It has been strange getting used to being in this new internet home. My intention was for this website to be very simple, stark and uncluttered, but I have to resist the temptation to drape it with garlands, vases of tulips, antique rugs and pictures tacked up on the walls with hot pink tape. My Lola Is Beauty blog had plenty of these comforts in the form of funny sidebar widgets with cats or telephones on, little bits and pieces scattered around that made it feel homely, but maybe a bit too untidy. In the end, I felt like having a new blank slate was best.
Having something new and something old to reflect on at the start of the year has led to a bit of clarity, but not a clear path forward. In the past few years, as blogging changed into something almost unrecognisable to when I began in 2005, I started to feel quite self-conscious about what I was posting, not just on the blog but anywhere and really, not enjoying it. The feeling I couldn't shake in the past couple of years was now that almost everyone was consuming content online, the way one must 'speak' became generic and stilted. I still don't know if this was just a notion of mine or something based in reality, but I started to feel awkward, worried even about saying something irreverent or funny, or silly online. Or just producing something that wasn't archly and knowingly curated to the nth degree. This was why I initially kept my Twitter and Instagram accounts private for a long while, but I still felt I had to self-censor, not that anything I would ever say could be considered particularly offensive. I had enjoyed writing in my own space as if I was talking to a good friend - which lets face it, is at least 80% of my voice - and which happily had resulted in me making new actual good friends as well as a community of likeminded blog friends and readers.
It feels to me as if the appropriate way to blog or indeed conduct any kind of social media communication now (excluding the wonder of emojis!) is as if you were cold emailing someone very important. And that formal style of communication is just not interesting to me. I guess people don't want to expose their genuine selves too much now? The alternative is just to be very, very curt, which led to me posting a lot of pictures with short captions. This was probably unrewarding for both blogger and reader. It was all quite confusing in a way - as more and more people got into reading blogs my visitor stats went up and up, regardless of how much less I put into it, probably by virtue of it having been around a long time.
In terms of mentioning products or things I liked, I was stuck: The sometimes hundreds of PR emails I received (and still do actually) daily were consistently wanting me to plug things I had no interest in and could never have fitted into the blog, or been able look myself in the eye ever again if I had claimed to represent them. At the same time I became wary of mentioning anything I just happened to like, that people could misinterpret as a product plug. But that's a whole other topic.
What I would like to know is if this feeling of unease is specific to me? I openly admit to disillusionment with the entire internet, but I wonder if anyone else feels or has felt the same way? Are we still allowed to talk about how we feel about the state of things, or should I just go and repin some pins and shut up unless I'm being corporately sponsored to say something?!