I recently came across an image on Pinterest with the hashtag #MicroblogMonday. I had never heard the term ‘microblog’ before, and I was intrigued. I repinned it to one of my secret boards – ‘Things to Check Out Later When I Have More Time’ (I use this board a lot…). So, it wasn’t until this morning that I did, in fact, have time to look into microblogging in more detail, and I must say, I’m inspired.
First of all, what is microblogging?
The simplest explanation is that it’s no different from any other type of blogging, except that the posts are shorter and less involved than the typical blog post. For example, a single photo with a brief caption. A few sentences about what you did this morning. Think along the lines of a Facebook status update or an Instagram post.
More importantly, why should you microblog, and what’s got me all excited about this idea?
The concept of posting brief status updates and/or photos is hardly a new one. Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram were built around this idea. Many people who have blogs, myself included, are frequent users of one or more of these sties, but don’t post this same sort of content on our own blogs. When I make a blog post, I put quite a bit of thought (and time) into it. Some posts (recipes, tutorials, I’m talking about you here…) can be quite involved, and my life doesn’t always afford me that kind of time. I currently have a VERY long list of post ideas that I either haven’t started working on yet, or are in some sort of partially completed state, waiting until I get around to finishing them.
I have come to think of blog posts as pages (or in some cases, chapters) of a book. Each can be viewed and enjoyed on its own, a finished work in its own right. They’re a perfect balance between words, and beautiful, illustrative photos. My favorite blogs are resources, repositories of information and inspiration, all wrapped up with a pretty bow. So, it makes sense that I would try to model my own blog after these ones that I admire, right? Well, maybe…
For the most part, the blogs I’m talking about are written by people who have made blogging their full-time profession, or, at the very least, who are able to devote much more time to their blogs than I am. So, if I try to emulate that style of blogging, my efforts will never measure up to my own standards. I also won’t be able to post very often, since each post takes so much time to create. This is why I sometimes go months between posts, which causes me to lose my momentum and enthusiasm about blogging.
The things that keep me excited about blogging are the interactions. I love to hear from readers and connect with people who I wouldn’t have gotten to a chance to meet otherwise. Most of these interactions, however, don’t happen on my actual blog. When I find a blogger I like, I tend to follow them on other social media sites, and its there that more of the interactions take place. Why is that? Probably because they, like most of us, share more frequent, stream of consciousness, “what am I doing right now” posts on these sites. These posts tend to be more personal, more varied, and in many cases, more interesting than the well-crafted posts on their blog. It might be their blogs that introduced me to them, but it’s these ‘microposts’ that cause me to interact with them. These glimpses into their real lives make me enjoy their blogs even more.
I love seeing James of Bleubird blog’s family photos (she has the most adorable, photogenic cat and children in the universe), and Beth of Local Milk‘s travel and cooking snapshots (every last one of which is stunning – even the ones that don’t make it onto the blog). I learned from his Facebook page that Brett of Green Thumb White Apron is getting chickens this spring (a kindred spirit in ‘backyard farming’), and got a sneak peek of the gorgeous coop he is building for them. I eagerly await each new post from Emory of Hello, Scarlett Blog, as she shares the progress of the new home, affectionately dubbed “The Little Barn“, that she and her husband are building. I also love seeing photos of her beloved four-legged family members.
One of the first things I struggled with when I started my own blog was narrowing its focus. Everything I’ve ever read about becoming more successful as a blogger, encourages you to clearly define your purpose and subject matter. So, if you have a cooking blog, post recipes and food photos, and don’t muddy the waters with lots of off-topic posts. You do want to inject your personality into your blog – but you don’t want to overdo it. So, don’t post photos of your cat Fluffy, or talk about the cute thing your kid said this morning, unless your blog is about cats & kids OR is intended as a personal blog that’s mainly written for the purpose of keeping friends and family updated on your life. I’m going to go out on a limb here though and say, hogwash! Who wants to see those photos of Fluffy or hear about the cute thing your kid said? This girl.
I love personal details in blogs. I like the beautiful, professional-looking content too, and I will continue to strive towards that in some of my posts, but I’m no longer going to worry about staying on topic. My life is crazy and always changing. My interests vary widely. There probably aren’t too many people in the world who can relate to EVERYTHING I’m interested in, but I’m going to post about it all here anyway. I’m going to aim to turn my blog into a reflection of me – a quirky and chaotic mixture, to be sure. I’m going to post short, unpolished ‘status updates’ – the things I have been sharing on Instagram & Facebook. (Incidentally, I’m still going to post them to IG & FB, I’m just going to post them here first.) I’m going to post recipes and projects and tutorials. I’m going to post about being a mom, about parenting a child with Autism, about my chickens and why I raise them, and about my latest gardening endeavors. I’m also going to post about my small business and the things I make for my Etsy shop. Sometimes I’ll post photos of new products, and sometimes wedding ideas – because in the process of designing wedding accessories and interacting with brides, my mind is overflowing with inspiration, and sometimes I just have to share. In short, I’m just going to create posts without worrying about the subject matter or the blog I’m creating as a whole. To continue the book analogy, I’m envisioning more of a diary than a reference book. Sometimes my updates will be short, ‘microposts’, sometimes photos, and sometimes longer, more traditional posts. I’m also going to try not to worry so much about making each post perfect – editing and re-editing my words, or waiting until I have a photo that is up to snuff. I’m giving myself permission to post anyway – even if my writing is a little rough around the edges, or my photo is a bit out of focus. It’s all part of the process, and part of my story.
I’m working on redesigning the site to improve the ability to search for specific content, which hopefully will make it easier for readers to find the things that are of interest to them (without having to wade through the things that aren’t). In the meantime though, let me know what you think! Does this sort of blogging appeal to you or do you prefer the more traditional style? How do you manage your own blog? What works for you? If you’re already ‘microblogging’, or think you might want to give it a try, leave a link to your site in the comments – I would love to check it out! And even if I am turning this blog into a home base of sorts, let’s still connect on our other social media sites:
Instagram || Facebook || Pinterest || Google+ || Etsy Shop
If you want to learn more, or participate in #MicroblogMondays, click here to read the inaugural post.