I’ve noticed an odd trend lately. I don’t particularly understand why it’s happening or how it did, but I see it nevertheless. I really believe the personal blog is a dying art.
My inclination to this fact started in a discussion with a friend who works in media. He had blogged for a bit of time on his own way back when, but really hadn’t done much of it over the past couple of years. When he got hired at his most recent job, the radio station he now works for asked him to write a blog on their site about the local professional hockey team. He gladly obliged, and now in addition to his occasional guest hosting duties on the air, he blogs about the hockey team he coves when they’re in season.
We got to talking about my blog, specifically the fact that I had finally chosen to switch over to a self-hosted blog((I realize this isn’t news to most of you, but it was a new development to him)). You see, there was a point in time where I was extremely reluctant to self-host my own blog. It was a strong enough opinion that I wrote a vehement disagreement post arguing against a guest poster who had written for 20SB just because they attempted to lay out a list of very detailed reasons why everyone should pay to self-host their own blogs. I eventually got over it and started this blog. It felt like I had finally turned the corner and become an ever more serious blogger than I already was.
It wasn’t until I started self-hosting that I noticed how many other bloggers had done the same thing. Not only that, but many of those same bloggers were using their blogs as a place to make money off of ad revenue, sponsored posts, and affiliate marketing. While there were still people — genuine, nice, caring people — behind the words of these blog posts, something felt different. Something didn’t feel right to me.
Perhaps this is nothing more than a moment where I’m coming of age and never realized it before now. I loved the times where I could use blogging, not to mention the community that came out of it, to clear my mind. I can’t do that anymore. It’s not just me either. There are too many consequences of clearing your mind on the internet to want to do it. Employers search for your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts((I say this from experience as someone who conducts interviews. If you’re at the stage of the interviewing process where you’re sitting in an interview with me, there’s a very good chance I’ve looked you up on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google.)). Friends, family, and significant others can see everything you post on the internet with the click of a mouse. Unless you’re writing a private blog, it’s only a matter of time before someone finds what you’re writing. And even then, doesn’t keeping your blog private from the world slightly defeat the purpose of a personal blog.
I’m not immune to the self-promotion machine that blogging has become. In the coming weeks, you’ll see me talking a bit more about my coming book((I have updates coming soon)), its eventual release, and likely will even be promoting it on this blog and others along the way. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with using the powerful tool that is the internet to create your own brand. Yet, somewhere along the way, blogging has lost a bit of its innocence. I’m not saying the personal blog is totally dead — but it is on life support.