I’m embarrassingly naive at blogging.
But it’s become apparent that there’s a blogging battle going on between “Mummy/Daddy Bloggers” in Australia right now.
I’ve never considered myself a “mummy blogger.” I made the rookie error of never picking a niche when I started my page.
I post about parenting, but I’m not really a mum blog. I love being expressive with what I wear, but I’m not a fashion blog. I believe in so many causes, get quite political, and hold so many beliefs but I’m not necessarily an activist blog either.
I’m a dogs breakfast when it comes to blogging.
Despite this, I have found myself in a sudden pull to join an alliance, get in a corner and pick a crew. The smoke and mirrors I once saw has had the smoke waft away, and mirrors smashed as I have realised this. The filters have been removed.
It feels like getting picked for teams at school but I’m the one worrying about what food is being served in the canteen, rather than worrying if I’m last picked. In other words, blissfully unaware. Well, until now.
It’s always been known that if you meet someone of “influence”, leveraging off their success by being seen together is normal. I’m usually too preoccupied to ever remember to do this (*wine glasses clink*) and well, authentic relationships matter to me so posting isn’t always a priority.
But networking with other bloggers is absolutely crucial to most blogging success. It’s the old “who you know, not what you know.” And that’s probably one of my greatest personal downfalls. But it’s become more than the odd photo with a random blogger out somewhere now. It’s about having each other’s back (or not having it and watching them fall – eek!)
But how do alliances come to be?
I’m still figuring it out, but here’s my observation.
There’s the OG bloggers vs the new age bloggers.
Bloggers that existed before social media was very mainstream, have felt a threat from the younger generation of bloggers that may have terrible spelling and/or grammar, but know how to work social media, and know how to relate to a different generation. This is particularly since Instagram took off. The increase in mainstream blogging means more competition. These bloggers usually have older children.
But also the newer generation are threatened by the knowledge of years of experience of the experienced generation. They are cautious not to replicate anything that has been done before because no one likes a copy cat. These bloggers usually have younger children.
And then there’s the “tell everything” bloggers vs the “share the best moments” bloggers.
The bloggers who share the best bits believe it is the right thing to protect their children from any negative social media footprint. These bloggers are often quite sterile as not to offend, and do things like quickly qualifying photos before criticism. Eg,“yes my child has a dummy in this photo, but it’s only at night time and we’ve seen a dentist and speech therapist.” (I personally do this quite a lot.)
On the other hand the bloggers who “share it all” believe honest sharing is helpful to create communities that can relate. Sometimes they do fall into being shock jocks though and disregard what other’s think. However, they hold the belief that the taboos of parenting have been secret for too long. They share the photos of poo and vomit, and say when parenting that day has been tough.
Then there are the professional photographers vs the story tellers.
The photographers have learnt the art of Instagram and are proud of it. They like being curated and 99% of the time aren’t taking a photo with an iPhone. They often have strong brand integrity and will get a campaign because brands know they’ll take great photos.
The story tellers have long captions and/or blog pages, and phone photos are their best friend. Because the photo is merely to assist their more important story. They usually get commissioned to write for media outlets.
*These two groups can often be friends (some can even fit into both categories) but regularly they fling dirt at each others approach.
And many bloggers have history’s pre-blogging or they had relationships where one blogger kick started the other blogger success.
And then the friendship as fizzled or exploded (as friendships often do.) This makes it all the more complex.
On the other hand, some bloggers may have never met in real life but appear to be close friends. Cross promoting on Instagram story to help each other gain followers or appearing out of no where to get a ticket to the next event. There is no problem with this. I’m definitely not campaigning for people to stop being nice to each other! It’s just part of a game of which I’m still unsure how to play properly (or want to play?!)
But the bottom line is, who you “pick” matters.
There are “band lists” put on small to medium sized brands, instructed by other bloggers (I know, whhhhat?! Yep! There are.) And I have found myself on one. Influencers can tell brands they don’t want to work with that brand if they are working with certain other bloggers. Whether it’s because of competition or because they simply don’t like you. And it doesn’t come down to a rock-paper-scissors off, it usually means the blogger with 200k followers wins over the one with 50k.
And bloggers have intensely loyal followers. Those loyal followers refuse to follow people that are seen as the “enemy” of their favourite blogger.
But most outrageously, I’m told bloggers are sometimes “trolls” too. Fake accounts or online profiles are made to call out the flaws of other bloggers and discredit them. And I state this loosely because I’m still a novice and really, have no proof personally. But my lack of knowledge on this is often scoffed at when it’s pointed out to me.
And while all this goes on, there’s also a lot of passive aggressive posting. Sharing posts about how you don’t like when parents do X (which is clearly what blogger Y is doing.)
Having digs at another blogger but never naming them (despite everyone knowing who it is) and then that nameless blogger realising and posting a inspirational quote like “when they go low, I go high.” (sorry Michelle Obama!)
Then there are times when things are no longer passive anymore. Direct messages from bloggers asking, “are you friends with X blogger? They said XYZ about me!”
Meanwhile I’m screaming, “where the heck is the HR department?” But of course there isn’t one. No group therapy or team bonding can be done. And it isn’t phones down at 5pm. Many emotional (or drunk) mistakes have been made at midnight.
Whether or not people outside blogging want to acknowledge it, blogging is business now. Careers created or supported by it. Plenty of money to be made. (I’m still confused how the parenting blogosphere hasn’t had a reality TV show made yet.)
And lets be brutally honest. The demographic of bloggers has a far higher percentage of narcissists than the average population. Of course not everyone, but there’s certainly a lot more. Most are genuinely lovely people but likes and comments on posts feed self righteousness and give validation to them that their opinion is right.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all high and mighty. I have done things and said things I’m ashamed of. Things that have kept me up at night worrying about being a terrible person and the influence blogging has had on me.
Apologies have been made. Lessons are being learnt.
So what should I do?
I’m simply unpacking this as I’ve come to discover what it’s about.
I don’t agree with what everyone does, but I’m persistent (probably naive) to see the good in people.
I want to be loyal, but I also don’t want to pick any “team.”
I don’t want to be quiet to mistreatment, but I also don’t want unnecessary drama.
I want everyone to get along, but I understand too many have been hurt to mend friendships.
I’m just going to continue to give it my best shot, upload and keeping doing my thing. Apps and sites could crash or be hacked tomorrow, and then what?
Sidebar: I have not made money off this. That alone can be seen as calculated. And I’m uncertain of how this will be received by bloggers. I’m simply sharing this in an aim to learn and possibly assist others in understanding as well. And also, can’t we all be friendddds… But seriously? Please? No? Argh.