A few days ago, I saw on someone’s Facebook page a post about how much bloggers have become cliquey. It was from a relatively new blogger. I won’t give any identifying characteristics of her, besides that she is a “her,” simply because I feel bad that she got so upset about this, and I don’t want to make her feel worse. Anyway, this blogger was complaining – emphatically – that she couldn’t get into any of the “in crowds” and, therefore, she was going to stop blogging altogether. She has since deleted her blog site.
I thought about this for quite a while. In high school, I hated the cliques. Now when I think of them I think of Mean Girls with Linsay-the-trainwreck-Lohan. When you have cliques, you have backstabbing. You have cheating. You have a load of gossip. You have more drama than a daytime soap opera. And you have people being excluded for no reason other than that they aren’t “cool” enough, by whatever standards of “cool” the clique collectively determines.
I have a hard time believing that bloggers have become Mean Girls.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized this blogger was let down by her experience in the community of bloggers probably of her own doing. I, myself, have felt let down with the ebbs and flows of blogging, but I didn’t allow myself to give up as a result. Really, the blog community may have niches (politics, food, parents, humor), but on the whole, if you find yourself not being “embraced,” it has absolutely nothing to do with being excluded from a clique or some vague, ruleless popularity contest.
#1 You may not be generating
It’s hard to look at our own writing objectively, so if you find yourself lacking readers it’s sometimes a good idea to ask someone you know to read a post to see what may be turning people off.
My dad is one of my most faithful blog followers, and while many of you may think he is too “close” to be objective, he thinks I’m a blazing asshole, so usually serves as a pretty good source for what’s awry in my posts. You can always tell he’s been giving me constructive criticisms (read: yelling over the phone at me) when my language tones down a little, I talk about hookers less, or I change up my themes a little bit.
Beyond good content, bloggers are writers, which means they want good grammar, excellent spelling, and – for God’s sakes – appropriate punctuation. I’ll tell you faithful blog followers right now, if someone places a space between their sentence and their exclamation point (like this !!), my brain explodes into tiny particles and I immediately put that person on the “not interested” list to avoid future damage to my noggin.
#2 You may be a liar
A couple weeks ago I saw someone post that they had made it into the Top 25 on Top Mommy Blogs – a list server where people cast their votes for the best of over 5,000 mom blogs currently out there.
I was floored because I knew this woman had only written a couple blog posts in total, and had just joined TMB. When I clicked to see where she stood (as compared to my meager standings that hover between 50 and 75), I saw she had totally made it up. She wasn’t anywhere near the Top 25. She wasn’t even near the Top 200.
The most important rule of blogging is to be honest and yourself. If bloggers find out you’re nothing but a big fibber, you’re going to have a hard time getting support.
#3 You may not be a sincere peer
The blogging community is a community of peers. That means we have equal respect for each other. It means we help each other, and often. It means we communicate with each other. And it means we approach each other with sincerity.
It does not mean we follow people on blog hops just to get follows back, then “unfollow” the next day. It does not mean we ignore people’s comments, Tweets, and otherwise communications because we think we’re “too big” for that. It means we thank people for what they’ve done for us.
If you find yourself feeling a little excluded from the blog community, it may have to do with your sincerity towards your peer bloggers, or rather your lack there of.
#4 You may be a victim of the ebbs and flows of blogging
Newsflash: we are all victims of the ebbs and flows of blogging, on many occasions through the course of our time as bloggers. Earlier this year, I was so “over” blogging because I hardly got any comments or views for a one month period, and then a few posts later I was Freshly Pressed. Over the summer I had another ebb, and was just completely disillusioned with where to go next to get out of the rut; then completely out of nowhere I got about 600 more Facebook fans in a matter of days.
The point is to not give up. You haven’t been excluded. The Mean Girls haven’t stabbed you in the back and permanently kept you on the “don’t bother” list. You are just experiencing the same thing we all do as bloggers.
So do I think that bloggers have become Mean Girls? Absolutely not. Do I feel bad for anyone that feels they have, regardless of what I just said? Absolutely. The community of bloggers is one of the most supportive, open-arms communities I can think of. We aren’t Mean Girls. We’re all just people with stuff to say.