Monday, 8 January 2018

Blog goals for 2018

So I touched on it in this post here, but 2017 was a funny year for me in terms of blogging. And by straight up, let's be real - I mean shit. 

I wrote a few posts that did really well (e.g. this one which is my most viewed post EVER, even counting when I did an Urban Decay eyeshadow competition, ha), and I was proud of them. I got to collaborate with some brands I never thought would be interested in my little blog. But at the same time I just felt I’d fallen out of love with blogging. It wasn’t just me– I felt everyone had moved on from blogging, to some extent. Even ‘bigger’ bloggers seemed to be much more focused on their Instagrams and Youtubes and I just felt like people were losing interest in actually writing quality blog posts – which was the whole reason I got involved in the first place. The market started to feel somewhat saturated and it seemed to me like the only success stories were girls with nice hair posing on beaches – I mean, I get why that’s aspirational, but in all honesty my hair looks like a bird’s nest on the beach, so I don’t think anyone’s going to aspire to that - and anyway it just wasn't what I signed up for. 

This all basically culminated in this blog post here – and I want to say thank you to every single person who messaged, commented or tweeted me following that post because it made me feel SO much better. In all honesty, just knowing that one person enjoys my post makes it worth it (except my sister – I mean, that’s nice (hi Sarah), but I could just Whatsapp her really, couldn't I?). And just thinking it through made me realise what I want to focus on for 2018 – so I thought I might sum up my goals in a lil blogpost, and then you can all harass me if I don’t stick to them. Okay? 


First off, quantity – I want to get back to posting on here 3-4 times a week. I’d like to get back to sharing what I’m loving – whether that’s my favourite lipstick or my latest holiday – and I’m lucky in that my new job means I’ll be travelling a lot this year, so I’d like to work on my travel blogging too. But I also want to include a lot – a LOT – more posts like this one and this one; observational, chatty lifestyle posts which don’t necessarily fit into any box but which are without a doubt my favourite to write and to share. I started blogging because I like writing, not because I thought I could become famous on Instagram. And writing is what I want to keep doing. When I write blog posts that mean something - like the one above, where I actually expressed a controversial opinion - it's scary, because I actually care how people respond. But this year, that's what I want to do. 

As an aside, I also want to get my blog handle changed over to Cats Cruse, because that’s my handle everywhere else (Twitter & Insta) and in all honesty, I kind of named my blog as a joke and now I really hate it! So if anyone knows the best way to go about changing a blog URL (or ideally, if I can pay you to do it for me…) just let me know!

My husband said to me this weekend ‘Please, can we never go anywhere just so you can take a photograph of it?’ A year ago I would’ve just looked at him blankly, but this time I knew exactly what he meant.

I love photography. Even before Instagram I was the sort of person who took photos of everything; the annoying one on a night out who would be yelling 'Everyone together! Get the waiter to take one of all of us!' But Instagram has gone so much further than just being a way of showing off nice photos - it feels like the nice photos have sort of taken over.

I watched a video recently about a very successful blogger on holiday in  a European capital city. Her entire day, the whole video – honestly, her whole trip – was focussed on ‘taking good Instagram photos.’ Even in their apartment, she kept referencing how things were ‘Instagram goals,’ having little mini photos shoots, then editing things out of the background and editing sunsets in. I mean, I suppose at least she was honest about it – better in a sense than just going there, taking those photos and pretending they were candid shots taken whilst she was having a hoot of a time. But honestly, to reduce a capital city – a place full of history, of ancient architecture, of romance and violence, of beauty and ugliness, of war and celebration, life and death  -  down to just being the background for a girl to display her new Valentino handbags – it just seems pretty awful to me. I felt a bit sad for her, if I’m honest. (The photos, I’m sure, were lovely). I mean, if this is all you want, why not just do the entire thing in Photoshop? You don’t even need to leave your front room!

It is difficult because Instagram makes such a big difference. If I link a blog post from my Instagram, the engagement goes through the roof. It’s by far my most popular platform - my Instagram following has doubled over the last year – but in growing it, I’ve found it very difficult to keep it as an app which enhances my life, rather than reduces it. The lines have blurred.  And I can see very, very easily how this happens. It starts slowly. You go to a concert so you can put it in a Facebook status and the boy you like might see it and be impressed. You wear that outfit to look good in a photo. Before long, you are in a capital city, talking about how it is Instagram goals.  You are no longer recording your experiences, you are reducing them. And in doing so, somehow, you suck the meaning out of them. That is something I would do almost anything to avoid because honestly, although the story is in the telling, life is for living, not for being photographed in.

So this year, I want to keep posting photos I like with captions that make me laugh (yes, I laugh at my own jokes because I am a loser) and linking my blog posts and remembering it’s essentially a photo sharing app and if I lose 10 followers nobody dies. I want to share my life – a curated version, sure, but my life all the same, my real friends and family, places I've really been and eaten at; not a falsified version of reality, not staged photoshoots in restaurants I would never have otherwise frequented. I want to upload Instagram stories where I look stupid and where I tell you boring things about my day. I want to see my life through my own eyes, not through sepia-tinted squares – and I want to share that with you, edited but not created. And I never want to mention the STUPID algorithm again (although if I get tricked into liking a 4-day-old-photo and looking like a weird stalker ONE MORE TIME, I might delete the app altogether).

Follow me @catscruse if you want to see how it goes!

Twitter, on the other hand, is a platform I really want to get to grips with more this year. I feel like I’ve never really got the point of Twitter – initially it seemed to be all about following celebrities, which I found mildly interesting but not that interesting, and then it seemed to become a way in which I could complain quickly to ASOS if my next-day-delivery didn’t arrive on time, which was – useful, but not entirely enthralling. I did notice that if I tweeted links to my posts, they got more hits – but somehow (incredibly stupidly) I didn’t notice until recently that if I tweeted the post multiple times, it got even more hits. I know. I may actually need to go back to school.

Anyhoo, my plan is to learn what scheduled tweets are (because I have a job and because if I put one of my goals as ‘spend more time on my phone’ I think my husband might just file for divorce on the spot), use them, and interact more with nice people on Twitter. And somehow block retweets from Donald Trump so that I don’t end up going completely insane. Tweet me @catscruse too. 

M E E T  U P S

I think one of the things that made me fall a little bit in love with blogging again at the end of last year was just meeting and talking to some other bloggers. I haven’t really made the effort to do that too much before because I am antisocial and I like to spend as much time as possible at home in my pyjamas or in the bath, but I pushed myself a little bit last year and honestly, it is so nice and so inspiring to meet other people who blog too and just get it. Even if it’s just chatting on Twitter/Instagram, commenting more on people’s blog posts – I want to try and build up some more blogger friendships this year. So if you’re in London, let me know if you’re free and I’ll take you for coffee (just kidding – it’ll be wine).

So there’s my little goals for this space on the internet this year – what do you think?  

1 comment

  1. Yes! I love this. I want to start trying to comment more on peole's blog posts when I enjoy them. It always makes my day to get that little notification so I'm going to start trying to spread the love a bit :)


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