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A Blogging Evolution: Looking Back at 7 Years of Sharing My Life on The Internet

Just a few weeks ago, the Get Gutsy blog celebrated its third anniversary.

However, that wasn’t the beginning of my blogging journey.

In fact, my relationship with blogging dates back seven years.

I recently came across the below tweet from my Timehop App and thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about how blogging has changed my life for the better in so many different ways…and how blogging itself has changed from 2008 until now.

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Rewind to junior year of college in 2008…20-year-old Jessica has just had her heart broken for the first time (cue sad Taylor Swift song) and needs an outlet to vent and connect. Always a writer, I turned to words- to blogging – to help me heal.

I decided to create a personal blog.

The blog (which has been made completely private and essentially wiped from the Internet to save myself from embarrassment…don’t even try to find it!) was a very personal and semi-anonymous blog. I never shared my last name and referred to people in my life using nicknames.

The blog was essentially my diary. But that’s how blogging was back in those days. It was a play-by-play of my life. Of my feelings. I wrote about everything- literally, everything: weekend recaps, religion, school, friendship, my breakup, dating. Nothing..and I mean nothing, was off-limits.

In those early days, blogging was a completely different beast than it it today. Blogging was VERY community-based. I was part of a tight-knit group called Twenty-Something Bloggers (which has since shut down). My online life became very wrapped up in this group and I made several close blogging friends who I still know today!

A blogging evolution, for sure! Here are a few key differences from what my experience blogging is today vs. what it was like seven years ago:

  • Type of content. As I mentioned, back in 2008, my posts were very personal. Many of them provided detailed updates on my breakup, new guys I was dating, my classes in school, etc. My blog was a true diary. Now, this blog is far from a diary. Sure, I provide monthly updates on my life in my monthly check-ins, but for the most part, the content on the blog is designed to connect with the community and help us rally around a certain topic or idea. I put much more thought into each post and really take the time to make a post what I want, rather than simply rambling and hitting publish.
  • Public vs. Private. Back in 2008, NO ONE in my real life knew I had a blog. I sort of felt like I was living a double life! I had my real life friends and my blog friends. At the time, blogging wasn’t as popular as it is today, and some people thought it was weird to have a personal blog. Slowly, I began telling close friends about my blog, but still, only a handful of people in my life knew. And once I felt like more people knew than didn’t know, that was when I decided to shut down the blog and start fresh with a more professional presence. Quite the contrary from today! My blog is completely tied to my name and I share my posts via social media and my newsletter with the entire world.
  • Comments and interaction. Wow. Looking back, several of my posts on that first blog received upward of 50 comments! Today, I am lucky to get just a handful, if any, at all. Social media has changed everything- previously, people used the comments section of a blog to interact and get to know a blogger on a more personal level. Now, I find those interactions take place on Twitter, Instagram and other social networks. I miss the days of comments! I’m guilty of it myself- I comment much less frequently on other blogs, too, but every once in awhile, I take the time to comment because I know how much I appreciate it.
  • Post frequency. When I started blogging seven years ago, I posted 5-7 times per week, if not TWICE a day from time to time. Not all of the posts were substantial. Some were just images and a few words. Some were a few sentences long. Others were definitely more meaty. Now, I post 2-3 times per week, tops. I try to ensure that all my content is valuable and provides some type of takeaway for the Get Gutsy community.
  • Promotion. Blog promotion was barely a thing seven years ago. I truly started blogging for myself and was just excited when others were interested in being a part of it. In the very early days, I didn’t worry about the number of people reading my blog- I didn’t have Google Analytics installed. There wasn’t even an ability to share links on Twitter yet, so tweeting out posts wasn’t an option. I simply wrote to write and connect. While I still write to connect now, I also do have a promotion plan in place to ensure my posts are seen by a wider audience.

There are definitely things I miss about the blogging world of seven years ago- looking back at my first blog, I was so HONEST. So emotionally raw. I really put my heart on the line. I wrote without abandon. I didn’t care what others thought. Sure, I still am honest and vulnerable here on the Get Gutsy blog, but I definitely find myself much more guarded than I was back in 2008. You almost have to be a little more guarded, these days.

While blogging has definitely evolved over the past seven years, one thing holds true: blogging has completely changed my world, for the better.

After I shut down that personal blog in 2010, I transitioned to a book review blog, which I ran for two years, before starting the Get Gutsy blog in 2012. After starting the Get Gutsy blog, that’s when everything really started moving. My blog became my personal brand. It led me to job and freelance opportunities, it has introduced me to some of my best friends and it has changed me as a person.

Who could have guessed that seven years later, that together, we’d have built an amazing and supportive community of go-getters striving to step outside their comfort zones to get gutsy? Who would have guessed that more than 1,000 people would sign up to receive emails from me? Who would have guessed that my words would touch more than 8,000 people each month?

Certainly not me.

Never in a million years could I have imagined blogging bringing me to this place.

But I sure am grateful.

Yes, my style has changed and evolved with the times, but I’ll always be thankful for every step along the way, that has brought me to this very moment. And while change doesn’t always feel like a good thing, I look forward to seeing where blogging evolves to next.

PS- A BIG thanks to my ex-boyfriend for breaking my heart when you did- I’m sure I would have found my way eventually, but you helped set me on this path 🙂 Seven years later, I can look back, not with anger, but with gratitude.

When did you start blogging? I’d love to hear about how your blogging journey has evolved over the years. Share your stories in the commnets below!

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Meet Jessica

I live by the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and help others do the same to reach their biggest, brightest goals. Read my story here.

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