As of May this year, this blog has been online for 12 years.

12. Years.

WOW.

I mean, if it were a child, it would be in high school by now. CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE? Because I can’t. And I don’t even WANT to:  that’s how freaked out I am by the  fact that 12 whole years have somehow elapsed since I signed up for a Typepad account, selected the name Forever Amber without giving it any thought whatsoever, and, just a few minutes later, published my very first post – er, again without giving it any thought whatsoever.

How things have changed, huh? And, of course, a lot of the changes I’ve noticed personally are the result of me switching from blogging purely as a hobby to blogging professionally (I’ve written about this before, but I still feel that, a lot of the time when people complain about how ‘blogging has changed,’ it’s actually their own expectations that have changed, rather than blogging itself…), but still: inspired by a recent trip through my blog archives, here are some of the biggest differences between the blogosphere (Or ‘bloggersphere’ as you young ‘uns like to call it these days…) in 2006 vs 2018…

Fashion blogger Forever Amber wearing a red dress in a summer field2006:

You start a blog in your lunch hour, having signed up for a free Blogspot account and written and published your first post in the time it takes to eat a sandwich.

2018:

You start a blog after three months of agonising deliberation over the name, topic, social media handles and design. You have a business plan, and a content plan, you’ve hired a web design firm to create a bespoke template, and you have at least 12 posts already published, and another 12 scheduled and ready to go. You are still worried that you haven’t done enough.

*

2006:

None of your posts have images, because that’s not really a “thing” in this brand new “blogosphere” (snigger), so you actually have to be good at writing, because that’s literally all you have to offer.

2008:

You have a DSLR camera, professional studio lighting, and you’ve been wondering how much it would cost to hire a pro-photographer for the day, like the top fashion bloggers do.

 *

2006:

On the rare occasion that you DO include a photo in a blog post (Which, honestly, feels a bit weird and trail-blazing, really…), it looks like this:

radiator

Because this is a totally acceptable photo, right? And also because you’ve been writing an entire series of posts about your struggle to get a new radiator installed in your bathroom, and when you finally get round to publishing the conclusion you’ve been building up to, it’ll be a whole lot more interesting if your readers have seen a tiny, dark photo of the radiator in question. (Important note: the radiator is being replaced as part of a complete bathroom reno, but you won’t bother sharing any photos of that, because you’ll just describe the new bathroom instead. That’ll work, right? Also, you won’t write much about the bathroom reno – just the radiator saga – because it’s not like anyone’s interested in home decor or DIY or whatever, they just want to hear about that one time you flooded the bathroom.)

(Further note: a few years ago, I retrospectively added header images to some of my older posts, just in case you clicked on any of those links and thought I was lying about the whole, ‘no photos’ thing…)

2018:

Any kind of home improvement project is meticulously documented from start to finish, in a series of carefully search engine optimised posts, complete with Pinterest-worthy images, and, instead of just writing random anecdotes about the process (Although you still write those too, to be fair), you also write a bunch of tips and advice posts that you reckon might do well on Pinterest and Google. You still write about flooding your house, though, because although your blog has changed a lot in the last 11 years, your habit of flooding the place is still going strong. GOD.

*

2006:

A brand offers to send you a tube of toothpaste to review on your blog. You are completely bowled over by this (Because FREE! TOOTHPASTE! That you didn’t have to pay for! YOU HAVE MADE IT!), and enthusiastically agree to a 2,000 word review, which you illustrate by carefully photographing the toothpaste, still in its box, sitting on top of your duvet cover at 10pm at night. Halfway through the post, you realise you’ve just committed to a full day’s work in exchange for a tube of toothpaste which would’ve cost you approximately £2.50, but you soldier on regardless, because what an honour it is to be singled out for this “freebie” – just you and the 102 other bloggers, who will all now publish the same post, at the same time, about the same tube of toothpaste. But FREE!

2018:

A brand offers to send you a tube of toothpaste to review on your blog. Instead, you write an impassioned rant, complaining about how cheeky these brands have become, and how utterly insulted you are to be expected to do a day’s work for £2.50. You are not wrong about this, but… how times have changed!

*

2006:

When you finish writing a blog post, you hit “publish”, then just sit back and wait for  someone to discover it.

2018:

When you finish writing a blog post, you post the link to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Instagram Stories, Pinterest, LinkeIn, Tumblr, and 53 different Facebook groups, all of which exist for the express purpose of allowing bloggers to “promote” themselves. You still know you could be doing more to promote yourself, and live with the constant knowledge that there are another 741 social networks that you should be using, but aren’t.

*

2006:

It is totally fine to post a long rant in which you vent about some random event that annoyed you, safe in the knowledge that your readers will take it in the spirit it was intended/understand the need to rant.

2008:

You have to caveat every single sentence you write, and add multiple disclaimers to all of your posts. You still always manage to offend someone.

*

2006:

You publish a four-sentence blog post about some random life event, because you need your readers to know about it RIGHTTHISVERYSECOND, and know they’ll comment on it, even although it’s just yet another post about you mixing up your eye-makeup remover and nail polish remover again.

2018:

You’ll save that stuff for Instagram Stories, thanks. No one will comment.

*

Of course, as I said at the start of this post, a lot of these are just the differences that come from making the decision to make your blog your job, rather than an evolution in the blogosphere itself (And yes, I know that not all bloggers do all of the things I’ve mentioned here – aaaaand there’s that pointless caveat again!), but when I was looking back at my older posts last week it got me feeling a little bit nostalgic for the so-called “good old days”. I mean, not nostalgic enough to want to start posting teeny-tiny photos of radiators again  – like, I’d photoshop the hell out of that bad boy first, obviously – but enough to have spent a bit of time scrolling back through the archives and cringing in horror and amusement at some of the things I saw fit to post back then. It also got me thinking a bit about how the blogosphere will have changed in another 12 years – if indeed, it even survives that long.

Anyone want to hazard a guess?

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15 Comments
  1. I just discovered that I have been reading this blog for over 10 years – because I totally remember the radiator post AND the flood! Wow. I feel a bit old now. Also a bit weird. Who knew I was such an Forever Amber superfan. 😂

  2. This post made me laugh, because it brought to my mind that old make up blog I had back in, like, 2010? Where I photographed my make up on the floor, at night (because of course I thought that’d be a good idea), and the photos were all dark and wonky, and still I never had anyone point out how much they sucked. I guess people back then didn’t care much for images, they just wanted a honest review (and proof that you had indeed bought and used the thing)?

    1. I remember thinking it was amazing when people started taking their own photos of products, rather than just using a generic product shot – I was like, WOW, what a great idea! So personal! 😂

  3. I’m just starting out blogging, after wanting to go ahead with it since forever. And I did have 8 posts published before I launched, and then a few on hold for good measure. The biggest hurdle I find, is the comparing yourself to everyone else in the “bloggersphere”, even those that have been at it for a decade or more. “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”, is my new chanting mantra. Knowing how to differentiate between personal and private, and what is just the right amount of personal is also a puzzle. And the WordPress template, how do we ever settle on a template and be happy with it??

    Haha, sorry! That was more of an outburst than I had initially planned. 🙂

  4. I remember reading blogs like this, and watching You Tube videos filmed in your bathroom sitting on the loo (the closed one) and rambling on over eyeliner for 20 minute straight. I kind of wish I had started back then, when the pressure was ´t that high, but I still appreciate the pictures I can see on blogs like yours now.

    Anne – Linda, Libra, Loca

  5. Confession time: I’ve been blogging for over ten years too, but it was actually YOUR blog that inspired me to take it more seriously. Prior to your blog, which I had found via a Pinterest image of your tarten skirt in the snow (because #WhenInScotland amiright?), I only ever wrote about recipes, and never even thought I could make money from any of it.
    So, thank you for inspiring me to make a more serious attempt at blogging and broadening my content <3

    1. I don’t have a Flickr account any more unfortunately, and I really hate my wedding photos, so I don’t have any others online! Great suggestion for a post, though, I’ll add it to my list!

  6. LOVE THIS! All so true! I’m not quite as OG as you – I started in 2009 – but I remember writing a post in those early days about Starbucks offering a free chocolate bar when you purchased a coffee that day – it was a one day offer that I’d spotted first thing and was sure my readers just had to know about it! No photos, about 3 sentences long and rattled out in the 5 mins of free time I got at my desk before starting work! LOL things have definitely changed, or like you say, WEVE changed and our expectations are so much higher!

    Great post!
    Jac

  7. I remember discussing with a friend if I should start a blog while I was in Japan. I settled on the name ‘Emsk in the East’, Emsk being a nickname my friends in London used to call me. I typed out my first blog post the night before I left (November 2006), having just filed my tax return, And promised to keep it going. Then arrived there with no internet access in my flat and proceeded to write my second post in March 2007!

    My laptop died while I was over there, meaning I would blog once a week from internet cafes. I’d also have to upload all my photos from my camera which was a complete palaver. I used Blogger and frankly it looked awful, apart from my lovely photos. I had no idea about SEO or sharing posts on FB (whuch I’d recently joined). It was a mess, and yet people found me. I was interviewed for an ex-pats online magazine and was asked if I minded other sites using my good-quality (at the time) photos. I didn’t even know I could charge for their use!

    If I were making that trip again I’d be a lot more clued-up. Nonetheless, it wasn’t a bad blog. I do wish I’d known more So that I could have something much stronger to look back on.

  8. Ah this was so fun, thank you! It brought back fond memories! I began my blog in 2014 and I was wondering whether I should scan some photos for my old posts – they just look so bare without photos now! It really highlighted how things have changed – I really wish we didn’t have to do all the promotion; and I REALLY don’t do anywhere near enough!
    Best wishes
    Helen x

  9. I’ve been following for ten years of the 12 ! 17 and infatuated with vintage style and high heels. But never really a commenter.
    Had to laugh with this post (again).
    It’s funny that we’re all aging:) 10 years ago I probably wouldnt have been interested in baby-posts, now I really enioy them (I’m 27 now). (And I’m totally sneakerfied)
    I see myself weekly checking into your blog for the next 12 years for sure.
    Keep it up:)
    Lynn

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