Having blogged my way through numerous blogs since 2006, I have seen many changes in the blogging landscape. Blogs began as a way for individuals to share their thoughts on the web. They were often personal journals, which some people loved and others thought were TMI.
And then organizations, advertisers, entrepreneurs, and news sources got hold of blogging technology and turned it into a money-making content factory. Social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.) arose and personal bloggers were siphoned off to places where it was easier to share with a ready audience.
If you want to keep a personal blog nowadays, you are expected to blog damn near every day in order to be picked up by Google’s algorithms. The algorithms demand subheadings and SEO (search engine optimization) terms. Don’t be too arcane with your post titles. Hand out listicles like Popsicles on a summer day. Don’t make your paragraphs too long (one or two lines each). Write short posts … wait, no, write long posts, but make them easy to skim. Nope, we want short posts again. Use photos, videos, infographics. Make everything mobile-friendly. Start an e-newsletter so you can find out who your followers are. Follow the rules for getting followers.
Egads! The rules!
And, still, we all struggle with too much content assailing us and fragmenting our attention.
Feeding this beast, from both the writer’s and reader’s perspective, is never-ending.
The demands make it difficult for any of us to get anything of substance done.
(Prior to sitting down to write this, I spent a good 40 minutes surfing Twitter. Often, that sort of time slips away without me realizing how much time has passed, however, I was cleaning the humidifier for the season, which takes two 20-minute soaking sessions, so I am well aware of the time I wasted today.)
All of this is a long way of saying that I’m cutting the frequency of my 3 O’Clock Punch! e-newsletter from once a week to once a month. Yes, I started it not that long ago and it’s not terribly hard to assemble an issue, but it does take time, time that I’d like to use for some off-line projects. (If you’ve not seen it, check out this sample. If it strikes your fancy, subscribe in the upper left corner.)
I will continue to blog once a week on The Pragmatic Historian because I love blogging as a form of publication and have a lot to say to convince people that history is useful to their lives. However, ever the contrarian, I probably won’t follow all the blogging rules.
I hope and suspect these things won’t be a hardship on readers and followers. You have busy lives, too. Please enjoy the real world as much as you enjoy the digital world.