When I woke up this morning, I saw that I got responses for my post about blogging pet peeves and how I feel about certain aspects of blogging culture. Regardless of how people felt about what I put, I thought having that type of discussion was really good. It got people discussing issues that go on in "blogger politics."
I know it sounds silly, but it exists.
After I wrote back some responses, I went to the 11 am service for church and had some time to reflect. I certainly didn't mean to hurt any individual person's feelings, but if I did I am truly sorry. In no way am I trying to say that because of x, y, z my experiences have more of a profound effect than yours. That's why at the start of the post I said that it's a rant. But the fact of the matter is there is a type of blogging culture that thrives off of numbers and my post called it out. The sermon we had today kind of fits this and I'd like to share it with all of you but that'll happen later in the post.
First I want to clarify what I mean by "crap writing" because I often reference it. When I say something is "crap writing" I'm calling it out because I know that the writer can do better work and they're half-assing it. Not everyone has a content-driven blog but if you are a good writer and bloggers are investing money into ad space or businesses are investing products, then for me it's an ethical issue on what type of content you put out there. Sometimes you need "potato chip posts" because they're fun to consume (I love to read those), but I find it so incredibly disappointing when a blogger has the best posts and you can see the content declining. No way would I ever call anything that was written from a personal, deep place as crap writing. I love reading what bloggers are willing to share. I also think that people know what I'm referring to as crap writing and potato chip posts. I'm not referring to writing style, grammatical errors, or even what you choose to write about in your life. I'm referring to a reliance on filler content. This does not mean beauty bloggers, fashion bloggers, DIY or anything else. If that's your niche, I expect to see a lot of pictures. I love photography and I like to see it on any blog, that's not the bigger issue.
What I don't like to see is a building up of an ego over a numbers game. The numbers game in blogging is the number of readers you have on GFC or Bloglovin. Based on the number of readers a blogger has, that becomes a business opportunity for companies to give you products to review. That makes sense, that's just smart business especially because people trust word-of-mouth and bloggers fit a wide range of target markets. However, if a product doesn't fit what you blog about, your lifestyle, or even your readership, it's up to you to establish whether or not that's a good thing to review. I've seen multiple glasses reviews for people who don't use assisted vision devices such as glasses or contacts. They can cost up to $300 or more depending on your prescription. Having someone review them who does not have the credibility to do so is just really strange to me. I personally would rather see those types of donations to children who need glasses and not a blogger who doesn't use them. That was just one example because there are so many other people in the world that actually need them. I've seen product reviews on the most random foundations and it's always interesting to see how a blogger will write about it.
This same type of business sense segways to companies that target bloggers to review products that probably won't benefit your readers. I did get mad at a company for contacting me about a dress subscription that was expensive. In later reflection maybe it was a good move for the business to cast a wider net of bloggers to see who might be interested. However, as someone who loves clothes, I would much rather see a post on KiKi La'Rue and their products. Everyone raves about their customer service, their quality products and consistent pricing. If I'm going to put $40 on a dress, it's not going to be on a subscription for a dress rental, it's going to be on an actual dress. I occasionally get to do reviews on products but I'm honest about it because from my demographic, I'm a young married woman who has a limited budget. That doesn't mean I don't want nice things but it does mean that I look at the credibility of people and companies who are discussing products before I buy them. I think many readers, especially bloggers who have a small readership can relate.
With my church sermon today, the concept of taking risks was discussed. A lot goes into blogging. When you choose to write about issues that bother you or something that is personal, you take a risk and you have to be willing to fail. Did I take risk? Yes and some people didn't like that and some people liked the discussion. I'm also positive I lost a reader but that's ok because I probably wasn't a good fit for that person. I also was called out on being critical of other bloggers but how I see it as that if we're not critical then we risk losing what we gain from blogging. Blogging is our new age of journaling and each blog is different with different perspectives and new things to gain. However, I'm not going to say that something that is half-assed deserves a gold star.
Another topic we discussed in the sermon was being united on the same front. A lot of people suggested that I just stop following blogs but if I stopped following every blogger that occasionally put up a potato chip post then I'd have to stop blogging myself. If I really don't like a blog then I do stop following it but this is so much more than not following a blog. This is a cultural change that is needed in this type of community. We often see movements against this flare up every now and then. A few months ago this happened with the debates between large giveaways and "buying readers." I don't participate in those monetarily because it's not a good fit for me. However this blogging community runs on a numbers game and so many people feel that in order to have some sense of competitiveness they need to participate in large giveaways. I think it's important that bloggers are held accountable because it's a reflection of us, our blogging community, and the businesses we represent. By putting out filler content constantly and doing product reviews that you're not credible for, that's not putting your best foot forward. On the same grounds, we still have to remain flexible. There will be crappy posts and bloggers who continue to do these types of product reviews (I do like product reviews, just throwing that out there). Regardless, we (especially I) still need to understand not everyone is going to have the same set of ethics or values.
Finally I wanted to address the marriage post. I occasionally talk about difficulties with my marriage, but I do that because I know people can relate. Sometimes people need to hear that someone else is going through that, whether it's in a marriage, common law marriage, or long-term relationship. No relationship is automatically easier than the other. We all have shades that are better than the other. Each has their own trials and difficulties. With a military relationship if something bad happens, the spouse is notified but if you're dating, the significant other has to find out from a family member. I could not imagine how trying on the heart that must be. Also with military relationships, many people get married because it's incredibly difficult to not be. I always have a lot of respect for various military relationships because no way are they easy. I hope no one felt that I was downplaying their relationship. I do believe that the quote I was trying to explain was that regardless of how confident you are in paying bills or living together, sequences of events will provide different hardships. That's why when newlyweds or people who have been together for years say it's hard, it's because it is and they're not trying to downplay your experiences but share that with you.
Blogs change. They're like a living, breathing organism and sometimes it works out and other times you just need to hit "unfollow." However, I still think it's important to address this because we shouldn't be okay with mediocrity. We should be challenging each other to be the best we can be.