You won’t know this, but I take a module called ‘English and Media Discourse’ to make up part of my degree, and a couple of weeks ago we were talking about blogs.
The week before my tutor had asked if any of us had our own blog, and I was slightly embarrassed to find that I was the only one, in a class of about 20, that ran a blog (or at least if they did, they didn’t admit it), anyway, this meant that the first half of the seminar was largely about my experience with blogging, seeing as though no-one else really knew about it.
One girl actually said she didn’t know what a blog was.
I mean, really?!
Anyway, while I know quite a lot about blogging (obviously), I was slightly ashamed to learn how crap I am as a blogger. That’s if I go by my tutors ideas about what bloggers actually do.
In the seminar she talked about how bloggers create a sense of community, commenting and liking each-others posts and supporting each other from various ‘attacks’ from newspapers.
Now maybe I’m just not ‘popular’ enough yet, but I’ve NEVER heard of any newspaper attacking the blogging community. Sure I’ve heard about the controversy with Zoella and her ghost-written book ‘Girl Online’, but I feel it’s a slightly different situation in that her blogging abilities weren’t being criticised. Feel free to enlighten me though, I love an excuse to rant about something!
I think when it comes to becoming a part of the blogging ‘community’ it’s incredibly difficult to get people to actually recognise you and what you write. I think you have to spend a LOT of time posting and networking, something a lot of bloggers don’t have time to do (because it is supposed to be an extra-curricular thing), before you are properly admitted into the community. Not that I’ve found other bloggers to be nasty, just (understandably) focused on the progression of their own blogs. It’s like a 9-5 job, writing, marketing, networking etc!
It also depends upon your content; if you go through my previous posts, you’ll see I tend to post about pretty much whatever I fancy. One week I might talk about Formula E or F1, while the next week I could be raving about a beauty product I’m in love with or a book I enjoyed, so I think I’d feel like a wolf in sheep’s clothing if I tried to slot into the beauty blogging, film/book/music reviewing communities, because I wouldn’t say I fit into anything specific. Instead I tend to follow and comment on a variety of different blogs, because I’m human and I have a variety of different interests.
I’m constantly frustrated by the bloggers who write with the sole purpose of making a profit. They start it up thinking they’ll be an overnight success and are disappointed when they aren’t, they fail to realise that in a society that lives online, their blog is a drop in a very vast ocean of content. I suppose their motives conflict with my own, I write because I enjoy writing and I feel like I’m good at it. Like Oscar Wilde said, ‘Art for Art’s Sake’, I don’t really have an aim, I just want to do it.
I know other bloggers talk about how you should pick one subject and stick to it, to make it easier to attract your target audience and keep a strong readership, but in my opinion I like my bloggers to show some variety and human elements, rather than just constantly posting about the same thing. I find it a bit too sterile, while the ‘variety’ bloggers tend to be more creative, revealing and relatable.
Just bringing it back to the seminar I had, I picked up a quote from the lecture slides that I found particularly interesting/irritating.
‘Bloggers and Wikipedians sometimes seem to have everything they want, with free software, lots of neat add-ons, all the resources of the web at their disposal, and a host of gurus, consultants and commentators. But what they really need, I think, is a linguist poring over their words’ (Myers 2010)
Now I could be wrong, but to me this guy seems to be suggesting that bloggers are incapable of writing well. Why then would we require a linguist to pore over our words?
The whole point of blogging (as I’ve just said) is because we bloggers enjoy writing, and we’re actually kind-of good at it. I also tend to find that the bloggers who do write well have the most success; no-one wants to read a poorly edited post just like lecturers don’t like a badly referenced essay.
So yes, a little lost on that comment…
What do you think?
Answers on a postcard please!
My point is, if you’re thinking of starting a blog, do it because you enjoy writing. Don’t worry about fitting into the community, I find that if the content is good, you’ll be successful off your own back. I think if I were to compare how I’ve gone about setting up my blog to how people recommend you set it up, I’d probably be considered a crappy blogger.
Thankfully I don’t give a chuff, and neither should you!