If there’s one thing you can guarantee will crop up on #bbloggers on a Sunday night, it’s the ‘big blog/small blog’ thing. I didn’t even know what that meant til tonight (because I asked the question) and now I have some sort of explanation I can at least make a comment on it.
I don’t really know how it has even come to a big/small division – it never used to be an issue at all. But what the bottom line seems to be is that bigger blogs, apparently, are ignoring smaller blogs. So, because I think it is a silly term (unless you are checking Alexa on a daily basis, you really don’t know who is genuinely ‘big’ or ‘small’) I’m going to refer to the division as newer and experienced.
Newer bloggers do look to experienced bloggers I think for some guidance and advice – I think all experienced bloggers have had emails and tweets asking for advice – and that’s totally fine. Experienced bloggers should, in an ideal world, be willing to help with those things if they see themselves as part of the blogging community. Because, with all its flaws, it is a community, like it or not.
From choice and time restrictions, I rarely reply to comments on my blog. I reply to just about every single tweet I ever get though, and the point of that is that I love the immediacy of it and the ‘real’ conversation. It’s kinda too slow for me on blogs, although if I am asked a direct question, I try to get to it.
What newer bloggers probably won’t know though is that behind the scenes, experienced bloggers do play a big part in mentoring and certainly, I get a lot of emails from newer bloggers which almost without fail I answer. I saw a tweet saying the definition of someone with a ‘bigger’ blog was one that takes commercial activity but those weren’t blogs they took any notice of. Oh, right. Good then. That’s super helpful for those of us who have been nose to grindstone into the small hours virtually every night for four years.. and eventually, a little bit of it starts to pay off. I’ll say again that if my hours were monitored I’d be on less than minimum wage – way less, despite the ‘ahem’ lucrative advertising.
However, back to the inbox. I get lovely, lovely emails from people who are kind, who want advice, who heap praise and that is genuinely wonderful. I get a lot at certain times of the year from students, doing a dissertation on blogs and they take ages to answer properly. But, I also get emails asking how they can get free samples, will I pass on my PR contacts, will I send them my old samples, that I am a fool, that my blog is boring… need I go on? And trolls? Yes, of course trolls, who are so mean and bitter it is breathtaking. But, I have a no-tolerance policy on trolls which means I don’t publish them (or rarely, anyway) so you’ll never see what I see. So, please do not make the mistake ever that being a more experienced blogger is without any pitfalls. That somehow an experienced blogger is sitting pretty. As an experienced blogger, you are also expected to understand the media game perfectly, you are expected to keep your stats at a certain level and yet, on the whole, your blog is still treated as a lesser being than any other form of media, even if you outweigh any of those forms with numbers of eyes on product. And there’s pretty well no free lipstick in the world that is adequate pay off for that.
It’s disingenuous of experienced bloggers to complain too much about newer bloggers – although I think we all have the same view, size regardless, on blagger bloggers and those who think blogs can only be written with free samples – everyone is finding their way. With a few exceptions, beauty blogs have only really become their own entity in the last four years. That’s really new. Imagine if magazines were that new? How long would you expect it to take for all the opinions, all the views and all the complaints to settle down? Magazines have been around for over a hundred years and we still complain about them.
The big difference is that bloggers can say what magazines never can. And, they do. So there are always going to be a million views swirling around the blogosphere and size has nothing to do with it. Nothing at all. It’s how you conduct yourself in the blogging sphere that matters. Experienced bloggers get frustrated to see the same problems swirling around – how to get free samples is a favourite #bbloggers topic. Those of us who’ve done it know that genuinely great blogging is nothing at all about freebies. There’s a kind of arrogance, too, in assuming that blogging means free stuff. Since when? Since when did starting a blog mean that you’ll be heaped with free mascara? It’s an old fashioned notion, but you can, in fact, blog with stuff you’ve bought. I know, look at me getting all retro. I hear from PRs ALLLLLLL the time that they are literally inundated by newer blogs for a selection of samples when the blog has the scantest number of readers. I have even heard of emails saying ‘I am thinking of starting a blog – can you send me samples so I can get going..’. And yet, as a more experienced blog, I’ve done my time on that as have many other experienced bloggers – I’ve built up relationships, I understand how it works. We deserve our place.
On the other hand, the ‘jumping-without-looking’ attitude of newer bloggers is something to celebrate… while I’m getting all antsy over stats, they’re just loving it and blogging without baggage and with freedom and when you find those blogs, they’re an absolute joy to read. There is just no point in more experienced bloggers trying to press them down. If indeed that happens. Let them find their own way through the hoops and offer advice if needed. The blogosphere is HUGE. Infinite, in fact and there is room for everyone to try and achieve their ambition.
So the other issue – experienced bloggers ignore newer bloggers. So what? So what if they do? The answer is simple. Keep a tidy timeline with friendly people who want to talk to you and are actively interested in you. Don’t keep a timeline where you constantly feel ignored or undermined.. that is what the unfollow button is for and it is yours to use. The upshot is that the experienced bloggers who don’t engage will lose followers – and that is entirely their own lookout.
I haven’t covered everything here, so please do feel free to add in your views and opinions. Personally, where #bbloggers is concerned, it’s a space for people to talk freely and to garner views and opinions as well as air them. It is not compulsory and if the same things crop up every week, well, it’s a blessing that the TV is much improved on a Sunday night.