There seems to be a shared theme amongst a number of bloggers at the moment and being that I suffer from “foot in mouth” disease and have never been afraid to be outspoken, I wanted to weigh in and add my two cents too, see Lydia, my opinion is also worth less than a Chappie! because it is just my opinion. My opinion probably won’t be a popular one, or maybe it will, I may make some “frenemies” with what I’m about to say, but that’s ok, pick a number & get in line.
The three thought provoking posts that prompted me to write about what has been bumping around in my head are these:
- Green Lydia The Meet-Up Bandwagon
- I Am SamW’s Bitchy Bloggers
- Natacha’s Hello, My Name Is Natasha & I’m Not A Professional Blogger
All thought provoking pieces, all worth the read. All with points that I agreed with. So here is my two cents:
I’ve been blogging since 2008, in fact, next month is my blogoversary, I will have been blogging for 6 years exactly. My blog started out as an infertility blog, a way for me to deal, share & purge some of my emotions surrounding our struggle with infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss, well that and if I’m honest, also because all my IF buddies had blogs and so I figured I should have one too! But here’s the thing, somewhere between starting that first blog, that had a rather ridiculous name and I spent hours crying because I didn’t know how to use WordPress, I gradually grew to love it. I loved the connections I formed, both online and IRL. I loved the feelings of validation I got, that I wasn’t some crazy, psycho, emotional bitch walking the lonely path of infertility. That I wasn’t alone, that when I felt I couldn’t pick myself up, someone would be there to help me.
I loved it, it became my hobby, my passion. Of course, it’s a learning experience and along the way I got better at it, I learned from it. I made terrible blogging faux paux’s and mistakes. I was, at times and ashamedly, bitchy, I subtweeted, I got jealous, I was mean spirited. But I learned from it. I learned the art of shutting my trap, ignoring mean spiritedness and trying not to get involved in online spats. I made a promise to myself a couple of years ago, after a particularly vicious SM fall out that involved a number of bloggers that I respect, to not involve myself in that kind of behaviour, because it always made me feel bad about me, because that kind of behaviour said WAY more about me than it did about the people I was trying to dig at. I’m proud of how I conduct myself online today. I do not subtweet, ever, I don’t write spiteful blog posts thinly veiled as a dig at someone else. I just don’t, I just won’t.
I honed my skill as a blogger, I got better at writing (not anywhere near brilliance, but better, if you read some of my earlier posts, you’ll know what I mean), I found my niche, I found what readers liked about me and I focused on it, I tried to stay true to who I was. I’m not a funny blogger or a particularly clever one. But I know that my readers read my blog because they enjoy my fairly unique story, they appreciate my openness and honesty.
Are their people online I don’t like? Yes of course! But I don’t advertise it, I don’t go out of my way to show it, or at least, I don’t think I do. I just unfollow, on Twitter, on FB and on blogs. And the reason for this is two fold….
1. It’s unnecessary and speaks volumes of your character if you feel the need to constantly take someone down or pick on them
2. Well 2 may be a contentious one, but guys, we’re bloggers, brands and PR agencies are watching us, we’re considered “influencers” (this still makes me uncomfortable but it is what it is) so I’m constantly conscious of how I conduct myself online because I want to be included in the campaigns, I get a kick out of it, I’m not gonna lie, I LIKE the free stuff, there I said it, I’m cheap!
Which brings me onto the topic of freebies…
Freebies…. Yes I like them! But I blog for love, I blog because I love it, this is first and foremost why I do it. Yes, some misguided PR agencies and Brands have considered me an “influencer” and chosen to send me freebies and of course I love that to, but it is not the core reason why I blog, that is just a bonus for me. Everyone likes to be valued, everyone likes to receive a beautiful package delivered to their office with all kinds of spoilings inside. But we can’t all be everything to everyone, in the same way, my blog can’t be everything to everyone. There are blogging opportunities that have come along that I’ve turned down, why? Because my own code of ethics won’t allow me to do it, I won’t promote products tested on animals, I won’t write a paid for piece on debt collection (true story, I’m not even making that up), I’m NEVER going to be a blogger who simply copies and pastes a press release.
Good grief, I feel this post is going to go on and on and I’m rambling a bit, but this really has been in my head for over a week now.
I also wanted to touch on Lydia’s topic of the blogger get together’s. I loved the #JoziMeetUp, I was one of the organizers and I spent the whole morning flitting from group to group trying to chat to everyone. I love that sort of thing, I really do. That’s why I work in sales and marketing! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love my swag bag, because I did but the thing is…. I feel, as bloggers, we do have a responsibly to brands to be cautious with these types of events. I don’t know how we go about it without creating even more jealousy and negativity and having our sponsors feel taken advantage of. But lets call a spade a spade…
Do you know what was the NUMBER 1 question from all the sponsors we approached? A list of attendee’s with blog addresses, Twitter followers and FB fans. Nothing is for free and Brands see this as an opportunity to harness the collective power of influencers for the better of their brands. Don’t mean to be crass but that’s sales/marketing/promotions 101 right there.
Do you think if the guest list was Piet Pompjies and family from the arse end of nowhere that we’d have had the support of the amazing brands we did? Um… no.
Having said that, I wanted to do the get together because I “know” so many amazing women in my computer that I wanted to get to know in real life too and that was what made Saturday so awesome for me.
I think I’ve gone way off topic here and rambled on and on, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on all that I’ve said above, in a respectful manner of course. We’re all individuals with differing opinions and points of view, we all blog and interact online for different reasons so I’m keen to here your POV?