During my time with Mike and Sean, two icons in the medical and nursing blogospheres, I began thinking about why being a long form blogger is so difficult to maintain overtime and why it is running the risk of becoming obsolete. The three of us have all struggled with social media burnout and have scaled back, or in my case, have disappeared from social media all together. We even tossed around the following question:
Is long the long form blog dying?
Yes, dear reader, I believe it is. But why? Where did it go? Where is the love?
1. Writing is difficult: Blog posts of substance require a lot of thought, some editing and should be an interesting topic. The point of writing, after all, is to be read. At times, the words flow like water over a cliff. They run through the keyboard. Other times, they have to be dug from the recesses of your mind. The successful blogger, and writer, knows the true meaning of writer’s block but will find a way through it.
2. A blog is a website that needs maintained: Let’s face it. Most bloggers are complete nerds when it comes to their blog. They update not just the posts, but ensure their readers are able to share with embedded links to other social media sites, they link to other blogs in their sidebars, and ensure the layout and look of the blog are a reflection of who they are and what they write about. This doesn’t even cover the time needed to clean out and protect the site from spam comments and continually update the blog software, and the apps needed to successfully capture ideas, photos, videos and words.
3. Information can drown you: My first online journal was created in 1999 when the term blog didn’t exist yet. Since then, I have had too many social media accounts to remember and now keep up with other blogs through RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest . . . the list sometimes seems endless. Finding a way to manage the interesting information is in itself an overwhelming task. Unfortunately, saving the writing and ideas of others to be read more indepthly later may end up being the breaking point. How often is it possible to go back and reread all of those links? Unless you, as a blogger, are diligent, consistant, and dedicated the sheer amount of information may become too much to handle. This leads to the quick reTweet of links and Sharing on Facebook with little to no substance behind what you found important enough to share.
4. Life is busy: Life is damn busy. You have to really want to be a true, old school blogger.
5. Success relys on relationship cultivation: Online relationships come from discussion, comments and participation. So, looking at the previous four, where this fit into your time hack???
6. ADOBSO: Attention Deficit—Oh! Bright Shiny Object! If you aren’t focused, writing long form, especially when attempting to link to other sites and add multimedia, you can get lost in the Internet and eventually forget what you set out to do in the first place!
7. Evidence based concepts are intimidating: When writing about health care, especially when dealing with clinical subjects, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the idea that everything must be written like a term paper and annotated. This has ground many a blogger’s writing to a halt.
8. Your blog never goes away: The constant reminder by the MSM (main stream media) and your employer that everything you put on the Internet is permanent is down right frightening. This thought process is every bit as scary and even more so for the bloggers who have been around for awhile. As a person gets older, as social media evolves and as professional lives advance, what was ok 10 years ago may not continue to be ok.
9. ADOBSO: Heh, yeah—–Squirrel!
10. Blogging is a huge responsibility:
–Regular updates are an integral part of remaining part of the conversation and cultivating readership.
–Employers usually have a say in what you write and how you represent yourself requiring self-censorship which may become dangerous to your professional life if not adhered to.
–You must be prepared to become an unintentional mentor and cultivate relationships IRL (in real life).
As I go on to define who I am as a blogger today, versus who I was as a blogger almost 10 years ago, it becomes obvious where my personal shortcomings in writing originate from. Many of my challanges are based on my current professional role. It is difficult to know when you are crossing the line when that line is faint or if the line is moving. I am one of the fortunate bloggers. My employer is progressive in their social media outlook. Unfortunately, my niche in flight medicine makes me extremely visible in that writing about specific experiences is almost impossible when the local media covers the story first (and usually gets it wrong btw).
When I first began blogging, I wasn’t prepared to be a mentor and didn’t understand how important it is to maintain and answer the emails I received because of my blog. Quite frankly, I sucked at it. It became so overwhelming I didn’t keep up and for those you sent me email or commented in the past, I apologize. This bothers me more than just about anything related to my online life. I squandered the relationships that could have been with professionals around the globe.
Now that I spent time away, broke the cycle of living life so I can blog about it versus blogging because I am living life, I feel more prepared to be that long form blogger. I am still working on blowing away the chafe and finding an optimal mental process for writing but am more comfortable in my head knowing that being a long form blogger is truly a difficult role to take on.