Reflections … again. It’s always good to reflect on the A to Z Challenge, but I doubt whether I have anything to say that I didn’t say last year, except for some new observations about the state of blogging.
I did consider leaving my observations for a guest post on TSRA this coming Sunday, but I chickened out and asked him if I could take a posting break, and he was happy for me to do so. I love that Ape.
Reflections on this year’s AtoZ
Generally speaking, I got out of it what I put in. I celebrated my past AtoZs in the spirit of the anniversary. Some people liked the idea, some seemed to think it was a bit of a cheat. I had trouble getting to as many blogs participating as I intended, but returned the visit of everyone who visited me and left comments. You know why from last week’s IWSG post. Too much going on.
There was one thing that really surprised me, though.
Despite the exhortation from the A to Z team, I came across several blogs participating that didn’t have comments open, and some that didn’t have sharing buttons. Some didn’t have any way of following the blog, either. This seemed extremely strange to me.
Why participate in AtoZ if you don’t want people to like, return to, and invite their friends to discover your blog?
I remember one in particular that was a poetry blog. Unusually, I was very taken with it. I couldn’t follow it in any way. I added it to my Pinterest board, but since I didn’t use my Pinterest board this year, I’ll not revisit till next year at the earliest. What a waste for that person’s effort.
Blogging for profit
I’m starting to wonder whether blogging for profit has overtaken the joy of web-logging i.e. your own personal blog.
All this emphasis on keywords, SEO, short sentences, bullet points, and heaven help us if you say something interesting in your 300 word guideline.
I know I can improve my message. But do I want it to be a message, or a chat with friends?
So many of the AtoZ’s own posts were just lists of words beginning with the letter of the day. What’s the point? Is that really blogging?
Reflections on my favourite bloggers
It’s clearly the case that my favourite bloggers have something to say that needs more than bullet points. Vidya Sury, Csenge Zalka, Liz Brownlee, Roland Clarke, J Lenni Dorner (who even made a book from his AtoZ challenge), all have posts with stories and information. Patricia Lynne managed to get a short story of her word of the day and be informative all in about 300 words, which, frankly, was absolutely brilliant! I liked the few travel blogs I saw. I’ve been enjoying the Ninja Librarian’s New Zealand trip and, as always, the Glasgow Gallivanter’s gallivanting, but they wisely stayed out of the AtoZ.
But all these have what I would describe as proper blog posts.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned. Maybe blogging has had its day as a way of communicating thoughts and words and experiences.
Maybe E M Forster was right when he wrote in The Machine Stops about the only thing people may do is rehash old material, it isn’t allowed to have new ideas in the machine age.
And my final reflection before encouraging you to visit my guinea pigs’ blog…
I’m posting this late because the AtoZ team didn’t release the reflections badge until their post on Monday.
Otherwise, they worked very hard, probably for scant reward.
Blogging numbers were down.
Comment numbers were down.
Perhaps ten AtoZs is enough?
Is blogging as we know it on the way out?
It’s George’s Guinea Pig World’s Tenth Anniversary! Please Celebrate with Us!
21 thoughts on “Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge2019”
Jemima, your reflections post is a reflection of how I feel. I am tempted to quote chunks of your post in mine. (thank you for reminding me that the reflections post is due 😉 )
My AtoZ was completely stress-free although I did not socialize much. I simply wrote for the joy of writing and putting out something valuable (I think so, anyway!)
Thank you hugs to you for the kind mention. And yes, blogging IS commercial because it has evolved into a wonderful channel for brands. Can’t blame the brands or the bloggers, I suppose.
I had the issue of how to follow-how to share-how to comment with some blogs, too. Sad, yes. But then, in a way have to admire them for not caring about the numbers.
Hugs and love to you, Jemima!
I’m always honoured to receive a message from you, Vidya, and delighted to visit your inspirational blog. You may quote my grumps and grouses to your heart’s content 🙂 I know that it’s really part of the stresses in our world at present, but we have to carry on, and follow your wisdom – be kind to each other.
I’m just not feeling very kind right now!
The Machine Stops is the most memorable short story I ever read!
I agree. I remembered it for around 40 years till I described it to my brother, who said he had a collection of E M Forster’s short stories. It was even better than I remembered!
I hear you on the commenting and sharing issue. Those blogs I just marked in red on my spreadsheet… It is worrisome that a lot of people didn’t get that this was about chatting with others. Nice to read your thoughts on the matter 🙂
Ronel visiting with the A-Z Challenge Reflections: Reflecting on the A-Z Challenge 2019
Thanks, Ronel – and thanks for your support throughout!
Interesting to hear that… as you know, I wasn’t in a position to read many blogs, let alone post on the A to Z (and still not up to speed). I do wonder if anyone besides you is reading my posts these days, outside the IWSG (and I’m feeling very guilty about not getting back to people on the IWSG and WEP posts).
I see other people dropping by. But I know what you mean, since it’s difficult to get the drop-in stats through Blogger. Although I just checked my Blogger site stats and although the visitors could easily be spammers, the sources in the stats all make some sort of sense. Have you looked at yours lately?
Don’t feel guilty – everyone knows where you’ve been (and are jealous!)
Thanks for the mention! I only did two A to Zs and haven’t felt tempted to go back. Your comments confirm my suspicions based on blogs I follow that the A to Z is declining in popularity. These things happen, and something else pops up. As for monetising – a few blogs I used to follow enthusiastically have gone all professional and have lost the personal touch. I confess I tend to skim past them now.
Yes… my feelings exactly
Thanks for the mention, Jemima. I agree with so much that you said. Fortunately, I’ve attempted to restrict myself to visiting fewer blogs over the years – selecting to follow the ones that interact with readers – like you. However, even using that approach, I have about 200 A to Z blog post emails to get through. I seem to be working backwards through them as well.
My Reflection post is being delayed – I hope to write it before the deadline.
I hope you feel up to it soon, Roland. Thanks for stopping by. I know all about that backlog to get through!
Well said. The energy of past years didn’t seem to be there, although I did enjoy some of my usual favorites. I still enjoy blogging, but think you may be right about running it’s course.
Maybe we’ve just come to enjoy the people we enjoy, and that’s enough for us. I must follow you properly so I get notifications to my email – it’s the only way for me!
I think a lot more people are trying to blog to make money. I constantly see it touted on Pinterest as a way to make tons of money. People want to make easy money, I guess. I can’t blame them either.
My comments were down, but I also didn’t have the energy to visit blogs either so I expected it. My reflection will be up tomorrow and I plan to talk about it more there. Plus, I was on vacation at the end of the month and didn’t have my laptop.
Yes, that’s a factor I should have mentioned – being away for the first full week, and only having limited ability to comment, and not on my own posts! I’m not sure how much that affected things, though.
Hi Jemima – I gave George a thumbs up for his birthday and hope he had a good drink with those magnificent balloons around for his party time …
I think by taking the A-Z to the social media side of things it demeans the blog side of things … but that’s the way it goes – I got fed up with the strictured demands … to do this, and do that … if one can, one will … if not one can’t. I’ve always communicated with fellow bloggers who collaborate in the blogging process with me …
I’ve lost interest now in the process – though still love the idea. Cheers Hilary
I’m getting a bit boring with saying I won’t do it again. I think you *think* it’s going to be different in the run-up to it, your good intentions will come to pass etc., but…
I’m rethinking blogging, basically.
I think spending the month writing the last in my Princelings series makes me ready to rethink things, anyway. I look at the blogs I like, and I don’t think mine’s one of them!
Agree with much of what you’re saying. The energy levels are generally lower. About return visits and comments – less said the better. Maybe it’s to do with the commercialisation as you say, and people visit those blogs only, where there is some commercial benefit, I don’t know.
It may just be that the old ‘making friends’ has disappeared along with monetisation. I’m just as guilty of not visiting other blogs, but that’s sheer laziness on my part 🙂
I’ll admit to using SEO on my blog to an extent, but only if it fits in with the post without making it sound robotic. For me it’s not about money though, it’s more that I’ve put the time and effort in and I want people to find me haha. On that note, I also encountered some blogs with no comments section, no sharing buttons and some that had sharing buttons but didn’t have their Twitter @ names in the blurb
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