I hear this time after time. Blogging is full of cliques. To a degree, it’s true. But usually when I hear blogging cliques being discussed, it’s with an air of resentment. It’s generally the “newer” bloggers talking about how the “older” bloggers are so standoffish.
Again, there may be some truth to that and as one of the “newer” bloggers, I might be speaking out of turn but it’s time to shed a little light and maturity on the issue.
I started blogging a little over 2 years ago. By today’s standards, it makes me a bit of a veteran. It seems that many of my closest peers started blogging right around the same time. We’ve almost grown up together as many of us attended our first conference, the Bloggy Boot Camp workshop. We’ve since seen our firsts right around the same time: our first BlogHer, our first PR contact, our first sponsored post, our first 1000 followers. It lends to a bit of camaraderie.
Since that time, I would venture to guess that thousands more blogs have begun. A new blog launches every day and I’m sure another one fades away. Some people start blogging for all the wrong reasons and decide it’s not worth their time or effort. Others end up like me. They discover the community aspect of it and find writing to be liberating. That’s blogging at its best.
So why can’t we all just get along?
Let’s just state this first and foremost. Most of the “old school” bloggers have been around for many years. They’ve built up a strong and loyal audience. And most of them have earned and kept their popularity for one simple reason: they are good writers.
Perhaps we feel that being part of the in crowd would make us brilliant and popular writers by association. Ahhhh, if only it were that easy.
Perhaps we feel that if they would only give some advice so that we, too, can have thousands of fans and followers that hang on our every word. I’ve heard the same advice given over and over again: work hard.
Perhaps we feel that we are being treated as less than a person if we aren’t given the time of day. Yes, these are the tricks your mind can play on you when you insist everything is about YOU.
Although I’m not an “old school” blogger, I’ve met enough of them to have learned a thing or two that I think should be known by the blogosphere at large. If you are an old school blogger and I’m speaking out of turn, please forgive me.
1. Nobody owes anybody anything.
Sounds very selfish, right? First of all, if you are an income-earning blogger, consider yourself a self-employed independent contractor competing with all the other bloggers out there for the same jobs. Now why would I help you get a job that I might need/want? Secondly, income aside, most successes come from hard work. Plain and simple. These bloggers might have paved the way but they certainly don’t have to drive our cars too.
2. You can’t ignore history.
If you know more than the next person, it’s easy to become the latest expert. I know WordPress pretty well. I love it and use it on several sites. Apparently, it used to be quite a beast. Many people used (some still do) TypePad. Many blogged before it was even called blogging. It was called journaling. It’s been an evolutionary process for them and perhaps the new kids haven’t quite earned their stripes yet.
3. Blogging is first and foremost a community.
This is the most important point I want to stress. This is the part that people don’t get. This is the part people resent. I myself didn’t really get it either until I was fortunate enough to be traveling alongside Mishelle Lane from Secret Agent Mama. We had just attended a Nintendo sponsored event and were catching the same flight home. I happened to notice the close friendship between Mishelle and Angie Lynch from A Whole Lot of Nothing, who was also attending the event.
Someone like me might have felt a tad like an outsider and we may have somehow talked about it. I remember Mishelle telling me that she and Angie had been blogging for years and years. In fact, back in the day, there weren’t many bloggers. They all made the daily rounds every day to each other’s blogs and they all commented. It was more like checking in with a friend and catching up on the day’s news. It was a small, close-knit community.
I sort of wish I had been part of the evolution and that I could appreciate how blogging got the way that it is today. But I respect the history of it and the community of it. So the next time you feel certain that you are being excluded because you’re not part of the clique, jump in anyway, be yourself, and perhaps you’ll make some new friends.
Photo credit jlburgess