The Evolution of Blogging: I Wish It Was Personal Again

 When I think back to the magical world of blogging I first uncovered years ago, it seems like a completely different medium than what it is today. It felt like every post was a hidden gem – the blogosphere was untouched, unsaturated, and always hiding something new, waiting to be discovered. To be honest, I really miss when it was that way. It was deep and insightful, innocent and pure, cultivating connections and inspiring self-reflection. As time has passed, though, I personally feel like it has lost a bit of that magic.

Growing up, I loved to read. I was always buried in a book, my nose glued to the pages. I loved getting wrapped up in a story and escaping into someone else’s life. At the time, those fictional stories were much more interesting than anything I would ever come across in real life. All I did was go to school, come home, and watch TV with my sister. Escaping into another world, an exciting world, was my favorite part of the day. (Enter: my Harry Potter obsession.)

As I got older, life became more complicated. I still loved the escape of a good story, but I fell in love with stories about real life. It started with autobiographies, but I quickly realized I didn’t really relate to any of those. Then I became obsessed with watching YouTube videos – I loved  getting to know more about the lives of other girls all over the world, girls I could actually relate to. They gave advice about things that were relevant to other teenage girls. They shared what they were doing during the day – going to the mall, grabbing dinner with friends, watching movies and hanging out. The same things I was doing, but with fancy editing.

The vloggers I really adored, though, were the ones who got vulnerable, raw, and real. I waited for the videos about the topics that really meant something to me. Every once in a blue moon, one of my favorite YouTubers would sit down and talk about dealing with depression and anxiety. What it was like to have no self confidence. Getting bullied. Feeling overwhelmed and not good enough. These were the things I was also struggling with, but I didn’t have anyone to talk to about any of it. Those videos made me feel less alone, and those girls felt like they were my friends. I became even more invested in their lives, because I cared about them.

When I got to college, I discovered actual written blogs on the Internet, and I started to wean off of YouTube videos. I quickly realized how much more I liked reading blogs than watching YouTube videos, just because it was so much more convenient and efficient to read something than to watch something. I could pore through blogs for hours and get through a ton in a relatively short amount of time. The only thing that was ever in my way was my own reading speed. I read blogs like books – instead of books. I read them the way I watch TV series – always waiting for the next episode of someone’s life. And why I really loved blogs was because I could read so many different stories, other people’s real life stories, quickly and easy. It was free, and it was all at my fingertips.

I connected on a deeper level with more bloggers than I ever did with YouTubers. People shared their daily lives, but they mainly reflected on their thoughts and emotions. Deep things, that are often best articulated when written down. The things most people feel too vulnerable to share on video. I fell in love with people’s writing – their words and personalities.

I loved reading these blogs because it was like reading someone’s diary. I’ve always been fascinated by other people – it’s why I studied Psychology. Like the YouTubers I so adored, I also started to feel like these people were my friends. I was emotionally invested in their lives. I wanted to know what they did that weekend, the scary dream they had, and the details about the cute boy at the coffee shop. All of it. I didn’t care if there were pretty pictures. Oftentimes, there were no pictures at all. If there was a blurry phone picture, that was above and beyond. I was there for the words.

Every night, I would curl up in bed with a mug of tea and head to each of my favorite blogs. I was always so excited to catch up on what was new, and my heart would sink if there was nothing new for me to read. In the morning, I made another cup of tea and checked the blogs again, or I finished what I hadn’t the night before. It was my “me” time – my guilty pleasure that kept me sane. It comforted me. A little dose of my “friends” each night and each morning before I tackled the other things in my day that I wasn’t quite as thrilled about.

Looking back, I don’t even know what those blogs were technically “about.” Nowadays, it seems like we’re all supposed to label our blogs and put them in a category. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I also don’t think it’s necessary. There used to be a time when none of that was relevant. Everything I read was pretty much what we would call “lifestyle” blogs in today’s blogosphere.

The reason I am writing this post is because of a question I have been pondering a lot. Are there even any old-school “lifestyle” blogs anymore? Like the ones I used to adore so much?

Yes, there are some. But they are rare gems, sadly. Those were the ones that were most magical, in my eyes. Diary-style blogs. They didn’t have a specific theme – the theme was the person’s life. That person would talk about whatever they wanted to, whenever they wanted to. Does anyone else remember those days?

As I grew more interested in health and nutrition, I started reading more wellness blogs. These were lifestyle blogs, but with a wellness spin. These blogs weren’t really about what the person did that week or deep reflections on life events and emotions. These blogs were more about explaining their routines and giving advice or information about different topics in the wellness space. A “lifestyle” blog meant that the topics covered would include anything related to lifestyle – food, fitness, business, relationships, home decor, and so on. These were labeled lifestyle blogs because other types of blogs were becoming popular – blogs with clear definitions. FOOD blogs. FITNESS blogs. These blogs had one clear topic that people expected. Those readers, though, didn’t necessarily care about the person behind the recipes or workout routines. Sometimes they did, but often they just wanted the information. Or if they did care about the person, it was usually just in the context of that person’s relationship to food or fitness or whatever the blog’s theme was. As in, they cared that the person went on a long run last weekend, but they didn’t want to hear about her losing her job and contemplating the meaning of life.

I watched as the blogging space changed, and slowly but surely I noticed many of my favorite blogs dying. People stopped writing about the random things they did over the weekend. They stopped pouring their heart out in 3 AM posts about the guys who stomped on their hearts and their struggles with their insecurities. Readers weren’t invested in that anymore. People just wanted information for themselves. They didn’t care about the person just for the sake of caring about the person. It turned into, What information can I immediately get from this person for my own benefit? 

I watched the magic slowly fade, and I also watched as Instagram grew. The Instagram feed took all of the personality out of it, in my opinion, and I was sad. It was too curated, and people were more interested in posting what they ate for breakfast than sharing their late-night life revelations. Eventually, though, Instagram Stories came. Suddenly, I had the chance to see what people were really like. Where were they going? Who were they with? What were they up to? I don’t follow people for their breakfasts or workout routines. I’m sorry, but I don’t really care. I follow people because I love their personalities. I love them as humans. I care about the people behind the food.

Of course I love what people post on their feeds, but that’s not the core reason I care about their accounts. Obviously I get excited when someone posts a killer recipe, but I’m more interested in their food in the context of their lives. Oh, my friend went to that BOMB restaurant in Philly? THAT’S SO COOL. My other friend met up with her cousin and they got some donuts?? YAY. I love it. I love it that they are happy and enjoying life. That is what I care about. There is nothing I love more than when someone finally posts her FACE. That is the person I love. THE HUMAN. Not the food.

I love Instagram Stories for giving people the opportunity to share more of their lives, and for giving people the opportunity to learn to care about the actual people behind the account. Because yes, those are real people.

I’ve talked many times before about how important human connection is. Relationships are everything. Even though Instagram Stories has helped bring things back into balance, it still saddens me that the personal factor has become so lost in the blogging world.

One of my best friends and I were talking about “Life Lately” blog posts. She said, “Do people even care about those anymore? Would they even read it?” This is the thing – most of us assume people don’t care. Most people expect that if they post something more personal, they’ll lose views and followers. And that kills me. Because I do care. How sad is it that we live in a world where people don’t care about others and will unfollow them if they choose to share about themselves, on their own accounts?

Whenever a blogger writes about her life lately or randomly posts about how she’s feeling or what she’s doing, I get ridiculously excited. I crave those posts because I miss them. I think of these people as my friends. I want to know what’s going on in their lives. I want to know what they’re up to. Not because I want some kind of information for my own benefit, but because I just genuinely care about them as people and I’m interested in their lives. The same way I want to know what my sister is up to or how my cousin is doing. You know what I mean? No other reason other than that I just care.

Maybe I am in the minority. I keep wondering if I am. Am I the only person who misses sitting down at night, heading to my favorite blogs, and seeing what new thoughts people had today? Posts like that are why I started my own blog. I originally wanted it to basically be a diary. I wanted to just talk about my feelings. As much as my blog has evolved, I still put up posts about my feelings whenever I have something I really want to say. I will never let that part of my blog completely die. Even if no one ever wants to read it.

I wish there were more diary-style bloggers, to be honest. I miss them a lot. I loved reading them. They got me thinking about life. Real things. Not just how to bake a cookie or what workout split is best. They made me think really hard about myself, my values, my beliefs, my relationships, and everything in between. And there’s something so much more comforting about reading something from someone you feel like you know, rather than just out of a book.

If any other bloggers are reading this and are wondering if anyone would care if they posted more about themselves, I wish you WOULD post more about your life. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I want to know more about you. That is why I follow you and love you and connect with you. For your personality, your heart, your soul.

The people who don’t care about you as a person are the ones who get upset if you post a personal post, or who stop following you if you start to post more about yourself. In my opinion, those people don’t really matter. The people who matter? They will support you and love you and crave your life updates about getting your car towed and running into a cute guy at the grocery store. They will care. I will care.

So I want to leave you with a question… do you miss personal blogs? Would you read a blog that was entirely a diary of a person’s life? No theme other than that person? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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15 Comments

  1. August 9, 2017 / 1:28 pm

    You are definitely not in the minority. I definitely agree with this post. I must rather see the person, then the donut, or fries, or whatever other food item they are hiding behind.

    • addictedtolovely@gmail.com
      August 10, 2017 / 12:03 am

      THANK YOU! That makes me so happy to hear. We are so much more than photos..

  2. August 9, 2017 / 4:19 pm

    I completely agree with you. I Don’t follow people for the food they eat, but because I am intrigued by their life, the good and the bad. I rarely read recipe posts, but the second someone posts a life update or something that delves deeper into their life, I immediately click over to read.
    Thank you for being open about this. The human connection is more important and will always provide more value in this space.

    xo,
    skylar
    http://www.styledbyskylar.com

    • addictedtolovely@gmail.com
      August 10, 2017 / 12:08 am

      EXACTLY! Like I look at recipe posts when I’m searching for a specific recipe for a certain reason, but I don’t just read them to read them. I’m the same way – I just always want to hear about the life updates, reflections, etc. Thank you for reading this and thank you for being a REAL voice in this space and cutting through the BS! LOVE U. XO

  3. August 9, 2017 / 5:30 pm

    you literally just wrote down everything i’ve been thinking about lately, but 10x more eloquently than i ever could’ve!! i keep telling people i have a food blog, but i don’t? like it’s sometimes food and healthy living, but also just my thoughts and online diary…and i find myself feeling nervous to share these posts even though they’re the most important to me. i admire that you are so honest and open, it’s super inspiring! p.s. you look stunning in these photos – confident and happy and beautiful <3

    • addictedtolovely@gmail.com
      August 10, 2017 / 12:02 am

      Thank you so much Jordan! And don’t be nervous! Share those posts! If those are the posts that make your heart sing, then those are the ones that need to be heard. It’s YOUR blog, and the people who love you will appreciate those posts the most!!

  4. August 9, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    This is exactly how i feel. lately i’ve been feeling really pressured to make sure my content is all about making other peoples lives easier or creative ideas that i feel no one will care about my own journey. as someone who is new to blogging i of course looked at as many ‘blogging’ blogs and they always made it a point that i needed a niche, something that is consistent and i have to stick with it. i figured a lifestyle blog would fit since i have so many interests and they all slightly match. but still, i don’t know if people will really care to read what it’s been like planning my wedding at such a young age and being completely broke. I feel like i need to write about how to make wedding planning easier instead of sharing what i’m going through and my struggles with planning. and the way you ended your post about the people who actually care wont mind if i post about myself, they’ll still be there. thank you for this post christina! you’ve given me a little more confidence in finally sharing my blog!

    • addictedtolovely@gmail.com
      August 10, 2017 / 12:11 am

      Oh girl I TOTALLY know what you mean. I know a lot of other bloggers tell you you need a niche, you need to do this or that, but just follow your heart. It’s your life and your blog. I think people WILL care about your life because that’s what they can relate to. They can go to thousands of blogs for advice on any topic under the sun, but you are the only person on this earth that can talk about your own experiences, and you never know who that will connect you with. Definitely share more about yourself on your blog! I know people will love it.

  5. August 10, 2017 / 3:59 am

    I havent been in the blog world for very loNg, so i dont Really know the Era youre talking about, but i wish i did!! I adore “day in the lifE” type poSts- it really does feel like checking iN with a fRieNd☺️

  6. August 10, 2017 / 4:51 am

    Thank you for this post! I started my blog for the exact same Reason and EXPERIENCEd all the same feelings you descriBed. I look forward to more personal posts.

    • addictedtolovely@gmail.com
      August 10, 2017 / 11:24 pm

      Thank you for reading! Love that you started your blog for that – keep it up girl!

  7. kenzie dare
    August 10, 2017 / 10:31 am

    I agree. I think there is a lot of value in blogs who still have the personal touch and share their thoughts and updates on their daily life. I am about to launch my lifestyle blog which will have a focus on wellness/travel and i think one reason I’ve been putting it off so long is due to the same reason Mariana mentioned above. I’ve been procrastinating because every resource out there tells you to find a niche that can generate income and produce content that gives value so i’ve been brainstorming more and more and it’s stifled my progress in some ways. thanks for this post!

    • addictedtolovely@gmail.com
      August 10, 2017 / 11:28 pm

      I totally know what you mean. I know it’s hard, but my advice is to honestly not worry about what those resources are saying. The truth is that for every blogger that HAS a “niche” and is successful because of it, there is also another blogger who also has a niche and isn’t. There is much more to it than having a niche. I think the most successful bloggers are the ones who can connect with their audiences on a deeper level, and that’s why the readers keep coming back.

  8. August 10, 2017 / 4:11 pm

    If you ever want a breath of fresh air, my personal blog is not entirely interesting, but definitely just serves as a reflective place for me and for people to understand where I’m coming from and how I’m doing. I started blogging when I was 12 and it was definitely an angsty outlet for a long time. When I entered college, I let go of that identity and just started reflecting on the state of my life at the time. I really like that blogs have become so much more than a personal diary. It’s become such an amazing platform for everyone to share their ideas, but I totally get what you’re saying. 🙂 If you ever feel the inkling to check mine out, go right ahead! I’d be honored. Saraabrianne.wordpress.com

    • addictedtolovely@gmail.com
      August 10, 2017 / 11:23 pm

      I love that!! I definitely love that blogs have become more than that, I just wish it wasn’t at the expense of the other style of blogging!! Hope that makes sense. Will definitely check out your blog!!