Are Blogs Dead? Not Even Close. But They’re Different.

Screen-Shot-2014-06-05-at-12.04.54-AM-1

So, yesterday I had a total brain wave: Put WIP Wednesday on Instagram. Duh, all it takes is a hashtag (#wipwednesday), so I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it before! While WIP Wednesday continues to be popular right here on the blog, it seems tailor-made for Instagram too. Instagram is perfect for quick sharing—a “let’s just see what everybody else is working on” kind of thing. So in future weeks, I hope you’ll all participate in WIP Wednesday either on IG, here on the blog, or both, if you’re so inclined (you can now link up Instagram pictures in the blog-based linky).

But this got me thinking about all the talk recently among quilters about how “blogs are dead,” or “blogging is taking a backseat.” It’s true that blogging is taking a backseat for many people, but I don’t think blogging is dead—not even close. So today I want to tell you why I think blogs in the sewing and quilting community are alive and well. We’re just using them differently now.

A photo from one of my first blog posts

Let’s hop in the way-back machine to the year 2010, which is when I started blogging. Blogs were indisputably king then. Twitter existed, but I don’t recall it being popular among quilters just yet. If Instagram and Pinterest were around, nobody was using them. And people actually liked Flickr back then. I know, it was primitive. : )

At that time, I think blogs in the sewing community served two main purposes: 1) To foster community and sharing, and 2) To inform and educate. I started my blog almost entirely for the first reason: Sharing and community. At the time, I knew very few quilters in real life, and none of them were doing it quite the way I was. But the bloggers were. I felt like I found “my people” online. And with no IG, at the time there was no better way than blogs to share with each other what we were all working on. Starting a blog seemed like a natural way for me to more fully participate in that community.

Kissing Fish, my first tutorial/free pattern

But somewhere along the way, things shifted. People started asking me how I did certain things or what patterns I used (and the answer was often my own). Gradually my blog evolved to become more oriented toward that second purpose I mentioned above: Informing and educating. And at the same time, vastly better ways came along for participating in the online sewing community. Like I said, Instagram is perfectly suited for community interaction like WIP Wednesday. So if community is what you’re looking for, IG is probably where you’ll find yourself at home, and that’s just fine.

One of my first Instagram photos

But I can’t put a tutorial on Instagram. We can’t pin things from Instagram (yet!). With the exception of fabric de-stashing, it’s very difficult to buy or sell things directly from Instagram. I can’t describe things in-depth on Instagram. I can’t write an 800-word treatise on Instagram about why blogs aren’t dead. LOL. Those who want/need to learn something, or just get more long-form, detailed information, or buy things like fabric and patterns are still migrating online for that purpose, and will for the foreseeable future, unless something in the social media landscape changes dramatically.

And are there still people who want and need to learn about quilting and get more detailed information—to the level that they’re motivated to go online for it? According to my blog stats, the answer is a resounding “yes”. I’ve gained more than 4,000 new followers on Bloglovin’ alone since Google Reader officially bit the dust less than a year ago. I’m currently adding Bloglovin’ followers at a rate of around 100 per week. My page views are up 10% from a year ago, to an average of 75,000 page views per month, and my average unique visitors per month are up 12% to 25,000. And that doesn’t even count those who might only be viewing my content through a feed reader such as Feedly.

Supernova, the first quilt-along I hosted on my blog

So are blogs dead? Definitely not. But so much has changed since 2010. The medium is evolving. The way we use blogs is different, how we find and follow blogs is different, how often we read them is different, and why we read them is different. The way I see it, blogging has lost the community function it served back in 2010, but blogs’ educational function is still alive and well, and maybe more important than ever. But that means, for better or worse, blogging has become more of a one-way medium. It’s not as much of a conversation as it used to be. And there’s nothing wrong with that, since we have so many other two-way options now. Each social media platform has become more specialized. In fact, I think bloggers can embrace that specialization and learn how to use everything together (IG, Pinterest, Facebook, blogs) to create a sum that’s greater than its parts. (For example, I post here on my blog a bit less frequently these days, but I’ve tried to make sure it’s high-quality content when I do post. I use social media like IG to supplement with “bonus” content and to drive traffic to blog posts.)

Yes, I’m getting fewer blog comments than I used to. I think people come to my blog, read what they need to read, and move along. Or they’re scanning their feed readers and being more selective about what they click through on. But I think blogs are still the go-to platform for more detailed information when it’s needed. Meanwhile, Instagram, Facebook, etc. specialize more in community interaction (you can follow me on Instagram at @freshlypieced). I think that’s a pretty effective way to split things up, and it seems a lot of quilters out there agree with me. Blogs aren’t dead, so let’s embrace the different animal they’ve become.

83 replies
« Older Comments
  1. Sweet Pea
    Sweet Pea says:

    I love your blog. I have to admit, the older I get…the less time I have on my hands and find myself blogging less. Still I would be lost without all the tutorials! This is one thing I really love about blogs…therefore I would be lost without them. I have not jumped on the Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter of Flikr bandwagons simply because I don't want my time curtailed even further by them. But I must confess,I did succumb to Facebook! FB can provide links back to blogs and therefore bringing traffic back to your blog. Good luck with your work and whatever path you choose to take.

  2. Jane
    Jane says:

    Fantastic conversation and a lot of food for thought.
    A couple of things that come to mind is that we are so used to the 'like' button on FB and IG that if blogs had that we might get more feedback.
    And also, I read via Feedly and most often on my iPad these days – commenting from the iPad is a pain and not simple. So I am probably guilty of commenting less.

  3. Pat
    Pat says:

    I certainly hope blogs are not dead. I don't participate in any of the other social media so I'd be lost without my daily blog reading fest.

  4. Laura C @ littleandlots
    Laura C @ littleandlots says:

    Thank you for this post. I am just starting out as a blogger and I just about let it all go last winter when I was just on Instagram all the time. I am starting to read blogs again but I find I want to "read," not look. Long essays like yours, or bloggers who have a great writing style are the posts that capture my attention now. There is a place for both, and as your stats show, the division is rewarding those bloggers who are really talented long-form writers. (And I find that encouraging as a way to focus my blogging.)

  5. Elsa
    Elsa says:

    I still enjoy the blogs I read (yours being one of them). Instagram is nice and so is Facebook but blogs are so much more personal.
    When Google Reader ended, I did stop some of the blogs I read. I'm using email to get them and those that didn't use email got dropped.
    I'm so glad that you're still blogging and I'll keep following you!

  6. Kelly O.
    Kelly O. says:

    Blogs are not dead! I read around 85 of them faithfully through bloglovin' and am very thankful that you and many others are still blogging!

  7. Trish
    Trish says:

    Yes yes yes. I'm also a blogger but I fall into the book blogger category (plus some life stuff) but I dabble a little bit in quilting and so subscribe to about 20 or so blogs (via Feedly). I rarely comment because I'm really only just looking and learning but I would never have moved forward with my quilting hobby without quilting blogs. I love the tips and the tutorials. I love seeing the finished product and all the WIPs. I've even though about linking up my own WIP post one day…though that would mean I'd have to get organized. On the other hand, I don't subscribe to any quilting feeds in Instagram or Twitter even though I spend a fair amount on both. They just don't suit my needs (and because I'm not part of this quilting community I feel a bit voyeuristic following instagram but not interacting).

    In short, please keep keeping on!

  8. Rosa
    Rosa says:

    I agree. You've put some of my thoughts in this post.I`m thankful of many bloggers that share tips and ideas .I love read and leave a comment. Thanks for be there 🙂

  9. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    Oh please don't let the blogs die!! I've learned so much from bloggers. It's how I got back into sewing and have learned how to quilt! Thank you to all bloggers for sharing.

  10. Kris
    Kris says:

    Good conversation on this topic. I think blogs are alive and well and all avenues have their purpose. I just hope that I will not be the "last" person in the world to find out about Instagram ( I feel penalized right now because I don't have a phone). I am hoping by then we will have moved on to something everyone has instant access to…. Oh yeah that would be blogs, FB, flickr, twitter etc. 🙂
    Can someone tell me how Instagram works so I can understand if it is a time thing…is it as quick as putting a pic on flickr or FB? In the mean time I will just enjoy reading blogs and looking at flickr pictures.

  11. MissPat
    MissPat says:

    I hope blogs aren't dead because they are the primary way I follow quilting. I'm not on Facebook or instagram or pinterest or,any other social media. I need blogs to keep up-to-date. So thanks for keeping up your blog.

  12. senovia
    senovia says:

    I read your blog through Feedly and love your quilts and ideas. Thank you for continuing blogging. :). I love reading blogs and am pretty faithful about it.

  13. Cindy Dahlgren
    Cindy Dahlgren says:

    Yeah! I don't want blogs to die. I prefer the more personal and educational content of blogs. Thanks for this article. You should submit it to one of the magazines, I bet they would love it!

  14. Lisa E
    Lisa E says:

    Great perspective. I do NOT want to do all the other stuff (IG, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) because I don't need more time spent on a computer. Long live your wonderful blog.

  15. Julie
    Julie says:

    I read blogs EVERY day. I love them. I especially like the tutorials and ALL of the pictures. I hope the blogs I follow on Bloglovin stick around for a very long time.

  16. Jennifer | Gable House and Co.
    Jennifer | Gable House and Co. says:

    Long live the blogs!!!! I am glad you wrote this Lee because it was something that has been on my mind on and off recently. Matter of fact it raced through my mind on the way to a community service event for my daughter's 4-H club. Unlike myself I know most folks are big on the social media platforms but I have noticed the big rise recently with vlogs aka: video blogging. Its something that my daughter has begged me to allow her to do and I am not that really comfortable about it since she is under age. Even though it seem like every teenager and 20 something is out there doing it. Being a blogger myself, it sounds really hypocritical not allow her to go forward with it.
    Blogging for me started out in the way of hopefully sharing and connecting while still allowing me to have my own opinion. Which is something that became unwelcome on social media after voicing my opinion over home schooling. I was like, "Wow you asked for everyone's opinion of what they thought of home schooling and you unfriend me for it …nice!" Since starting my blog in 2010 I have evolved. Blogging has helped me with my grammar (which is still not perfect), kick out my inner demons even though I probably should have not done so. I can not express how liberating it is to voice my own personal expression even when I don't do it so elegant at times. It has taught me how to quilt at my own pace, as well as "Yes Virginia, you can open your own home business by designing quilts! You may not make a whole lot of money at it sweetie but it can be done."
    As for comments. Being someone who barely leaves comments unless it hits home or something I can relate with for example this post. I can not blame nor make others do the same. I have noticed is the rise in my numbers, and I have enjoyed blogging even more. I believe blogs are dwindling because they are not for everyone, just like social media is not for me. Here is the kicker though. Without social media my blog probably would not even get read. Thank you Lee for publishing this post so elegantly.

  17. Nicky
    Nicky says:

    Looks like that is exactly what is happening! I use my blog more to record what I've done when it is finished – my progress is on IG!

  18. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    I think we stalkings don't comment often but read often. But I use my blog to record the quilts I have made with the stories around them for me, so though a few people have commented it is not something I look for. It would be different if I was wanting sponsors. I was not good about even letting my family know the stories about my quilts this way if they want it they will have it.

  19. Anita
    Anita says:

    Love this post. It really explains what I've been reading on other blogs about why they're not posting as much or not blogging altogether. So thankful you are still blogging 🙂

  20. valentinegirl
    valentinegirl says:

    I'm very guilty of enjoying content and tutorials–and then NOT commenting. I do love the visual medium of blogs, the written word and learning new things. Thanks for sharing all of your talents!! I've avoided twitter and instagram until now and I don't really need to add any new obsessions or things to distract me even more!!

  21. Katie
    Katie says:

    I don't comment on blogs very often. But I do love blog posts. Especially for quilting tutorials and ideas! And I don't use instagram or twitter.

  22. Havplenty
    Havplenty says:

    I don't IG nor Tweet and do not plan to. I curtailed FB'ing because of too many privacy issues and too much effort though it certainly is a way for me to keep in contact with many around the globe.

    I do read the blogs I am interested in and look for inspiration from other quilters. I do not normally comment but I do enjoy the content.

  23. Havplenty
    Havplenty says:

    I also want to say there are some truly amazing artistically talented quilters out there in blog world whose works I would not have had the opportunity to enjoy if they somehow had not made a blog post here and there. I thank every last of you for sharing your talents and blogging just for me.

  24. Andrea @ Mouse in My Pocket
    Andrea @ Mouse in My Pocket says:

    Yea for blogs. I still love mine, though I've never gotten many comments, and I'm certainly not getting 100 new bloglovin' readers a week- 100 a week?! That's seriously amazing! I have 18 readers total. As much as I love social media, I would miss the ability for people to leave real thoughts and comments on my blog. Liking something on my feed will never be as meaningful as someone actually telling me what they like about a project, or what they would change.

« Older Comments

Comments are closed.