Yesterday I celebrated a little milestone. Another 365 days since I began The Twinkle Diaries. Another year blogging. So here I am, celebrating my little corner of the world wide web.
Happy birthday little blog! Six years old!
Six. The Twinkle Diaries has been a fixture in my life for six years. I’ve been in permanent job roles for less time than that!
I remember so vividly when I started it. Setting up my WordPress account and writing my first post.
I felt really excited to have a virtual diary; somewhere to record how I felt. Somewhere secret — a place just for me — that no-one else knew about. I didn’t even tell my lovely boy. I just set it up, and began to write.
Hiding in Plain Sight
I always kept a diary when I was younger — of the traditional paper variety — and I was always terrified of people finding it and reading it.
If I’d thought for a second that thousands of strangers would stumble across my blog every month — that my thoughts would be on public display — I think I’d have closed it down there and then.
That might sound a bit odd. I knew that it was on a public platform but, given how many websites there are on the internet, I figured that mine would never be found. It was almost like hiding in plain sight — being invisible in a gigantic crowd. It felt safe and clandestine.
I kept it secret for so long. I wrote for over 2 years before I finally began to tell my friends and family about it.
And although I initially felt really shy about them reading my words — and looking at my pictures — by that time I was working with some amazing brands.
I’d developed a strong online presence and had made some lovely blogging friends too; who offered support and friendship and helped me to navigate my way around this new industry that I’d found myself in.
I began to feel more confident with every post and eventually, when people asked me what I did for a living, I began to say that I was a content creator.
Words and Pictures
But whilst my transition from full-time designer at Mooks to full-time blogger was unplanned, these days, blogging seems to be the career of choice for many.
Although I don’t know whether it’s the art of ‘blogging’ — or creating content — that interests them, so much as ‘free stuff’ or making a fast buck.
Believe me, you won’t make a fast buck. And nothing in life is ‘free’.
Most successful bloggers work incredibly hard to create their content. Photography, words, films, design, social media management — there are a myriad of things that go into creating a blog.
Granted, a blog is words and pictures when all said and done — but don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s easy.
An Everchanging Landscape
I wonder if my blog will still be here in another 6 years.
Life without it, is really hard to visualise. I can’t imagine writing that final post, not renewing my domain name and letting the url — and everything that makes up this website — slip away into the Aether.
But whether I’ll be blogging in the same capacity, I’m not sure.
The face of social media is changing. Brands are realising that ‘influencers’ are a more effective way of selling their products to Joe Public, than old fashioned methods; like TV and radio.
Instagram is currently the platform of choice; although I think that may change, the way things are going.
In a bid to make themselves look more popular and more attractive to brands and PRs, some Instagrammers are paying for likes or followers. Or taking part in huge comment pods or getting bots to engage on their behalf.
As a result, the landscape is inconsistent. It’s hard to tell what’s genuine and what’s been artificially inflated.
Blogging friends and I have discussed whether PRs know; or actually even care?
If the figures they’re presenting — to the brands they’re representing — look healthy then why should they mind how they came about?
That’s hypothetical, of course.
I know that some do care.
And I’m also sure that, eventually, there’s going to be a huge backlash against bad practices. The algorithm is already broken; Instagram changed it in a bid to stand up to the bots but it’s just driven influencers to use other methods to increase their engagement. It’s a mess. And the underhand tactics and follow/unfollow game-playing makes organic, natural growth and engagement very hard.
And although my Instagram numbers are modest, the engagement that I get is genuine. And I’m proud of that.
Proud too, of the little space that I’ve created here. And so grateful that I pressed publish all those years ago.
I’m grateful for the extraordinary career that I seem to have found myself with.
For the lovely people that email with questions about Dolly the caravan.
For amazing opportunities that allow me take my beloved man-cubs and the whole of their class to McDonalds for an after-school treat.
And for moments like last week, when a friend emailed to say she’d seen me on the cover of a magazine (more about that in another post!)!
I’m grateful for it all.
Here’s to you little blog. Happy 6th birthday — here’s to our next 12 months.