It may only be October but the New Year is looming. Somehow, once we hit September, the days and weeks pass by in a blur and before you know it, Jolly Old St Nick is arriving, with the celebratory night called New Year's Eve, hard on his heels. I wonder how St. Nick celebrates - does he just crash and heave a big sigh, and wait for his wife to bring him a beer? #thingsthatmakeyougohmmmm
Over the last two years, as I've worked more intimately in blogging and programs with brands, over at BlogPaws, my emerging and strong community of pet people who blog or tweet or just connect to make life better for animals everywhere, I've learned a thing or two about where we're going with this social media stuff. You know, the Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc...stuff. The stuff that is a direct result of blogging.
Back in 1994, when I started blogging, we were brand new. "What's blogging?" folks would say, with that quizzical look on their faces, when we told people that's what we were about.
"It's... like an interactive newsletter, online," I would say. Or, "It's a conversation," Tom would say.
The blank looks persisted.
Over time, folks 'got it.' The Internet, they discovered, was a useful tool. The Internet, and websites, and BLOGS, could help them market and sell and connect and grow. Hallelujah.
The infographic over at Social 4 Retail tells us that 6.7 million people blog on blogging sites, while 12 million blog via social networks (Facebook and twitter). It also says...wait for it... drumroll please... "the majority of bloggers are WOMEN"
Looking at that graphic, we see a list of the highest earning blogs which includes Mashable, Techcrunch, and something called Car Advice. Interesting, the car advice one. The others are well known and you'd expect them to make almost any list of good blogs. The key here is to recognize that they are blogs.
As we move into 2015, into a new decade, into an ever increasing world of "what ifs"... where folks like my 16 year old granddaughter take social media and talking phones and texting for granted, the way we old folks took color TV and remote controls and power steering for granted when OUR parents had to watch black and white TV, get up and change the 3 channels if they wanted something new, and drive cars that built muscles... I have to wonder where the whole blogging craze is going.
We're moving beyond the focus of blogging. It was a tool to build expertise and connect people by sharing stories. It was a way to meet new people without ever leaving your home. It grew into a way to market to the masses by having individuals, consumers if you will, share the product or service or next big promotion. People began to accept the input from bloggers - and brands recognized the influence these popular writers maintained. Suddenly, okay, maybe not 'suddenly', maybe over a period of years, bloggers gained not only acceptance but respect. Of a sort. There are still brands today that mistrust bloggers and we are as likely to be portrayed in TV shows or movies as gossipy, with a lack of integrity, rather than as journalists who deserve to be paid for their work, not their opinion.
And yet... as time marches on, which it is wont to do, regardless of how many naps you take or how long you step away from your computer or whether you miss a favorite TV show or not... the world of marketing, to women or otherwise, has begun to change. It's moving away from blogs. It's moving away from social.
Let me clarify, lest you rush to cancel those Facebook ads you launched yesterday, or you dismiss that amazing new agency with the smart and talented social person who is going to get you in front of thousands of new customers, at the click of a mouse... Bloggers are still influential. Bloggers are actually growing in influence, by virtue of their expertise and knowledge - gained over the last ten years doing this kind of thing; connecting to people personally, through their writing, and via their vast social networks. Blogs and bloggers are evolving.
And therein lies the tale. As we grow, as we learn, we evolve. As we evolve, we become something different. As we move into the connective tissue of this thing we call social, we realize that some parts are better than others, some parts stronger than others, and some parts... just not worth paying attention to. We, the bloggers of the ancient world of 1999, are recognizing the need to be more.
Therefore, I repeat - blogging is so 1999!
What will you do in 2015 that rocks the blogosphere and gets people's attention? What will you do with this thing you call your blog, which is really a personal, online newsletter or diary, of sorts? Will you improve it? Delete it? Embrace it with a passion that says, "Here's who I am, what I do, and how I do it?" And continue being the voice for your higher purpose, on your blog and elsewhere, expecting brands and consumers all to stay in check?
I am not. I am creating something new and exciting. This blog is moving. You will hear more in the very near future...and I hope you will come with me. The world is not enclosed in the small spaces one has for her personal blog. The passion I have for helping women in businss cannot be contained in this one space of a blog called Lipsticking. I have big dreams. I have big expectations. I believe women are the answer to the ills of the world - it's a belief I've had for more than 10 years, and one I've supported on this blog space.
I hope you will join us and bring all of your friends. It's in our connectedness that we will change the world.