Way back in 2010 a blogger Â wrote a post called Dear Angry Mommy Blogger that generated more than average traffic for him. Four years later he ran the same post and saw his stats spike again.
He shook his head and looked down from his self righteous mountaintop and wondered if those silly mommy bloggers would ever learn and then he looked at silly daddy bloggers and shook his head again because they had fallen into the same trap.
Instead of working together to save the blogosphere the parent bloggers were working to kill it. They were sending out thousands of pitch letters to brands and generating millions of blog posts about the same stupid crap that others had written about time and time again.
Even worse they had been conned into believing that they could give their content away for free and that the exposure that came with appearing on aÂ major publicationÂ would be of great benefit to them. They didn’t recognize how the proliferation ofÂ playersÂ had left the blogosphere in a state of chaos and clutter or how badly the talent pool had been diluted.
Mediocre and marginal writers were given platforms to write about byÂ self proclaimed editorsÂ who had no editing skills, no writing skills and no journalistic background to rely upon.
The blind were leading the deaf and dumb up the mountainside but instead of riches they headed directly towards cliffs and volcanoes.
Doom was upon them…Doom I TELL YOU!
And Then Jack Stopped Using The Third Person
Some of you may accuse me of being old and cranky, you might be right or you might not be. I turned 45 a few weeks ago and next week the blog turns 10.
When I started blogging my oldest was 3.5 and youngest was in utero. I blogged about all of the usual parent blogger stuff, what it is like to be a new father, potty training, pre school, kindergarten and elementary school.
I wrote about the conversations we had when pets died, when grandparents passed away and hit all sorts of religious stuff from how to deal with Santa Claus to Bar Mitzvahs.
There were posts about being laid off, how it felt to be forced to sell my house, words about friends divorcing and words about friends dying.
One reader sent me an email saying my blog was too depressing. They didn’t like reading about the real stuff that was happening.Â They liked stories about the kids, tales about grandparents and fiction.
I understood because I preferred the days when I was “classic father.” I earned enough for my wife to stay home with the kids and for us to have a nice life and then life happened and I got knocked out of the tree house and it felt like I hit every branch on the way down.
That changes you.
It wasn’t just me. Bunch of guys I knew had this happen around the same time. We had a college education and had done thingsÂ the right wayÂ only to learn sometimes when shit happens it happens to you.
How Are Parent Bloggers Killing Blogging
I can’t point my finger at just one group because it is happening elsewhere too but I see more of it in theÂ parent blogosphere.Â I stumble across more conversations about how to build a personal brand and turn your blog into a platform. I come across books and look at excerpts that make me wonder if people understand that self publishing doesn’t remove the obligation to edit.
Ask me to talk about great writing and I will always talk about how subjectivity plays a role, always has and always will.
What bothers me about blogging isn’t that I haven’t gotten more recognition. Nor is it tied into my feelings about blog conferences, nepotism and brand ambassadorships. (Some people have gotten gigs because they went to conferences and made friends with the “right people” not because they have talent.)
It Â is the push to monetize and build a brand that irks me because we don’t focus on storytelling and writing as a craft as much as I would like.
Great writing, compelling content, storytelling–that’s what I love and what I want more of.
But it is not what I see.
Maybe I am hanging out in the wrong places. Maybe what I want is there and I just have missed it.
It is possible.
When IÂ complainÂ about monetization’s impact on blogging I have to include myself. I have been a brand ambassador and written sponsored posts.
It has been fun and I intend to do more of it.
Does that make me a hypocrite? Does it matter if I say I don’t play the game like others do and because of that I miss out on some opportunities that I could otherwise have.
Blogs & Bloggers Have To Evolve
The secret to my longevity is simple. I like to write and blogging is still fun. Add in a willingness to evolve and you have the skeleton of a ebook on how to last in the blogosphere.
It is all part of why I don’t write about one single topic.
I kid around about being old and grumpy. I am not old but my focus is not with the new and young parents.
My children are in elementary and middle school now, but high school comes in the Fall of 2015. College isn’t quite on the horizon yet but it is close enough for me to look at my finances and think about how to make it happen.
If nothing else I am too busy to worry about whether this post meets theÂ guidelinesÂ of the social media experts. People will read it or they won’t but it is not going to be because I made sure to optimize it or give it away for free to some big publication who derives the majority of the benefit from my labor.