I started blogging in 2008 – just over six years ago. As I mentioned in my bloggiversary post, I started blogging to be part of a community that shared their running experiences. The first blogs I followed were all running blogs – blogs written to talk about daily runs, how they felt about those runs, and some goals for the future. Eventually, food blogs/healthy living blogs made a rise to power, and I got sucked into the vortex of reading about someone’s life two-three times per day – what food they ate, how they exercised, and, most importantly, how they fit all this into their work schedule.
Eventually, many of those blogs morphed into full-time jobs, leaving behind jobs outside of the house. To me, this means one thing – you are no longer relatable. I’d definitely have more time to eat healthy and exercise if I didn’t have to be at a job for 12+ hours three-four days per week…especially when I was working nights and had no idea what a normal sleep schedule was. (“Don’t eat after 9pm!” I’ll eat a full meal at 2am and raise you eight cups of coffee.) But I still stuck around some of these blogs because I’d been invested in their lives, and they often got some cool opportunities to read about.
Very few running blogs managed to make it to “full time job” status (I can only think of one, correct me if I’m wrong), and instead I feel like the shift in the blog world kind of killed the traditional running blog. Bloggers moved to monetize their blogs, adding ads, sponsored posts, and product reviews. I do have an ad on my blog, and I make enough per year to cover my hosting costs…so maybe I’m guilty of this as well, but at least I don’t have so many ads on my site that you can’t figure out where the actual content is. I’ve also done a few product reviews and sponsored posts, but I’ve turned down many more simply because I don’t feel I have a use for them in my life, nor would I want to review something that I don’t actually like just for the money. I’ve been lucky enough to receive some cool stuff along the way – I ran Hood to Coast twice with Nuun, which is more than I have ever asked for, and Brooks has generously allowed me to be a part of their Brooks ID and Brooks Fanatics program for many years. This has included discounts, but I’ve been running in Brooks since I was 17 and I don’t see that changing.
Instead of simply sharing about their running life, many blogs seem to have moved over to what I call a “magazine style.” It’s no longer “omg my tempo run was SO HARD,” but instead it’s “10 tips for pushing through a speed workout.” Instead of “this is my goal for X race, and here’s what I plan to do to achieve it,” the post is, “How to pace for your best time.” Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t necessarily want or need generic running advice from random people. I want to hear how YOU pushed through, how YOU learned to hold back at the start of a race, how YOU bonked and pushed through those final miles.
It evens seems as though people have ditched their blogs altogether and moved over to Instagram. I always thought the point of Instagram was that it was INSTANT and you didn’t have five minutes of text to read under the picture. It just seems to quick and fleeting and I’m pretty sure we all just have the minds of goldfish these days, unable to let anything hold our attention for more than ten seconds. (Or maybe I’m just bitter because I don’t run with my phone and therefore lack pictures to share. Opportunities lost…)
Perhaps I just hate change. Some people have noticed that I’ve been blogging more lately – I kind of backed off last year because I felt sort of lost. I switched over to triathlon training, and I had no idea how I actually felt about what was happening – do I like this? Is this torture? When am I going to fall off my bike? When I got back into running (slowly but surely), I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about or, honestly, what people wanted to read. Do people want to hear my top ten reasons for running without music? Would people continue to read about my 1384th run around Central Park? Do I even care if anyone reads it?
So many questions.
The ultimate question.
I never started this blog to make money, to grow my readership, or to dispense life-changing advice to others. I’ve always been one of those “I’d rather have four best friends than 20 acquaintances” type of people, so I don’t necessarily desire 40 comments on each post. (Fun fact: I don’t think I’ve ever gotten 40 comments on a post. Maybe once.) My writing is much freer and natural when I’m writing about a run, my thoughts on a run, or plans for upcoming races versus trying to force some content that I think people might like. Even after saying all of that, I can’t help but feel if I’m getting “left behind” in the blogging world. Is my style a thing of the past? (Like Nike Tempo shorts? Because I still wear mine, poofy butt and all.) Should I pack up and move out? Should I stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and just do my own thing? (The answer is probably yes.)
The truth is I’ve enjoyed my past few weeks of writing what I want to write, not thinking about what others may think about it or if it’s “good for the blog.” So I plan to keep doing just that – I may get tucked away in the theoretical blog drawer under new, fresher blogs, but I’ll keep doing my thing.
What do you think about the shift in the blog world? Do you like the magazine style or the “this was my run” style?
And always taking recommendations on running blogs…