The Last Year for Lifecasting?

I’m not a great predictor of trends. I immerse myself in all things tech and social media, so I’m not usually surprised when something comes around, but I’m also not usually on the ground floor of breaking any big news.

So I feel like I’m going out on a bit of a limb with this one, but I’m pretty confident:

This is the last year for lifecasting.

Listen, some of my best friends are lifecasters. Some of the most successful people on the Web are lifecasters. They’ve built huge communities (and businesses) on sharing the minute-by-minute details of their lives: their meals, their workouts, their relationships…

Whole Foods 2
(In my short-lived lifecasting days, I shared a picture of what I bought at the grocery store. Because that’s what people did.)

But times are changing and I think even those successful lifecasters would admit that the appetite for these types of sites is disappearing. And in an honest moment, I think they’d also admit that their own desire to keep sharing every single thing they do is waning.

Don’t get me wrong. I think blogging will always be a place where people share their lives, and as a voracious reader of Web content, I hope that’s true. I’ve fallen in love with babies I’ll never meet, wept over finish lines earned with months of training and salivated over recipes and foodie brainstorms. I’ve made some incredible friends through the Web because they (and I) are willing to share some of the nitty gritty details.

But now that everyone and their mother (even mine!) has a blog, I think there’s a higher standard for what makes something not only readable, but sticky. There’s a demand for new ideas, for best practices and for news you can use. Even lifecasting can be plussed (I’m not dropping my baby blog anytime soon!) if it is more than just a blow by blow of events.

The 28-Day Blog Challenge has been an amazing experience for me, because I’m sitting back and watching 400+ peopleĀ do better. One updated About page at a time; one depreciated widget removal at a time. These are people who may never get to 1 Million page views a month but who want to stand out in their own little corner of the blogging world.

My own blogging journey has taken more twists and turns than the Hulk ride at Universal. I’ve been a lifecaster (a crappy one), a social media reviewer, a recipe renovator (SERIOUSLY crappy…I can barely cook!) and a race recapper. Each piece of the puzzle has helped me figure out where I belong, so I don’t regret even one post.

But I think it’s time for us all to ask: why are we blogging and where can we BE DIFFERENT?

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Comments

  1. says

    I agree 100%! I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately and am realizing that I need to stay true to myself – not do what “everyone else” is. Your blog challenge has been a great source of information and support! Thank you for being honest and for showing us it’s okay to be ourselves!

    • says

      Thank YOU! I love the blog world so much and there’s room for all of us. I don’t even want people to stop being themselves. That may mean sharing grocery hauls and sweaty selfies. I just hope that we all keep pushing the envelope. Don’t just share a grocery photo, talk about how you save money. Don’t just share your selfie, talk about how you motivate yourself to exercise.

      You are awesome!

  2. says

    I think lifecasting is all about content. If good content (and writing skills too, for that matter) are there, I think people will still read.

    • says

      TRUE THIS. I have gotten to know so many lifecasters that if they just stopped updating, I think it would be too bad. But in talking to many who post three times a day, sharing every morsel, every step and every thought, I think they’re as ready for the next step as we are. Good content is here to stay.

  3. says

    I think you are right about the lifecasting model going away. There are just so many blogs and social networks that we are inundated with what everyone is doing all the time. Plus, unless someone is a truly excellent writer, in which they could write about any topic in an interesting way, it all starts to seem the same.

    The past few months my own blogging has started to evolve away from writing about running and random thoughts in my mind to book blogging. I kind of like the less personal approach of discussing subject matter rather than being subject matter.

  4. says

    I am so new to blogging, haven’t even done it a full year, but it has been a very rich experience. I love how your blog is written Katy and how clear and wise it is. For me, I suspect my blog will likely remain in the realm of life casting (wonderful term by the way!) Not very often (but I try at least once a month) I just try to sit down and make sense of things for myself and somehow writing does that for me. It is always a surprise and deeply moving bonus when something touches or clarifies life for someone else. It will always be just a little blog I bet and I am content to :

    1) Consolidate my meandering thoughts
    2) Get them out “on paper”
    3) Take a brave breath and “Publish”

    I don’t know how long I’ll continue this. My original goal was for one year and I am relatively certain I will meet that…but beyond? I don’t know. In fact, whenever I finish a post I think to myself, “Well, there, that was the last thing I have to say about anything!”

    Keep on keeping on Katy you (and your Mom!) have been a true inspiration to me!!

    • says

      a) you are awesome for this comment
      b) you made my day by stopping in
      c) I hope you keep blogging IF you are able to find the piece of it that makes it worthwhile!

      Lifecasting to me is a subset of bloggers who post several times a day and whose posts are “a day in my life” but everyday. Again, I LOVE reading them in many ways, because I’ve gotten to know those people through the years. I just think there’s more that can be done and I don’t think there’s a lot of room for people to break into this format anymore. I wouldn’t really classify your blog as lifecasting because you already bring so much more perspective to each post.

  5. says

    I think this is a great point. As someone that recently started a blog, it’s hard not be compared to the super successful (and awesome!) bloggers out there. But the reality is I really just wanted to blog about something I wish I had read when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease- a gluten and dairy free blog. I wanted to write about all the advice I wish I had received, and share all the things I’ve learned to do and not to do. I wanted to showcase the foodie finds that are life-changing, and those that just waste your hard earned coin. I just wanted to write out all the advice I give in real life, to make someone’s, anyone’s, transition to an involuntary restricted diet easier. That’s my little corner of the world, and that’s where I like to be.

    • says

      This is a GREAT example. Lifecasting would be you just posting pictures of your food. What you’re talking about is sharing your LIFE but with context. Giving people a reason to come back and a chance to leave knowing something they didn’t before.

      And what a fascinating perspective you bring — I imagine that you are a really great resource for so many people.

  6. says

    I cannot like and LOVE this blog post enough! I have been thinking this for *so* long! The “lifecasting,” while heartfelt, is just not typically “niche” enough. As time becomes more and more of the essence, people have to really think about what sites and blogs they diligently follow. For this reason, people will follow those sites and blogs that have the most *relevant and useful* information for THEM and their families. Those blogs that really hone in on a specific audience will thrive I think. And you’re right, those blogs will never likely reach millions because their target market isn’t millions. But yet, at the end of the day, it will all be so much more useful and relevant for not only the blogger, but the reader as well.

    And this is why I stay committed to exactly who I am and exactly who I intend to reach: (primary) women with digestive disorder and disease and (secondary) women who struggle with infertility.

    Not millions and masses.

    THANK YOU!!!!!!

    • says

      I am so proud of you and your journey and especially your commitment to make a difference. You’re a great example — you share your very personal story, but not just to have a public journal. You share it because your experiences and what you’ve learned along the way can be so crucial to others.

      For me, blogging about TTC and now breastfeeding has that same feel. I have spent so long figuring it out (ha!) that I wanted to try and help other women who may not have the same support or idea of where to start. Nothing I’m saying is groundbreaking, but by sharing resources and my mistakes, I hope I’m impacting at least a few lives.

  7. says

    I’ve never heard the term “lifecasting” before … I’m losing my web cred all over the place. :) I’m assuming it’s a little more intensely personal than just ordinary lifestyle blogging or “mommy” blogging (a term I dislike really)?

    I started out my blog as just a cooking blog, and as I posted just the other day, I’ve discovered that I don’t want to be so mono-focused. I do want to talk more about my life and other things that interest me. Will that draw a readership? I have no idea. I’m not even sure that I care – which is probably antithetical to the very concept of blogging. I don’t blog for the income. I don’t blog with the idea that I want to become the most popular or get a high ranking on some arbitrary site. I blog because I enjoy the experience (or I used to) and I enjoy the various communities that blogging creates. I blog because it gives me a social outlet that I don’t have working from home and living as a single, middle aged woman in a sea of married couples with kids.

    As @Christine said above, I have no idea how long I’ll continue or where I’ll go, but I’m just going to get back into the swing of it and enjoy the ride.

    • says

      Ha! When I think of lifecasting, it’s a really a totally different thing from blogging *about* life. Lifecasting is a blow by blow account of everything that happened in a day — what you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, what shoes you wore to work out, what songs you listened to in the care, etc. Blogging about life is personal, and absolutely includes snapshots of life. But it’s a bit more focused on having “takeaways,” either for yourself or for your reader.

      The best blogs have room for everything (and it’s one of the reasons I changed over to blog under my NAME…my own site has gone through so many changes that I don’t know that I could have ended up where I am today otherwise).

      I hope you do get back into the swing…your perspective is so valuable!

  8. says

    I just can’t read “life casting” blogs. I’m not interested in the boring details of other people’s days; mine is boring enough! And I’m not a runner, so don’t read race recaps or tapering posts. I’m a consumer of information. I want to learn something or be asked to think about something every time I read a post. Like you, I do enjoy it when bloggers share bits of their lives; makes the post more interesting and entertaining.

    But to quote Thomas the Tank, I prefer ‘really useful engines’.

  9. Sam says

    Love this post. I am not a blogger, just a blog reader. I think this is something that has needed to be said for a long time. SO many blogs post about the most mundane topics-“I went to the store”, “I went to the doctor”, “me and my dog took a nap on the couch”, etc. I honestly wonder if most readers even care. The content fills my google reader and I honestly skip past most posts. I continue to read because I’ve been reading these blogs for years and have a sense of loyalty to the blogger even when the content is dry. And it is sometimes too hard to offer suggestions in the comments because you will be attacked by other commenters with the ole “If you don’t like it than don’t read”. It is discouraging as a reader.

    I think some lifecasting breathes some relatability into the content and can be really fun to read in small doses. However, I think most bloggers would be better by offering less posts, with more powerful content. For healthy living bloggers, I can be one post a day (or every few days) with a really good recipe, detailed workout plans or recaps of new workouts (for example, a new mom running with baby in the stroller has changed the way she trains), etc.

    Anyway, thanks for the good post Katy!

    • says

      I think your opinion is SO valuable…since you have a totally different perspective. So thank you!

      The good news is that most lifecasters feel the same way we do and are looking to transition their styles. I don’t have any problem with what they have done up to this point, but the game is changing. I hope everyone looks at this as an opportunity to change with it.

  10. says

    I’ve been struggling with the lifecasting blogs a lot lately. I like hearing about your life in your blog, of course. There is something to be said about demonstrating the person behind the blog, but even as a once-lifecaster, I was very private and you didn’t get a blow-by-blow of my day. Lately, I’ve been trying to shift my blog a little bit more toward commentary on life in general, trying to live as a feminist and defining what that term means to me (my degree is in Women’s Studies, I lap up feminist writings like nothing else. They are my passion), as well as some minor lifecasting to keep things peronable. I have to say, it’s been working – even as I mix in the food (recipe) and workout (motivation) posts, too.

    My wedding has become an interesting source of minor blog content, too, as I move out of this phase of life (singlehood) and into married life. I actually have a post brewing about random fears and musings of an almost-married person, as well as a post about trying to figure out my goals in life as a feminist.

    Of course, now I am babbling on your blog and I’ll stop for the time being.

  11. Terri Selvaggi says

    I am not a blogger but I love reading tweets, interesting blogs and seeing pictures of what other people in the world are doing out there. This blog is no exception! I love learning and sharing with people who share the same interests with me and some who are totally different too see perhaps what I may be missing in my life or maybe just learn something from them. Yes, “life caster” is a new term for me and I am one of those! Mostly, I enjoy sharing with people who are passionate about what they care about whether it is to just bring a smile to someone’s face or help others and make a difference in this world!

  12. says

    Love this! I started out lifecasting and still do a bit of lifecasting (around the highs and lows of life, though, instead of everything), but I agree that things seem to be moving away from that–and like you said, even some bloggers themselves are happy to do so, also. I’ve found that in my moving away from that, my writing has become much more developed and it is way more fulfilling to me, too.

  13. says

    I am blogging for my own reasons. I started a blog so that years from now I have something to look back on and remember what I was doing in year XXXX. I have always wanted a diary but I find that when I have to physically write something, I give up pretty easily as opposed to an online diary(blog) that I’m constantly on. I also like to give others something to think about. And sometimes it does get hard remembering what your blog is truly for. Sometimes you get all caught up on statistics and so you start writing about things that you don’t even care about but it produces the most views so you write about it anyways. Your blog should be what you want it about and not what others want.

  14. says

    I know I personally got burnt out on the lifecasting stuff myself and feel so much more fulfilled with the switch I made. I also got tired of reading solely those blogs, with the exception of ones that are good friends I know personally and want to keep up with in that way. I love blogs now that give me some personality and a bit of lifecasting but also a lot of good info too. Like yours. :)

  15. says

    You’re so right Katy! Sometimes…a lot of times…I remember that blogging is all about quality….and with me now studying for bigger things, what I post shouldn’t just be a Dailey recap!

  16. says

    You’ve touched on a lot of things I’ve been thinking about for a while. Luckily, the “lifecasters” I started to grow tired of have upped the ante a little bit on content. Looking forward to see how the blogosphere changes in the next year.

  17. says

    I hope you’re right! It’s all about quality, not quantity. I think the perfect example is a pretty huge healthy living blogger who recently decided to do more “topic oriented” posts as opposed to two or three times a day- I find her site far more interesting and accessible now than before. I think, like anything, there are trends in blogging too and a shift is looming.

  18. says

    This post could not have come at a more perfect time. Thanks! I’ve really been thinking a lot lately (and not posting so much) because I’m trying to figure out where I fit in this blogging community because, quite honestly, I’ve always felt like a bad blogger because I don’t WANT to be a lifecaster, and so many popular blogs are just that. You remind me that I need to stay true to who I am as a writer/blogger, and that it is enough. :)

  19. says

    Id disagree.
    I blogged with a lifecaster (not called that then) back in 2001.
    it’s here to stay–we all be voyeurs in a way I guess.

    • says

      I guess it depends on the definition of lifecasting. To me, lifecasting is accounting for every moment of every day: pictures of meals, pictures of every outfit, bulleted lists of things done. As a voyeur, I will admit that I will always be drawn to sporadic “day in the life” posts because it gives me context for how normal (or not!) my own routine is.

      Lifecasting to me is *not* sharing personal stories or even documenting some events, like races or conferences.

      I am prepared to be wrong. :)

  20. says

    I agree that lifecasters are getting old, especially to me. I don’t care about your everyday iced coffee or overnight oats that you post the same picture of every day. But other people do and tons of lifecaster blogs are getting bigger and bigger every day. So, someone wants to read that stuff and I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon.
    I started my blog for my Aunt who lives in Canada. She always wants to know what’s going on with me. :-) She always tells me that she loves reading my “stories” and I think that’s cute.

  21. Karen says

    I love this! While I def have some life casting blog posts I really try to make the content helpful. I know I get tired if looking at oictures if oatmeal so I’m sure other people don’t want to see constant pics of my garmin lol

  22. says

    I have noticed that I have started skipping the blogs that I know are notorious for posting their everyday eats and every second moves. When you do it everyday I can already guess what your gonna eat, what your workout was, and what pose your dog is in. My favorite blogs to read are ones that include pictures, give great advice, give encouraging words, and can make me laugh. I DON’T want to feel like I’m reading your calendar log with everything you did in every second of the day. Sometimes it’s enjoyable, but not everyday.

    Thanks for posting. It helps me to read other’s comments and see what actually does interest others.

  23. says

    I would classify my blog as life-casting. I’m not sure how I feel about the trend of moving away from that. I try to post relevant content along with the day to day things but I don’t really want to alter the way I blog. I am grateful for every reader and I don’t want to pretend to like writing about new content when it just doesn’t gel, you know? I would like to think that I can keep growing my blog by writing honest and heartfelt posts, no matter the subject.

    • says

      See, you’re a great example of “exception to the rule.” I love your blog in large part because I’ve been following it for so long. I cheer for you, I get sad when you’re sad…

      And even though lifecasting isn’t as relevant for me any more as a reader, I think the fact that you ENJOY doing it comes through. So many bloggers do this type of format because they think they have to to fit in, and *that* comes through as well.

  24. says

    Great post! I’ve had my blog since last May and am taking the leap to self-hosting and a professional design in an effort to grow its presence. Having a better understanding of what makes good content will help me as well!

  25. says

    I hadn’t heard of the term ‘mindcasting’ before, but it’s the perfect description of what I try to implement on my blog. Not every post can be a completely educational article, since I’m not a certified expert on anything really, but I always hope I’m putting out original ideas. My personal life informs what I do, think and therefore write about, so there’s a little ‘life’ thrown in, but there’s some stuff I’d like to keep more private, plus it’s boring anyway!

  26. Kim says

    THANK YOU for posting this!

    Have you seen the Sprint commercial about unlimited data, where the narrator is photographing and uploading every last detail of his life, saying he “deserves” to be unlimited? It makes me laugh and is kinda nauseating at the same time – when did we all start caring about “living our lives in pixels” instead of actually living them? I have a hard enough time trying to convince friends to get off the freaking smartphones when we’re out having a good time (because they should be enjoying the moment instead of lifecasting it to all the other friends that didn’t make it out). Recently we took a trip to an outdoor shooting range and one girl made her boyfriend film the whole time she was shooting so she could post it on Facebook, he’d call her name and she’d turn around to face him with a loaded gun – WOW.

    I read a handful of blogs every day and love watching my favorite bloggers transition through lives from racing fiends to small business owners to proud mamas, and I don’t care too much about what they had for a mid-morning snack really. If it weren’t for sharing baby pictures with family, I’d be off Facebook already, and I’m still not the mom who posts the crotch shot from the ultrasound to say “it’s a girl” because oddly enough I kinda wanna respect my baby’s privacy, u know? I see a lot of what I call “Instragram Moms” who spend a lot of time taking, editing, filtering and uploading photos and I can’t help but think the kids must see the iPhone as an extension of their mommy’s hand b/c it appears to never get put down. My 5-yr-old niece asked me if I had a phone, I said yes, she said “then why aren’t you on it all the time?”

  27. says

    I honestly don’t get these blogs. How many times can you think of something quirky about oatmeal? I want to hear about peooles lives but there needs to be some sort of information I can use and apply to my own life. And I don’t want to read between the lines to get there.

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