For some reason the other night I was scrolling through the list of people I follow on Twitter, and clicked on the name of someone I’m sure hadn’t tweeted for a good five years. You see, before I was prancing around in Nottinghill, taking myself a bit too seriously and creating a part time job out of everything you see here – before blogging was *blogging* – I used to just jump online and write short, sloppy posts about anything and everything. I’m only 22 and whilst Skylish as a beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog is still in its infancy – me and the “online world” have been acquainted now for many, many years. When I clicked on this girl’s twitter (who I used to follow and chat to all the time), I saw that although she hasn’t tweeted in years she actually retweeted something just a day ago. Suddenly… nostalgia hit! And it quickly brought me back to blogging in 2007.
Before bloggers became influencers and in some cases – major money makers – the ‘blogging’ world I was a part of consisted of a small close-knit group of pre-teens. Back then, ‘blogging’ wasn’t the focus – the focus was more on coding, Photoshop, and webdesign. Blogs that were published (in most cases) weren’t as well thought out and fine tuned as they seem to be now – I know in my case I would just scribble down a few hundred words after school about whatever was on my mind – whether that be the annoying new girl, gossip from a party I went to, or a video I found funny, they definitely were not in depth articles about my life and my experiences.
We used to have ‘sister sites’
Back in the day we used to have sister sites. Essentially somewhere on your website you’d link all the blogs of all of your online friends. Occasionally, people would also allow others to ‘apply’ to join their list of sister sites – it all depended on how exclusive you wanted to be. There wasn’t necessarily any particularly stringent criteria – aside from having a pretty looking blog. As there was quite a small group of us, it wasn’t uncommon to find the same names on everybody’s lists. When I was even younger, we had ‘bffos’ – this is a ‘best friend forever online’ – yup, that’s how you know I was young! I remember I had a ‘bffo’ who went ahead and found herself a new ‘bffo’, and I was absolutely heartbroken.
Blog reviews were a thing…
A few people (myself included) would offer up blog reviewing services. In fact, I think I had a whole different URL where I would allow people to apply to have their blog reviewed by me. Little, barely-even-a-teenage year old me thought I was skilled enough to tell other people what they were doing wrong with their blogs. I remember there reached a point where I had so many applicants for this service that it started to feel like I was just doing homework – it wasn’t fun, and I essentially decided to scrap the ‘service’ altogether. I remember there were a few people known for doing particularly mean reviews, there was even someone who would randomly choose sites they didn’t like and present them with what they called a ‘pants award’, along with an entire review as to why their website sucked. Once this website popped up on my list of referrals and I pretty much had a heart attack – but to my surprise they had linked to my website saying that they liked it, rather than offering me prestigious pants award.
People had jails
There were a few blogs way back when that would throw people in ‘jail’ if they copied their website. I actually remember there was a whole Piczo website called ‘The Piczo Jail’, that would just call out blogs and write about who they copied and when, with all the receipts. I’d say these days, unless someone downright copies a blog word for word, blogging is less of a finger-pointing “you copied me!” place as it used to be. At the end of the day – we all draw inspiration from each other from time to time.
Blog designs were a big deal
The overall design of blogs definitely still matters, but things are a lot more simple, neat and streamlined than they were back in the day. Back when I was webdesigning, layouts were always extravagantly designed, complicatedly coded absolute masterpieces. I would literally spend weeks and weeks, designing, drafting and coding my layouts. Then I would set a release date and time for when the new layout would be live, and dedicate a whole blog post to explaining my thought process behind the new layout. I’d do this every couple of months. These days, I have times when I’ve decided to just completely redesign my blog, however most of the time I’m just make minor changes here and there when ideas pop into my head. For example, today I designed a new ‘read more’ link, because I got bored of the old one. And a few weeks back, I changed the images in my header design, because I thought I had cooler ones I could use. I’m not as big of a fan as I used to be of coding, whilst I do still design and code my blog myself, it gives me a bit more of a headache these days trying to figure out what div I forgot to close, versus the excitement it used to give me back in the day. Nevertheless, I’m glad I learned those skills, and can have an idea about what is going on when reading all the codes in the back end.
There was a lot of drama
Has anything changed here? Let’s be honest – there’s still a lot of drama in the blogging world! But now, it can be such that you’re quite far removed from it because there are just so many of us now. A lot of the time I just find myself reading different threads and conversations on Twitter pertaining to different dramas, whereas when I was young, I’d sometimes find myself right in the middle. Of course when you’re younger, everything also always seems like a big deal. Whilst I can’t think right now about the causes of all these little dramas – what does spring to mind is people pointing fingers at others for copying… that would often cause a fuss.
As time went on, a lot of people started to disappear from the blogging/webdesign world. Whilst I’ve always had some sort of website online, I’d say a took a few years of a mental break starting from the end of school to the beginning of university, where I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to continue online at all. Some people stuck around, some disappeared for good, and some disappeared and then popped back up a few years later. So – whilst I sign off on this nostalgic post – I’d like to shout out to the few of us that have been here and watched the industry completely evolve. Including Georgie, Pauline, Chynna, Kwin and Mimi to name a few!