5 reasons why big blogs bore me

This post was inspired by my salsa-encrusted friend Meghan’s post, “Are you blogging for all the wrong reasons???” This post is meant to be a personal reflection on my feelings of detachment towards immensely popular personal blogs. This post is not a comment on all popular personal blogs, but trends and patterns I notice, and my own emo-bullshit feelings on the subject. Proceed with a sense of humor, and a grain of salt – preferably on the rim of a margarita.


Blogging has roots in the glory days of Xanga and Livejournal (and even Geocities!), where readers got to peek into the minds of real people – relatable people! Just like you and me. It was an adventure in articulating yourself, in text form, and to the most hostile of audiences – the Internet. I’ve written a number of riveting blog posts on the subject of blogging. And by riveting, I mean, sometimes I ramble about things. And sometimes wine is involved. Here are just a few reasons I’ve become jaded with super popular blogs.

i-woke-up-like-this
Aurora, you playin’

1. The bigger a blog gets, the less personal and less real it seems.
The more bloggers stage Instagram photos, endlessly promote their totes affordable e-book or e-course, or push out detached content (that feels like its written more for traffic, trend piggybacking, or shock value), the more it feels like a performance, and not an authentic blog. There’s a tricky correlation between how refined, polished, and poised a blog becomes, and how disingenuous it feels. Socality Barbie’s Instagram makes a spot-on satirical commentary on this staging of a life that no one leads, but that everyone can relate to. Blogging professionalism is not something to be poo-pooed on – I think an editorial calendar, smartly-shared pins and tweets, and top-notch photos are to be commended and encouraged! But there’s some kind of a wiggly squiggly line, and I’m not even sure my own self where it’s at. I just know I want to stay on the “real” side of it.

tyler-salad
Tyler Oakley loves salad, as do Stock Photo Models

2. The pressure is on to put out content your audience expects, vs. content you want to put out. (Not that these things are mutually exclusive)
Once you build yourself up and develop your niche, diverting off this path has to be extremely difficult. I’d imagine your blog readers may even get hostile, if you have a change of heart, and begin to blog about something different (but maybe that’s just my perception of this terrifying place we call the world wide web). Let’s be real – people grow and change on the daily, and shouldn’t our blogs be free to do so? Or would readers of popular blogs bust down our doors (or comment buttons), pitchforks in hand, if perchance a blogger changed their tune? Not impossible, I’m sure, but undoubtedly difficult. And if a super blogger faces such peril, who can say they aren’t just an echo of their blog from years past, and not a changed person today, wanting to blog about something else?

3. It’s difficult to trust what’s being said, and constantly worrying what the motive is.
Once you know a blogger you love has been sponsored by Super Corp. USA, or whichever brand it is, it’s tough to trust that the content isn’t being weasled and wiggled by “the man” – as much as you might trust the blogger. As a blogger, the odds of being able to represent the products you truly love must be astronomical. Logically, we start at the bottom, and go through the less desirable brands first. So do bloggers sell their souls at first, blogging about the fiddle and the faddle, to then be able to represent the brands they truly love? It’s slippery hill you have to climb. Not impossible, but improbable, yes. Additionally, what message are bloggers sending when they do sell out for a brand, beloved or not? It might stink of consumerism, but we all love our stuff, especially when it doesn’t cost anything. But free stuff comes with strings attached – particularly marionette-style to your soul, while you feed the greed machine. Another wiggly line. Walk that tight rope with caution.

office-space
Office Space is my reality.

4. The authentic interactivity fizzles.
How can you develop a friendship with someone who has craptons of followers? It’s difficult enough weeding through endless notifications, but to authentically respond to them all? I’m no saint, but I love knowing who is out and about in my blog world, and having conversations with them. Checking up on peoples’ blogs and social media is an awesome way to catch up with those I consider Internet friends. My under-updated Geek Posse contains just a glimpse of the people I care to check up on – who deliver great (and personable) content! And the Geek Girl Pen Pals is also a community that makes it easy to see what all the amazing people in my community are up to! But popularity comes with sacrifices, and that sometimes includes real relationships and genuine conversation. With thousands or millions of people begging for your attention, it is impossible to keep up with it all, let alone develop genuine connections.

5. Celebrities, bloggers included, become less like people and more like brands. And while brands are cool, I don’t truly care about them.
Maybe bloggers aren’t always posting heart-wrenching and emotional stories, but I want to feel like I’m reading about a real person. I worry that if someone knows thousands of people will be reading their post, and judging it, they’d be carefully crafting it to be a perfect display of their brand. Yes, I advocate developing your brand. It’s valuable, professionally. But remember, when it comes to a personal blog, the word “person” is in there. Fame isn’t something people ask for, it’s driven by the random algorithm known as “popularity.” But an authentic blog needs to be a real, and needs to feel like the words of a person, not a brand.

ned-stark-blog
I miss you, Ned.

Clearly, anyone can blog for any damn reason they want to. I can’t discern what or why people blog. Hoomans can choose to have a blog of any quality, that promotes and posts whatever they choose. But – TL;DR – I long for the days of LiveJournal, and raw emotion on the Internet. The authenticity that comes from pouring your heart out online is a genuine glimpse of humanity through the computer screen, and makes me – and hopefully all of you- feel a little less alone, in the tubes of the Internet.

I know I’m guilty of some of the stuff I’ve bitched about, as are some of you readers. Not that I want everyone to stop doing their thing, or being popular, which is outside of anyone’s control. That’s what we’re all trying to do as bloggers: grow ourselves and expand our reach, right? I’m sure if my blog exploded in an estrogen and glitter-filled rage of popularity, I’d be puffing a different pipe right about now. But alas, this is my reflection. So come with me, tiny bunnies… hop through the series of tubes with me. Go make an Internet friend (or two, or 10), while continuing to put out authentic content you really care about. Big blogs can be awesome, and clearly became popular for a reason. But teeny blogs are awesome in a way all their own. Keep it real, Interwebs.

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  • YES YES YES especially points 2 and 3:

    2. when you start following a blogger to cheer them through a heartbreak or renovating their farmhouse or their infertility struggles for six years and then slowly but surely those posts get replaced by sponsored posts by Kellog’s and Target until the day they’re basically pod people controlled by the Pampers corporation and then

    3. one day they post something deeply personal and revealing and you begin to believe maybe you have your old ‘friend’ back and the curse has been lifted and they’ve got back in touch with their ability to feel human feelings again and at the last paragraph starts “That’s why, when my world is ripped apart, I know I can turn to Scotch brand tapes and office products to piece my life back together again and you’re like DAMN IT YOU ALMOST HAD ME

    Basically, I love this post. Xanga and LiveJournal forever. <3

    • Stewie

      Pod people! I definitely get that vibe. And are free pop-tarts and diapers really worth it? It’s just money, but I feel like I blog for a creative outlet and to connect. I can always buy my own freaking pop-tarts.

      3 literally made me LOL.

  • I was just talking with Mia about this! (Like just!) Both of us have every intention on having a in-the-middle blog, but the line is ridiculously hard and everyone feels fake. We were joking about our niche being honesty.

    Also, I read a blog post awhile back about when “people became brands and brands became people.” It genuinely changed the way I viewed blogging culture entirely, especially because I am intending on using my blog as a career blog. It’s such a strange line, but it did make me way more conscious of my goals and focusing on staying human.

    • Stewie

      It’s so hard for a blog to be truly authentic when we know that prospective employers, friends and family family who might get their feelings hurt, or judgey cool people from the Interwebs are looking at it. We want to make sure it’s not going to get us fired, lose us real life friends, or get unfollowed in a hot second because people don’t like it – but at the same time, we want it to be real and from our heart and genuine. But we have nasty thoughts and make mistakes and are real people, flawed in so many ways.

      Ugh I could rant about this for days, but you and Mia are in my tribe <3 you're both delightful bloggers who blog honesty and tickle my heart.

  • Mia

    Oh Stewie, it sounds like we’re on the same wavelength right now. It’s such a delicate balance and one I know I’ve teetered with on a few occasions. It’s a big reason why I don’t follow bigger bloggers as much as I once did — I followed them to see real people, and the more sponsored and polished their Instagrams and posts get, the more it feels like a magazine, not a blog.

    Remind me to message you the next time I’m having a crisis of blogging faith!!

    • Stewie

      We’re been on that wave length for years now! You’re one of my very first “blog buddies” <3

  • I totally agree with the points you’ve made here and I’ve found myself unfollowing a lot of the bloggers I used to like because it’s just adverts after adverts and no real content, not that I have anything against bloggers doing advertisements I’m all for it but there needs to be a balance I mean there is a reason why people stopped reading magazines and started reading blogs and it’s that personal interaction and relatability. xoxo

    • Stewie

      I can’t bear to look at some of the blogs I once loved to read because I feel like I’ll be assaulted with a giant cheeseball of narcissistic self-promoting plugs and phony bologna. I long for realness. There is a balance that exists, and you can advertise yourself, but it’s a wiggly line that takes skill to walk.

  • B

    Blogging has changed so much, and it seems to happen in waves. I remember when I first started, everything was a personal blog and nothing was sponsored. Then certain bloggers got big and cashed in (more power to them), then it was like people woke up and went back to being THEM, and now it’s back to sponsors and what not. It’s interesting to watch but I have no desire to take part in the foolishness.

    • Stewie

      Yeah I definitely know I’ve been around the Interwebs for so long now, it comes in weird cycles. Blogging is a sub-culture all its own that’s impossible to define but too addictive to stay away from.

      But sometimes I kind of just wanna go back to playing Neopets instead.

      • This post was awesome! It speaks so loudly to me. As a relatively new blogger, it is frustrating trying to establish yourself and find your voice when you feel like the people making it are so fake. I love when I can find a blog that sets out to accomplish something, and sticks to their direction.

        And life would definitely be easier if we could all just go back to playing Neopets!

        • Stewie

          I try to encourage new bloggers to sound “established” from the get-go, which in a way can be fake (because you are just getting started and are not established) – but from a reader perspective, it can sound unprofessional if you’re hmming and hahing your way through your posts, continuously making excuses for your writing (Example: Sorry guys, this is my very first post so I am sure it sounds terrible!)

          But at the same time, that inner dialogue and agony is real and authentic, so who am I to say people shouldn’t do that and should just be real? I guess confidence isn’t the same thing as being fake, so I’d say I encourage confidence when you first start blogging so you sound competent AND still sound real. But yeah… I feel like so many of us end up sounding fake and phony when we’re either exploring our voice or after we’ve “sold out” to the blog money making Gods.

          Please to Neopets? I want neggs and fairies!

  • Kristin

    I couldn’t agree more. I feel like I’m in a transitory blogging period (especially now that I have learned the basics of photoshop) and I really want to focus more on posting less content with more quality, more personality and more of the things that mean the most to me. I never trust sponsored posts and I hate feeling like someone isn’t being themselves in their content. The only time I’ve ever chosen to work with companies is if I’m able to do a giveaway for a book and it’s always for one that I’m interested in myself. Someone recently called me a brand in real life in reference to how the LOTR shirt I was wearing was appropriate and my response was “I’m a person. Not a brand.” It just really had me questioning my whole online presence because I love geeky things but I never thought of myself in that way and that’s honestly the last thing I want. I have so many other interests! And I always enjoy reading about bloggers with the most personality and unique ways of conveying their points of view. I feel like my comment is all over the place but your post really struck a chord<3!

    • Stewie

      I definitely get you. And it’s not to say that us being brands, or developing our brands, is bad. But it’s when our brand completely overshadows and engulfs the person we are that it becomes less real.

      I did a sponsored post for Pro Flowers ( I do love flowers! ) but it haunted me for weeks after and I ended up having to delete it. I just felt too guilty about it. I felt horrified that I was selling out for stuff and that it was a shady move and I just agonized over it. Crazy, huh?

      That’s not to say there aren’t brands I would LOVE to do sponsored posts for… I know there are so many brands I do love and support. But I almost worry that putting my name behind those brands comes with so much extra worry and baggage. For example, if that company I sponsored in a blog post somehow ends up not delivering for someone else, or screwing someone over who took my advice to go with them…. I feel responsible. I’m a person, and I don’t work for those companies…

      It’s such a mess in my mind so I totally understand where you’re going with all those thoughts. 🙂 <3

  • Bah I have to re-type everything because my comment timed out! But I agree whole-heartedly. I was a Livejournal blogger throughout my tween years and I only quit around the beginning of university because the ads became outrageous. I switched to a tumblr which ended up killing my blogging drive. But yes, I remember being extremely honest and raw and personal on my Livejournal in ways that I can’t anymore because things live forever on the Internet. I chronicled my dad’s abuse on my Livejournal and how it made me feel and I made a lot of friends who helped me through some really dark times. Also I really miss the customizable mood sets on Livejournal, and being able to change icons. I pine for it.

    Also the line between “blog” and “online magazine” is becoming increasingly blurred, especially with multi-writer blogs and news reporting blogs. To me a blog should be personal (ie: xojane) and an online magazine should not (ie: io9). But the two terms are now conflated and I don’t like that.

    • Stewie

      I had to google the word “conflated” – BUT NOW I KNOW WHAT IT MEANS! The Internet and blogging sprung up SO FAST I don’t think anyone had time to worry about the language, but I agree – the terms should be defined!!

      I too am an old LJ blogger who poured her emo heart and soul into the blog posts (hey, it was popular in my tween and teen years, and those hormones do not lend themselves to any form of discretion) and I too loved the “moods” icons – they were so cute. I had the little spooky goth girl ones of course, as I was in a goth phase at that point in my teen years. It’s awesome to hear LJ helped you through those hard times – I think the release of letting the world know of our pain (even if no one read our blog) was so freeing. It was like I was letting it go and it felt so freeing.

    • Stewie

      Also your avatar makes me so happy

  • This post has left me feeling good. It’s a struggle and the idea of calling your blog and your youtube channel a ‘brand’ is coming from all sides. It’s coming from the ‘blogging blogs’ selling their e-courses on how to be better at blogging and youtube conferences where they tell you “you are your own brand, you are entrepreneurs” And thought being a self-made entrepreneur is something that feels right, the journey there feels too…icky…to even want to start. I go back and forth in my head about it so much and that usually results in just not posting anything. I might write a reply blog post myself or this comment is going to end up the length of one, haha. Anyways, from one tiny bunny to another, thanks for being geek posse pals!

    • Stewie

      I feel like all those people do is train people to blog who then train people to blog in a horrible pyramid scheme of $, $ and more $. Good for them if they can squeeze money out of people for it, but it just rubs me the wrong way. I hate to be the one to say something that sounds like “your writing isn’t worth money” because artists, writers, etc deserve to be fairly compensated for their work, but if I see one more landing page that boasts “Improved self esteem and blogging expertise in only 30 days for $9.99” I’m gonna scream

  • I remember when I started blogging about 8 years ago. Everybody had fun, wrote about whatever they wanted without worrying too much about comments and such. Nowadays I mostly see tips and tricks for blogging, and people just blogging to become popular, if that makes sense. While I never had a big blog I also started worrying about comments and if people would find my blogs interesting enough.

    Those blogging lessons and courses are driving me insane, too, and they just make me want to punch my screen!

    • Stewie

      Yeah… the struggle is real! But don’t punch your screen, computers are stupid expensive!!!!

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  • I’ve been there, recently. I wanted to put my blog to the next level, staring monetizing and sharing useful stuff, but I’ve been burned out after few months. I just have to blog because I like it about the things I love.

    Great post! <3

  • I’ve been there, recently. I wanted to put my blog to the next level, staring monetizing and sharing useful stuff, but I’ve been burned out after few months. I just have to blog because I like it about the things I love.

    Great post! <3