Over the last six to twelve months a lot of my favourite bloggers have stopped blogging. I really miss them and a few conversations with some of them got me thinking. Blogging is quite a big commitment, especially when it's something that you do as a pastime and you have other commitments/a job/kids etc. Most of my favourite bloggers aren't career bloggers, they have full time jobs and blog for the love of it. When it stops being fun they stop blogging.
The question then becomes what makes blogging no longer fun? For me it was expectations. When I first started blogging back in 2007 bloggers were not taken seriously by PR companies, brands and the mainstream media. Products were not given to bloggers for review, PR's wouldn't respond to email queries for information and bloggers were mainly ignored by brands. In a lot of ways this made blogging easy. You blogged about what you wanted to blog about, there were no expectations that reviews would be posted within a certain timeframe and you blogged on your own time frame. To me this made blogs a very powerful source of information because I knew that I was getting their honest opinion, not something that had been paid for.
Fast forward a few years when brands and PR companies realised that bloggers had a lot of clout with the community. They started adding bloggers to their mailing lists, sending out products and that's where the expectations started. When a brand or PR company send out a product they expect the review to be posted in a timely manner. Even when products are sent out unsolicited they still expect a review in a timely manner.
I used to get quite a lot of products send to me back then. It got crazy, to the point where there was no way I could keep up with the reviews. It was overwhelming. I found that I was constantly trying to keep on top of the product reviews and I was no longer writing about the things I wanted to write about. Back then when PR's and bloggers weren't used to dealing with each other, PR's could be really pushy. I remember one who'd sent me some baby products unsolicited just after I'd had Chai. I was a new mother, struggling with sleep deprivation, Tiger was working a 13 day fortnight and the PR would email me weekly asking why my reviews weren't posted. I don't know how many apology emails I sent her. Looking back I should have just told her to go away but at the time I didn't.
All the expectations meant that blogging was no longer fun. I thought about closing down my blog but I didn't want to, blogging is my outlet. Instead, I stopped accepting products for review and if I did receive products I'd make it clear that I might not blog about them. Blogging was fun again. I was blogging on my own terms about the things that I wanted to blog about.
I can blog this way because I'm not blogging for profit. I expect that the career bloggers don't have as much choice, they need to pay the bills.
For me, I like blogging my way, about the things that I want to blog about.