April 12, 2014

Blog Disenchantment

I’m one of those millennials, a digital native who's been blogging and reading blogs since the year 2000. My generation is as comfortable with reading and writing online as other generations were with reading newspapers and keeping private diaries.

But I’m disenchanted with blogs in general, just now.

I follow blogs I love via feedly. Each morning I used to look forward to opening my blog feed and devouring new thoughts, new words and philosophies, new perspectives from others. By the time I'd closed the browser, I felt I’d had a friendly chat in which I was introduced to great new ideas that I could act upon or think critically about for the rest of the day.

Lately, though, I open my blog feed cautiously. I scan the titles of blog posts warily. I mark-as-read but often don’t actually read titles that include “The Best Way To” or “10 Reasons Why You Should” and sometimes even “Creative Ideas For…”

Over the past 15 years, I’ve watched as the general feel of the blogosphere evolved. The blogs I read started as public spaces for individuals to share their journeys, finding gracious community for discussion. Then blogs became How-To directories, thanks in part to the rise of Pinterest and the irresistible pinability of “10 Ways to Do This” and “7 Easy Steps for That.” (I do love you, Pinterest.) Now when I stroll through blogworld, the general gist of most posts seems to be “Here’s How I Do Things And Why You're Doing It Wrong.” That attitude of superiority often continues in the post comments, where other readers argue with one another over who’s actually doing it right.

Admittedly, I have a post or two that may have ventured into this realm. As if to validate my suspicions about the change in the blogosphere and blog readers, sadly those are the posts which get the most “traffic” on my blog.

I don’t like the new trend.

Bloggers used to share with and encourage one another. Now that we’re all experts at something, we lecture.

Now, when I read through my blog subscriptions, instead of feeling inspired by others’ ideas, I feel defeated by their dogmatism. I’m not eating clean enough, or rising early enough in the morning, or maximizing my productivity enough at work, or feeding my garden with organic enough materials, or being crafty enough at Christmastime, or using a good enough camera for my blog photos, or filtering my drinking water well enough, or standing up enough while working.

And I should feel like a lazy, awful person for not doing those things, since apparently they’re all “super easy” and innately crucial to your health and character and worth as a human being.

Reading mommy blogs gives me Mommy Guilt, and I don't even have kids.

There is no peace in that. And to all of that, I say: Enough.

I want to read your ideas, blogworld. I want to be inspired.

But maybe you could acknowledge that your way is not the only way. Perhaps you and I could be honest about the ideas that went wrong, the times when it wasn’t super easy, the days when it required 15 failed tries instead of 5 Easy Steps.

And please don’t look down on me if I consider your ideas and then decide that a different way is best for me in this season, for my own God-given life purpose.

I’ll do the same for you.

P.S. Holley Gerth and Emily Freeman write refreshingly different blogs that I still do read. What others would you recommend?