Friday, January 4, 2019

Where did they go and why????

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You know what they say about curiosity and the cat. Well, my curiosity just wouldn't let this go. My mind kept rambling over the idea that many people that I began blogging with no longer were doing so or were doing far less frequently. I thought about how life changes and along with it our priorities, interests and responsibilities. Do I dare say passions change?  I doubt they do because I really think one of the requisites of owning a passion is that it can consume you and never let you go. It can take a recess but will always resurface. Those types of thoughts  kept rambling around the gray matter until  curiosity got the best of this ole cat. 

 I have picked three very popular, well known bloggers who have been around for over a decade each. They have large followings and large blog rolls exhibited in their sidebars. No judgies here, just using their sidebars to establish some facts. I then did a spreadsheet with their blogrolls to see if my thoughts held any weight. Here is what I found out: 

Combined, the three Divine Sewing Bloggers had a total of 115 individual blogs listed for following in their blogrolls. I did no overlaps.  Of the 115 blogs researched......

  • 55 are currently and regularly blogging, less than half,   :(
  • 3 of them have not posted for one month, hmmm, that could be me,,,,,,,,
  • 33 have not posted in 6 months, one of which was a business
  • 18 have not posted in one year and 6 of those were businesses
  • 17 appear to be gone forever and I can't even find their blogs

What I am gleaning here is that there is an original bunch that still currently enjoys blogging none of which are promoting businesses. That is how the original blogosphere functioned and was enjoyed. You could click and read your favorites and not be bombarded by ads, popups, demanding links, etc. It was just prime content and substance all about sewing, real meat. I have to add in here a few of my old faves that I sorely miss are the Sewing Divas, still searchable, and Pins and Needles with Summerset Banks. These blogs, and certainly others, were rife with inspiration and quality. Those were the days, my friends..........but with all things technological,  times change. 

Also notable is the amount of bloggers that used their blogs for promotion that have disappeared. I think your heart has to be in to blogging as much as it is in to the subject you are blogging about. I can't imagine disliking writing, taking pictures and then turning it into a business about something I love. Talk about taking the fun out of something. I totally get that cut and run. I frequent FB sewing pages and there has been some buzz here and there by newbie sewists about blogs, real blogs. They are heavily discussing and sharing who has the content and who is worth the time. Here is what I've learned. Newbie sewist/blog readers do not like promoted blogs. They do like sewing content with technique and inspiration. They do not  like self promotion as in wannabe model blogs with no discussion of the pattern, construction, etc. They are tired of blogs by indie designers and find them boring, quoting here.  Again, they are discovering blogs with quality content and passing it on among themselves  as a great way to learn sewing. I love this. In the early days of the indie pattern blitz I saw, as did others, a definite bit of age discrimination. This came up several times on PR. There was no need for it. Now I see a coming together, a respect for what more experienced sewists can share and an appreciation for our newer sewists and where they are coming from with their busy lives and often limited budgets, not that that can't happen to those of us of a different age. I  do want to shout out to Mallory and Zede Donahue of the Self Sewn Wardrobe and their podcast, a mother daughter team that have been machine dealers, teachers and now have their FB page, fabric store, teach, podcasts, etc etc. They really show a love of sewing and sharing between the generations and I highly recommend it to all. They are both skilled and have such delightful and different viewpoints. I think the days of that generation divide among sewists is over!!!!Thanks, Zede and Mallory. 

Also notable, the number of blogs that now seem permanently gone. Thank you for your efforts. If you made it to the blogroll of the three bloggers I used, you were good! We miss you. We know that life changes. I just pray that you are all healthy and getting life's dreams fulfilled and if you still love sewing, it fills your hours.  On the other side of this equation, there are many, many new bloggers I now enjoy that I didn't a year ago. I love being able to click on names in a sidebar or in a link I've found that are new to me. I promise I will clean up my own roll and share them with you.  I have lost my old blog roll, in one of my transitions, but will start fresh. If you feel I missed you and you are currently blogging, PLEASE let me know. 

That is the Where Are They Now spreadsheet. Your thoughts and experiences? Suggestions for bloggers? 

43 comments:

  1. Although a lifelong sewist my blog was/is mainly crafting. I have not blogged for nigh on two years and it purely because there isn’t a good blogging app and dragging out the laptop is a pain.

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  2. You discreetly and appropriately don't name your 3 Divine Bloggers - but I immediately knew who I would nominate for that role. And I do MISS them.

    I make a special effort to express my appreciation to the sewing bloggers who are still posting...and you would be one of them! Thank you for continuing to blog about your sewing adventures. It IS appreciated.

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    1. Thanks so much. I really appreciate it. I do enjoy it and I find there is a depth to blogging that is not available on Instagram and other social media. I have found some good FB groups but they are quite transient in nature. Blogging takes commitment.

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  3. I was just thinking about Summerset this morning!
    Tried looking her up on Facebook but got nowhere.
    I can probably name about 6 bloggers off the top of my head that I really, really miss. Some of them did a 'farewell to blogging' post...some just disappeared. I think a number of folks have just changed to a different social media platform...Instagram seems to be a favorite. Which is all well and good, but I miss the details on the blogs...

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    1. Some have definitely gone the Insta route. Let's face it. It is easier and less time consuming but it is also less substantial in content, IMO. I do know that Summerset has left her passion for sewing and become a very serious hiker along with the rest of her family. She does blog about it but it really has almost no text and lots of amazing summit pictures from all over the country. I miss her too.

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  4. I really enjoyed reading this post! I wonder if sewing and blogging may be two separate passions, and perhaps the sewing passion remains when the blogging "fad?' has run its course? I often see a post of a sewing blogger who says they have been sewing a lot but haven't been posting because of the time involved in doing so. I almost always avoid blogs that have tons of pop ups and ads regardless of the content, it takes to long to load and I rarely have the tie or patience to deal with it. I have been sewing a very long time but just recently got back into it as far as garment sewing goes. When I started looking at sewing blogs a couple years ago, It seemed like younger sewists/indie companies completely avoided older sewists. I got the sense that they didn't feel like we wanted to sew modern clothing and there was (and I think still is) a lack of representation of older sewists who want to sew and wear fresh/interesting styles. Thanks again for the interesting read!

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  5. I've only been sewing for 6 years and have a bunch of blogs that I miss dearly :(
    I've wondered what causes the person who is still sewing to quit blogging. I often believe there's some internal pressure that the blog has to be 'X' -- this aesthetic or certain number of posts per week or professional-level photography...I get wanting/needing to post content of high quality if you're going to post it...but then I see people posting projects on Instagram with 6-10 photos and PARAGRAPHS of text and I'm like, well THAT is a blog post!!!! LOL!!!

    I like IG just fine but it's soooo passive. And for the most part, once I see it *poof* it's gone. It doesn't really connect. I DO get frustrated by Google's inept managing of Blogger...it makes it harder than it has to be!

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    1. I really think it is time constraints and life changes that cause someone to stop blogging yet still continue sewing. In my case, six months without a machine meant six months with not much to say so I close up shop for a while. Then all the demands of moving and construction. Life happens to all of us. I do appreciate your comment on Insta and all the text and photos, I so agree. I can't say I have had any issues with Blogger and I've used it a long time. I know many disagree with me on that but maybe my expectations are low. I do know I have built wordpress blogs at work and maintained them and they were not the easiest to maneuver, IMO, so not a fan. I guess to each his own.

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    2. I’ve been using Blogger for 13 yrs and agree with you Bunny. I have no real problems using it but then I think I have a lower technological threshold! 😂. As for blogging, I’m not trying to be a sewing professional, I.e. make a living from it, I just want to share my love for the artform. So yes I love followers and people who comment on my posts but I’m not out here deliberately trying to drum up followers. I’ve learned that if you’re authentic and share your passion, sewists will read and follow. One last thing, I miss some of the people who’ve quit blogging for whatever reason. They were valuable resources who shared important info regarding our craft.

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    3. Well said, Carolyn and you are one of those great bloggers who have been with us so long and have inspired so many. Thanks for that.

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    4. Wordpress is TOO complicated!! IMO there are a lot of ‘slightly above basic but not too difficult ‘ things that blogger seems no longer capable of handling.

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  6. What an interesting topic! I had observed the phenomenon over the last ten years but hadn't thought to do such a scientific investigation.

    There are soooo many possible reasons for stopping or slowing down blog activity. I've seen some people mention that blogging takes so much time that they have to choose between sewing OR blogging because they can't do both. I had a blog for three or four years when I first retired, but then I had to start working again, and I wanted to spend my reduced amount of free time on the creative stuff, not the blogging.

    Many people have jumped on the IG bandwagon either because it seems easier or because for a while, it seemed that everyone was headed that way. I even remember people blogging about how blogging was dead! lol Now it seems like there may be a resurgence of blogging. Or maybe it's just that I enjoy blogs so I seek them out. I prefer the long form writing, the thoughtful comments, and the stability. You can go back and look at a blog post from last month or ten years ago - they don't disappear like IG, FB, and all the others.

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    1. I have noticed the same. I see blogging being rediscovered by a new wave of readers. I think that is exciting. One thing made really clear in what I have read lately is that those new to blog reading to not like blogs with lots of ads, popups and affiliate links. I've gone on blog where the first of each visit is a big disclaimer about their affiliate relationships. I really don't care about their affiliate relationships . Buh bye.

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    2. Unfortunately (for the non-interested visitor), they’re legally required to have those prominent disclosures.

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  7. Thanks Bunny for another interesting thought provoking post. I too miss some of the old bloggers and wonder where they have gone. Hoping they're happy and healthy just not blogging. Some of them are still connected to my blog reader just in case they ever come back. I am trying to show my appreciation for the ones still around by commenting more, which can be a challenge as I often read offline via a reader.
    As a new blogger (just over two years) who essentially started blogging to share sewing adventures with a faraway girlfriend I have an underlying unease about my posts being in the public domain. I hate that sex sites appear in my blogger traffic sources (Google assures me I am the only one that sees them and that they are harmless) and are the people who follow me through the blog reader I use all real people? I frequently wonder about making my blog private to just share with friends, especially as setting the sewing world on fire was never its purpose. Yet I am that anonymous reader for the blogs I follow so making mine private seems hypocritical. It makes me wonder if this is why others stop blogging or is that yet again my neuroses and they all just have something better to do with their lives now?

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    1. I think that can certainly apply to some. Having a blog does require safety measures as well as being vigilant. I do regular cleanups and checkups. I don't put up pics of my family as a rule. If you see pics of my children's clothing I've made they are almost always on the hanger. You just never know. One day you're worrying about predators and the next its Russian trolls.

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    2. Last year I had the unsettling experience of having my entire blog copied...all my content; photos, writing, my bio, everything. The only things changed were the blog name and my name. After some serious effort...no one seemed willing to help...we were finally able to locate and contact the host site and we had the blog taken down. I can tell you, that kind of theft takes a lot of the fun out of blogging.

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    3. Why would someone even do that, Sue? That's incredible.

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    4. My thoughts exactly Bunny. I think the trolling is randomized and that they hope to capture websites that have an income aspect attached to them. While researching how to shut it down, we found tales of legitimate businesses having had their websites copied, including their online shops. Scary!

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  8. Thanks for an interesting read Bunny. I appreciate the time and effort gone into both the research and the dialogue you've written.

    My blog has been gathering a bit of dust these past months. I've attributed my own lack of interest in posting to a sudden, steep drop in comments on my blog. I loved the interaction and I miss it terribly. It's been written by many that commenting on blogs is down overall, but despite that, I found myself doubting the quality of my content. Writing a good sewing blog can be hard LOL.

    Well...I'm cautiously optimistic that blogging is making a comeback...looking forward to reading more comment here on this thread.

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    1. Sue - I’ve found that if I post things that aren’t just reviews of items that conversations (comments) ensue. I try to keep those conversations going. Also, I use my blog as a diary of my makes which is important to me and for quick likes I maintain my IG account. Personally I loved your blog and loved reading about your process...so selfishly I hope you pick it back up!

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    2. Carolyn! What you've said makes perfect sense to me, thank you. There's only so much 'Love your iteration of pattern xyz' that can be made. I can see that introducing subject material that is....not necessarily more engaging...but that takes one's thought train down a new path would perhaps get a conversation going. Me likey!

      And massive thanks for telling me you love my blog. Makes me so happy to hear!

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  9. Interesting...but where's that spreadsheet? My mathematical brain wants to have a peek lol I've been sewing for a gazillion years, but only started following blogs about 6 or 7 years back, then jumped ship from a sewing forum and started my blog. Of the ones I originally started following, there are several I don't bother with any more- as you say, they started going all commercial and stopped being interesting about sewing. The only business driven blog I still like is Closet Case Files. If I happen on one that's all affiliate links, I soon get bored. I like blogs that let you have a conversation, or that send me off to buy something I never knew I needed! I don't particularly follow blogs to learn, but obviously sometimes I can't help myself lol As for Instagram- meh. I don't even have a smartphone, so that's no attraction for me!

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  10. Interesting post, Bunny. I too miss some of my favourite bloggers, but it makes me appreciate the ones that kept blogging even more. I've noticed a subtle change, like there's more honesty in the blogospere. Indie patterns are no longer sacred and are criticized when necessary, and I see fewer silly tutorials doing the rounds. Or maybe I've just done a better job curating my blogreader as I tend to unfollow bloggers who admit they're sewing for blog content only and never wear the things they make. Although perhaps that's also a sign of the new honesty, as earlier on those bloggers would just post new stuff twice a week without ever showing the insides or discussing the fit. I'm wondering if bloggers in that category gave up on the thought of monetizing their blog and moved to IG or YouTube. On my own blog I see it's harder to keep conversations going but I guess I am guilty of not commenting often enough myself.

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    1. I do think one of the secrets of getting comments is to go out and comment on the blogs of others. I agree that a lot of the blogs with silly tutorials have fallen by the wayside. I predicted that would happen back when they were new as most were profit driven and put out by busy young moms whose children would soon grow. Our children can have a way of framing our interests while they are in our keep and it takes a lot of time to get them back and forth to their music lessons, ball games, track meets, etc. You also can only do so many of those simple projects, especially when so many others are doing the same. I think those blogs have pretty much gone by the wayside. They weren't very interesting to begin with in many cases. I can't wait to get up my new blogroll for all to see and will try and work on it this weekend between having my granddaughter here and teaching her to sew!

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    2. Just want to say that I saw several discussion on FB about 6 months ago from a lot of those types of bloggers. They are a very tech savvy group following their analytics closely and talking about them a lot. Most have witnessed a major drop off and were wondering why.

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  11. Great post with such thought-provoking questions. I've also wondered where they went. I started sewing when blogging really got going. I learned and was inspired so much (and continue to be) by these wonderful sewists. How interesting that you'd track all this information down! I, too blog but not very consistently. I still sew, but finding time to take pictures, gather thoughts, type both into a cohesive format can be more than I can do at times. So glad you're back.

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  12. Blogger may be easier for the posters, but a while back they made a change where only blogger/google accounts can be used to comment. Like yours is now. For some reason, not all blogs got this change, or the blogger fixed it somehow to allow name/url option. I like to read blogs at work while on break or during lunch, and refuse to mix personal & work accounts on company equipment. The chances I'll remember where or what I was going to say is nearly zero by the time I get home. Also, something about not getting email notifications any more that comments have been left has been an issue for some. So for anyone with a blogger blog, check those 2 items if your comments have dropped off. I also tend not to comment unless I have something more than "nice!".

    There are bloggers I miss too. Some went to IG, some to FB, some totally stopped with no notice. Some of them took really good tutorials with them when the entire blog was deleted. I've kept most of the blogs in my bookmarks list, but moved to an "inactive" folder. Sometimes I go through the list to check if they've become active again, sadly usually not. I understand the temptation of IG, it makes fast and quick posting the rule. Some bloggers I read do nice work sewing, and I do appreciate them continuing to write, however their projects have no place in my current lifestyle. So, to those who have blogs and wonder "who wants to read about another simple knit top I made?", I say I DO! I want to know I'm not the only one in the world sewing simple knit tops, not fancy dresses or super tailored coats. I want reassurance that maybe it *is* the fabric that's the problem with a top I've made 5 times with good results before. I've also quit reading a few blogs because they became all about "me-me-me my schedule so busy OMG buy my class/book/pattern!!!". It's not that the blog has changed to self promoting, it's that it changed to ONLY self promoting. And a few blogs have become unreadable due to the advertisements taking forever to load before the blog content is.

    It takes me seemingly forever to write a post, not to mention I usually forget to take photos until the project is finished. And when there's been as little sewing as I've had in the last year, it sort of knocks my desire to post at all to the curb. Perhaps I need to use the old quilters' saying "done is better than perfect" to my blogging? I got into a "maybe next week I'll post" rut a while back and suddenly it was 5 years gone by. Even now, it's soooo easy for 2-3 months to pass. I debate with myself - do I post only sewing project posts (it may be months between posts), or do I venture off into posting what I'm going to call IG style - just a quick caption and photo which may be only somewhat sewing related - one of my old machines or tools, or pincushions I've made using garage sale finds, the cat, the horror that is the fabric closet, etc.

    I do appreciate those who keep blogging, even when I don't comment. And I understand why people quit, and appreciate it when they let us know they are taking a break or quitting, rather than simply stop.

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    1. I could be the exception but I would love to see the horror that is your fabric closet and hear about your pincushions. It's your blog and you can do what you want with it. What's the saying? "build it and they will come." You make a very valid point about blogs changing not so much to self promoting as to only self promoting. I've dropped a few well know bloggers because of that. Thanks for the heads up on blogger.

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    2. I agree with Bunny! There are sooooo many aspects of sewing that we can discuss besides saying "wow! nice outfit!" I eat up fabric closet and sewing room reports and updates on blogs. I love pattern reviews. I also appreciate it that not everyone wants to take part of their precious sewing time and write blog posts. Also, I'm aware of Bloggers' commenting issues and I'm not offended or bothered when I don't have alot of comments. I can tell people are reading (because I get all of those analytics too) and I'm learning to be fine with that. But build it and they will come or be steady and consistent are all things that are true about having a successful blog too.

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  13. For all of us, no matter what the plans are...Life gets in the way. For bloggers who went into it like so many things thinking that they would make a pisspot full of money selling patterns made on the kitchen table, have loads of links to Amazon and other retailers and it would grow and grow into a money-making machine....well it didn't work out. Taking pictures in sequence and then setting up the post to make sense and encourage and teach...it's hard work. Having a family and a job also gets in the way...ha ha. I have been lucky to always have a backlog of bridal clients and their altered dresses to write about and I don't have the desire to sell ANYTHING! My links to products are just there as a courtesy and I have never made a penny that way. You start something and you finish something or change it, tweak it or just admit that you have lost interest and time and close up shop. Your tutorials, Bunny, are the highest quality and precise directions accompany them. So glad you are back!!!

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    1. You sure do have a never ending supply of vestal non virgins to dress! Love your posts and they teach so much. Keep going, Jo!

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  14. I went on a blogging hiatus (still am on I suppose) because I was thrust into the ugly side of the internet when people who didn't know me started making horrid assumptions about me and my life, and then used photos I had posted as weapons against me in real life. It's amazing what harm an out-of-context photo and an ignorant assumption can do. So my blog and my FB profile suddenly became tools people used to attack me. I would like to reappropriate the space but every time I think about posting, I feel like I would have to explain the absence, and I'd really rather not have to! Unforunately the anonymity of the internet can lead people to be super mean, to say the least!

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    1. I don't think that you need to feel the need to explain your absence to anyone. People take breaks from posting frequently. I saw a blog the other day and it has been at least 2 years since she last posted. She didn't explain why she took a break. She just noted that it has been a while since she last posted. I'm one of those bloggers that rarely post. It's been about 8 months since my last post and I never posted on a regular basis.

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    2. I totally agree with Towanda. Jump back on the wagon and say nothing. Is someone asks in a comments just say you prefer not to talk about it. We've all had events in our lives that are very private and we are all entitled to keep them that way.

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    3. Well, this is a perfect example of a blog post getting the ball rolling on a great conversation. It's a pleasure to see a number of bloggers that I follow chiming in. Thank you and keep up the good work y'all. You add immeasurably to the joy in my sewing life and in my life. About 6 or so years ago I found PR. I'm a school teacher and thought- how in the world can you learn anything on line? I need to look the teacher in the eyeballs and have them see I'm lost. Hahahahaha. Fortunately I met Shams (Communing with Fabrics). She asked what blogs I read. And I said what's a blog. So she got me rolling ;- )

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  15. I'm very much enjoying the conversation here. I have nothing new to add but I wanted you to know I'm here!

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    1. Glad you are here, Anne, and everyone else, too. There have been some wonderful responses. It is interesting to watch one's analytics. I can have over a thousand views in a day and 2 comments. Just how does that happen?

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  16. This is quite an interesting topic in my opinion. I am in the group that is still blogging pretty much as I used to do more than ten years ago on Couture et Tricot, although I am also using IG and Facebook and my blog runs ads (Adsense) from some time now. I've also started another parallel blog Tany et La Mode just to show photos of me wearing my makes and my personal style, to those who prefer it or get inspired by it. I should mention it has considerably less audience than Couture et Tricot.
    Back in the day there were just a few of us sewing bloggers and we were thrilled to be able to share and connect with like-minded people around the world We felt really appreciated by our pears and were happy to share what we do without any kind of profit but the appreciation of our sewing buddies who also shared great content for us to learn from.
    My passion with sewing and wearing beautiful clothes (self-made or not) had started a lot earlier than blogging and when I started my blog, my goals were to take part of the arising online sewing community, inspire others to sew and to document my makes, kind like a journal that I could go back and refer to. I was among the first bloggers who started to post photos and thorough tutorials of the process of making my garments. I believe some people were even shocked because I was giving away knowledge that some believed shouldn't be shared for free.
    (it continues,...)

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  17. I am not against monetizing blogs or any other online platforms; anyone has the right to make a living out of it and to finance the quality of the contents that are shared. I am not by all means a professional blogger (it's a hobby), but I realize that quality content doesn't come without effort and investment and people should understand that when they complain about ads. We have seen our content hacked, taken advantage of and used without being us being credited: not a single word of appreciation or recognition. I believe this is the main reason why many of the initial bloggers have somehow faded out along the way (there isn't just "us" anymore out there, there's a lot of rubbish and people without any kind of respect). I have started running ads on my blog to help finance my sewing activity and not without disadvantages: someone has flagged my blog and being in ad-blockers black list, in some browsers the content doesn't show unless ad-blocker is disabled. I have complained about this several times and never got a response. I could have just removed the ads and stop receiving the 20 euros or less I get per month (a fortune, isn't it?), but I decided to keep the ads anyway, while I tried to advert my readers to the problem. My blog still exists for anyone who is interested and I am not seeking audience numbers; my most faithful readers will come back for the content, in spite of the ads. Instead I could have made an online private sewing club with a monthly fee, sell my tutorials instead of sharing them for free with the occasional ad or even use another financing options like Patreon, all genuine and perfectly acceptable ways of monetizing the content produced IMO. I'm sure I would get much more out of it than the 20 euros/month, yet I'm not doing it for the money (although I confess having dreamed of living out of this passion, I soon realized it wouldn't be possible with my current life); others have the right to make a different path and I don't criticize them for that.
    (it continues,...)

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  18. On the subject of blogs being dead or not: I think other platforms have taken the lead, but blogs still have their audience. In my opinion, YouTube is the platform with more hype between the young now and I believe they will go to YouTube rather than finding written information in blogs; it’s just easier. On IG I often get asked to do video tutorials, that's why I believe so. Regarding YouTube, I can speak for myself: I am completely hooked to some sewing channels. I haven’t started a sewing vlog yet because I lack the proper equipment and the time. If I was making a living out of sewing, I would certainly invest in YouTube.

    It is wonderful to see these matters discussed seriously and to know what others are thinking on this matter, so thank you so much for bringing this subject up!

    Tany

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    1. Really appreciate your input, Tany. You are certainly one of the bloggers that I adore and with such amazing skills that you so generously share. Thanks for contributing to this interesting conversation and sharing a more "monetized" viewpoint. I think what many find off putting are the popups and in your face disclaimers regarding affiliates. You and Carolyn both have a way of professionally seeking the income but never losing the heart and soul of your blogs and what brings us all to read them. Thanks for that, so appreciated.

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  19. So interesting, Bunny! The posting on my blog has lagged.....even though I continue to sew and knit and have lots of projects to post! As the blog functions as a journal of my makes, I feel bad that I am behind in posting. I still read blogs and enjoy them, comment sometimes, and need to get back on the bandwagon!

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