“I’m calling out blog shaming. Yes. Shame on you (not us).”
I frequently see my social media sites, in particular my Twitter feed, being filled with like-minded bloggers feeling the need to continually justify themselves as just that – a blogger. I see tweets repetitively explaining in detail why blogging isn’t easy. It’s not all freebies, coffee and avocados on toast. It’s not for the faint-hearted. It does take multiple hours each and every single day to work at it and it requires numerous skills to even begin tackling it. Well? All of these points are very true. But the thing I can’t get my head around? Why being a blogger or influencer – hell, even having a blog as your hobby requires any form of justification. Why do we feel that we repeatedly need to explain our actions, or work, in some way or another?
And yet instead of being horrified at seeing tweets or posts like this virtually everyday, we simply nod along and agree.“Yep, it’s hard”.
Whether you’re a fellow blogger or you simply like to read blogs, it doesn’t matter. The premise is the same.
Do you see a librarian defending their job when they tell someone what they do for a living? Do you see the receiver to someone saying they’re a doctor smirking at their response? Or teacher? Or psychologist? Of course not! Because they’re deemed as ‘real jobs’. So please. Enlighten me. What qualifies as a ‘real job’ anyway?! Heck. Is a real job something you could easily spend 8 hours a day working on? Tick. Does it require a range of skills such as content writing, social media managing, accounting, photography, editing…? Tick, tick and tick.
Don’t be mistaken. I totally get it. The answer: “a blogger” as your job title, or favourite past-time may not be the most conventional response. But that’s what’s so great about blogging. It can be whatever the hell you want it to be. It’s yours. There are no rules. There are no restrictions on who can and can’t blog. It’s an open entity. And that’s pretty amazing.
Yet I can’t help but feel that the constant need to justify blogging in some way puts a dampener on the freedom blogging brings you. Blogging isn’t a 9-5pm job. You don’t ever really get to switch off (even on holidays) because you’re constantly seeking out a good spot for a photo, thinking of blog ideas or filming a vlog. There is no “home time”. There is no point where you’re “finished for the day”. There’s always more you could be doing – and that’s difficult. But it’s also really liberating. Yes, liberating! To know you can do whatever you want, make it into whatever you want and write about whatever you want. I say as I’m typing this out ferociously feeling like one hell of a free woman right about…now.
Sure, it may not be the most intellectually challenging job or past-time out there, or the worlds most stressful job in the grand scheme of it all. But it’s exciting. It’s fun. And it ain’t easy. But to do something we love, and something that brings other people joy? That’s what we should all be aiming for, right?!
Blogging being viewed as an unacceptable job or past-time is largely part of the reason start-up bloggers can often feel some form of embarrassment, or shame at admitting they’re a “blogger”. Even saying those words out loud. I know I did to a certain extent anyway. In fact, I wrote all about overcoming the stigma of blogging previously. It’s a big deal. Promoting your blog, being associated with it and hoping no one you know is judging you for it? It’s not easy.
But, like most things, confidence comes with time. I now actively want people I know to read my blogs. I no longer feel so camera shy (thanks to Madelaine Vlogs) and if someone doesn’t think it’s the “right” thing to do? Then more fool them.
In fact, I recently attended a course all about categories people fall into. (Bear with me, I’m going somewhere with this I promise!)
It broke down the types of people you can always expect to see or meet in the world. And I think it ties in perfectly with the blogosphere too, and may help you to see your audience a little clearer.
The engaged, loyal followers
The type who repeatedly offer you support, are excited for you when new opportunities arise and actively read your blog posts or watch your vlogs. These guys are the best. Devote your energy on these wonderful people.
The ‘on the fence’ followers
They will either take it or leave it, but with hard work, great content and being consistent, they’ll fall into your loyal category soon enough. Keep up the hard work – it’ll be worth it in the end.
The ‘you can do no good no matter what’ followers
They follow you because they may envy your life. They may be the jealous type. The angry type. Or they simply follow you because they enjoy finding something to moan at you for (yeah, I don’t get it either but there you go…). These are the type of followers you need to forget about. And fast.
They’ll never change, no matter how good your content is and no matter how much you try to engage with them – they’re non-movers. Yes. These are the guys who would smirk at the response “I’m a blogger”. Invest your time and energy elsewhere, rather than spending that time defending yourself, justifying yourself and simply trying to explain the reality of the situation.
So, next time a ‘you can do no good no matter what’ follower rudely interrupts your good mood, don’t waste your time justifying your actions. Instead continue with what you’re doing, focus on what makes you happy and invest that time into even more blogging! Give a shout out to all of your supporters and let the narrow-minded (and damn right miserable) ones do them.