After almost ten years of blogging and “influencing” people on social media, I have decided to drastically change the way I do things. To go back to the beginning, where my travel writing started. Emailing. Sending personal, informative, amusing, provocative, and questioning articles via email to my readers instead of sharing Insta-worthy images of a perfect world that does not exist. I’m starting on the journey of blogging without social media. Will you accompany me?
This article was first published on my previous blog When Woman Travels in 2019. I have reposted it here for the purpose of continuation. Last update: January 2023.
From the beginning of my blogging in 2013 (with my first blog When Woman Travels), I always struggled to find my own personality and voice. I tried to learn from successful bloggers and copy what they do. Writing style, photos, Facebook and Instagram posts, most of the time it was about “this must be the right way to do it if all the top bloggers are doing it”. What stupidity, now I am thinking.
The part I struggled with the most was social media. I am a private person and as you can see, often the “influencers” with the largest following are the ones that open the doors to their private lives for the general public. Well, I just couldn’t make myself do it. And from today’s point of view, I’m sure – that is even not necessary! It is not for everyone.
The Unreal Reality of the Instagram-Worthy World
The other side of social media I am tremendously struggling with is the polished, misleading picture of the world that these (us) “top influencers” are showing to their audiences. But I understand why they are doing it. This is what people want (but that too starts to change). This is what they will like, click on or share. Because it makes them feel inspired and proud of themselves. Makes them feel and look good (in the eyes of others too). I’m not different. Every time I like a postcard-perfect photo on Instagram, I am aware that I am responding to the “oh, this feels good” call. However, these posts do not have a positive influence on me. They are there just to entertain me… for a second. Then, they are forgotten. I don’t become happier or a more confident person because I have learned something new that will help me in the long term. They are just clutter that makes my day more stressful and busier than it should be.
(Truth be told, some bloggers do a really great job and share long, informative, purposeful posts on Facebook and Instagram that teaches a lot to their readers. In my situation, however, I can’t justify spending all this time writing on a platform that will hide my content soon after I have published it instead of doing the same thing on my website where people can see it easily and forever).
De-cluttering Yours (and My) Lives, Making Time for Real Learning
I am one of those that clutter your life. The guilt of delivering empty content via social media to your, overloaded with things that should be done, lives is on my shoulders. I, like many other bloggers, spend hours “crafting” messages and editing photos to be posted on Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels with the sole purpose of driving links to my blog. Because this is what brands want, is our excuse. Numbers; heads; human brains influenced by the “influencer”. Such an ugly word indeed.
I don’t want to be that person anymore. Deep into my heart, I was always the girl from a small town who wants to share her travel knowledge and experience with her friends. Those friends being you, my readers. But I tried to be serious, abide by the rules of the Influencer game. And I failed, because that is not who I am.
This is why, a week ago, after a conversation with my hubby about social media and its future, but mostly how stressful and time-consuming it is, I have decided to stop using Facebook and Instagram for the purposes of my blog. I do not care if brands want numbers. I am not a number, neither you are.
Cutting down the time for social media will allow me to focus on creating deeper, more meaningful content.
A Dream of Writing
Ever since I was a teenager and began to unveil the curtain hiding my personality, I knew one thing. I want to write. At fifteen, I started writing a horror novel (Steven King’s books were gaining international fame with the speed of a spaceship). I wrote the first chapter, my schoolmates seemed intrigued, but that didn’t get much further. I didn’t believe in my own craft and in all my honesty, I had no certainty of my physical survival (food was scarce at times) to pursue a dream of becoming a writer. I needed a ‘real’ job. These were the years when the Communist Block collapsed and the especially terrifying chaotic years that came after. It was an earthquake in the political system that left Bulgarians hopeful but also afraid for their future. It was no time for dreamers.
Some ten years fast forward, I was writing again. (I never stopped but it was always a sporadic effort involving writing diary entries and poems.) This time I was writing emails, a sort of travel articles that involved a lot of personal information because they were sent only to my closest friends and family. That was a difficult time when I lived in Ethiopia as an expat. My friends and family back home enjoyed reading these emails. But they were so important to me too. I had a need to stay connected and feel less isolated in the far north of one of the poorest African countries.
Blogging without social media
As a traveller, I had crossed many roads, faced a lot of fears and still… there are things to learn and discover. My blogging nears almost ten years now and as much as I want to say that I knew what I was doing when I started, that would be a lie.
Today, wiser (and older) I feel like it is time for a new, more serious and far from the mainstream ‘influencer’ media content. My goal from now on will be to follow the “More journalism, less clutter content!” motto and write articles that have a deeper meaning.
I am still going to talk about women’s travel but also will share my opinion on topics that are not necessarily ‘picturesque’ or ‘inspiring’. Because even in the industry that sells dreams there are things that should not be kept silent.
Let’s shake the apple tree! For that we are Women!
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