On Retrospect: The Golden Years

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For me, The Golden Age is a time that I saw blogging at its peak. Statistically, I don’t know if that is true, but it was to me. Fortunately, it was probably in full swing when I started.

Freshly Pressed was a popular promotion and recognition by WordPress Editors. Besides checking the list daily, I visited and commented on many blogs attempting to gain regular readers. After having some posts that I believed should have been recognized, I made and displayed a “Not Freshly Pressed” badge. On 23 Dec 2012, the editors notified me of my selection while mentioning I can take down my badge. 51 weeks later on 16 December 2013, my second Freshly Pressed honor came. After all, how could the WP editors not appreciate this post about words.

Whatever success means in blogland, I think I was tasting it. My community grew. I was associated with more than a few (apparently) well-known bloggers – and oh wow – what a variety of blogs!

During this time, my topics/categories continued to expand. My little corner of the world evolved into a weekly magazine with 6 posts following a similar pattern:

  • Monday Morning Entertainment (256 posts) highlighted the weekend and started the week with a smile
  • Tuesday provided a feature post of content
  • Aiming at a mid-week chuckle for Wednesday, The Onion’s Satire Bits (134 posts) provided a list of the week’s best headlines from The Onion – and this is where the Combo Challenge started
  • Thursday was a day for a variety of topics – a second feature, a travel post, or anything else.
  • Opinions in the Shorts (— posts) quickly evolved into a consistent format.
  • Saturday featured something light-hearted for the weekend. I loved Saturday Morning Cartoons (71 posts). After all, many readers loved watching cartoons on Saturday mornings during their youth. Explore series (74 posts) followed the cartoons on weekends. Eventually the Blog Musicals (8 musicals of 81 acts) moved from weekdays to Saturdays.

After several years of posting six days a week, replying to all comments, visiting other blogs, plus researching and writing, I was wearing down. With a long-term work contract consuming my day, I backed down from my self-imposed expectations – which lead to an important mantra – Blogging breaks are good.

Three-to-five posts per week became the new routine, which was fine with me. Eventually it became three-to-four. During this time I realized that six posts per week were not only demanding on me, it was also demanding on my readers. In retrospect, that’s a major revelation because my readers read other blogs as well as maintaining their own. That thought alone helped me slow down.

Were these really the Golden Age of Blogging? I don’t know – but to me, this period was exciting. The Golden Age faded away as some bloggers moved on to other forms of social media. Maybe the time wasn’t the Golden Age – but just a time when I was surrounded by activity and creativity. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful time in my blogging history.

Next topic: The Posts (To be published Saturday 1 Feb @ 1:00 AM Eastern US)

59 thoughts on “On Retrospect: The Golden Years

    • John,

      The amount that you write is beyond my imagination – so I figure you must be very disciplined – or at least know how to force yourself to be. In terms of stepping away or at least backing away to slow down, the choice is yours – think about – think carefully – and the answer will come. I first started thinking about in in early 2019 – and I didn’t mention it to anyone for many months. It’s through that process I discovered the time was right for me. But don’t force yourself. That is, press on if you feel the desire!

      Liked by 3 people

  1. According to those who know — not me — the golden age of blogging was from 2003 to 2009. I started in 2010. Always late to the party. Just about everybody that I knew from my earliest days are gone. Some. I know on other social media, some just disappeared. That said, I don’t know how much I have left in me.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ray,
      My dates were arbitrary – just a sense – yet I appreciate you checking it out and sharing it. Starting in late August 2008, timing seems about right – especially that blogs were already on a roll when I started. Plus I agree, some just moved on to other social media while others stopped. Yep – we all have a beginning and an end. We start for a reason – then end for a reason. All in all, I enjoyed looking back. Many thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. What a great song choice, Frank!
    I didn’t think I knew about golden years, but now you have me thinking. Perhaps, I do know a bit of golden.
    Among thoughts of those years in my life, I think some of my golden years of blogging have been a time that includes you.
    This post is gold.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Resa,

      You know how much I enjoy using music with posts. Unlike the song in the previous post, this song initially came to me for this post and it stuck!

      Blogs were in the midst of the Golden Age of Blogging when I arrived in 2008 – so I started to grow in 2009 – and that may be the year when the format I described above started evolving. I kept that pace up for years – so as the Golden Age was winding down, I was on a roll and pressed on. Perhaps I’m saying that I caught on toward the end of the Golden Age that led into my Golden Years.

      Meanwhile,, I’m happy that this post caused you to think about your blogging life. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wonder what kind of an age blogging is in now?
        I’ve tried Twitter, and checked out Instagram, but they lack the depth of connection I find in blogging.
        Twitter makes me crazy because it’s a lot of work, and only seems to benefit those who don’t need it. Instagram is a showcase for talent and pets, but that’s it.
        I am so happy that I never had a FaceBook account.
        That leaves blogging.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t have personal experience with those other types of social media. To me, it seems the key is want does a person want. Back to blogging, stats of number of bloggers can be deceiving because they may include in-active bloggers. Oh well – I’m sure stats are out there.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. So interesting to read of your experience Frank. In the early days of my blog I heard somewhere that most blogs are active for about three years. If that is so you have done extremely well. Many of the people who were active in my first four to five years have stepped back.. It’s true that life can get in the way of blogging 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pauline,
      The 3 years average life is something that I’ve also heard – however, unsure if it’s true. The total number of blogs that have ever existed must be very high! So yes – if 3 years is the benchmark, I’ve done very well.

      The schedule that I maintained were my Golden Years – and I kept that pace up for years – and as you know – elements stayed with me through to this point.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think your observation about the golden years of blogging is probably pretty accurate. I certainly don’t have the same enthusiasm I once did, and I have truly missed dozens of bloggers who have dropped off completely. I don’t know how long I’ll stay connected, but since I don’t concern myself with blogging regularly and I don’t care about the stats, I’ll just hang in there until I no longer can, or all of the people I enjoy drop off first! 🙂 It was really a lot more fun a few years ago, but nothing stays the same. I keep wondering if there will be anything that comes along that captures my attention similarly. I can’t think what that would be!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra,

      Because we’ve been together so long, we probably connect in the Golden Age – and no doubt during my Golden Years. I’m sure the above format stimulated a memory or two. I had to laugh when you stated about hanging on until everybody is gone – oh yes – blogging for yourself. 🙂 .. and that is something I’ve also thought about. For those like me, readers serve as a source of motivation. If not, they surely motivated me!

      You have stated so much that I can easily relate to – just another example how the two of us must be so alike! 🙂

      Like

  5. I am always impressed by peeps like you and John (seven days per week? Holy Hannah!). I don’t know if that in itself is what burns a person out or not. I could never blog consistently like that. And that’s okay. Of course, you needed blog breaks – you were burning the candle at both ends! I think my 2 or 3 or 4 or occasionally 5 and often 1 time per week is what works for me. I never was into the stats part of blogging. I get a new follower and it tells me where I’m at and that’s about all I know or want to know. – never mind how many of these supposed followers are actually bots or people trying to sell their goods.
    Daily posters are one thing, multi-daily posters are another. I have my favourites and I will read most of what they write when I can. Sometimes I play catch up, sometimes I just flush my inbox and start over. That’s life. I have no idea how long I will blog – I suspect it’s until I just don’t want to find the time. Like you, I am a very participative blogger so I answer all comments and I leave many comments. I can (and often do) spend hours per day doing just that!
    I’m definitely going to have to learn to put boundaries up 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dale,

      When I was at my peak, no question that I was a blogging machine. For some crazy reason, I probably taught something weird like, “Got to keep going, because I don’t want to lose people.” Blogging may have been surging my dopamine.

      Thinking back at the overall experience, so bloggers had a schedule (like John and I), others not. I’m sure there is something embedded within us driving that. Even in recent years, my postings dates and times followed a pattern. I expected for myself, plus probably thought readers expected that too (which is probably not true). Glad you mentioned blogging breaks because you understand how one would need a break from that schedule. Managing the emails from WP was a trick in itself. Toss in the fact of replying to comments and visiting others – blogging became such an important part of my life.

      I like your phrase “putting up boundaries” for yourself. That’s something I wish I would have learned earlier. Perhaps my Blogging Break concept was my first boundary, and then others came in time. Good stuff Dale, thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I have no idea about the golden years of blogging. I didn’t really read blogs until I started one, and then it took some time to figure out what I was doing, and it gradually became a mostly poetry blog. What you did is kind of amazing, and I can see how you’ve needed breaks.

    I’m like Dale–except for my Monday Morning Musings, or when I’m scheduled to host dVerse–I post whenever. It might be once a week, or four or five times a week. It is difficult to keep up with reading all the responses, and also to read posts of other bloggers I follow. I don’t really pay attention to my stats. My blog is a creative outlet.

    Bowie looks so young in that video. I liked the clips from The Third Man in it, too. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Merril,

      I remember that when we first connected, history was your focus (after all, that was your passion and trade), and then poems crept in, and eventually took over. Simply an evolutionary story on its own – and a good one!

      Interesting how schedules drive us differently. I imagine there are some bloggers who thought schedules drive them so much in life that blogging wasn’t going to be one of them! 🙂 The fact that this post caused you to reflect a little made me smile.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. You’ve taken up quite a task and brought it home perfectly and admirably! A task that to me seems impossible! Keeping up at a certain pace is just too hard to do [bare in mind that english not being my native language, it sometimes takes much longer for a reply or even reading a post]. But fun it is and that’s where the boundaries Dale mentions, come in. If you’re struggling to keep up then it’s not fun, so why do it! Your home here has always been the light and a welcome corner. Yamas! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ah, I remember the golden age of blogging well. Had quite the following myself in the early aughts on a totally different blog, then life blew up and I hermit-crabbed back into my shell, only to return briefly here and there until finally returning (mostly) in 2014 or so. Since then… many days of radio silence. Ebb and flow (how many ocean metaphors can I use?). I don’t think I ever did 7 days, though. No wonder you discovered blog breaks are good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tara,
      Oh well .. I didn’t realize you were out there in the Golden Age. But hey – when serious life things get in the way, backing away was the right thing to do. Thanks for sharing a bit of your experiences, and I hope you stop by the rest of the closing series (Sat AM, Sun PM, Tues PM).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Another interesting read about your blogging experience, Frank. I clocked in to WP early 2010 and remember well the ‘Freshly Pressed’ feature. Funny you made your own badge, and well done on actually achieving having two posts FP’d!!
    Back then it seemed WP had more positive drives about blogging than now? Remember the annual 12 Month breakdown stat report? “You’ve received enough visitors to fill the Royal Albert Hall 70 times over!” or something like that 🙂 I don’t know. I still rate WP and find the overall vibe fun and positive, but maybe you’re right, that period did have a certain ‘gold’ hue to it looking back.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Ah yes, the golden age of blogging. I remember them well. It’s interesting to me how blogging ebbs and flows, pretty much like the tide. When I started on WordPress (2007), I was part of a small group of maybe five or six people and it was like being in a blog neighborhood where we stopped by each other’s place to visit and chat. It’s not that easy or simple anymore although I try to keep it that way for my own sanity. I keep up with what I can, as I can, even though I tend to feel rude if I don’t return a visit. There was a time when I blogged seven days a week (for a whole year and probably beyond that year-long challenge). It’s not easy, that’s for sure.

    Congrats on the two-time Freshly Pressed honors. We have that in common, too. It freaked me out the first time it happened because I didn’t know about Freshly Pressed and I couldn’t figure out why I had so many visitors!

    Enjoyed Bowie. Thank you for that. 🙂

    Like

    • Robin,
      I remember that you’ve been blogging longer than I – plus switching blogs (I presume do to running out of storage for your photos). The early days must have truly been the wild west. I haven’t heard from Marc (Sorryless) yet, but I know he was out there in that initial fray. Thanks for sharing a bit of your experiences.

      Like

  11. AFA:

    I had not realized how long you had been blogging. As a now infrequent blogger, I can appreciate the extensive effort required to keep to a schedule. I have seen, as others have, bloggers who have either 1) fulfilled their original intent for comedy, history, poetry, art, world events or everyday communication or 2) exhausted themselves in their undertaking and stopped or slowed down. I wanted to creatively express my natural grouchiness and, using other bloggers as models, was able to get myself going but it becomes harder with time. Again, I am amazed at the length and extent of your own blogging experience and the wide audience you’ve gathered from it.

    As to a “golden age of blogging,” I believe that there is some truth in the idea that the peak has passed, partially from competition from other forms of electronic communication (twitter and Facebook) and partially from the fact that blogging does not lend itself to simple 240 character comments or single one picture posts. Even those who use blogging in that way tend to invest creative time and intellectual thought before posting.

    C-a-L

    Like

    • C-A-L,
      Thanks for sharing a bit of your experiences – even if it was without the curmudgeon attitude. (Do you need meds?) 😉

      As bloggers were stopping, Twitter was ramping up in popularity – so I’m sure that had an affect. But that’s a very different type of medium, yet I understand the attraction. Blog-wise, I’m convinced longevity is rate – well – depending on the type of posts one publishes.

      Thanks for the kind words and support. I hope you stop by the rest of the series – 3 to go – check Saturday morning, Sunday evening, and Tuesday evening.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Even in at my most prolific, I would not be able to keep up with your “slowed down” schedule. In fact, I’m probably about as productive as your average blogging break 🙂
    A fun fact – was also Freshly Pressed twice, second time less than 3 months after the first.
    However – which may be a rare, if not unique, situation – both times it was as a guest poster on another blog, and never on my own. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ah the golden years. When every second blog was telling you how to become rich and famous blogging. Based on that, I’d say Instagram now has the limelight.

    Golden Years was my first Bowie song. I still remember listening to the premiere on my transistor radio. The DJ was super excited.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Cincy,

    You were damn prolific back in the day! One of the things I remember from blogging back inside that time was how the blogosphere felt like dancing on tectonic plates. Such were the changes it was making to people’s ideas of communicating, journaling, sharing and writing. It was pre-Instagram so I remember tons of photography blogs. And WordPress was in the process of separating itself from the other blogging platforms as well. I had tried the others and they all seemed so much more restrictive.

    I love Bowie, and you picked the perfect song for this post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marc,
      Knowing that you were an early blogger, I was hoping you would mention something about those days – so thank you! Yep – Prolific was a good word. Not sure how many years I kept that pace. Fortunately, some of the posts were much easier to create than others.

      Glad you enjoyed my choice of Bowie – an obvious choice for this one – well, at least to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Those were the days, for sure. There was something about the experience, with so many of us drinking in this idea that we could write whatever the hell we wanted and it was instant boom.

        My high water mark for posting was four to six times a week. But it was mostly satire so easy enough.

        I love Bowie.

        Like

  15. I first started blogging about eleven years ago on a South African blogging site. When that site folded after three years, I came to WP. I used to be a very enthusiastic blogger but by enthusiasm has waned somewhat over the last two years. I’ve noticed that quite a few bloggers that I followed have simply disappeared and sadly three have died. I wish you all the best in your blog retirement, Frank. 😃

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sylvia,
      Thanks for sharing a bit of your blogging story. People come and go – sometimes we know why – others we don’t – yet we are saddened when we get word of one’s passing. Maybe your lack of enthusiasm is a sign, Nonetheless, I’m not done yet, still three to go!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ve been blogging for a while now, and when I venture back, most of my early peers are gone. I think you have to be a writer to be a long term blogger. in other words, your love of the art itself appreciating having a place to go to. I feel like that anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susannah,

      I agree that most long-term bloggers are writers at heart – but that’s not true for all long-term bloggers. Definitely sad to see bloggers fade away – for me, especially the ones that simply packed up and left without an explanation. Simply POOF … Gone! Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I miss freshly pressed… I think I found many of the blogs I actually love from that feature. I am sad it no longer runs. To me, what you described certainly does sound like the golden years of blogging. I think this golden years paved the way for many many new bloggers to arrive on the scene, and a LOT of it has become like other social media outlets… a way to make money and fast with no sense of community. However, the space we have here, and the space you have here, has given rise to a most beautiful little community of wonderful people such as yourself, and i am so glad to have made the acquaintance of your mind through your blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lenora,

      Interestingly, I caught the end of the Golden Age, which helped me ride a bit of its wave. But the Golden Age launched me into my Golden Years. Freshly Pressed was interesting … and until now, I didn’t know they did away with it!

      Liked by 2 people

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