Where did all the bloggers go?

Out of nothing but boredom, I was scrolling through my 2,400+ followers on Twitter the other day, just having a nosy at who follows me really. I scrolled through every single one, all the way back to the very start of the list. And wow. I mean, really, wow. 

There were so many people I missed. So many people I met when I first started my blog, almost five years ago! A naive 18 year old looking to create a life in the media industry for herself, passionate about getting her voice heard and 'becoming famous' and was making a million and one pals along the way. Now, at 23, I look back and wonder where on Earth we all went... because half the people I was looking at weren't bloggers anymore, and the other half were people I don't speak to/don't speak to me. 

For a while, I felt sad. Sad that these once exciting friendships built on a shared love and passion for writing and creating content had fizzled out. Sad that there were so many amazing women in the world that I was lucky enough to know, even just briefly, and now didn't. 

But mostly, I was sad for the lack of bloggers. Where did they all go?

The rise of Instagram, the fall of the blog

I think at the end of the day, it really comes down to Instagram. It's almost destroyed the blogging community that I first became a part of in 2014. A community full of passionate, creative and excited individuals has turned into a pit of (mostly) women bitching, belittling and battling with each other. Everyone is out for themselves, trying to get to the top, be the next Zoella. People are suddenly having to be more conscious about posting appropriately, calling out others for not using the correct advertising hashtag and cancelling everyone and everything if even one tiny, wrong move is made. No one can just write anymore, and to be honest, it's draining. 

Sometimes, I just wanna write you know? Just pour out the first thing that comes to mind, not worry about who might read it or share it, who might be offended or might disagree. I don't want to stress about whether there are Instagram-worthy images in my post, about whether people will unfollow me if I press 'publish'. Sometimes I just want to write because it's what I love to do. I love words, I love creating, I love sharing. I don't want all this stress and ballache that seems to be a permanent side dish alongside it. 

I fully believe that Instagram is to blame. Far too many people found easy fame too quickly using Instagram. These same people branded themselves 'bloggers' simply for posing with a packet of Flat Tummy Tea on Insta to their audience of 30,000 people. In turn, these promotions then had to be branded as ad's, people began not using ad properly, people began to doubt the authenticity of these bloggers - who really weren't bloggers at all - and a sort of hate-parade began for those making a living from living online. 

These people using Instagram as a platform to create content are not bloggers. Some are micro bloggers, yes, but arguably they're 'influencers'. Even if you don't think they're influencing anything, that's what they're called. And unfortunately, a small (but quickly growing) portion of these influencers, who have contributed to the exceedingly quick growth and rise in popularity of Instagram and influencer culture, have at the same time, given 'bloggers' a bad name. 

Because non-influencers seem to think we're all one and the same now. They think that we sit around doing not a lot, posing with free products on Insta that we don't really care about and that is us, blogging. 

I can't stress this enough - that isn't blogging. Blogging is doing what I'm doing right now - writing! Writing with a purpose, writing with a desire to share a message. Documenting something in a long, lengthy way. Not just one Instagram post with a caption. 

Get to the point, Flo...

To be honest, I don't really have a point. I just feel very sad about the way things have gone for bloggers, and the seemingly rapid decline in *real* bloggers. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore Instagram - it's my favourite platform, and I will never stop sharing content there. I think it's great how much we have altered our use of Instagram from when I first got an account in 2012 to now. Things have changed so much and it's been incredible to watch the platform grow and watch as people have built careers from it.

But it's not so great to watch bloggers disappear. Or maybe I'm just not following the right people? I don't know. What I do know is that I definitely want to make sure I dedicate a bit more time and energy to my corner of the internet, because Lord knows I have it to thank for being able to live the life I do now.

Blogging is the best hobby I have ever taken up, and one of the longest I've stuck with. Writing has been a love of mine pretty much since I learned to do it, I have always been keen on communicating with people and being centre stage in all that I do - I don't want any of that to ever change or disappear. Whilst I'll always love Instagram and use it on a daily basis, my blog will always feel like home. 

Love from,
Florence Grace

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