You may have noticed that I’ve taken extended hiatuses recently. I’ve left this blog without new content for months on end, despite having plenty to share. The main reason? I don’t like going online as much as I used to.
As a writer, I have always been grateful that the internet has given me a space to express myself without the hassle of conventional publishing. If I thought about something, I could just type my heart away on a digital blank page and it could reach far and wide.
In fact, would you believe it if I told you I have been writing online since Yahoo Geocities were a thing? Yes, I was an early adopter and I’m proud to have tried different platforms before settling on Beyond Beirut. Unbeknownst to many, this very blog turned six last month!
But just as my own writing and Beyond have taken on different incarnations, so has the blogosphere I exist in. Unfortunately, that change has been anything but positive and has led to me feeling “meh” about the whole thing.
I long for the days when you’d log in and find a variety of content, enough to keep you entertained for a while.
You’d find out about a new restaurant, a new fashion trend, learn what someone was thinking regarding a particular subject, share adventures, see something from a whole different perspective- all while none of the posts coming of as stale or repetitive.
You felt like you knew these people even if you had never met them in real life- and sometimes after multiple interactions on Twitter, tweetups were organized.
The posts relayed who these people were, proving that their efforts were well-placed and embodied what blogging is all about.
That’s almost extinct now.
Just look at your Newsfeed when a story breaks: people compete to post their take first (and you don’t even need to have an opinion about something as some blogs exemplify, by just posting links to the original stories). You see Blog X, Blog Y, and Blog Z writing about the same thing within minutes of one another, with Blog A not too far behind. Even L who normally writes about a completely different subject will jump on the bandwagon sooner or later.
Seriously people I do not need to know about the grand opening of a new restaurant, mall, or entertainment venue from all of you! One will suffice. Plus we all know you were all there together anyway, so you don’t have to be discrete.
Another thing I am too tired of? All the bloody advertisements.
Look, we all want those views. We all want that confirmation that people are reading what we have to say and that’s often reflected in engagement and stats. But does every single post need to be a billboard, sometimes for products that have nothing to do with your whole theme? I really liked you better when you were telling me about a new concealer, not a laundry detergent.
Why do you need to constantly remind us that you’re the spokesperson for a brand barely anyone cares for/can afford?
And if they fail at conveying the message, they’ll often bring in help in the form of family (usually the poor unsuspecting kids) which irks me even more!
My suggestion? If you like something so much, try to write about it without coming across as having been paid. I’ll be honestly more inclined to try it out when I know you’re giving an unbiased opinion.
I don’t even want to get started on how Instagram has blurred the line between blogging and influencing. I’m rolling my eyes as I write this. Actually, why do I even bother with writing?! People don’t like to read and Instagram is faster- just ask anyone who started off with an actual blog then abandoned it for the ease of the photo/video sharing-site.
Let me ask you this dear readers, who the hell determines how much influence a person has? And how does said person acquire that interest in the first place? Is it the number of shares and likes? The volume of posts? The fact that some can barely form a complete sentence (because sentences are so overrated anyway)? Being dressed in the finest couture as many seem to do? I am clueless.
Let’s be very clear on this: Instagram is not blogging! If you don’t have clear exposition with beginning, middle, and end, you cannot call yourself a blogger. As for influencer, well I equate it with getting a fancy job title only to find out the duties barely amount to anything. But hey, appearances are everything and getting all those invites must mean something at the end of the day!
My stats may not be sky-high and rarely do my posts go viral, but that has never been the point of Beyond Beirut (or any of my old blogs) and will never be. I get sheer pleasure out of knowing that just one person found something I wrote interesting. In fact, if I get just one comment on a post, I’ll be smiling the whole day.
This blog has always been about me first and foremost- as blogging should be and I’m grateful for whoever’s reading.
It’s a damn shame others don’t think of it this way anymore.