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Candle in the Window
A Beacon for Writers of Blogs (and Those Who Love to Read 'em!)
I read a short love story earlier this week that I can't stop thinking about:
"The heart of the message is in blogs."
Found in the comments section of Alicia Paulson's endearing (and enduring) poetically-written, optically-breathtaking blog, Posie Gets Cozy, it is part of a bigger conversation happening about our attraction to them. The thoughts echo the ones I've heard especially amongst crocheters, knitters, and mixed media artists during the pandemic: we loved our ritual of reading blogs and writing posts. And we want to reignite our relationship with this more intimate side of visual storytelling that is often missing on Instagram.
Niche craft blogs were the sh — "it" presence on Blogspot and Typepad going back almost twenty years ago! In fact, the knitting and crocheting renaissance coincided with these two platforms going mainstream in 2003. The unbeatable how-to book that changed the face of the knitting circle, Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook, was published in 2004. For us first generation of craft bloggers, it was an exciting time! The combination was explosive! Entrepreneurs and enterprises were created! Conventions, DIY channels, and craft-selling sites were established! And the encouraging engagement within our creative communities was exemplary.
This euphoria went on for about a decade. Then one day blogs became brands. There were fewer collaborations and more competition. And suddenly before you could hit Publish Now, the personal crafty side of the blogosphere went dark. I hadn't realized how widespread the mass exodus was until I came out of my blogging self-exile. It was like those supernatural stories where entire households disappear mid-meal. Beloved blogs were just abandoned, years of archives stacked on their sidebars. These were my creative Gen X contemporaries, pioneers in the modern craft scene — and they were gone without a trace. And it honestly freaked me out.
I kept noticing that many bloggers posted their last entry in 2017. My last post at Stix On The Beach was in September 2017. What the hell happened in 2017?
In June 2018, Instagram reached one billion monthly active users, up from 800 million in September 2017.
Instagram killed the radio star. Well, you know what I mean.
I need to give enormous credit to the bloggers who did not cave to Instagram. It's been challenging coming across active blogs. I've had to search my memory far and wide to find the handful that are still standing. And they're not just standing, but also thriving! In spite of what must have felt like blogging inside an abyss for the last several years, the quality of their content has not been compromised. And what has blown me away the most is that at this very moment there is a collective call-to-action to bring blogging back. It's either the subject of a recent post — or the rallying cry in comments. And it's relying on a tried-and-true way to get the word out: shining a light for one another.
There was a tradition in colonial times where folks who lived close to the main drag would put a burning candle in their window as a signal to weary travelers (including their own neighbors way over yonder) that they could come chat it up over a slice of black pepper cake, pass the pipe around, merrily eat more cake, then crash on the bear skin rug for the night. Our closest equivalent to a glowing candle in the blogosphere is the blog roll. It's our way of saying, "Hey, this crew is cool and loves company. Grab a caramel macchiato and chill with them, too."
Everything related to a blog takes time — it's what makes us stand apart from "instant" social media. Making a comeback is going to require us to put in the work to rebuild. Be a good neighbor, and please help light the way. So roll 'em if you got 'em! The blog roll was such an essential feature when blogging first took off! If you're from that era, it's most likely how I found yours.
If it's totally not your thing to have a busy footer or columns, then consider a monthly post spotlighting your favorite blogs or adding a dedicated page with their links. If you have a blog, even if it's brand-spanking-new, share it with us in comments! Is there a blog you wish would rise from the ashes — tell us! Have you gone to Dooce lately?
C'mon , it's time to get lit!