still insightful posts. Except perhaps Buzzfeed (which has a good reputation in Australia) – more on that later…
Fashion blogs vs. craft blogs
In contrast to craft blogs, the fashion blogs I followed have sped up astonishingly – posting not once, not twice, but many times a day. But many of their posts are simply link lists, re-worded press releases and the like … the voices of the authors are gone now, replaced by a sanitised, corporate voice. Quirks and strong opinions erased. Advertiser-friendly.
No, I don’t know what the solution is either.
I stopped reading
Confession time: I stopped reading blogs about 18 months ago. In contrast to my previous 100 per day skimming habit. Maybe I got busy? But I was busy before. Maybe I missed Google Reader? But I was already surviving without it…
I just didn’t want to read blogs anymore. I was overwhelmed. The shallow fashion posts were drowning out the dwindling craft posts. I couldn’t find what I wanted in my reader, even though I still liked most of the blogs I was following.
Making room for the future
Hence the brutal Kon Mari. Rachel Hauser has discussed the changes to blogging recently, and I was really struck by what one of her commenters said. Maybe I’ve just missed out on following the next wave of bloggers. So I’m making room for them. And thinking about my own blogging … and planning a Buzzfeed-style, short, easy and casual approach.
As casual as I can be, having written something as long as this!