Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Blog-What? (or Why I Will Never Be an A-List Blogger, and That and $3 Might Get You A Cup Of Coffee)

I have been percolating this post in my head for a bit what? a percolator used to be used to make coffee, the water was boiled up over the grounds...never mind, google it, loathe to write it for fear I will sound like a whiny brat. Though I am pretty sure that I am old enough not to be classified as a brat any longer. That's MRS. Bitch to you... but I have some things on my mind, and wonder if maybe others out there might have the same fears. I figure if I write it out, maybe we can lance this festering boil discuss it and be done with it.

I went to Blogher 08. It was a life-changing experience. I went with no preconceived notions. I had never met anyone there, except through Twitter and reading their blogs. And I had the best time, met women I count as lifelong friends, and learned some interesting things along the way. It was an absolute success; one of the high points of my blogging experience.

But here's the thing. I am going again this year. I am excited, and I am also afraid. Afraid it won't be the same. I know, nothing is constant except change, but when you hit a pinnacle, you want it to be the way it was. I think it is human nature. Or maybe I am just a huge wimp. I don't want to be a third wheel. And I don't want to feel out of place because I am not a hugely successful and marketable blogger.

I have been blogging for three years. I started because if I didn't write, I would explode. In the beginning, I didn't expect anyone to even read it especially not my parents..oh God, not my parents, ever but gradually, I developed a modest following, and spurred on by twitter, gained a bit of recognition. When I went to the Blogher conference, I met people who knew me, at least 140 characters of me...or my writing through my blog. But I don't make money from my blog, and the new Mommyblogger 2.0 has kind of left me in the dust.

I suppose that's my fault. I don't market myself. I have no idea what my brand is, or even if I want one. I don't contact PR or marketing firms trying to get free products. None of that is me. I just write. There is a debate going on about what it takes to be a successful blogger in the Blogosphere right now. The concern is that many of us are going to get left in the dust by a new breed of entrepeneur and marketing mamas. These are women who are savvy at self-promotion and have the time to leverage their blog. Face it, with 3 kids with autism and homeschooling, I barely have time to wipe thoroughly after using the bathroom, much less pound pavement to make myself known.

I won't lie. I wouldn't mind being on marketing panels. I would like free trips and bling to give to my loyal readers. But I wonder at what cost all of that comes. When does it become not about the writing and more about the stuff you can get for writing? I have had a few very small potatoes marketing offers. But there has been nothing that I felt would fit with my blog content. So I have turned those offers down, rather than sell out. Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge anyone else's choice to market as they see fit. We all have our own comfort level. I won't judge anyone else. I just know what feels good to me, and what I am willing to do.

Which brings me to my conundrum. Where do I fit in the blogging world? I have contented myself with the fact that I will never be an A-list blogger. Not because I think I am not good enough, I really believe I am. But there are so many out there, and only so much time for people to read. Those that get hundreds of comments for each post they write? They are a very small segment and it's not the norm. Far more people read this blog than comment. And they read yours, too... In any case, I am asking myself why I am going to Blogher this year. I certainly can't justify the expense. My "revenue stream" is a joke, and unless I am looking for a tax writeoff, it isn't going to help much at all. I went back and forth about going...but the bottom line for me is this:

whether I am an A-list blogger or not, I am a blogger. Therefore, I fit in. There will be others there that are better at what I do than I am.

But it's about the women. The women I know, the women I will meet and the women from whom I will learn. That is why I am going to Blogher. So repeat after me:

"Just for today, I am not going to get caught up in comments as currency. I am not going to look at my followers list, Facebook friends or Feedreader numbers. I am good enough, and I have a place in the Blogosphere, in whatever way I want to be there."
I started blogging because I loved it and because I wanted to help other parents dealing with an autism diagnosis and wondering what to do. I wanted to connect parents to one another, as they were flailing around and feeling stuck and alone. That is the stated purpose of this blog. Can you market it? No. Can I live with it?

A thousand times, yes.

T, who hopes you are going, too

7 sent chocolate:

Suburban Turmoil said...

Great post! I think BlogHer will be much like it was last year, with the addition of the marketing moms in the fray, too. What I love about BlogHer is that it really is designed for bloggers with big and small blogs. There are panels for everyone. There's even one this year for homeschooling moms, which I'm excited about, since it's something I'm seriously considering doing next year! :)

califmom said...

Well put, my dear. Well put. I am all over that mantra. We are good enough, we are bloggers.

I started blogging in 2004. For the first 3 years, I didn't know who did or did not read my blog. When I went to BlogHer last year, my blog got a handful of hits each day. After BlogHer, that changed dramatically.

I don't think it was because of any one thing, but more a combination of things. Women are great supporters of each other, contrary to media portrayals. I started to take myself more seriously as a writer, in a good way. I let more of my personality come out in my writing. Seeing other bloggers let it their true colors show inspires me.

So, BlogHer will again be what we make it. It will be a gathering of women, for a common love of sharing our stories, and I cannot wait to see you there.

Jenn Brockman said...

I'm just starting the journey you've been traveling.

I probably do have a brand - but I only just realized it while reading your post.

What the hell is BlogHer anyway? I'm kidding, but only a little.

I'll learn, and I do love your style of writing.


Starlene said...

Hey, you know from my blog that I'm not into all that stuff about trying to get more readers or market my blog. You know I write my blog mainly as a way to stay in touch with friends and family and let them know what we're experiencing. In other words, it is, for me, purely and online log/scrapbook. Of course I'm glad to know that my friends and family like reading it but that would be no different than if they were happy to receive an e-mail from us. A blog is just an easier way to do it.

So in my opinion, blog cuz you want to and don't worry about the rest. If you want to go to BlogHer and you can afford it, view it as a personal retreat - not because you are going to justify it financially or by promoting your "product" but JUST cuz you want to. You know, it still is ok for you to do things just because they are enjoyable. ;-)

Trish said...

I think you are just putting into words what a lot of us feel. I have really been trying to figure out what direction I want to go with my blog, have done a couple of reviews (mainly books) but didn't really feel comfortable doing them.

Like you, I want to share information and resources about autism, but I also love making connections with other moms. I think that's a good thing.

Alicia (aka Dr. Mom) said...

I ask myself similar questions about blogging. Then I come to a similar conclusion as you. In the end I write because I am a writer. I love it. It is as essential as food and water. And my goal is to write a book, so i'd rather spend my time and money marketing and promoting THAT (after its written and accepted by a publisher of course) than promoting my blog. but everyone is different and into diff. things. Im just not really "techie" and feel like the competition out there for mommy bloggers is really really really really huge. Not that its not in the print world.. i just feel thats my venue.

You are right, if you're lucky, a very modest amount of money might be made. If your a total fluke/lucky sob, you become a dooce or penelope trunk. I blog because it never ceases to amaze me how wonderful it feels to connect with just one person - to have them be touched by what you said. i love the interactions of the comments and the 'organic' or gritty reality. but blogging seldom pays the bills. In the end, it might not bring notoriety or windfalls of money, but last time I checked, you aint takin' sH** with you when you go. Just leaving a piece of YOU in this world.

Thanks for bringing parents of the Autism world together, through your little bit of cyberspace.

Kerrie said...

I JUST blogged about this same topic. Seems to be the feeling right now. Great post! Let's blog for US.

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