I’m not quite sure what’s actually gone down over the last week or so (and I’m not so sure you’ll care about this post if you’re not a blogger) but suddenly blogging is bad. I don’t know where it started, but Twitter (many a blogger’s digital stomping ground) has been abuzz with the subject.
For the past few days my Twitter feed has been a mixture of bloggers denouncing their blogger status (they still keep the blog and want you to read it, they just no longer identify as one), and proud bloggers writing posts about why there’s nothing wrong with blogging.
As an aside, this isn’t aimed at anyone in particular, but since I’ve seen SO many posts and tweets about it, there’s a good chance someone reading this could have recently written something for either side of this divide. Dear reader, I promise this isn’t about you!
Everything moves in cycles, I’ve been around long enough now to see that this sudden disillusionment of bloggers strike more than once.
The trouble with the blogging world is there is a lot of smoke and mirrors, a lot of fakery. If you’ve started blogging to showcase your writing, then you probably will get fed up quickly. It takes a lot of effort to try and entice people to read your stuff. Writing is about 10% of blogging.
I also understand other bloggers getting frustrated at competitiveness for a low priced writing job, or a toy to review. It’s easy to see why it can look a bit grabby from the outside if that isn’t how you run your own blog. In the parent blogger groups especially, the majority of those people vying for the same gig will be mums who use blogging as their only source of income.
There is often a subtle implication that if you take money for advertising on your blog, then you must not love writing. You’re not staying true to yourself. You’re not a proper blogger; you’ve changed the meaning and you can no longer be taken seriously.
I don’t blame the people who feel affronted by this and write an open reply. Plenty of people out there write what they like and fit paid work in between. I even wonder if some of the ‘reply’ type posts I’ve read this past week are aimed at someone in particular. I wonder if the post’s author has received a personal attack on how they run their own site.
If I’m honest, I can understand the thinking on both sides, but I don’t know why further competitiveness arises. I don’t know why someone’s blog suddenly stops being a blog because they look down on ‘bloggers’ and don’t want to be associated.
I do think for the most part, if you want to use a blog to showcase your writing, you will eventually be disappointed with it. In the last couple of years (and even very recently) bloggers who just wanted somewhere to write have openly fallen out of love with it.
Some excellent and entertaining writers have made it clear that what they perceived blogging to be was not the reality, and have since ditched their blogs. They managed to do it with decorum, and without demonising those still swimming in the pools of the blogosphere. That shows me there really is no need to publicly declare that blogging is terrible, and only terrible people still do it, but I do still feel the plight of the disillusioned writer.
I’ve seen it so many times. A new blog owner will get some flattering email about how amazing their writing is and how that person would love to work with them on a campaign. I can see why they believe it too. Why wouldn’t you?
If you’re new to the trade, you have no reason to doubt their intentions. So you write an eloquent post about a blocked toilet just so you can squeeze in a link about a plumber in Kent, but all you get is a quick thanks.
For your next job you stay up all night trying to make a review of a washing basket a bit sexy, but no one reads it. It’s not your fault, some poor misguided marketeer hasn’t realised no one in the world Googles washing basket reviews.
So now it’s time to quit the paid work, this was never what blogging was about for you anyway, you’re a purist after all. You declare it on your Twitter, stop chasing the paid gigs and feel better for it.
This is usually where the cycle stops. Blogging never used to be a dirty word. It used to be a community of those who enjoyed the social aspects and didn’t care too much about what others were doing. Each to their own, and all the jazz.
There is a chance the Elle Darby debacle pushed the dissatisfied into the realms of blogger denunciation. The public backlash was fueled by the venom of those who don’t consider blogging to be a real job. It put a spotlight on the profession and was a catalyst for a lot of misdirected outrage.
Since I doubt anything I say will impart any kind of wisdom whatsoever, I’d like to clarify my stance on this whole thing. I think it really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about what anyone else chooses to do. As long as observations on this subject are general, and not personal, no one should be taking offence at the opinions of others.