Monday, January 31, 2011

What I hate about blogging

My blog was born just over a year ago. It began as an outlet through which I might extract the feelings from my heart and release them into the world. And shortly thereafter, I let ego and ambition get the best of me. I had a vision of making my blog something marketable, something through which I could get money and products.

That is where I went wrong.

In a recent post, "the age of me", I described blogging as a narcissist's dream. Most of us like to write about ourselves, our kids, our lives. Many of us think that our stories are amusing and worth a quick read. Myself included - I love writing about my life as a part-time worker and full-time mom. I love interacting with people who share my perspective as well as those who can open my eyes to a totally new one.

But what I hate most about blogging? The shameless self-promotion. There are so many blogs that reek of desperation. Have you ever seen one of the top successful bloggers post 23 "follow me and I'll follow you back" comments through a blog hop? Um, I don't think so.

One of the big-time bloggers, someone I truly admire, recently asked a question on Facebook. She asked, "What are your favorite parenting blogs? I need some good examples. (feel free to pimp yourself!)". Clearly, many commenters read only those last five words. Many of the comments were simply links to their own blogs.

I don't see how that helped answer the question at hand.

What makes a good blog? Confidence. A true voice. Writing in such a way that readers can physically feel your emotion. Being a real person. Someone to identify with. Quality writing. Entertainment.

Sure, I can click the follow button and become a Google follower to a hundred blogs. Do I ever have to actually read those blogs? Nah. I can click that button and never come back again. I can follow you on Twitter in an attempt to win a prize, just to un-follow you later because I don't really care about six giveaways and four fabulous product reviews every week. Companies lean on these numbers to decide which bloggers are "worthy" of their free samples. But personally, I think those numbers are easily skewed and tell nothing about the quality of a blog (and I buy media for a living!). I don't care how great your blog is, I will stop coming back if it is a never-ending commercial.

On the flip side, I know there is a market for giveaways and reviews. I'm sure thousands of people like to click follow buttons and win prizes. I won a few prizes myself, and it's very exciting. There is a big audience for this kind of blog. And if you get enjoyment out of that, then more power to you.

MY blog?
Isn't about that. My blog is about whatever I want it to be. Whatever I feel, think, or want to show the world. I am not a professional writer. I was never an English major. I do not agonize for hours to perfect a blog post. I just like to write.  I simply regurgitate the words swirling in my brain and the feelings in my heart.

Will I never do a review again? I didn't say that... but I will limit this aspect of blogging. I don't want to do it just to receive something for free or to boost some numbers that really don't mean anything.
I am not going to do this for numbers.

I am not going to do it for free products.

I will do it for the love of expression. For the chance to interact with some fabulous people. As something my own mother can read and be proud of. As stress relief.

So, follow me if you want. But if you don't? That is okay too.

There - I said it.


Kate @ Love and Kate said...Best Blogger Tips

I hear you! And I love your blog and am happy you won't be one of the commercialized ones! LOVE!

Elissa said...Best Blogger Tips

Nice. I like it! Go you!

Tara said...Best Blogger Tips

I agree with this. I had a few different giveaways running a few months ago and really felt like that was too much. Now I try to only have one running at a time (if any). I don't like to post every day so if I'm doing a ton of reviews and giveaways (and I do a blog hop) then I feel like I lose time to write "real" posts. That's how my blog started and that needs to be the most important part :)

Liz said...Best Blogger Tips

I have never understood the Follow Me and I'll Follow Back mindset; it's just a tally and NOT a reader!

I think as people are around longer, they see through the bloggers who got "big" with giveaways and Follow Fridays.

Sara Plays House said...Best Blogger Tips

Love this. I've been blogging for almost five years, and I'll admit to wanting "more" from time to time. But it's always good for me to remember that the people who matter--they'll always read my words. The rest is just gravy. Thanks for putting into words how I've been feeling the past few months!

Busy Working Mama said...Best Blogger Tips

You make some great points. I love blogging about me me me (and my handy hubby) but I also love to host giveaways. I have visitors that come strictly to say hi, comment on a recipe or personal pictures, and I have some that just come to enter giveaways. It's OK to have both - at least for me, and I enjoy doing both.

I do agree on the blog hops...I participate in a few early on and then felt overwheled because I felt like I truly NEEDED to read all those blogs I signed up to follow. It was stressful. Now? I have a few I faithfully visit, whether to enter a giveaway or to catch up with their family or just because I see a comment on my blog from another blogger and I want to go visit them and say hi, too. I also sometimes visit random blogs just to read a post I see pop up on twitter - like this one :)

So...happy blogging to one and all! It is something different for each of us. Your daughter is adorable :)

Avant Garde Parenting said...Best Blogger Tips

LOVE this. It's so true- you have to blog for YOU and if you lose that it's really not fun anymore. I've struggled with that, too. It's almost like it becomes a job and less about why you began blogging in the first place. Sigh. Good post, it inspired me :)

amber said...Best Blogger Tips

And that attitude is why I'll always follow you. Every time I stop blogging about what makes me happy and concentrate on commercial gain, I'm sorry. So I don't really want to do that much anymore.

Julia Ladewski said...Best Blogger Tips

wow. very well said. all of it from product reviews to blog hops! like evrything else, blogging stuff goes in phases... follow me blog hops were popular for a little but quickly faded.

when i get back to what i love blogging about (my family, my experiences, sharing ideas and thoughts with other moms and working moms.... can be a bit narcissistic, but when you're writing about yourself, i think that's going to happen. but i also think it's the way you present it!!

thanks for joining in!! so so glad to have met you and hope to see you more!! i'll be back here, that's for sure!!

Unpolished Parenting said...Best Blogger Tips

So I am stopping over from WMW but I'm so glad I did. This pretty much rings true for me too. Such a great post - I'm so against the hi follow me comments & my blog is for me to write about whatever I want (No english majors or "writers" there & no reviews or giveaways either) Just me and my thoughts :) I do look forward to checking out the rest of your blog. Have a great day!

Erika . . . with a K said...Best Blogger Tips

Wow you are awesome I love your attitude. I hate those blog hop things. I want people to read my blog if they find something they can relate to, I read blogs that inspire and motivate me and hope my readers feel the same.

Jenn said...Best Blogger Tips

stopped by from WMW and I'm glad I did. I agree with a lot of what you said. I purposely don't follow a ton of blogs because I want to be able to read the ones that I do.

Natalie said...Best Blogger Tips

Hi *waves*

Popping over from WMW. I love your honest, heartfelt post. I've only been blogging since September and it truly is a journey of self-discovery. Who do I want to be, what do I want to share, which direction do I want this to go. Right now, I sometimes feel a little all over the place, but it's not a numbers game.

What is the point in having 1000 followers if none of them are engaged or care about what you have to say. I'd rather have my low numbers and have great friends share this journey with me.

I look forward to seeing you next week.

Aimee from Classified: Mom said...Best Blogger Tips

I came across this post as I was reading through your blog. When I do the hops, I think of it as a way to find new blogs and as a way to market myself. I am also not a fan of "will you please follow me" esp. when they make NO remark to what I have posted. I try so hard to read through at least a post or 2 before I decide to follow. However, if you follow me, as I always "help out" and return the favor.
Awesome post! Good points. Like you, I only occasionally do reviews and giveaways. I turn down A LOT of companies simply because that is not what my blog is about. It really has to fit my content. I once had a PR tell me that my viewers love animals and own dogs just so I would promote their dog bone product. Really? Did they read Classified: Mom at all!!!!

Oh and BTW- it was well written!

Alison@Mama Wants This said...Best Blogger Tips

I was just clicking through various posts in your blog and I came across this and just had to comment. Funnily, right after I became your 200th GFC follower, after a Twitter callout.

The reason I did decide to become #200 wasn't because I want you to follow back. It's because I poked around your blog and like what I read. And after reading this post, I'm sure I did the right thing.

I'm of the same opinion about blog hops and giveaways. I joined a couple of hops early on but have since made a conscious decision not to anymore. It's too much follow me/ follow you stuff, not interested. More interested in genuine readers!

Glad I followed you though :)

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