Here's a more personal post for today. This is just purely my thoughts and feelings after blogging for over 5 years.
As I write this down, I don't even know how many people this will reach. I know there are a few who are still reading my blog and some I've grew so close to them that they are now my friends, but other than that I do not know how many of you out there are actually reading my blog. And this huge wall of incoming text.
I started 'blogging' since I was 12 if I'm not remembering wrongly. Back then I was on Piczo which has been shut down now (I can't believe so many years have passed by!) and that was my very first platform where I was able to reach out to people and make some 'blogging' friends. I would share drawings, anime and gif, pretty much like Tumblr these days. After a year or two, I moved over to Blogger where I started out with some random blog URL which I cannot recall already.
Today my blog is named 'It's Me, Hanie' but before this is was called 'Myau-Club'. Pretty sure some of you who has been following me since then will still remember that blog name. ^^; When this blog first started, I was blogging about random stuff of my life. Then when I started following the Gyaru trend, it gathered more readers and according to the Blogger stats I had like 400+ views each post. The actual blog has now been privated, but you can still find some of my 'Good Old Gyaru Days' at the back of my archives.
So what is it that has changed for me?
Under 'Myau-Club' I could easily share just about any photos of Makeup, Fashion, Hair, Hauls and cute stuff around me. Those photos weren't the best quality you'd find, they were mostly shot with my phone camera before there was any photo editing app. I still remember some of the photos were shot with my old Sony Ericsson phone, with an actual keypad. And that was fine too, I was able to still blog and get readers to comment on my posts.
Today, you see all these blogs are competing with one another, who has the best visual and high quality photos, who has the best styling, lighting and poses. I do understand where the technology has bring us to and that we must always aim for the better, but I do realized at the same time that blogging has become much more commercialized.
Blogging is now a way to source for income. It has surely come a long way and it is recognize for it's ability to generate interest towards a mass audience. With large blogging companies managing dozens of blog and commissioning ads to these blogs, more often than not we see the same advertorial post on several blogs. I've done advertorials myself too so I know that but it's not something I really enjoy.
The ability to generate audience and money through blogging is really very very tempting. But if you notice, I stopped taking advertorials or place ad banner on my blog since a year ago because I know that in these ads they will give you a guideline of what to write, and most bloggers out there will write in the benefit of their clients as they are receiving payment for that. In fact, some even copy-paste the entire ad layout that they received into their blogs, which is funny, because it is painfully obvious. Moreover, with sponsored ads, do you honestly think that every product out there is the best there is in the market? Blogging is a business now and in business you know that there are a lot of sweet talk to convince potential customers to buy a certain product.
I'm not saying that all bloggers who do ads out there are fake, because I know some bloggers are genuine. And I do respect bloggers who are able to promote a product with their creative writing skills which makes their post relatable and convincing. But what I want to really say is that with the rise of advertorial blogging, there is a huge swarm of ad-focused blogs. These blogs are created with the mindset of advertorial blogging and you will see that 80% of their posts are ads. Even if they don't label them, they are still ads ==
The power of Social Media.
Back when I first started blogging there wasn't the use of Facebook lol, neither was there Twitter or Instagram. I still remember using Friendster when I first signed up for Facebook.... and left it there for years before I actually started using it. I'm still amazed by how I was able to still gain audience without promoting on social media lol. I only needed to blog decent content, engage with readers through comments and I saw my followers growing just like that.
Time has changed and even toddlers know how to use an iPad. Social media is so much of an influence today. I get my latest news content when a story goes viral on social media instead or what? TV or newspaper. I hardly access to those nowadays and everything is available instantly online.
I'm a social media user, but I don't know how I can help you to gain followers because I am still figuring that part out myself. Even with good content, there are some accounts that I follow which has only a few hundred followers, whereas a selfie-loaded account has thousands of followers. :/
Bloggers are also using these platforms to spread news on latest content on their blog or the latest happenings in their life. In fact, some social media users are so well known on these platforms that they do not need such thing as a blog. With everything so instant, I wonder, is there still people out there who read blogs? Like actually reading them instead of viewing pictures? Is there even anyone reading what I am writing right now?
The Blogging Community.
Everything is so sped up today and everyone moves on really quickly. This current blog peaked at 200+ views a day but now it has dropped to 1/4 of the views as I haven't been active the past year. I know I lost a lot of readership and what you see at the side there, the followers, is not as accurate as you think it is. It is quite sad for me to say too, but most of the figures you see there are follower stats from my old blog, Myau-Club that I was somehow able to move to this current blog. On Bloglovin I have 40+ followers so that might be more accurate if you're wondering.
I used to check my stats quite often when my blog was at its peak and would spend hours thinking of new content daily to keep the numbers up. But once I stop being as active, the numbers dropped tremendously to the point that it is now depressing for me to just look at them. Even if I do try my best, it is now very very hard to gain new readers. Times have changed.
So instead, I and some bloggers I know of, we tend to look at the comments we get instead of the numbers of views that we get. We feel that this is more of an accurate representation of reader engagement than just pure numbers. When we speak out or share contents, we really do hope that we will receive responses instead of just a one way conversation. It really motivates us even if it's a short comment.
That said, there are also some 'readers/bloggers' out there who are pretty much copy-pasting comments into any blogs they come by. Because comments are a way to gain a blogger's attention, some people comment because they want these bloggers to come visit their blogs. More blog views = better chance of getting advertorial or sponsors. As readers you might not notice it, but I myself as a blogger I've received comments like 'Nice outfit! [inserts blog link]' on a completely unrelated post. Well, thanks for your not-so-genuine-copy-pasted-comment. I will still read your blog because I am curious of who you are, but don't expect me to be a returning reader.
Blogging has changed so much in these years and you might or might not relate to me in these aspects. But it is sort of what identifies me today among my friends, that I own and run a blog and I would like to say that although it is not as fun and casual as before, blogger friends that I've made are constantly supporting each other and it is a nice community. There isn't much that I can change writing this post, so you might want to take it as a PoV post?
If you have read all the way till here I would like to say thank you to you, really, for actually reading these thoughts that I've penned down. :')
Btw, I do reflect and try to improve my blog so please don't start flaming me :X