We all know blogs have redefined the way we discover information. Mere years ago, we relied on professional, advertising-driven outlets like magazines, newspapers and corporate websites to tell us what was happening in the world, what was hot for Spring/Summer and what mascara we should buy. Now, a search for ‘London Fashion Week AW12‘ brings up blogs before the actual LFW website. Google knows as well as we do; a blog is often the most relevant and up-to-date source of information available.
So, blogging is important. It’s part of our society, our culture, even our economy. It deserves discussion. But just how much can we talk about it before we’re going round in circles?
*cue Carrie Bradshaw pondering* When it comes to blogging, are we all talk and no action?
On a professional level, I talk about blogging a lot. I advise my clients on creating online communities through blogs, I talk to them about working with bloggers and the favoured way to approach them. I write blog posts for numerous brands and I get asked lots of questions about blogging dos and don’ts. I love all that. I could blather on for hours about the blogging community and all the benefits it holds.
But when it comes to my own blog, I just get on with it. If I want to write something, I write it. If I’m too busy or have nothing to say, I don’t write anything. I monetise my blog and sometimes my posts. I respond to PR emails that start ‘dear blogger’, if they sound interesting. I ignore press releases that aren’t relevant to me. I removed Little Bird from one blogger collective and I haven’t joined another since. These are the choices I make and I’m happy with them.
Many bloggers do things differently. Some do things I don’t agree with, others do things that inspire me to change. But although I’ve been part of blogger discussions before, and have bashed out the odd Judgemental Jen tweet laden with condescension (blame tiredness or train boredom), I try very hard not to preach about blogging. The brilliance of a blog is in its unique voice – we are all individual people, doing things in our own way. Our personal edge is the exact reason people read our blogs – we’re not corporate machines and most of the time, not driven by advertising revenue. If we all started doing things one way, we’d become boring.
So maybe it’s time to take a step back from the endless discussion. There’s nothing I love more than sitting down with a fellow blogger and chatting about our collective love for the community, but I won’t suddenly blurt out my opinions on affiliate networks. Firstly, that’s pretty rude and secondly, affiliate networks don’t make for scintillating conversation.
Of course, there are a few things bloggers should understand to keep themselves on the right side of the law. The ASA’s digital remit on disclosing paid-for online promotion, for example, and intellectual copyright. There are also many examples of ‘best practice’ for bloggers that can be helpful, especially if you’re new. But after all is said and done, the most important part of blogging is actually doing it. Because if we didn’t, what on earth would we talk about?
What do you think – do you find discussions about blogging useful or overwhelming?
ETA: I definitely agree that talking about blogging is very helpful for new bloggers who are just starting out. Tips from established bloggers are invaluable when you’re new and sharing ideas and advice with the others is a great way to build and strengthen the community. This post is more about ‘opinion-driven’ discussions on what is right or wrong for bloggers, which often pose conflicting ideas and can be more confusing than anything.