Lately, I have felt like there is little to no point in publishing a blog post that took me any time at all. In the early days of my blog, I felt as though everyone was putting out quality content, and I was endlessly inspired. Every post I read would spark off ideas and memories, or give me inspiration for a post of my own. People bared their souls in their blog posts; shared private stories; weaved magical words.
These days I do not feel like that happens. I continue trying to weave magic and then keep it safely hidden on my laptop, away from weary eyes. Every other blog post I read is riddled with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. You can call me a grammar nazi, but I’ve read blog posts of rambling first person narrative so vague that by the end of the paragraph I have no idea what’s happening. Grammar is necessary. Was it the author who went to the beach and took those pictures? Is the named friend the one pictured or the narrator? What exactly is going on?!
People sometimes try and defend the kinds of behaviour I’m calling out. Obviously, we all make mistakes from time to time, but with apps like Grammarly and spell-check built in, those excuses falter somewhat. Even then, there are many valid reasons for ignoring spelling and grammar. Language contains multitudes, and I sincerely believe there is power in slang and in accents, in nuanced syntax and adjusting tones. That use of language is not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about using four different spellings of the word “definitely” in the same post.
It’s also very true that not all of us can afford editing software or the latest DSLR camera for our photos. Again, not all of us need or want to do that and there might be all kinds of things we wish to convey in our images that mean we do without fancy editing and sharp high-res shots. That’s obviously a different case altogether. I’m talking about how it smacks of irony to see bloggers describe themselves as a “top photography blogger” and then upload a single wonky, grainy image with a finger over the shutter.
I’m so fed up of blog posts that consist of a single over-exposed image and a paragraph of waffle. What have I clicked through for? A clickbaity title? I’m fed up of Travel Guides that are just a list of pictures with a name underneath. Where are these places? What are they? Are you recommending them or just acknowledging their existence? I’m fed up of “Lists” that aren’t actual lists. Career and Industry “insights” from people who started the job last week. “Helpful Tip” roundups which contain 2-3 tips and a load of waffle. Reviews that don’t include any basic information: what the product is, the name and price, where and how the author sampled it.
To me, it feels like lazy editing. I get it. We all occasionally sit down to write only to find our mind so blank we can barely string a sentence together. Top tip: WE DON’T NEED TO PUBLISH THAT. For a while, most of my edits were deleting random waffle. “Hi guys how are you all blah blah something vague” could easily fill two paragraphs of a post. These days I can pre-empt the waffle and get straight to the point. I’m not for a moment saying I don’t think people should greet their readers, but some clarity would go a long way. If you’re describing a post as a review, and the majority of what you’ve written is not a review, then that’s going to irk me. There’s a distinction between “chatty” and “ramble”, between “personal” and “pointless”. I get that we all have different styles and that the beauty of blogging is that anything goes. Does that mean we don’t want to hold ourselves accountable, to keep some sort of structure, to ultimately create better content and improve on our earlier selves?
I accept that this post probably sounds incredibly entitled. A lot of people have likely turned off already and are indignantly subtweeting me. Who do I think I am? But, honestly, in the years since I’ve started blogging the game has changed. People have realised that in the eternal quest for numbers, they can get more views by having a clickbaity title. Who gives a fuck what the content is so long as you’re getting the stats? I guess I’m old-fashioned in trying to hold myself accountable. There’s a whole ocean of blogs out there. If I’ve chosen to subscribe to yours then I at least want your post to do what it says on the tin. And I know that if I’ve ever rushed out a post I wasn’t sure about, I lived to regret it. I want my blog to represent the best of me: the best I can do.
I find it so frustrating to slave over posts just to release them into this void where they are quickly forgotten. Of course, I understand that blogging moves quickly. People feel the need to churn out 5 blog posts a week: not all of those can be heartfelt think-pieces that tug at the edge of the audience’s psyche. But do they need to be dashed off crap? I would like to think that there is still a place for quality content, still some merit for good writing and honest articles. Maybe I’m naive and that place isn’t blogging, but I know we used to be capable of more. After all, none of us built our audience on waffle alone.