These days people tend to gravitate towards social media and online video platforms, and it seems the concept of blogging is outdated.
It begs the questions: is blogging still relevant today? Is blogging dead? Do people still read blogs?
The short answer: no blogging is not dead. It is still relevant depending on how you look at it.
I started this blog exactly ten years ago. Along the journey of ten years of blogging, there has been lots of learning about consistently keeping up a blog. Over time, blogging has come to mean different things to me.
Over time, I’ve evolved as a blogger and writer. Reflecting on this ten-year blog anniversary, what I value about this blog is not what I or it has achieved, but what it has become and the impact that it has had.
Blogs can be broadly categorised as personal blogs and business blogs. Personal blogs share anecdotal stories, lessons or interests. Other blogs are more content-driven or educational, perhaps with the aim of making a profit or branding a business. There are also blogs that are a bit of both. The types of blogs are endless: food blogs, travel blogs, book blogs, photography blogs, news blogs and more – different blogs with different aims and different niches.
More than a decade ago Blogspot, Livejournal and Xanga were popular blogging platforms with close-knit communities. Today WordPress and Medium are common blog publishing spaces, with many blogging platforms blurring the boundaries between blog, opinion and news outlets often with sharp, short and visual content (think microblogging) against the trends stemming from YouTube and TikToks.
It seems that personal blogging is dying out, and maybe because personal blogging tends to read like a diary and so gives off the impression of a lack of clarity and reputation in a competitive hierarchical world. And often quite a few personal bloggers just aren’t motivated to keep on blogging. Instead, blogs that tend to stay around are those that share helpful content.
On whether any form of blogging is really relevant anymore, look at it from different perspectives: from the point of a blogger and from the point of the reader or audience.
People look to blogs to learn, for solutions and advice
There’s always something to learn and a need to learn to get by in life. You as the everyday person may want to learn a skill, figure out how to solve a problem or get to know more about a certain topic. That’s where blogs come in: both anecdotal and well-researched content on a multitude of topics lends ideas for contemplation or thoughtful guidance. In this sense, for the blogger, blogging may be a means to share their expertise and make a difference.
When I started this blog, the aim was to share my writing and stories on growing up Asian in Australia and how I never really fit in, being ‘too Asian’ and ‘too white’ and ‘absolutely lacking everything in between’. Aside from creating a writing portfolio, the intention was to inspire others to embrace their cultural identity and encourage a world where people are more respectful towards each other. Back then I had dreams of becoming a global best-selling author, and blogging was an outlet for me to put my work and mission out there – in turn giving me the feeling that I can live that dream.
People look to blogs for hobbies and personal interests
Reading blogs as a hobby or exploring your hobbies or interests through reading blogs is a way to pass the time. Personal blogs are often casual and down-to-earth, aligning with how you feel when you’re in a leisurely mood. Blogging itself can be a hobby, blogging about what you enjoy and enjoy blogging itself.
One of my favourite things about blogging is reading personal blogs. I can spend hours a night reading and engaging with blogs on the other side of the world. There’s something so calming and grounding reading everyday blogs where you see and get to know what really matters away from the mainstream.
Being a blogger I also learnt and now enjoy taking photos. So cautious about even using non-copyright or stock images on my blog that I took up photography as a hobby to get photos for my blog. Not only was my blog a space for sharing my writing, it was a space that allowed me to experiment with self-expression and simply have fun. A space where I learnt that long-term bloggers juggle many hats to keep up their blog, from being a writer to designer to marketer and more.
People look to blogs for connection
All of us long for connection with others and we all need connection throughout life. For anyone, blogging is a convenient way to connect with people and be part of communities all round the world who share similar interests, and people who can become good friends or networks. With the richness and many niches of blogging, you may very well find what you need on a deeper level connecting with bloggers and where they are coming from.
As time went on it seems that this blog has a bit of a community where people are very nice and willing to share their honest opinions. People read and reflect, contributing, learning and taking away something about cultural habits, traditions or even unconscious behaviours on a personal level that relates to them.
It’s become a space that encourages people to look beyond themselves just as much as looking within, reflecting on one’s actions in a world that is power-hungry and differences are usually discriminated. From starting out as a platform for personal reasons, this blog has become a space that serves a wider purpose: where others connect with and respect different cultures across the world, connecting within and accepting one’s individual nuances in order to move forwards as whom they are.
Blogging encouraged me to keep writing and be a more thoughtful, intentional writer. Over the years my blog aims to and has encouraged others to:
- Recognise cultural and individual differences, empowering others to be themselves
- Not feel so alone in the process of navigating cultural identities
- Ask and ponder the difficult questions on what it means to belong
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Relationships and connections in the blogging sphere can no doubt be meaningful in various ways. For bloggers who have goals of selling and marketing, having a loyal following may be a step towards financial freedom. For personal bloggers who blog for enjoyment, genuine connections are relatable and comforting, making you feel valued. And for the blog reader invested in a blog, you feel a sense of trust and self-improvement while reading a blog and expanding on what you know.
Blog engagement can go a long way in making you feel like you matter and also open up opportunities. It can also be incredibly elusive and so it’s something that humbles me. At the height of my blog engagement around 5 years of blogging, I was at the height of freelance writing: my blog was essentially my portfolio that I mentioned to potential clients (many whom took a quick skim at the visible stats and were impressed), which led to actual clients and income. And every engagement – every person who gave their time on here reading and reflecting and whom I never met in real life – made that possible.
On relating to your blog audience, readers usually want and respond to connection. As author Meera Kothand writes:
‘Your brand isn’t the logo or color palette you choose. Rather it’s the experience someone has with you.’
A lot of the time a successful and relevant blog is equated to having high engagement, many followers and many views, and perhaps making a profit off blogging. However, success and relevance are both subjective. Having the most popular blog is not the most important thing for many bloggers and not the most important thing in the world. There is no right or wrong way to blog – and it is often the connections that you make through blogging that really means the most in one way or another. Moreover, blogging consistently in the first place shows that you’re dedicated, creative and have the courage to say what’s important to you.
Blogs come and go, both personal and content-driven blogs. The average blog tends to last a few years. To keep blogging in the long-term and maintain engagement with your audience, it’s important to blog with honestly, and have a desire to blog and the flexibility to evolve as a blogger. When you have passion or purpose or both when it comes to blogging, you’re likely to want to continually expand on your content and reach – and stand out.
My blog is quite different than most others, not fitting into your typical food, travel, book, fashion or even opinion blog. Writing about cultural nuances and later branching out blogging about topics such as introversion, belonging and the writing process, I guess that makes this blog different: from ‘Asian Australian and Multiculturalism’ at the beginning, to ‘Identity and Introversion’ today. Interestingly enough, I’m not too active publicly on social media which can be a good way of connecting with a wider reach – another odd way of standing out in a digitally saturated world. And knowing what I truly value from blogging and in turn writing, being a global best-selling author isn’t important to me anymore. Rather making a positive difference and having an impact on connections made along the journey as a conscious wordsmith goes a much a longer way.
Blogging is still relevant these days. It is up to you on what you want to blog about and where you want to go with it.
How long have you been blogging? How has your blogging journey been?