What happened to blogging for the hell of it?
EDIT: This post got a lot more attention than I intended it to for what is essentially word vomit. I am definitely a newbie to the blogging scene and have learned from this that there's tons of great posts out there by the "little guys" if I go digging. :)
My decision to start a capital-B Blog (as opposed to microblogging, which I've been doing since I was a wee one on The Tumbler) was largely spur-of-the-moment and happened roughly two weeks ago. I felt very passionate about mobile web design and disability, wrote a whole bunch of words, and hit that POST button. Yadda yadda.
Since then, I've been at a bit of a loss as to what I should write about next.1 I want to write more frequently about anything and everything, because it's good for you, and I have so many thoughts constantly assailing this brain of mine—and good god, I should use that BA in Creative Writing I paid tens of thousands of dollars for to write something besides fanfiction. So I consulted my friend Startpage.com with the obvious prompt: "blog post ideas."
What I got was a roaring cascade of capitalist buzzword swill:
- 120 profitable blog niche ideas and how to pick the right one (Write what'll make you money!)
- 50+ blog post ideas to drive traffic and increase followers (Get those numbers UP, baby!)
- 60 blog post ideas to fill your content calendar (Gotta push out that
contentoften enough for the algorithm!)
- 101 blog post ideas to refresh your content marketing strategy (Writing is a marketing tool!)
- 35 blogging ideas that are guaranteed to be popular topics (Do what's popular!)
Even in lists of ostensibly personal, creative, or fun blog topics, these prompts were frequently related to businesses, productivity, and social media:
- If three people who inspire you collaborated to make a product, what would that be? (The people who inspire me make art, thanks)
- How to eliminate your top distractions (Gotta stay on task! Don't ever waste time!!!)
- Interview an influencer (This on a list of prompts for "creating content that provides valuable advice"........keep telling yourself that.)
- Share your daily work routine! (This list is labelled "Fun"! IT'S FUN!!! DON'T YOU LOVE WORKING???)
- Blog about your favourite companies and brands (I closed the tab before my head could explode)
And if I do all this, I can become a "thought leader" (huh?) and drive organic traffic! Then my readers will follow my
I get that blogging is a big thing for businesses and influencers now, but I didn't realize just how obsessed the blogging landscape is with this corpo nonsense. I checked Google as well just to make sure that my search engine of choice wasn't skewing the results, but the pages I clicked on still overwhelmingly featured business-focused prompts. Or, even when the prompts were personal in nature, the introduction to the page promised me that these ideas would convert my readers into customers, grow my numbers, and get me more traffic than ever before!!! (To rake in that ad money, natch.)
It's just a bit depressing to see how much it's all become a numbers game, whether those numbers are dollars in your pocket or followers on your Instagram. I'm probably saying nothing new to anybody who's been on the blogging scene for some time, but as a newcomer who's just here to write creatively and have fun, it was a stark reminder of how corporate the web has become.
Why is that the end goal of blogging? Of writing? Just to make money and grow our followers? To increase our traffic so we can expose our visitors to 300 repetitive ads that take up their entire phone screen? To "convert" our readers into our customers, because them reading and enjoying what we have to say simply isn't enough? Personally, I want nothing to do with it. I'm sick of everything having to be a hustle now, even something personal like sharing our ramblings with strangers on the internet.
I have little else to say other than that I hate how capitalism ruins everything fun it touches. I'll continue to write about things that make me feel passionate, not how to make money or gain followers. And if the day comes where my blog ever features a sponsored post or sketchy weight loss ad, just shoot me in the face.
...In the end, perhaps I have to give those listicles a little bit of credit. They did give me the idea for my next blog post. 🤷♀️
- Well, sort of. I really want to write about Baldur's Gate 3, how it compares to Bioware titles, and how my personal feelings on said titles have changed over the years—but it would be pretty silly to do so before I've *finished* Baldur's Gate 3. I'm 100+ hours in now and just barely got inside the city walls!↩︎