Wednesday, November 11, 2015

On blogging?

My friend Holly started a blog in 2006, which I thought was absolutely absurd. By 2008 I myself had become a regular reader of some fabulous now-defunct blogs (and two that actually lasted)! I used my "favorites bar" to earmark them and had an actual pin-board with sticky notes of websites with good ideas before the days of bloglovin and pinterest. Here is an example of a something I saved back in the day (Image Via)

Since I had been producing my own clever crafts and pretty parties practically from the time I was in utero (IMHO), I thought I should be a blogger too! My hook was that I was a working attorney and a Martha-Stewart-Do-it-all-Mama. I also genuinely wanted to increase Jewish content on the decor and craft blogs. I think I could have good at blogging, at least by those days' standards, if I had posted more than 8 times in the first three years of the blog's existence. Alas, that was not the case, and the blog fell into complete obscurity and neglect before it ever started. Here was one of my first pictures about Peacock Holiday Decor (to my surprise and, totally unrelated, that became a "thing" over the next few years):

In 2012 I had something I actually wanted to blog about! The experience showed me the best and worst that the internet could be. Here is the short version: I had an idea for a Jewish Elf on the Shelf that I dubbed "The Mench on the Mantle."
I planned to produce it and thoroughly researched to ensure the concept did not exist. It did not. I proceeded to consult a patent attorney, who advised that I was risking suit if I went forward for commercial gain. After weighing the risks, I did it just for fun and placed it all in this blog. Thousands of people read about it, and I felt the rush that good blog numbers can give you. Presumably, one of those people took the idea and went into production. I will never be able to prove it definitively. The name is almost the same (as are some of the wording/ideas and they follow me on pinterest). I am to blame; I placed it out here for free with no protection. Stupid for anyone. Double stupid for an attorney. The blog had been slow after my initial success as I had a friend become sick and pass away. By the time I saw "their" idea on kickstarter, I hadn't blogged in awhile. I almost deleted the blog at that time, but I figured I should at least get to leave my stuff up if they got to be on the Today show.

I continued to love reading the internet, but only very seldomly would I post. When Kelly's Korner did a link-up about adoption, for instance, I thought it would be fun to add my two-cents as an adoption attorney, but basically the blog was dormant. With pinterest going strong, it seemed everyone was getting in on the action. What had once been my own obscure little niche was becoming mainstream. I rarely had anything new or different to share, and I was scared to share when I did, so I just didn't.

Then this year, I decided to blog for myself, even as the rest of the world was proclaiming that blogs were dead. Goodbye Young House Love! I wanted to use the blog as a journal, to tackle some goals, and have a little fun. None of those things involve readers or stats--not one of them. I told myself it would not matter if I reached a single person. And so I began....Over the first part of the year I actually got something out of the process. It kept me accountable and was, indeed, fun. Particularly with organization projects, blogging gave me a reason to finish and to do it well no less. It was working for me. I was my author and audience.

The funny thing about being a blogger, though, is that you begin to care a little. Of course, you will notice if you get a a little traffic or if some nice blogger stops by (HI AMY). You you may even test the water and participate in a link party to see if it works, you know, just because. Then you may start to notice that your "stuff" isn't so good. You are not the most clicked or ever featured and you probably won't ever be. Don't get me wrong, I am not down on myself! I am cool with that. I have a beautiful home, projects that actually look great in person, and a pretty good DLSR. It just isn't enough, not these days.

What I have noticed was that to be successful, you have to have excellent lighting, impeccable photograph skills, and time to painstakingly edit your photos. Then you have to top it all off with a moniker or list, so they are pinnable. Compare today's blogs to the one's I fell in love with like Stem and SippyCups. Their work was spot-on and I am sure would still be innovative even today. Yet, these blogs would would not be given a second look now because they are not picture perfect. Look back at the picture at the top. That was, and is, a great storage system, but it would hardly warrant a second look today. I even tried the glossier stuff myself:

It "worked" on pinterest and on the blog. It was actually fun to play with the graphics and it helped get my closet clean. But it is hard to produce that type of post consistently while still using the blog to meet personal goals. It is not that the two are incongruous; they just don't always align. Perhaps that is why all those early bloggers simply gave up? Is that why so many are proclaiming that blogs are dead? I don't know for the masses. But here is what I know for myself.

I am not going to get rich doing this or maybe even noticed. If I truly have a great idea, I may or may not put it here. But I do like the content I produced early this year. It helped me. It was fun before I messed it up by complicating things. So during the short remaining weeks of 2015, I am going back to short (and perhaps shoddy) posts that help me reach some goals before the New Year. I hope you will follow along. Maybe you'll be inspired to post some content that isn't perfect as well. We could we all use a break!!! If no one follows, I am going to try to be okay with that. Maybe that is my goal for next year!

1 comment:

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Hi S! Thanks for the "hello" :) I'm so sad about your Mensch. Of course I know the product that became such a huge hit. Almost bought one myself. You've done a great job summing up the blogging experience. It takes SO much time. Every now and then, I ask myself why I put so much into it; and on the other hand, I can't see not doing it! Crazy!