The decline of Snapchat and the secret joy of internet ghost towns

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Perhaps more than anything else, what has sucked all of the joy out of the social internet in its current form is its exhortation to be useful. We have arrived at a version where everything seems to be just another version of LinkedIn. Every online space is supposed to get you a job or a partner or a stronger personal brand so you can accomplish the big, public-record goals of life. The public marketplace is everywhere. It’s an interactive and immersive CV, an archive. It all counts, and it all matters.

First in the era of America Online, and then in the era of LiveJournal and micro-blogging, the internet was at least partly an escape. It was a place where the boundaries of real life, in which everything was more or less a job interview, could be sloughed off and one could imagine the internet as a quiet, uninhabited space of whispered intimacies. In this era of hyper-usefulness, what seems rarest and most valuable online are spaces that offer, however illusorily, a return to this original uselessness. There are places where, against the constant obligation to be seen and remembered, we might get to be unseen, unrecorded, and forgotten.

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2018 Blog Income Report Research Study by The Blog Millionaire

blog-income-report-study

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This report is the most extensive research study into blogging income that has ever been completed. My research focused entirely on bloggers and their income, and it looked at what was happening in each income bracket and niche. That’s where the magic happened. This is what turned a bunch of numbers and graphs into a proven road map for taking a blog’s monthly income from zero to six figures.

This report answers the four biggest questions that bloggers have about how to make money blogging.

Section 1
How do the Richest Bloggers in the World Make their Money?

Section 2
Which Blogging Niches/Topics Make the Most Money?

Section 3
Which Ad Networks Generate the Most Income Per Page View for Bloggers?

Section 4
Which Affiliate Programs Make the Most Money for the Wealthiest Bloggers?

Instamom

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[Barefoot Blonde]’s portrait of domestic bliss has earned her a top spot among the second generation of so-called mommy bloggers. She joins a clique of stylish women, among them Naomi Davis of Love Taza and Rachel Parcell of Pink Peonies, who have acquired loyal followings (and incomes rumored to be in the seven figures) by showing themselves excelling as ordinary wives and mothers. If the feats these blogs capture are familiar—dressing well, attending to children—this is a key part of the appeal; the women epitomize a new breed of celebrity, as public fascination expands beyond the rich and famous to the well-off and above-average. “We’re seeing people following almost idealized versions of themselves,” said Rob Fishman, a co-founder of Niche, an ad network for online influencers that is now owned by Twitter. “It’s this attainable perfection.”

… They were already planning ahead to ensure their new home would offer attractive backdrops. “So we’re thinking of having an indoor gym in our home because if we could even say yes to one or two fitness campaigns, then that would pay for the gym itself,” Fillerup Clark explained. They’d sprung for an outdoor shower for similar reasons. “Sometimes we’ll have a campaign where we’re doing shaving cream, and it’s a little awkward to be indoors in your shower, so it makes more sense to have a beautiful outdoor shower and do it out there.” They were incorporating picturesque window seats, and had come up with a special design for what they called “Amber’s hallway”: It would be extra wide and lined with windows and, according to Clark, was partly “based off of ‘I want to take pictures there.’ ”

“The more our house becomes Pinnable, the more it leads back to the website,” said Clark. “We want it to traffic well. We want it to go viral.”

Escape From the Internet!

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John and Sherry Petersik built a cult following with their website, Young House Love. Then they tried to walk away.

…As the social-sharing economy expanded, so did the Petersiks’ business, which is when that happy setup started to break down. Grace Bonney, the creator of Design Sponge, points to shifts like the rise of Pinterest and Instagram, which, she says, “have all but killed blogs. We all have homes, we all talk about the pretty things we want to buy; that’s not unique anymore. The only thing that sets us apart is who we are and what our lives are.” Bonney explains, “You will not find a single blog with that kind of cult following that doesn’t have a personal connection. But what creates that kind of devoted following can also be problematic. At some point you have to ask: Do you want your life to become your business?”

By 2011, YHL was getting over 5 million monthly page views (with a million unique visitors), and the Petersiks were regularly working a second shift after Clara’s bedtime and throughout weekends and vacations. Family outings had to include something “bloggable,” like a stop at an antique store. Each holiday required fresh seasonal content. The Petersiks were also picking up all those side projects that felt like huge wins, but required a tremendous amount of additional work. They admit the blog made money “a nonissue” in its final years. “For a long time, we thought we were doing okay if we could duplicate our salaries from our old advertising jobs; then it got to the point where we could bring in much more,” says Sherry. “But I kept saying, ‘I don’t want more money, I want more time.’” She’d spend school field trips sneaking onto her phone to respond to comments from the zoo or the aquarium. “I felt like any day where I was being a great blogger, I was being a bad mom and vice versa,” Sherry says. She and John both worried that their marriage was being reduced to “essentially co-workers.” …

Meanwhile, their audience’s demands to be let in on their lives only grew. Back in 2010, it took them four days to mention the birth of their daughter on their blog, but when Teddy was born in 2014, John says, “It was like, okay, we have a few hours to get something for Instagram.” Sherry pauses when he says that, but she doesn’t disagree. “Where we ended up was kind of a reality show in itself,” she says. And like all successful reality stars, the Petersiks had built an audience that simultaneously knew everything about them and didn’t really know them at all.