I’ve been blogging for a while. In the years that I have been blogging the look of my blog has changed, the things that I write about have ebbed and flowed, and the opportunities that I have been given have grown.
Within eight years I have quit blogging twice. The first time was when an ex wife of a deceased relative found my blog and threatened me. I had a total panic. I had been FOUND! Remember I started blogging with an alias so being found was overwhelming. When this person called me on the phone and I listened to her demand that I rewrite history on my blog I realized something. She could get her own blog. She could write her own damn story. I was writing my story. So my blog moved and went live again.
The second time that I stopped blogging was after my chemical pregnancy after my first (and actually, only) IVF cycle. I couldn’t deal with writing another word about my broken lady town. I didn’t want to be a part of a community and watch yet another person have a happy ending. I was bitter and sad and depressed. What I thought was my quitting blogging moment ended up being a small break. It was about a week. Then my story got interesting again and I flew to my laptop and couldn’t get the words out fast enough.
I never thought about the hierarchy of bloggers until after I became a mom. I went from the slow and meandering back roads of the infertility blogging world to the fast-paced, super crowded MOMMY BLOGGER space. Yeah. There’s that term. Mommy blogger. I had finally become a mom and I was a blogger and I was now being squeezed into a package.
The opportunities in the mommy blogging world were much, much larger. Those opportunities coincided with a time in my life where my family had serious financial needs. I started incorporating sponsored content into my blog and actually enjoyed the writing challenge. (Ads had been a part of my site since I worked to raise funds for fertility treatments.) If I was offered to write something and I felt a connection to the product or service and the price for the post was something that helped us I was in. (to be clear I have never been paid to write a review, nor would I ever write a review for payment)
So. Why am I talking about all of this stuff? There have been a lot of conversations happening online about the behavior of mommy bloggers. Conversations about professionalism and conference behavior and competitiveness. These conversations make me worried. I am worried that someone will read into them and think that sponsored posts, conferences, and competing is all that blogging is.
It isn’t. Oh man, it SOOOO isn’t.
I am not so worried about the state of blogging as much as I am about the posts that are saying we should be worried about the state of blogging. Not every blogger is writing online in order to work with a brand. Not every blogger is part of an ad network. It’s a matter of preference and a matter of choice. I do not judge a blogger for wanting to use their online space for writing 300 small review posts a week. Rock on sister! I also do not judge a blogger for wanting to use their online space for writing once a month a 2,000+ word essay on their complicated relationship with their car.
I also want us to remember that many of us write online because we enjoy the community aspect of it. If someone in your community starts behaving in a way that you don’t like you have a conversation with them. This should be true with blogging. We don’t need to shame other bloggers for conference behavior or not handling a sponsored campaign in the best way. There are at least three other options better than shaming:
• You can ignore it. Not your blog. Not your problem.
• You can reach out to the blogger and offer advice, mentorship, guidance.
• You can write a guide to conferences or a guide to sponsored posts
The WSJ article that sparked much of the “in-house” conversation within the blogging community did great on the shaming. Many of the posts that have discussed the article are continuing to do the shaming with this sort of us vs them mentality of talking about bloggers.
What I would love to see, really and truly love, is mentorship. I would love to see established bloggers reach out to newer bloggers within their genre and connect. As someone that has been online for a while I would be happy to talk to any newer blogger about site design, conferences, starting to incorporate sponsored posts, writing styles…I am certain that there are many other “seasoned” bloggers that would be willing to offer the same.
I’ve already reached out to some people about this and I hope we can get something going before the next wave of conferences.
In the meantime, how do you think blogging has changed since you started writing/reading?