12 years ago today I wrote my first blog post. 12 years ago! Back then I was 17 and working towards my A Levels, Crazy Frog was number one, Revenge of the Sith was top of the box office and Christopher Ecclestone was bowing out as Doctor Who. MySpace was still a baby, Facebook was gaining in popularity, Twitter and Instagram hadn’t even been conceived yet and there was very little respect for blogging as a form of journalism. Since then, blogging has evolved to allow people to make a full-time living, over 400 million people view WordPress blogs a month, with nearly 90 million new posts a month (expandedramblings.com) and Instagram has over 500 million active monthly users (Hootsuite). A lot has changed in 12 years.
When I started blogging on Live Journal on 5 June 2005, I wasn’t even aware that I was blogging; it was simply a space for me to share my thoughts with my close friends – and start writing and sharing film reviews. It wasn’t until I started my Foundation Degree in Newspaper and Magazine Journalism in 2007 and was given an assignment in March 2009 that I became more aware of what blogging was and the communities it has created.
Final Cut was born on 24 March 2009 and it was probably the best part of my Foundation Degree. Sure I learned about media law, the basics of InDesign and how to sub-edit but being given the assignment of creating a blog and maintaining it for at least a month sparked a passion in me and introduced me to some awesome film bloggers, some of whom I’m still Facebook friends with today!
I blogged consistently about film for two and a half years. It was my biggest passion and I wanted to be a film journalist. I could tell you who was in contention for an Oscar, who had new films opening at Sundance and who what’s-his-face was in that film. Then I did a PGCE and had less free time, so blogging, cinema trips and keeping up to date with film news weren’t priorities anymore.
In 2012, upon completion of my PGCE and at the start of my new job in marketing (go figure!), I got back into reading blogs and discovered lifestyle blogs. I’d been a magazine junkie for years but hadn’t even considered the idea that people could write about whatever the hell they want online and others would actually want to read it. I became really into the blog Domestic Sluttery (and they even had a book! #goals!) and realised that I was actually into more than ‘just’ film. And so A Few of My Favourite Things was launched.
My first post went live on 22 July 2012 (stay tuned for fifth birthday celebrations week commencing 17 July – a giveaway a day!), where I discussed my favourite books. Not wanting to neglect my film roots, I went on to discuss my favourite directors before featuring a mix of film and literary content and started to include stationery and Cornish content in September 2012. I didn’t get all that personal on the blog until October (‘scuse the awful old pics and formatting – I haven’t updated all of my archives yet) and those posts were few and far between until I decided to start sharing my pregnancy journey as a personal record. I had previously blogged semi-anonymously elsewhere and it took me a while to really open up online. Now you can’t shut me up!
I was offered my first review post in March 2014 (a film night, of course) and it was then that I realised just how many people were reading my blog – and who. Until then I had been blogging mainly for myself, as a way to keep writing even though I didn’t have my dream journalism job, with a hope in the back of my mind that maybe one day it could lead to something.
In the three years since that first post with Zavvi and I Want One of Those I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some bleddy incredible brands and businesses, including local hotels and restaurants, as well as national stationery suppliers and book publishers. Although I’m not currently monetising my content (I hope to make the move later this year), this lovely little blog has provided me and Luke with some epic date nights, kept both myself and Jenson in books and has my office filled with beautiful stationery.
But it’s not all about the freebies. My favourite thing about blogging is the community. Pre-A Few of My Favourite Things, Luke would spend his evenings gaming and Skyping with his friends. Friends who he’d never met. I thought it was odd that he spent most evenings talking to guys in Spain and Sweden who he’d never met ‘in real life’, chatting about his day, etc, like you would do anyone else down the pub. I didn’t realise the power of online friendships. Then I started regularly reading certain blogs, discovering more about fabulous women my age with similar interests, building friendships and connections.
As much as I love blogging, I also love reading other blogs and chatting with other bloggers, either in their comments sections or off-blog on social media. The development of social media in the time that I’ve been blogging has meant that we’re always connected – and it also means that we can stay up to date even when we don’t have the time for a full blog post. While vlogging may not be my thing, and I much prefer to listen to podcasts than record them (although that could change in the future – I really enjoyed studying radio journalism and producing a documentary), micro-blogging on social media is a fun continuation of my blog and allows me to share photos and links when I may not otherwise have time in a full blog post.
The final stop on my tour of blogging is here, with A Cornish Geek. I rebranded A Few of My Favourite Things back in March when I went self-hosted and it has made me fall in love with blogging even more. I feel like I have more of an identity, my stats are growing (not that it’s all about the numbers either!), online friendships are evolving, I’m more confident in my abilities and I want to keep improving. My day job provides me with regular training which conveniently helps me stay up to date with blog trends – win-win!
I wonder where the next 12 years will take me?