The Evolution of Blogging
he idea of blogging was born out of the desire to share authentic experiences with others. Travelers would post their raw, imperfect photos and write about their adventures. They didn’t have a million photo filters to edit their pictures or unbelievable drone footage. Blog posts were filled with words and if there were any photos, they were of more than just themselves and their food in iconic locations.
As blogging has gained popularity (and monetary value), more and more people have sought the title “blogger”. As someone who is and has always been incredibly passionate about writing, there are several aspects of this “Blogging Era” that leave me more than a little perturbed…
Now, I have to clarify that when I refer to “bloggers” I am specifically focusing on those who refer to themselves as travel bloggers. Here are my questions and challenges for you (and of course myself).
What Frustrates me About “Blogging” Today:
- Posts share very little useful/applicable information
- Too many photos, not enough written content
- Photos don’t capture realistic experiences
- Posts have little if any insightful/thought provoking comments
Travel bloggers…what happened to all the relevant and applicable information?? What happened to the story? I search for three things in blog posts: 1. logistical information related to the adventure so I can experience it myself, 2. storytelling that draws me into the moment and makes it feel real and 3. thought-provoking insight that challenges me to consider new ideas.
I love a stunning picture of some remote beach or mouth-watering food or your exotic experience swimming with sharks…..and while these photos have me picking my jaw up off the floor, they also leave me with about 1,000 questions, none of which are answered.
How did you get to that gorgeous beach? Did you hike, take a sketchy bus ride, ride up the mountain on a llama?? Is there anything extra I should bring with me? Where was the restaurant with that amazing food? How much did it cost? Did they speak English? How did you book your shark swimming extravaganza? Is it something I need to book far in advance? How much does it cost??
If anyone else can relate here pleeeease let me know. I can see pretty pictures all day on Instagram, but when I go to someone’s website, I want to discover the stories behind the photos! Can the author transport me into the moment with their storytelling? Can their words make me feel as though I am walking down the foreign streets right next to them, can they bring the sites and smells and flavors to life?? These are the posts I am desperate to read and am dying to write myself.
Not only is there no logistical content telling me where and how I can do what they did, but there is also no cultural or insightful information.
I crave posts that cause me to pause and think about a topic for longer than 2 seconds. A post that is thought-provoking, challenges me to look at something from a diverse perspective. A post that makes me look at myself differently, look at the world differently. There is so much we can learn from each other when we take the time to share it. Each of us has a unique set of experiences, backgrounds, religions, world views that all come together to give us our unique perspective of the world. Each of us could have the seemingly same experience and come away with completely different thoughts and insights.
Technology has created a global web of connectivity where we are able to interact with people from every culture. This is access to so many different minds around the world is something that can be used to share so much more than just pretty images.
I can’t tell you how frustrated I get when I am scrolling through a blog post and it feels more like I’m scrolling through their Instagram feed. There are 100 pictures and almost no words to explain or describe anything.
I’m calling myself out as much as anyone here because even I feel that pull to add as many beautiful photos to a post as possible. There is this part of me that feels like if I don’t have photos scattered all throughout my blog posts then people won’t continue reading. As if the photos are the only thing worth giving any time to! And let’s be honest, often times they are. When the writing is poor (or even non-existent) why would anyone spend their time reading through it?
To be fair, I would argue that the appreciation for reading has decreased significantly in this new age of technology. More often than not, we seek something that will allow us to turn off the wheels turning in our head and put our brains on autopilot. Okay, if I get on this topic I could go on for days so I’m going to real myself and avoid that bunny trail for now. But essentially, I wanted to note that even when blogs do provide quality written content, it can be hard to find the right target audience who will value it.
So, my challenge for you and for myself is can we refocus our energy on sharing more than just the images of our most coveted moments? Can we create a community where each of our personal experiences can be used as a means of broadening all of our world views?
We can use this powerful tool called the internet for so much more than just momentary stimulation from photos. Yes, we can and should include our amazing images and videos in our content, but what I really want to know is what did that trip teach you? How did it change you? How can I learn from your experiences and how can I teach others from mine?
This is my ultimate goal as a writer. I want what I share to bring tangible value to the lives of others and I challenge you to question how you can do the same.
I hope you enjoyed this article and I would love to hear your thoughts regarding this topic. As a writer, what has your experience been in the blogging world? And as a reader what kind of content are you searching for?