old school blogging (itty bitty thoughts)
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Fun fact: way back in the day, in the time that I like to refer to as old school blogging, this website was called Farm Food Mama and it was all about cooking from scratch.
It’s also important to note that in the time of old school blogging, Facebook really wasn’t a thing yet.
I remember having to be convinced to join Facebook. It was 2009 and a talented writer friend of mine said, “I tell you what. I’ll start a blog if you join Facebook.”
Pre-Facebook, logging on to the internet was a commitment (because dial-up, yo). There was no instantaneous, already-there kind of connection. Desktop only, my friends. We didn’t do internet on the phone.
Pre-Facebook, I had 28 followers to my blog—and I thought I was on top of the world! There was no such thing as SEO or formulating your paragraphs so the almighty Google would smile upon you. You just…wrote. You wrote about your life. So I wrote about life as a chick with two crazy boys and a bunch of chickens and my hopefully someday journey to a real live farm.
I remember a couple (older) people asking me “why in the world would someone want to hear about your day? What makes your day special?” I wasn’t exactly sure. All I knew was 28 people were faithfully reading about my crazy, scribbly, very real, sorta redneck, super sweet life.
But the best thing pre-Facebook? Old school blogging created a little community. A slow, tight knit, in depth community. The first violin my youngest got came from a blog reader. The first quilt batting I got came from a blog reader. There were lots of things sent back and forth between our homes. We logged in daily to read each other’s writings. And if too many days went without an update from someone, we’d check up on them.
Old school blogging. It was great.
Now, fast forward to today.
Thousands of people visit my website every month.
Thousands of people listen to my podcast every month.
It’s crazy to go to a fancy ballgown and cocktail evening and have someone say “Omg, you’re Amy from A Farmish Kind of Life! I read your blog and listen to your podcast!”
In old school blogging, “blog” originally meant web-log, or a journal of sorts. However, most “blogs” have now been transformed into online magazines where if it’s not a how-to or all about xyz type piece of writing, it just doesn’t belong.
You know what?
I kind of miss old school blogging.
But wait, Amy. Didn’t social media make your name bigger?
Social media gave us access to each other, but it didn’t necessarily make our community bigger. Social media just puts us in front of lots of other people.
Social media changed the way the old school bloggers interacted. It made us always have to be “on”, ready to respond. We had to be careful of what we said. We had to interact at a certain level of engagement or our posts wouldn’t show up.
Here’s what I’ve learned coming from old school blogging to whatever you want to call what we do today:
I don’t think we are meant to be in community with 10,000 other people.
I don’t think we are meant to create content just to fill a space.
I don’t think we are meant to keep posting random status updates and pictures in some misguided panic that if we aren’t in front of people’s faces constantly, they will forget about us.
And all that content? Those status updates and pictures and shares and all the things? It gives people more to read. More to scroll through. But y’all there’s still only 24 hours in a day. We didn’t get more time for people’s content when people started pushing more content out.
I’m kind of ready to try old school blogging again. I’ll write about life here, at a place I’ve created instead of on someone else’s platform where I can only hope they will show you what I have said and entice you to come here to see what I have created.
But they probably won’t, because their job is to keep you on their platform.
I don’t know. In some ways, social media seems like it’s become the middle man.
And believe me when I say that I’m so thankful for and completely humbled by the friends I’ve met through this website and podcast, as well as those who came to find out about me somehow through social media.
But I just don’t know that social media is the best, most reliable way to keep a community of real connection going anymore.
It used to work.
We used to blog and know about people’s lives just fine. We used to blog and learn how other people were doing the things they had to do. We used to blog and learn skills and recipes and tips and tricks from others.
Social media made all that bigger and faster. But did it make it better?
I kind of miss old school blogging. I miss just talking about things that happen and not having a formula to follow. I miss getting to know people without the game of social media. And I’m just enough of a rule breaker, you can’t tell me what to do kind of person that old school blogging might just become the norm around here again.
I can see Google cringing now. And they’ll probably slap my hand.
Which is mildly annoying, but even if my hand stings, I’ll probably still be able to get chores done.
I mean, rub some dirt on it, right? I’ll be fine.
— Amy Dingmann, 9-20-20
(Note: In an effort to spend less time on social media, I’m going back to a short daily update here at my website. Simplifying things for myself— and hopefully you—and eliminating the need to scroll through angry, present-day drama to find uplifting or deep nuggets to spend the day with. I’d love your thoughts in a comment below or via email at [email protected])