"Is it ironic we're blogging about blogging dying?" Gwennan Rees
You probably noticed that I didn't write a blog yesterday. I was having a 'down' day - you know - one of those days when for some unknown reason you just feel - well 'down'. The weather was pretty nice, nothing had gone wrong in my life, so who knows why I felt like that.
I tried to think of an interesting subject but couldn't so went to my list of blogs I thought might be interesting so that I could tick something off the list. There is something so satisfying about ticking things off of lists. I suppose it makes you think (quite wrongly usually) that you are achieving things, moving forward, making progress doing something with your life.
Anyway the next blog on the list was a modestly designed blog called Pies and Fries written by one Amy Roscoe - an English young woman, who describes it as:
"A stream of rambling greed. Likes: beer and Brutalism. Dislikes: boiled eggs and being late"
I think she used the Blogger software to create the site. Blogger, I think, has been around for a very long time and is a pretty simple, and perhaps unsophisticated piece of blogging software. Hence the minimal design - and yes that picture of Amy is very small, but so it is on her website, and that quote above the 'pictures' is all she tells us about herself. There is minimal information about why and what she hoped to achieve. I even had a look at her very first post back in 2011 to see if this would be more revealing, but no. All she, rather tantalisingly says, in that post is:
"So, where else can you read the ramblings of someone with an interest in random 'things' and far too much time on their hands? Yep, that's right, it's all here in the new, improved and hopefully more regularly updated version of my blog." Amy Roscoe
It was pretty regularly updated - about once a week, and she seems to have achieved around 125 regular readers - incredibly small in terms of the internet at large, but much, much bigger than my very humble number. Reading what she says there I can sort of see the similarities with myself and I must have come across it some time when she had written about something I was writing about at the time. She does mention, on Pies and Fries - her other websites - four of them but one had no posts at all, one had just one and the other two were about hamburgers mostly - one especially - Midsomer Burgers - which was written with others and was basically a review site of places serving burgers in the English countryside. Pretty niche. I tried to find out more about her but drew a blank.
Pies and Fries often seems to have been about a particular cookbook and a particular recipe from that book - which also might be how I came across it, and her writing is similar in tone to mine I guess - except that it's obviously from a much younger person. I don't think her intent was to make money, just to share her thoughts. Anyway it's mildly entertaining - hopefully like mine.
However it is dead. The last post was on December 2 2020 and was about Rendang - that delicious Indonesian curry. This was, of course, about the time that COVID hit, so maybe COVID has taken her from us. I sometimes wonder whether COVID had a hand in the death of blogging, if indeed it has died. Although you would think that COVID and lockdowns may well have actually encouraged people to take up blogging. Lots of time on their hands and lots of time to think. On Pies and Fries there is certainly no closing goodbye or anything of that nature. Which I find odd. Even though I know I have very few readers, I think if I did decide to close down I would be saying so here on the blog, and explaining why.
Anyway all of that set me to wondering why blogs die? And should mine die? Is now the time? Have I became repetitive and boring, and anyway is this all a bit self-indulgent not to mention time-consuming.? Maybe I could be doing better things with my life. Well I'm sure I could, but I don't really want to. So I tried to find out more about the death of blogs - because, let's face it I have come across a few in this exercise of checking out other people's blogs.
I started looking at what other people had said and found that it was actually a hot topic. However, when I started reading some of those articles - mostly posts on blogs - ha ha - I found that they were mostly talking about commercial blogs - well those whose writers wanted to make money out of the exercise. And lots of them very sniffily said that personal blogging was dead. Commercial blogging not so much although much of it has migrated to Instagram and co. or is that the personal bloggers? "Social media has swallowed personal blogging" says Writing Studio - and I guess if you only wanted to have a brief chat or comment about something, that is perfectly understandable.
As for the commercial bloggers - such as Deliciously Ella - one of the world's top-rated foodie bloggers, well she is everywhere - blog, instagram, books, TV ... I just had a quick look at her website, and that is all about selling stuff - not much in the way of writing. Although she must have started out by just sharing her thoughts on healthy food, with recipes.
There are still thousands, no probably millions of blogs out there, some, like Pies and Fries are dead, some are little seen - like mine, and some have become major commercial enterprises, but there are still some like David Lebovitz for example who are somewhere in between the truly commercial and the personal writers.
There is some commercial content on his site, but mostly it is recipes and a journalistic series of essays on Paris life and on food.
One of the posts I found on the subject of dying blogs - The 'death of blogging' and what it means for me - was from a website quite simply called Gwennan Rees - the name of the lady writing it. This is what she had to say about the role of social media in all of this:
"I can't tell you how many blog posts I have read recently about the death of blogging, whether or not people agree, whether or not people are bothered and also whether or not people are going to do anything about it. ... We all have a lot to say on the matter and yeah sure, we could pop it on Instagram, we could maybe chat about it in our stories but instead, we turn to our blogs to write about it in depth. We're literally talking about blogging dying by pouring hundreds of words onto our blogs because we want to get our point of view out there, and our blogs are still the best place to get it out there. " Gwenann Rees
Social media absolutely enables a faster and wider spread of your writings. If you really want to make a mark then you have to be there - on all of them probably. I know this from the personal experience of posts that David has shared getting many more views - which, it has to be said, doesn't necessarily equate with readers - than my everyday ones.
But then my purpose in writing this blog, was simply to entertain myself and to keep my mind ticking over. I learn stuff. It is very flattering if somebody reads what I write, but it's not really essential. After all I myself do not follow anybody else's blog on a regular basis - sure there are some that I visit from time to time, but they are few and far between. Mostly I come across the blogs I write about through random sightings when researching a particular subject. But what about this thought?
"If there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? Kind of the same with blogging - if you post something and no one is there to see it or comment on it, well, maybe you did make a sound, but... who cares? And if no one cares, well... why bother to keep making more and more sounds?" John Hlinko
I care - that's who. I have written something that I might be satisfied with, even pleased with occasionally, but whether anybody else reads it or not is not really my aim. Of course I'm disappointed if nobody reads it - I wouldn't be human if I wasn't, but it's certainly not the end of the world. And I'm pretty sure there are lots of others out there who feel the same way. We hide in our little corners of the internet, tapping away on our computers, because we can manage that and it gives us satisfaction. After all we are not talented enough to write a whole book. And we must not get disheartened.
"I believe the reason so many personal blogs quickly die out is simply because the level of effort of updating them (sign on, think of something to write, write it, edit it, publish, repeat) far outweighs any benefit." Dr. Jim Anderson
I absolutely understand that - yesterday was a case in point for me. No inspiration, no energy, but I didn't want to give up entirely. So I'm going to take two lots of advice, the first from Gwennan Rees:
"We should blog with the enthusiasm of someone who's just discovered it and with the professionalism and creativity of those being paid 10K for an Insta snap. We should be engaging with the community, following new people, shouting about those we love and looking out for new favs to follow. We can't complain about the death of blogging if we're doing nothing to help it's resurrection." Gwennan Rees
And I don't do enough of checking out other people's writings. After all you learn from others.
And then there is Rachel Roddy - The Guardian's Italian food columnist. She used to have a blog called Rachel Eats.
Well she still has but it's in abeyance because other things are taking up all of her time. She at least used her last post to explain this, calling it After this there is another (Sgargarozzare.)
"Sgargarozzare by the way is a Roman expression which means to “To consume or throw back with joy, and with no intention of stopping.” Mostly used in relation to wine and food, Sgargarozzare is a word to live by," Rachel Roddy
I tried to find a joyful image of me knocking back some food, to finish with, but could not find any. I do not photograph well and those with food mostly look particularly dreadful. Instead here is a dish of Elizabeth David's Abricots au four which I made some time ago. It's one of my very favourite desserts. Possibly the most simple dessert there is and also one of the most delicious. But alas only doable for a brief period around Christmas. It's sort of how I would like my blog to be really - simple but speaking of years of evolution, and taste. A joy. I don't think my blog is really a joy - but writing it is a pleasure for me in my old age. It keeps me in the world I think.
Thank you all for dedicating the time to read it every now and then.