Ahhh, blogging. It's quite a funny old thing really. I went to have a chat recently with other bloggers and YoMeGo, who are a social media agency based in Glasgow. They wanted to hear our views on blogging and how we think it has changed over the years. Plus all the nitty gritty bits in between, like sponsored posts, blog analytics and relationships with PR companies. I guess I didn't realise until I sat down with a pizza and some beers to have a good blether with everyone else, how MUCH it has actually changed since I started out about 5 years ago now.
I started my blog when I was at uni, where they encouraged us to keep an online journal of the work we were producing. It wasn't long before I discovered the online community that existed here, and that all types of subjects were being written about - from fashion to photography, and beauty to babies! I liked what I saw, and I decided to keep on writing about my day to day life. Before I knew it, people were subscribing and chatting away to me on twitter etc, and to this day I have met so many people through blogging who I would now consider as very close friends. My blog has always been a very slow burner, growing gradually but still presenting me with a lot of amazing opportunities to work with brands and visit different places. Overall it has been an absolutely amazing experience, and despite life being hectic at times I still try to post whenever I can. It is only a hobby, after all, and not a full time job which some people can commit every day of their lives to. I am adament that I would still write my blog even if 2 or 2000 people were reading it. But I still admit, it has been hard not to get caught up in the negativity and nitty gritty bits which I mentioned in the first paragraph.
Gem hit the nail on the head for me with her recent post Blogging: Room 101. Give it a wee read if you can, I think Gem has verbalised a lot of peoples feelings about blogging recently better that I ever could. I have been seeing a lot of similar posts with the same theme popping up recently, which is sort of comforting. Despite wanting to stay true to myself and why I write this blog it has been very hard not to get caught up in the rat race. I don't want to worry about numbers. I don't want to judge the quality of my writing on the amount of post comments I get. I don't want to feel pressurised into attending every event I get invited to in case I 'miss out' on something. I don't want to turn down the opportunities presented to me from PR companies by taking more than a day to reply to their emails. But at the same time, I don't want to sell out. I will only feature products on brands on here that I am genuinely interested in or excited about. Whether it is bought by myself with my hard earned cash, or sent to me for free. If I do receive a product to write about, I don't want to feel the pressure from PR people to post about it and say what they want me to say, link what they want linked to and adhere to ridiculous deadlines.
This is not why I started my blog. I started my blog for me, and although I am so grateful for the opportunities it has presented me with I also don't want to verge away from being anything but my absolute self. It is so easy to get caught up in this saturated wave of bloggers trying to outdo each other, trying to gain celebrity status in their chosen field. I know a lot of people who think blogging is, quite frankly, about 'getting free shit'. And if that's your vibe, then that's fine with me! That's just not the sort of blogs I am reading anymore, and not the sort of blog I plan on being myself. Gem put it very well when she said about it being a content war and a technology game. You don't need a fancy layout or a professional camera to be a 'good' blogger. Everyone has their own reasons for writing a blog, and for me it is a personal diary documenting my life, which I love being able to look back on.
When in doubt, take a break and try to strip everything back to basics. One thing that I have been letting myself down with recently has been my photo taking. Life has been so busy and taking a quick iphone picture then slapping a filter on it seems a lot easier than using my actual camera, uploading the pictures, editing them and then saving onto a folder on my laptop. So that's one thing that I want to try a lot harder at, because I enjoy reading posts that are visually pleasing too.
Pictures by the lovely Lynsay (Miss West End Girl) at the Toast of The Town Photography Workshop. Ripcurl surf t-shirt from Spartoo, Kunzite Crystal Necklace from an Astrology shop in London, and denim Levi shorts are a cut up pair of my uncles old jeans (SORRY UNCLE CHRIS!)
I don't mean for this post to come across negative at all. It's quite the opposite, I'm excited about staying passionate when it comes to blogging, and the YoMeGo event and the Toast Of The Town workshop really cut through the crap for me and made me realise the reality and nature of blogging these days, and where my 'place' is amongst that. Joe Blogs Network held the photography event at the Millenium Hotel in Glasgow, with Stuart and Hamish from Dreghorn Photography leading the class. We covered all the basics and explored the different settings on our cameras, along with some quick hints and tips specifically useful for blog photography. It was such an informative day in a beautiful setting (with a yummy lunch thrown in too) and has really helped to reignite the excitement of properly exploring my camera, different lenses, and taking my time when it comes to photographs. So from now on, I will try to put the iphone down and improve the quality of my photos on here.
For now, that's my goals when it comes to the blog. I want to write nice long rambly posts (like this one, soz) with funny life anecdotes and pictures that are pleasing.
Anyway, onto you - how do you feel about blogging? Wether you've been doing it for 5 years or 5 weeks I would love to hear your views. After all, we really are in this together!