Remember the Old Days of Blogging?

by Elizabeth

Remember the old days of blogging? I do, and fondly. I loved how blogging was like carving out my own online space to be creative, to express myself, to have conversations and connect with the people I loved.

But eventually blogging started to stall. People started migrating to Facebook and Instagram; these were the new methods of communicating your message. And they came with new rules. Provide shorter, pithier (and sometimes meaner?) content. Always include a photo. Maybe even build your post around the photo, instead of the words. Extra points if you can edit and improve the photo.

And so for a time, it became easier and simpler for me to just to pour my personal content onto the Facebook platform. After a while the photo requirements started to feel heavy. I’m not a visual artist or a talented photographer. I know nothing about photo editing. I tell stories through words, usually long stories. Even with all these changes, I still kept at it.

But years of this social media habit took its toll. Facebook began to stress me out. It wasn’t the light-hearted online gathering place it used to be. It was filled with angst and stress. But I couldn’t figure out a way to get off of Facebook and still be a communicator, because Facebook was where the people were. And if you want to have meaningful conversations, you need other people to be involved. And importantly, I loved the ability to keep in touch with friends who were far away.

But about a month ago, after reading a book and doing some personal reflection, I signed out of Facebook. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it, not even my husband, because I didn’t know how long my decision would last. A few days later he asked me a question about something that had happened on Facebook, and I replied, “I haven’t been on Facebook for 3 days. I don’t know what’s happening there.”

He (and the rest of the family) seemed thrilled that I wasn’t on Facebook.

As the days and weeks went by, I found I was less stressed out. I didn’t necessarily think I was acting any differently, but my family told me I seemed happier. And every time I considered signing back in, perhaps to try to connect with friends or find out what they’d been up to, I was filled with dread. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was afraid of getting sucked back into the endless scroll again or being activated by triggering content.

This experiment proved to me what I had only previously wondered about: Facebook is a place of stress for me. At this point the stress is so intense that it’s not worth the gains of being on it. Once upon a time, it hadn’t been stressful. It is now. Even though I dearly miss catching up with far-away friends on social media, I’ve realized that taking care of my mental health in this way is the right thing for me to do in this season.

But what to do about the writers and experts I followed on Facebook? After some investigation, I learned that serious writers back up all their content on their own websites, and they have email lists for people like me who want their content but don’t want social media. I signed up for all the email lists I needed, and now I happily receive their content without the stress of social media.

This made me consider the idea that perhaps the future of blogging lies in its past. That maybe people are returning to website-oriented writing once again. Or that maybe in the future, they will. This blog is our own: Jonathan and I pay for the privilege of hosting our own online space. The content doesn’t belong to a “free” social media company that bombards you with pointless or offensive ads, or that is constantly monitoring your online behavior (read the aforementioned book if you want more insight into the monitoring).

Regardless of whether or not the future of blogging lies in its past (my prediction could very well be wrong), I’m choosing to return to my blogging roots. I don’t plan to get back on Facebook any time soon. If you want to follow my journey (especially as I repatriate to the States), following the blog will be the fastest way to see new content. (Simply click on “Follow trotters41” on the side bar if you don’t already subscribe.)

I’ll also plan to use third party aps to post to Facebook, but I won’t be around to answer comments on Facebook itself. And I’ll eventually make that announcement on Facebook, too, so my online friends know what’s going on with me.

I want to start writing again, and this is the place where I’m going to do it. It may be in fits and starts. It may be small updates at first. I might include longer essays at some point. I may share mundane things that are going on with me; I may share books that are helping me along my journey. I may suddenly share something really private and profound. I don’t know how it will unfold. I’m just going to begin again.

I’m going to let trotters41 be in 2021 what it was for me when we first transitioned to Cambodia in 2012: a place to share my journey and a way to walk into the future, whatever that future looks like. In a way I’m coming home. This is the place I first found my voice, and I intend to find it again. I hope you’ll join me here.

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14 thoughts on “Remember the Old Days of Blogging?

  1. I love your writing and have enjoyed your blog posts for quite a while now. Thank you for your transparency and looking forward to future posts. Never wonder if your words touch hearts. One of them has been mine.

  2. There’s nothing like blogging. I also chose o purchase web space and for grins I chose to monetize with ads. That was a year ago, any guesses how much money I’ve made? 8 cents. Seriously. My point being – ad free does little for you and you shouldn’t feel like you’re losing out by being ad free 🙂

  3. I’m glad too that you’ll be writing more. 🙂 Also, I recommend Feedly for subscribing to blogs. I love it. Several years ago, Facebook traffic to my blog dropped dramatically and I think it is because of how they’ve made the algorithm. So I’ve learned that if I really want to follow a blog, it’s always best to subscribe.

  4. This is brilliant! I have been giving a lot of thought to breaking the Facebook habit as well, but unsure of where to turn. Perhaps getting back to my own little blog is the way to go. Well done you!

  5. Leaving facebook takes courage since it’s a quick way to say hello, post a prayer request, find information about someone, not sure if I am ready for that yet but I do see it coming. In a couple years we will retire from our mission and I know for sure I will be getting off facebook then. So many of our missionaries communicate with us through facebook. I did facebook first and then came blogging. What I love about blogging is that I can go deeper and wider, with my heart. It’s easy to share my thoughts as I blog. I have few followers, have a lot more on my facebook site. With facebook I have chosen to post a meaningful quote every day, a few prayer request. Love seeing pictures of everyone children. Don’t do crafts, recipes, politic, poems, just quotes with scriptures sometimes. Often times what I post on facebook is the core of my blog that week which I only do once a week. As I said, it takes courage to off a way to communicate, good for you, follow your heart. I don’t stop by often but when I do I enjoy your read. Blessings.

  6. I appreciate your honesty and authenticity. Much (if not all) of what you wrote resonates with me. Thank you for sharing about this part of your journey!

    I am still finding my writing voice and this year, I started an IG account (late joiner here) to try it out. I was one of those who started “migrating.” We will see how it goes.

    I use FB, but the majority of my FB use is to post my blogs, update family pictures or directly go to someone’s page to read updates. Over the past year, I have definitely pulled away from FB (so many triggers!). I have been having similar thoughts about just focusing back on blogging as I find it allows me to feel like more of myself and not an “image” of myself. I too am not a “visual artist” and the having to find or create a picture part of IG is definitely a stressor.

    Thank you for your faithfulness to write and share. Your writings impacted me greatly, especially when I was in the throes of my first term on the mission field. I look forward to reading many more of your blogs in the future!

    • Thanks for joining me on this blogging journey! I love that blogging makes you feel more like yourself and that you’ve pulled back from some triggers. May your find your own unique voice more and more as you step forward into the future. ~Elizabeth

  7. I’ve followed your blog off and on for the last several years and there have been several posts that comforted me in my faith walk or challenged my perspective right when I needed it. I’m glad you’ll be posting more as I’m not much of a FB person. Thanks to both of you for your writing!

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