I’ve been in two minds about sharing this post as it has been sat in my Drafts for quite some time. But after Vix Meldrew questioned the blogging community on Twitter the other day, and encouraged me to share it, I thought I might as well bite the bullet.
I’ve been blogging since dial-up internet; hell yes, I am that old. But I have been doing it over here and regularly for three years. When I started I adored the community; I had about three hundred Twitter followers and I was welcomed with open screens. Other bloggers taught me things, my posts were shared, I received comments and love on the daily, and I spoke to anyone who would have me, no matter how many followers they had. Twitter blog chats were my jam, I had alarms on my phone to remind me to take part (your girl would forget her head if it wasn’t attached) and I tried to engage with as many people as possible. Looking back, I’m not sure how I found the time but I tried to take part in at least one chat a week, and let me tell you, I miss those days.
When did we stop caring about engaging? Did we stop caring? Are we too consumed by the numbers? Are we too focused on being the best? Is blogging a competition?
Personally I always try and go on a blog commenting spree at least once a week, I have my favourites that I read religiously but I don’t share them as often as I should, and I know I need to do better. I’m active on Instagram and am a liking and commenting whore; I’m also attempting to share accounts on my Story much more often. Albeit the engagement on the ‘gram is absolutely shite and as much as I love it, it has really been getting me down lately…but that’s a whole other story.
Numbers is a part of it for me, for sure. The more followers you have, the more chance brands will work with you, so obviously it’s important but it’s not everything. I write because I always have, I love doing it, it’s who I am and I have a hell of a lot to say. Three years ago numbers meant nothing to me, but as your follower count starts going up, and bigger and better opportunities arise, it’s hard not to want more. The blogger market is also pretty saturated and for the most part having a vast following gets you noticed. However, that being said, I’ve worked with brands when I barely had over a thousand wonderful supporters. Great content is an absolute must, of course, that goes without saying.
I also see those bloggers that don’t want to interact or don’t want to help out other bloggers but expect it from their peers. Those who have thousands of followers and only follow twenty people. Or those that only share things from bloggers they’re friends with. For me, if I like something, I don’t care who you are, if your post is awesome, I’m hitting retweet (but like I said above, I recognise that I need to do this more). If you want the numbers to go up but aren’t willing to follow back the ones you constantly have conversations with and who boost your content, you probably need to assess why you don’t think they’re worthy of you. In no way am I saying we should follow everyone back (and I’m not of the opinion that a follow means a follow back) because it’s not possible and quite frankly you’re not going to like everyone’s accounts, but it’s always good to find new people to communicate with.
I don’t see myself in a competition with anyone else and I don’t get jealous because I don’t see the point. I want to be my best, I want to get better for me, I want my content to be be, and I don’t want to compete. Sure, there’s people doing what I’m doing but they don’t have my experience, they aren’t me, they can’t offer what I can. They’re not my competitor, they’re another blogger writing about what they know. They may have a different opinion to me, I may not agree with everything they write, and so what? We write what we want on our own blogs. I honestly don’t view blogging as a contest and I am genuinely happy when someone I follow succeeds. Yet, I also see the other side, and how it’s really difficult not to get down when someone else is succeeding, but we’re all on our own journey and we all deserve success if we work hard.
‘You got a dream collab? You go girl!’ ‘That ad on Insta; buzzing for you.’ And surely that’s the way it should be.
But lately it isn’t. In the community there’s too much jealousy, competitiveness, subtweeting, bitching, and drama. Healthy competition is all well and good until it becomes extreme and nastiness takes over. Jealousy is natural until you’re obsessed by what another blogger is doing. There’s a lot of negativity, there’s groups of mean girls, there’s always a kick-off. Constantly watching bloggers rip the shit out of each other on Twitter reminds me of secondary school; I hated it then and I hate it now. It’s important to recognise that not everyone is going to get on; we’re not always going to be friends with everyone, that’s just a part of life. What we don’t need is the constant attacking, the indirects and bitchiness. If you don’t like another blogger for whatever reason, move the fuck on. Seriously, why are you wasting your energy on someone you don’t like? Why are you spying on them if they’ve blocked you? Why the fuck do you care? Let people live their lives. Move on.
Bots, buying followers and follow/unfollow is rife at the moment and accusations are flying all over the place; I understand the annoyance, it pisses me off no end but you can’t stop someone from doing it. You can call them out but their bots aren’t going to suddenly disappear because you’ve publicly exposed them. I don’t know if it’s just me but I believe to focus on yourself and if you think someone is cheating the system, don’t support them. There’s plenty of people that have been falsely accused and it badly affects them; I think it’s extremely important to remember that there is a person behind the screen and you have no idea what they’re going through. If you’re one to call out then have all the facts before potentially really hurting someone. And maybe consider how you go about approaching them. Plus, the block button is a useful tool.
The drama and a few other reasons are why I have felt disconnected from the blogging community for a quite a while. I don’t feel like I fit in, I don’t feel like people that aren’t part of the same marginalised group as I am care what I have to say, and I don’t even feel like I am part of the disability community. I guess for mainstream blogging, I’m an outsider because I write about disability and a lot of abled bloggers can’t relate. And I’m an outsider in the disabled community because I don’t only write about disability. It’s a double-edged sword. And yet I would never change my topics because as much as I love shouting from the rooftops about disability, I also love creating my lifestyle and beauty posts. For me, it is very important that my blog is multifaceted because although my disability defines me, I have so many other interests. I’ve always wanted to highlight that disabled people like ‘normal’ stuff too.
I know, I know, I have a lot of abled babes (that reads weird but go with me) that have learnt so much from my disability posts and are always backing me and I adore you for it, I genuinely do. The thing is, a lot of mainstream bloggers don’t share voices of marginalised groups and we’re here screaming into a void filled with people like us that already know the issues we face. We need allies, we need our stories shared widely and to people that might not ever see them. That for me would make me feel like I matter, that I am part of the community, and what I have to say is worth hearing. Seriously, what is a retweet? It takes milliseconds.
I don’t think the blogging community is dead, and I really don’t ever want it to be. I want us to go back to lifting each other up and sharing each others content. I want to support everyone I possibly can. I want to give newer bloggers a voice and help them like I was helped. I want to do better. The blogging community as a whole, needs to be better. We need to lift up all voices, from all minorities, from all niches. If you like a blog post, share it. If you adore someones Instagram account, give them a shout out. I’m here for the positive vibes and sharing the love.
With algorithms changing, the saturation of the market and the lack of engagement, it is of vast importance to share the shit out of things you love. Help a fellow creator out. Remember why you started blogging and don’t become absorbed by numbers or what others are doing.
If you feel the same way about the community as I do and you want it to get back to how it used to be, let’s make the change together.