Back when I started blogging, in 2001, every blog was a personal blog. Each blog was a person, taking about their experiences, passions and opinions in their own voice. Then things changed.
Many bloggers started to look at their sites as a way to make money. Blogs soon became clogged with banners and ads. Bloggers wrote less personal posts and focussed on fewer and more niche topics. And, blogs became more marketing influenced, to the point where many bloggers became obsessed with the idea of being a “personal brand.”
But, thankfully, things are starting to change.
“I’ve noticed an interesting shift in blogging. In short, there’s a trend moving away from hyper-focused niche blogs, back to what I’d call “personality” blogs. It makes me think of when I started writing online in 2000, and I like it.”
I agree. My observation is that bloggers have, in the past two years, started to blur the edges of their niches and let their own voice ring through more clearly. Many bloggers have made the decision to be less one dimensional and more human.
The Slash Reality
The problem with the whole myth of the personal brand is that people are not really like brands at all – at least, not the interesting ones; the ones we really admire, the ones we want to kick back and have a beer with, invite to our dinner parties or the ones with whom we fall in love.
People, are far more complex and embody many more contradictions than a brand could ever sustain.
Chase Jarvis, for example, is a professional photographer and also one of my favourite bloggers. Chase’s blog has all the characteristics of a professional blog, but, you also get a lot of Chase’s own personality and voice ringing through. And, increasingly, his blog is embracing topics and interests outside of photography. The next episode of Chase Jarvis Live (a free vidcast) will feature actor/director/musician/curator/environmentalist/entrepreneur, Adrian Grenier, who is very much the embodiement of the Generation Slash trend.
Away From Content And Back To Writing
In the past year a number of “high profile” bloggers have confided to me that they are bored with the pro-blogging “game.” Writing often just to create traffic, with short, keyword-laden posts that do little other than score well on Google searches is not what motivated them to get into blogging in the first place.
There is a vast difference between filling your blog with content in order to generate traffic and writing because you simply have something to say.
I’m hopeful that more and more bloggers will let their personality shine through and focus less on the so-called rules for generating more traffic and search hits. The truth is that it’s very hard to really get noticed if you are playing the same game everyone else is playing and following the same (totally made-up) rules.
Increasingly the most influential blogs in any field are the ones that most clearly come from one, original and talented person being themselves. If you want your blog to stand out, help you build a following, make real connections with people and develop a reputation, then your best bet is to be yourself and let your personality filter through every part of your website and infuse it with originality.
And, anytime life hands you the opportunity to be sucessful by being yourself, it is a beautful thing.