Blogging in the Age of AI: The Personal Approach is Better

Generative AI is changing blogging dramatically. Taking a more personal approach with your writing can help you stand out in these uncertain times. Read more to learn how and why I rebuilt my blog.

I worried recently that returning to blogging during the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI) might have been a mistake. As those of you who have been redirected here from my old site know, I started an educational blog for hobby musicians back in March of 2023. My initial plan for the site was to translate what I’d learned about home recording over the years into objective, beginner-friendly tips and tutorials.

I got about a month and a half into the project and realized that it would most likely fail, given current trends in AI technology. A reset was necessary. To distinguish myself from AI-generated content and better engage with my readers, I’ve decided to take a less objective, more personal approach with my blogging — hence this new site.

The Importance of Recognizing When Something Isn’t Working

Between March 24 and May 20, I wrote a measly ten articles on Casual-Musician.ca. My sluggish output during that period had very little to do with a lack of free time. I reduced my hours at my day job back in 2021 for the betterment of my mental health (being a nurse is incredibly stressful, whodathunkit?), so I have ample free time for passion projects these days. To be completely frank, my sluggish output had everything to do with the fact that I was finding it difficult to connect with my own writing.

Bizarre, right? The original vision I had for the site was partially to blame. I wanted to separate myself and my YouTube channel from my writing as much as possible, based on the idea that it would make what I had to say more objective.

The benefit of objectivity when talking about home recording is that you can appeal to a wider audience. There are, after all, plenty of people out there who won’t care one iota that my preferred DAW is Cubase; they simply want to know what DAW will work for them. There’s nothing wrong with seeking out impartial info when you’re learning something new. For me, however, writing that is strictly objective is often exceptionally dull to produce. It’s also under increasing threat these days.

Generative AI is Here to Stay

I read a lot of blogging-focused subreddits and Medium authors, and one thing is obvious: generative AI isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. ChatGPT can spit out a perfectly comprehensible blog post in the time it took for me to think of a title for this one. What does this mean for blogging? Some bloggers see AI as a boon that will help them to churn out articles faster and rake in more sales through affiliate links. Others, like myself, wonder how we can best make our voices heard during these uncertain times.

Particularly troubling to me is the news that Google plans to incorporate its own AI tool, Google Bard, into its search results. Much like Microsoft Bing’s AI-powered chatbot, Bard can generate coherent answers to questions in an eerily conversational way by rephrasing content originally produced by humans. Unlike Bing, however, Bard can also create a short-form article directly beneath Google’s search bar, pushing the top search results below direct line of sight.

I can’t try Bard in Canada yet. Based on what I’ve seen in screenshots, though, people interested in quick answers will have little reason to click on the original articles Bard uses to generate its responses. For bloggers creating impartial content designed to answer questions stuffed with keywords, like I originally was, AI-powered search engines could be a death knell. So what can we do about it? For starters, we can return to writing personable content.

The Value of Sharing Personal Experiences

I used to blog in the early 2000s, and back then, blogging was all about the person behind the blog. Remember sharing the details of your daily life with perfect strangers? Remember blogrolls? It’s a little difficult to articulate just how much blogging has changed since social media entered the scene.

With platforms like Facebook and Twitter available to handle the whole connecting with others thing, bloggers increasingly set their sights on maximizing their search engine optimization (SEO) to increase ad revenue. As a result, blogs today are much less personal overall, much more question-and-answer focused — perfect source material, in other words, for generative AI to plunder.

I would argue that by obsessing over SEO and relegating human connection to social media, too many have lost sight of the value in sharing personal experiences on blogs. Impartial product reviews might be good for affiliate programs, sure, but they hardly make for compelling reading. Personal stories and experiences, by comparison, are far more interesting — both from a human perspective and from a marketing perspective. The more we read and identify with a writer’s story, the more likely we are to take their advice seriously, so the prevalence of impartiality in modern blogging is a little puzzling to me.

To emphasize my point, what would you rather read: a dry article about five DAWs hobby musicians should try, or a personal story about how learning to use Cubase turned me from an absolute nobody on YouTube to someone who has amassed almost 6,000 subscribers? I know what I’d rather read, and it’s not another dull top five list that looks remarkably similar to the other twenty hits on the first page of search results. Humans like to be inspired, and there’s generally nothing inspiring about listicles.

Conclusion

Generative AI is great at producing objective product recommendations, lists, and direct answers to questions, so one way to ensure that human blogging remains relevant is to do what AI can’t do very well: connect with readers on a personal level. With that in mind, I’ve shifted gears and reset my blogging goals entirely.

I still plan to teach and share my knowledge with fellow hobby musicians on this new site, but removing myself from my writing is no longer part of that plan. Hopefully, the end result will be engaging writing that you actually want to read — not impartial content you ignored because an AI chatbot conveniently summarized it for you in point form under your search bar.


Questions?

Do you have a question about the subject matter of this blog post that I didn’t answer above? Feel free to leave a public comment on my YouTube channel by clicking on the button below, and I’ll get back to you there as soon as I can.

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