BLOGGING RANT: The Cost of Self-Promotion

My bonnet is usually relatively free of bees.  But recently, there’s been a pattern in the blogosphere that’s left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.  It’s something Brittney touched on a few weeks ago here, and it’s all about bringing the fun back to blogging, and the reasons we all started doing it in the first place.

When I first started blogging “seriously” back in October-November last year, I was blown away by how awesome it was. By how many people there were out there who were willing to read my stuff, take the time out of their day to comment, and who also wrote great stories about their lives.  I loved getting to know people, starting to build friendships, going from a couple of comments a week to emails, text messaging, phone calls and the odd face-to-face Skype date.  In the last six months, I’ve met people who may be miles away, but I consider some of my closest friends. As with my friends back in England, I find distance doesn’t have to stand in the way of a good friendship.  But there are a few things I’ve seen  lately that really turn me off.

1: Bloggers who started with no traffic, just like all of us, who get to a certain level of blog-stardom, and use it as an excuse to all of a sudden become “authorities” on how to be a great blogger.  They start posting how-to guides on forums and networking and profile pictures, so you can be as awesome as they are.  It’s highly self-indulgent, and I find, borderline arrogant.  If I want more followers, I’ll invest the time in finding them myself. Or I’ll ask! I realise everyone’s reasons for blogging are different, but I read your blog because I’m interested in who you are, not because I want to be told I’m not “successful enough.”

2: Bloggers who fuel and listen to gossip behind the safety net of a computer screen.  It’s all so petty teenage angst fest.  I talked a little while ago about staying to true myself, even if that was at the expense of losing readership.  But at the end of the day, I know the person behind the blog is the same person that’s presented to the world. A person with real thoughts, ups and downs, questions and opinions and a good heart.  And that’s all that matters. Apparently, honesty is sometimes controversial. Sometimes not what people want to hear. So they’ll whisper amongst themselves and latch on to rumours without even bothering to question the truth. Why? Because it’s so much easier to go with the popular crowd.

I like to form friendships. I like to text and send snail mail to bloggers if they’re going through something bad OR good. I like to surprise people and I remain a loyal reader, commenter and friend. If they need help with a design project or a résumé, I will help them out. I like to build the foundations of friendship the same way I do in life – by showing I care. And it irks me to no end that some people lately have decided to completely drop me off their radars because they’ve “heard” something from someone, and haven’t even bothered to question the truth in it. It’s disappointing when you thought some of them were half-decent.

As much as it’s thrown in my face that these days blogging is a competition and the ONLY way you can be good at it is to have a million followers and a USB port in your ankle where you can stay connected to the online world 24/7, I write when I want to, about things that are important to me, and about things I think will really benefit other people. Things I care about, things I love, things I’m striving for and lessons I’m learning. Don’t get me wrong – everybody likes comments.  And I’m so thankful for each and every one of you that takes the time to read, and voice your thoughts every time I write. But I’m not going to compromise who I am because the Internet says I have to. And I’m going to continue making friendships with the people that really are awesome, and stop wasting time on the superficial.

3. Bloggers who sell out.  If I wanted to bombard my eyes with advertising I’d go and empty our recycling box all over my kitchen counter.  I’m coming across many blogs who used to write for the fun of it, and now seem more concerned with making a quick buck by slapping dozens of ads all the way down their sidebar. It’s not fun, it’s not pretty, and it kind of tells me you’re more concerned about the $2.75 you’ll make in clicks that week than you are about the writing itself. I don’t read your blog because I want to be inadvertently sold something.

4. Bloggers who capitalise on something you did as a favour to them. I try and offer kindness to the world because let’s face it, the world could use a little more of it. I don’t do it for a reward. But there’s something nice about saying thank-you, isn’t there?  It’s disheartening when kindness is met with egotism, and behind the blogging scenes things are a very different story indeed. Disheartening, yes… but not discouraging. The world needs more kindness, and none of us can control with what our actions are going to be met.  We just have to keep breathing… and reminding ourselves we do things for the right reasons. Right?

4. Bloggers who pretend to be somebody completely different from the person they are in real life. Life isn’t perfect. Everybody has bad hair days and breakouts and stomach aches and snot flying into their face.  If your posts are all rose tinted and I leave wondering if you live in some sort of magical secret cottage where woodland creatures must come in through the night to sew your clothes and clean your house spotless, then I’m sorry. NOBODY is that perfect.  I get it that we all want to present our best sides to, ultimately, strangers.  But how do you think people who DON’T live in said magic cottages feel reading stories (for that’s what they are) about how perfect your life is? Go write a book, or a soap opera, or get your own TV show, instead of trying to be a character. And pick a better one than Martha Stewart.

There’s a difference between being cautious, maybe for work reasons, and pretending to be an entirely different person. Maybe it’s because of some need for personal validation, and if you just pretend for long enough, then maybe people will actually believe it’s real. I don’t know. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’ll write about the bad stuff as well as the good. I’ll write about my struggles and my efforts to overcome them and what’s worked and hasn’t worked for me – not because I believe I’m some authority on personal growth, but because if I put it out there to the world, not only am I held accountable, but the world can see it. The emails from people appreciating the honesty and even finding inspiration just mean the world to me. I may not write about cupcakes, kittens and headbands, but at least I’m honest. I’ll take empowerment over self-importance any day. If you don’t write from the heart, and stay true to yourself in doing so – then what is it all for? A fleeting sense of popularity at the expense of your innermost self?

Brittney said it perfectly when she said:

Forgive me, and I may be a complete rarity, but I miss the personal/intimate side of blogging. It just seems that if we all follow these rules on what to blog, what not to blog, how to write, what to say, what not to say, what topic to avoid, what tone to use, what length to adhere to… then there will be very little point in my reading multiple blogs because we will all be the same exact person and I can just go to a single blog for everything. I like reading REAL blogs, with REAL bloggers writing them. I won’t stop reading your blog if your life doesn’t seem perfect, if your home didn’t just step out of Martha Stuart Living, if you have a zit, if you regularly consume obscene amounts of fast food, if you own exactly one pair of jeans that still fit and wear them for weeks on end (coughMEcough). In fact, I will probably like it MORE because you’re willing to be honest, vulnerable and human. I really wasn’t sure where I was going here, except to say that I want us to be ourselves and be okay with that. Blogging is growing into this awesome outlet, which rocks, but it’s also becoming home to 45243 writers who are creating fake personas for the sake of popularity or marketing and in turn, it’s losing it’s unique-ness.

Ask yourself the question today. Do you really know who you’re reading? Are you okay with being told what to do on your own personal outlet in order to be “successful”? Are you willing to give up your own passion and personality to conform for the sake of a comment count?  Is blogging really just turning into another popularity competition?

In life, I think the most important thing you can do is stay true to yourself, and stay focused on being a positive force in the world. It’s easy to get sidetracked by temptations, societal pressures, and worrying about what other people think of you.  It’s important to be authentic – and to be able to tell the difference between self-promotion and a fake persona.  Unfortunately, I’m realising, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult.  Yes, parts of the blogging world have disappointed me lately. But thank you to everybody who I know is willing to be real, who’s willing to stick around through the good and the bad, and who makes blogging such a joy most of the time. You’re all rockstars.  And I really wish there were more words to hyperlink in this sentence, because if you’re commenting on this, you’re probably one of them. 🙂

And, now that that’s dealt with, we’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow 🙂

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99 comments

  1. one of the reasons I love your blog is because you aren’t afraid to be honest. there’s bloggers like you mentioned who clearly only care about comments and being the center of the universe and pretend to live fairytale lives….and somehow have a million followers. there are also ppl who rant about something everyday who also have a million followers when all they do is bitch & whine (ballanced well with sarcasm). then in the middle there are the rares like you, who aren’t afraid to be real yet pour your heart and positivity into everything you write. you’re a treasure em and i say way to go for posting this today, ppl need to hear how it really is sometimes.

    1. Oh Kelly thank you!! You’re so sweet and I have to say PHEW lol as I was slightly nervous about posting this… and for the first hour it was password-protected, but I realised that this was one of those moments I had something to say, and looked back on what I’d said before – about staying real and staying true, even if it is at the expense of readership. Thank you for reading and for your KIND kind words!! 🙂

  2. Oh my dear friend!!! You are a rare and authentic gem!! It is beyond refreshing and satisfying to know there are people out there like you! You are not afraid to put it all out ther…even though you know it might not be “popular” and I LOVE that about you!!

    It wasn’t until the last few years that I became strong and confident in who I am and what I have to offer as a person. It wasn’t until then that I made the firm commitment to always stay true to my most authentic self…no matter the circumstances!! Because at the end of the day, it is the choices I make about how I want others to KNOW me that really count…not how I want to PORTRAY myself! People are drawn to authenticity, they feel they can trust it, that there’s nothing going on behind the scenes. That is most important to me. It took a LONG hard fight to get to this point but I truly wouldn’t have it any other way!

    Thank you for linking me here…that was very sweet! But more than that…thank you for wanting to see me for who I really am even behind all the fluff of the blogosphere! I hope you can begin to consider me a friend 🙂

    1. Your words are inspiring 🙂 It sometimes does take a long journey but I’m so glad you’re where you are now. You can tell just how real and genuine you are with every post you write and of COURSE I consider you a friend!! ❤

  3. Miss Emily:

    You cannot see me as of now but I am practically standing on my chair, giving YOU a standing ovation. When I entered the blogging world a few short months ago I was lucky enough to stumble across your blog from good ol’ Stephen K. I did not know you. And yet I felt like I had known you for years. You created a personal and intimate connection with me, and I thought in my head, “This is truly how you go about engaging someone.” Instantly you became the person I was most inspired by in this blogging world, you were who I wanted to be like… And the best part is when I reached out to you to thank you, you were even sweeter and more genuine in person. I totally agree with you, blogging, at the end of the day, is for my heart and nothing else. I realize the impact I can make on people and that to me surpasses any monetary value. You are a rarity in this world and I am so thankful to call you a friend love.

    Best,

    Hannah Katy

    1. Good ol’ Stephen indeed! I am SO very glad I found you in this big world – your words and attitude toward life in general are nothing short of inspiring, and I am more than thankful to have you as a friend 🙂 You are a treasure!

  4. I love, love, love this post, Emily. Kudos to you for being brutally honest and candid about your feelings regarding the blogosphere. I’ve seen a blended mix of what I would call fake and real blogs and yours is definitely one of the real ones and that’s why I keep reading.

    Keep up the great work!

  5. “if you live in some sort of magical secret cottage where woodland creatures must come in through the night to sew your clothes and clean your house spotless, then I’m sorry. NOBODY is that perfect. ”

    i love you!

  6. There is such truth in this post. If blogging becomes a popularity contest, I want nothing to do with it. I will never win and I am ok with that. What I like best about blogging is that I get to see the real side of people. They share their insecurities and challenges more than many of my real world friends and it just makes them more ‘real’ in some ways.

    Sending hugs your way, my dear!

    1. Thanks Lisa! Unfortunately it’s hard when the lines between “real blogger” and “popularity contest” become so blurred – but all I can do is focus on being real and well intentioned, and honest – for the good of other people. I remain focused on allowing myself to be subject to scrutiny and criticism in my choices – I’ve aired my struggles and thoughts and opinions, mistakes and victories out for the world to see – that’s not something everyone would choose to do. Nor would everyone choose to remain real, rather seeing blogging as the place they can “pretend” to be the person they secretly wish they were in real life. It might not make me popular, but at the end of the day, when this blog post is just a thing of ten, twenty years ago, I’ll know that I stayed true to myself and blogged with integrity 🙂

  7. So true. So very, very true. My favorite blogs are ones that have a distinct, honest voice. I may not always agree with that voice, but I appreciate the honesty. We need to have a sense of humor about blogging. After all, it’s an online diary – are we really going to worry who is reading and who isn’t?

    1. I love what you said about appreciating the honesty even if it’s not necessarily something we agree with. I think there’s something to be said for remaining open to differing opinions and seeing them from where the other person is coming from, rather than putting a mask on or running away and gossiping behind the scenes because it’s more comfortable that way. You’re right – it is an online diary, and we all have a choice as to what we put into it. Is it going to be truth? Or a self-indulgent fantasy that doesn’t exist beyond the computer screen?

  8. this post is pretty much one of my favorites i’ve ever read. you couldn’t have said things any better. a lot of people like to take the internet as a place to be the person they *try* to be in real life, but aren’t able to. i can admit that for myself, it’s easier for me to open up through blogs and online in general, because i can be rather shy in person. but i don’t gallivant around pretending to be extraordinary person B when i’m really just person A (which is good enough for me, lol). my favorite line in this post? what other than: “stay true to yourself, and stay focused on being a positive force in the world”. i could not agree more. amazing post!! i’m glad we ‘bumped into each other’ around the blogging world! 🙂 xoxo.

    1. Christina that meant the WORLD to me! And you’re absolutely right – blogging shouldn’t be the place where you pretend the person you can’t actually be in real life. And it really sucks when people DO… and nobody’s any the wiser. Although the only person losing out in the end is themselves I suppose. I try and make my focus being honest and genuine and trying to make a difference – not getting comments or pretending to be someone I’m not. If I have 4 readers, at least I’ll know I’ve been sincere with them at the end of the day 🙂 SO glad we ran into each other too!!

  9. I’m so glad you decided to post this. I know you’ve been sitting on it for a while, but I think you’ll find that there are a lot of people that feel exaclty the same. Or have at the very least thought about the points you’ve listed.

    You’re incredibly awesome, you know that?

    1. Aww, thanks love!! I was so nervous about posting it!! But I took the password off after I reminded myself that sometimes the things that need to be done take balls to do. It would’ve been easy to hide it in my drafts or behind a password. This way I’m open to attack on it – but I’m one to stand up for what I believe in 🙂 Thank you!!

  10. Another great post, Emily. I think anyone who is apart of the blogosphere knows exactly what you’re talking about, and each person knows, deep down, which category they fall into – honest or fake. Although there are certain parts of my life that I don’t share (some things are just too private to put out there on the internet!), I am always honest and true to myself. I write about what’s currently going on in my life or what’s currently on my mind. Whether I get 1 comment or 20 comments, it doesn’t matter. It’s not the number of comments that’s important to me, it’s what my readers have to say. I love getting feedback (I feel that it really completes each blog post), and even if only ONE person says something meaningful or gives me advice, then I’m happy. There are actually quite a lot of blogs I’ve “unfollowed” recently, mostly because they turned into something that felt “fake” and I no longer had a desire to follow along. I know you’re one of the ones who will always be real, and that’s refreshing!

  11. Emily!

    Love this post. It’s like the same thing I emailed you about a few weeks ago about how I don’t want to be viewed as having a superficial blog and was disappointed that my readers wouldn’t comment on the more personal stuff. You really are so honest and I think that’s one of the qualities I love most about you and your blog. Regardless of who each post is directed to or how it makes some people feel, you always say exactly what’s on your mind- giving me and the rest of your readers the chance to really get to know what a great person you are. Thank you for always being real and calling people out when they do something wrong- not in a mean way but in the hopes of helping them realize their mistakes and make it better. You truly are an inspiration.

    Hope you started off your week amazingly! 😀
    Ashley

    P.S. Sorry I haven’t had a chance to comment on your posts lately- I just got done with final exam week at my University so it’s been pretty hectic. Missed you though! 🙂

    1. Aww, no worries! Your words mean such a lot to me, and it’s my ongoing goal not to get my point across, but to challenge things and question things and really try and motivate people to be better… not for me, but for themselves. It’s easy to fall into what’s “cool” or “easy” or “popular” – it’s harder, sometimes, to be real, because then you open youself up for judgment. It’s easy to sit behind the screen fabricating stories that sound perfect, and give people no choice but to fawn over them without being challenged or inspired. Thank you for being such a sweetie!!

  12. Awww. Personally, I think that blogging is just about having a creative outlet! You know? And whatever that means to YOU, that is what is most important. We are not here to please others…(though of course readers are nice)…but me, Personally? I do it for me. So even though I may love getting comments (the more the better, yay!) At the end of the day, I blog because it’s something I enjoy. And if I’m not being myself, what’s the point? This isn’t to say that I don’t choose what I will share (I don’t want to put my darkest moments on display until I realize how I want to deal with them) but it also doesn’t mean creating something fake for the internet to view. At the end of the day, I want my blog to be honest and just a reflection of ME.

    Thanks for the shout out, too!! I’m so happy to have stumbled across you in this big blogging world!! ❤

  13. I totally agree. Some blogs have begun to feel so completely fake that it’s been hard for me to get motivated to write.

    1. It’s sad when the blogosphere seems to become dominated by the fake. I guess that’s why I had to rant. But there’s a whole world out there of bloggers not just in the “social circle” that exists, but outside of it – we just have to find the real ones 🙂

  14. Oh wow- I completely didn’t see this when I posted a blogger-related post this morning. Anyway, you covered it in much more depth and I think hit on the key problems we all face and witness. The true-to-yourself bit is I believe the most important. Otherwise, I’m not sure what the point is.

    1. That’s exactly the point – it seems like so many blogs and READERS are being brainwashed and herded like sheep to go along with the popular bloggers… who may (and in some cases very much ARE) not who they present on the blog. The point was to raise the point and question people as to whether they were okay with being told what to do or following the “cool kids” like cattle or subscribing to someone who’s not true to themselves at ALL. That was exactly the point. Partly 🙂

  15. I live in a magical cottage! 😀

    J/K

    It’s funny how people find a way to be fake even on the internet…but that’s the culture, isn’t it? I hate fakeness in real life or virtual form. Blog are supposed to be straight from the heart, not straight to the pocket *cough* perez hilton *cough*

    And on the subject of perez, I hate bloggers who gossip maliciously for their own well-being and ego.

    I may not have a big following, but that matters not. I enjoy the few heart-felt comments I get 🙂

    Nice post, em-j

    1. LOL fired!! Haha 🙂 Thank you – I’d much rather have 10 genuine comments from people who have real opinions or similar experiences or their own thoughts about what I’ve written than 50 telling me “OMG you’re so awesome”!! It’s always nice to be appreciated – but not at the expense of hiding who I am behind the computer screen. Better to have a small following of genuine people than a huge one of phonies.

  16. I love this post. Very true! I think this is the most honest post I’ve ever read! And I remember you posted #1 on 20sb discussions and I said I’d click the like button if there was one. I mean, dang! It really is annoying when a blogger suddenly becomes arrogant. Really gets to my nerves. 🙂

  17. First, this is magical. Like unicorns and fairy dust magical.

    Second, I’m going to take #4 one evil step farther and say that I hate when I meet someone IRL, and they are NOTHING like their blog. Look, my corner might be a klutzy, loud-ass mess of word vomit, but it is ME. Within two seconds of meeting me, you will know that blog and I are one and the same, for better or for worse. And that? That makes me happy (in my pants).

    What?

    1. You forgot the rainbows and kittens magical! 🙂

      I’m interested to hear stories of Vegas and all the people you’ll meet. You should do some kind of data collection on what percentage of people are the same person they are on the blog, and how many are TOTALLY different. I’d be extremely curious…

  18. Em, I can’t tell you how MUCH I agree with you on this… I feel very often left out because I don’t get as many comments as others or don’t have a picture perfect story to tell every day, but at the end of the day, I am glad about it, because I surely don’t envy anyone of the drama that sometimes is going on behind the scene.

    I really enjoy your blog, because you definitely seem to portrait the person that you are in real life and that is exactly what I am looking for when I browse around for new blogs.
    I am really glad I found yours 🙂

  19. Thank you Emily for this wonderful post.

    May I comment, well, err…apologize for not following you sooner (twitter & blog). Going back to what you said, we all would love followers but like you, I’m not concern about numbers. Yes, comments are wonderful, but for awhile, I’ve been getting these one-offs so people can get traffic in return. Because of that, I’ve been really bad at reaching out and finding new bloggers who are genuine and true. You have been leaving comments for a long time, and I’ve recognized your name. I am sorry for not following you sooner. You are quite the gem.

    Secondly, I agree with you about blogging for yourself. What you see on my blog & YouTube is what you can expect in person. I find that my online persona is an extension of myself. I blog to have fun. When I have something say, I will write about it. I’m not doing it just because. Thank you for mention that because I have been noticing a shift in the 20sb-o-sphere. And it’s getting very annoying.

    Finally, I just want to say thank you to you. Thank you for being who you are. =)

  20. I think that all-of-the-above are symptoms of fleeting humility when it comes to putting yourself out there on the internet. There are bloggers who rely on shock value to garner readership and exploit tasteless-topics for controversy. There are bloggers who sacrifice their dignity and integrity jack-ass style for comments. There are so many bloggers who hide behind their computer screens and have dishonest relationships with their readers and cohorts for more hits, more comments, and more followers. Thankfully those blogs are few and far between and most of the ones I encounter are, as a certain award plainly puts it “Honest Scrap.” I like to see bloggers who are humble about their followings and honest to their readers. I like to read their stories, to grow with them, and to feel like I know them. This post hit the nail right on the head and I appreciate seeing another blogger who isn’t afraid to call people out on things like this.

  21. I say we take this post and turn it into somewhat of a mission statement. Everything in this post matters to me not just as a blogger but someone who works on the internet.

    Virtual personas had their day, but sincerity is the new black. Love this post.

  22. You know, sometimes I find myself envying people for the seeming perfection of their lives and of their houses and everything … and then I remember that it’s just image projection and not real. Not everyone is always perfect looking, groomed, cute and put together. And then I realize how stressful it would be to want to be perfect all the time. I like for things to be perfect but I am not a perfectionist in that way that I’m going to cry over something when it’s just good, not perfect.
    Sometimes I find it very hard to stay myself in the blogosphere, and I am not sure anymore of my identity as a blogger. Like, who am I and what do I blog about? I have been getting bored with my own posts and feel like they are all the same (not all, actually, just some of them seem very blah). I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who are always happy and perfect and yadda yadda because it’s not me, but at the same time I also want to shift from being a blogger about my daily life (which I think I am not anymore, but I was for a very long time), to being more introspective. And sometimes I wonder if I really am that introspective (compared to other bloggers out there).
    Gosh, now I don’t even know anymore where I am going with this. Haha. I think I’ll leave it at that.
    Except one more thing: I think it’s very refreshing to read a blog like yours that is not always, what was that? Kittens and headbands.

  23. beautifully written.
    i’ve really noticed a change too, i’ve never been one of the crazy commenters but i love the community and reading about everyone who i follow and i feel like they are my friends. i may only get 20 people who read my blog a day, yet i’m ok with that. i started out blogging back in 2001 for me and i’ll keep doing it because i like it and i love being able to look back on my life.
    while i may edit some of my life i think i’m pretty true to who i am. i’m trying to build better friendships with the people who i read, but i don’t like the preachy people who “achieve” blogger fame.

  24. Very well-thought-out and bold post, Emily. I think it’s great that you found the strength to post it, knowing it might cause some controversy. And I agree with a lot of your points — especially about those who bombard their blogs with ads and aren’t really engaging people.

    That said, I have to play devil’s advocate for a second about this part:

    “And it irks me to no end that some people lately have decided to completely drop me off their radars because they’ve “heard” something from someone, and haven’t even bothered to question the truth in it. It’s disappointing when you thought some of them were half-decent.”

    I’m pretty sure I know what that’s in reference to, and I have to admit that I have felt a strange sense of awkwardness because I still follow BOTH of you and am trying to remain…”neutral,” I guess? But I did seriously consider “un-following” both of you just because I was worried about getting caught up in some kind of battle, or being forced to “choose sides”…so this is all to say that, perhaps, some of the people who dropped you off their radar might have felt something similar and decided to stay out of it on both ends… I don’t know.

    I can’t possibly begin to know all of the background behind this situation, and I guess I’m sticking around with the belief that both parties are great people, and even the GREATEST person has some beef every now and then. But to claim that those who have stopped reading your blog are no longer decent people seems a little harsh…

    I hope my comment doesn’t come off as accusatory or angry or anything… I just thought I should keep it real and be honest about how that one part made me feel…

    1. I just look at it as I would in RL. If something happened between two other RL friends of mine, I wouldn’t just stop talking to one and abandon them, I’d give them both the opportunity to tell me how they felt and what happened according to them. I wouldn’t just hop on the “person X is an asshole” bandwagon and dump them without even bothering to ask them their side of things based solely on hearsay. If we’re all going to be “friends” then I think it’s fair to say that kind of thing isn’t exactly something a decent friend would do.

      1. Oh, I absolutely agree with that! I guess what I’m wondering is, did the people who stopped reading your blog and leaving comments SAY that they were siding with person Y and taking their claims as truth without bothering to ask you? In that case, yeah, I think they’re probably not the best sort of friend to have around. But my point was that there could be any number of reasons someone might decide to stop reading a person’s blog, and if you don’t know exactly what that reason is, your calling them indecent people is as unfair as someone assuming one person’s side of a story is the truth without hearing both out.

        1. My point is that friends are supposed to stand by friends, even if it is just in the form of paying them enough respect to give them a chance to hear their side of things. Any real life friend of mine who abandoned me at the first whiff of a rumour would be an indecent friend – not necessarily an indecent person, cowardly maybe, easily swayed maybe, and possibly superficial. There’s a huge difference between indecent people and indecent friends, and I was simply expressing my disappointment in people I’d thought would be better friends, that’s all.

      2. Ah — thank you for clarifying. Well, I hope that my stirring the pot a little here didn’t offend you or hurt your feelings at all. I’m appreciative of your responses! You are a doll.

  25. I am so, so proud of your for writing this. It’s brave but everything you wrote is totally true. I just wish the blogging world didn’t feel so much like high school and I didn’t feel like I’m STILL that lonely girl who can’t get even a smile from a popular girl.

    I can’t stand fakeness in the blog world and I found that the blogs I love the most are the ones who are genuine and try to connect with their readers. You do an awesome job at connecting and it’s an inspiration to know you.

    1. That means such a lot Stephany ❤ I often feel that way too – blogging does feel like high school sometimes and no matter how hard we try, we're not going to be the popular ones. Reminds me of a line in one of my favourite movies "Stardust" – something about the boy not going with the popular crowd, and his dad taking that as a very good omen. I've never been part of a popular crowd in life or in blogging, and maybe it's because we're not willing to sacrifice our selves or hide who we really are in order to fit in, but that's not such a bad thing.. 🙂

  26. Hurrah for posting this hey, its a BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT post! And I so agree, blogging has become less about the intimacy and forging connections, and more a popularity contest . . . which I’m not so keen on. I’ve noticed that since I started posting about stuff that’s actually going on with me, I’ve got less comments, and my stats went down. And while I was gutted to begin with, in the end I realised that the people that stuck around? They are the ones I want to know, and be friends with. Everyone else can suck it, I will write what I want to on my little piece of the internet. Brilliant post, hey. I’m so glad that you posted it 🙂 Yay for rockstars!

    1. “Everyone else can suck it” LOL brilliant. It’s kind of sad when you realise how superficial people can be – the ones who stick around and comment on the easy posts that don’t, in the long run, really mean anything, but when you write about something of substance they can’t be bothered. But at the end of the day we all chose to put ourselves out there, right, and we just have to weigh comment counts vs. staying true to ourselves in terms of priority. And it’s okay to have a small following if it means you don’t have to give in and pretend to be someone else, or do giveaway after giveaway telling people to run all over the internet commenting and tweeting about you in order to get traffic 🙂 I’ll stick around, miss!

  27. Oh Em, I absolutely adore you. Your genuineness just seeps through your writing. It’s really inspiring.

    I find it a struggle to be true to me. Partly because I’m still figuring out who I am, and partly because I try to emulate the bloggers that inspire me. Not that doing so is a bad thing, it just isn’t “me” to write in the same style.

    And really, I just can’t put into words everything that’s going through my head about this whole topic. You seem to have a habit of writing posts that leave me unable to actually put into words everything I’m thinking! Stop it! (jk!!!! <3)

  28. I guess maybe my question is this – If you enjoy a blog – like the writing, like the style, find the links helpful etc – does it really matter if what is on that blog is true reflection of the person who is writing it? I am almost positive that the books that I read, the clothes that I wear and the music that I listen to are not always the closest approximation of the writer/designer/musicians very soul – but does it make me a worse person for liking them? Or them a worse person for putting them out there?
    I think that part of the problem here lay in our current societal assumption that each of us is important, unique and different, when the sad fact of the matter is – we’re not. Some of us just don’t have something exciting or unique to say, and maybe mask that with other “blogging” tricks. And maybe – that’s ok. While you may not have anything worthwhile to say, or unique, or entirely reflective of your personality, or even fake – it’s your right to say it.
    Personally, I’d rather read 100 blogs with good design and a well constructed theme/person/style about them than read one more blog full of run on sentences about the new rice milk you tried!
    It’s your right not to read them and to look for better blogs that speak to you. Hate to be a bit of a dove (vs. my usual hawk here) but – how many people who don’t comment on your blog have blogs that you just shouted down?
    Just some other points of view…

    1. I think what it comes down to is if you KNOW the person is fabricating stories and pretending to be someone they’re not, and you enjoy the style of writing or stories that are told, that’s one thing. But if the blogger is tricking people into believing they’re someone they’re not, it’s entirely different. I guess I just vouch for sincerity and honesty, and it’s unfortunate that some of the most successful blogs are built on smoke and mirrors and, well, fraud. It’s one thing to be an author of a book, like you said, and write a fictional account of characters completely different from who you are in real life. And completely another to pretend to be a character yourself and lure people in with a false sense of who you are. Just raising the point, that’s all – and if you’re okay with that, then you have every right to read whoever you want to 🙂

  29. This is a strong post, Em – it even made me think about the way I do things on ItStartsWith.Us. But then after I thought about it again for a moment, I reiterated to myself that the ISWU blog is not a personal blog, even if it’s almost all me doing the writing. It’s a “business” blog, and each post serves a purpose. I write very intentionally on that site. So even though it feels very personal, and I sometimes bring in stuff from my own life, and I have a very conversational writing style, at the end of the day it’s not a personal blog.

    Lately I’ve almost been wishing that I had one, though.

    *sigh*

    1. Perhaps you should! And I think in business even more so than personally, it’s important to be genuine – if it sounds textbook or generic, it’s hard to build a connection with people, but when the fabric of what you’re doing is built on community, it’s awesome that you bring yourself into it. It’s genuine, and real, and that’s what it’s all about 🙂

  30. This is probably the 3rd or 4th blog in the last few days that has talked about this same thing. Do I smell a new age of blogging coming on? I think so!

    I always saw blogging as sort of like an online diary that others have access to – I’m not sure if that’s because I started out back when Open Diary was free and that was SUPPOSED to be a diary. In either case, I don’t get the “rockstars” of the blog world and how they can have their little blogging tutorials. I totally agree, blogging is what you make of it and if you’re going to be fake then what’s the point? It’s like lying to yourself in your diary.

    1. That’s exactly what it’s like. Or maybe it goes along with the notion of repetition – I think pathological liars have the same mentality; they’re so accustomed to lying that they can’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s invented. Maybe if these bloggers pretend for long enough, in a year or five or ten years’ time they’ll look back and be more satisfied with the person they thought they were, when in reality they weren’t able to be.

      The psychology of it all is fascinating.

  31. Great post. I get irritated with people who are sudden blogging authorities too. I don’t think there is a “right” way to blog, and I don’t want every blog I read to be the same anyway. There are things I prefer (aesthetically pleasing layouts, full feeds, complete sentences), but I don’t like a cookie cutter mold.

    I am so glad you are yourself on this blog. Work it, girlfriend. 🙂

  32. This is one of the things that has been plaguing me lately. It seems blogging has lost so much of its personal edge. The first reason I started bloggin way back in the 9th grade was to keep in touch with friends I was moving away from. Eventually, people other people started reading that blog and I needed to keep a few things secret, but liked being able to connect with people, so I started a much less personal ‘lifestyle blog’. The point is still the same – to connect with people. Albeit, people I don’t know, but that is really what drives me. I want to be able to share things I love, that help me, that make me happy and a bit of my personal journey with others while being able to do something I love – write! When I leave a comment on someone’s blog it’s only because something they have said resonates with me and I’d like to keep up the conversation. I’m not looking for traffic or attention. Nothing makes me angrier than the generic comment. You know the one, ‘Wow, love your blog! Follow mine?’ Blech. If all you want is attention, become Paris Hilton’s new BFF. Sorry, that turned into a little rant of my own. What I meant was, WORD UP, SISTA.

    1. I haven’t really read too many mommy blogs but I’ve definitely seen more than a few blogs that have suddenly been taken over by advertising, and it’s kind of sad 😦 Thanks for commenting!!

  33. Thanks so much for this post, Em. And for the link to Brittney’s blog–I just spent a half hour over there!

    I’m going to say something similar to what I just commented over there… I’ve been toying with the idea of returning to blogging, or I should say returning to writing online, because when I used to do it (years and years ago, in high school) I definitely did not call it blogging. But this new world of blogging is kind of intimidating, so for a long time I was hesitant about jumping into it. You two ladies just showed me it doesn’t matter–blogging can be whatever I want it to be, because ultimately, it’s for me. I can write about whatever I want to, make my posts as long as I want to, and if people are interested and engaged, that’s so awesome! But if not, that’s okay, too, because ultimately it’s for me.

    I’m writing down this quote from you to post near my computer, so I can always be reminded:

    “I’ll take empowerment over self-importance any day. If you don’t write from the heart, and stay true to yourself in doing so – then what is it all for?”

    Also, a lot of the blogs I’ve seen this year are very pretty, filled to the brim with pretty pictures (found on WeHeartIt, mostly), but lacking in the writing department. Not bad writing, just very little of it, giving only tiny glimpses–illustrated by other people’s photos–into the perfect lives of mystical characters. Your blog is different and oh so refreshing. Not only does it feel like you’re a real, genuinely awesome person, unafraid to let others see her flaws, but you actually have things to say, and say them. Inspiring, as usual! 😉

    1. Layne – the fact that you took something from those words really means the world to me. I am just continually astonished by the pretense some bloggers maintain in order to be popular – I don’t understand the point in the long-term in giving up who you really are. Thank you SO much for your kind words!!

  34. I am incredibly late to the world of blogging – and I am truly enjoying both the aspect writing, and also experiencing so many other voices. Its a great community that I look forward to becoming a bigger part of. Unfortunately, I can already relate to your post! Garrrr – the ads drive me crazy – I am already at the point where it doesn’t matter how much I enjoy the writing, if I am bombarded by ads, i will move on.
    Thanks for the great post

  35. Great post and thanks for the insight!
    “be true to thine self….”
    -Shakespeare (I looked it up to make sure I was correct)

    I’m new to blogging, and I’m still me when I blog, but I did use a different name because I’m sure my husband at times wouldn’t be too pleased if he read some of the posts I’m planning, especially if they have to do with him or his boys…. Not necessarily to complain or rag on them, but maybe to help others, you never know who you can touch.

    1. I love that Shakespeare quote. I love your philosophy – not complaining, but hoping to help others, regardless of whether or not we know who’s reading. 🙂

  36. That’s one reason why I love personal blogs so much – the ones that don’t host a giveaway every week trying to gain yet another 100+ followers – the ones that share stories about them and only them – the ones that I can related to – the ones that stay true to themselves.

    There has been so much competition going on lately which sometimes truly disgusts me.

    Maybe for some people blogging is about self-promoting (and I am okay with that) but for me it’s all about sharing a little bit about me and my life… however, there is a line I don’t cross: I don’t talk about everything on my blog because IT IS online, EVERYONE can read it and some things are just NOT meant to be out in the open.

  37. I like the fact that you are honest, and very open about your thoughts. I have tried in the past to promote my blog, but have gone a different direction over the past few months. It doesn’t matter if I have 1 reader or 5, or if anyone comments at all.

    My blog is geared towards a specific audience. A Christian-based audience that is afraid to be real and genuine, honest about their struggles. They spend most of their time wearing masks pretending that the world they live in is perfect. We all know better than that. I have a very specific goal to help tear down those boundaries. But that’s my story.

    As long as you are real about what you are writing about, as long as you are passionate about what it is you are writing about, I think that is what makes for a great blogger. I’m not sure that there is a magic formula for success. I haven’t figured one out, if there is. 🙂

    You blog with integrity and I respect and admire that.

  38. Thank you so much for your kind words. I think your goal of blogging is nothing short of inspirational. I like to subscribe to the idea that if I don’t share my journey the WHOLE way, including all the downs as well as the ups, the mistakes as well as the small victories, then I’m choosing not to take up a possible opportunity to help or even inspire somebody. I’m not afraid to admit to my mistakes if it’ll help someone else learn from them. Thank you for commenting 🙂

  39. I guess I could say that I am re-emerging after an absence. I took a break over 2009 and barely posted 6 posts. Where in years previous I had sometimes posted that many a week on a regular basis.

    Now I feel like Rip Van Winkle. I’m so clueless I’ve never been aware of the “rules” you mention. Quite likely the ones spreading that there ARE rules, or EVER WERE any rules, do their very best to stay away from me.

    Smiling.

    Creative Self expression is what Life is all about!

    BRAVO!!!!

    Way to go…

    {hug}

  40. This is so true. Bravo. Especially #1, it’s the reason that, when I’m browsing blogs on 20sb, I often skip the ones with a huge amount of comments – unless they still seem really genuine.

    I’m glad you said it. And I’m glad that so many people recognize it – it means there’s still hope for blogging!

  41. a-greed.
    i love blogging so much. everyday i have so many thoughts running through my head and need to put them out somewhere but do you know how exhausting that would get for my friends? more than you think times twelve, is about how exhausting. so blogging is probably the best solution since the good old tape-over-the-mouth trick.
    but i feel like there are millions of blogs out there that exist solely because someone wants to be known. and i realize that’s what people in general want–to be somebody–but it’s frustrating to have all these extra politics in the midst of a really good thing, something that’s just supposed to be fun.
    which is why i love stumbling across a blog like yours. very nice. 🙂

  42. Pingback: 2010: Brilliance |
  43. 91 comments?? Whoa – somebody’s been self-promoting … kidding! I love the post, and can relate to what you are saying. I came to a point in my blog where I realized my hunting posts were creating some negative comments, and I wondered if I should avoid those topics. However, since that is a main pillar of my blog, I couldn’t … and wouldn’t. It’s a huge way of life for us. I know I have lost people over that, but it’s better to get it out of the way early.

  44. If anyone needs tips on how to be a great blogger then they need to be coming to your page. Most bloggers are like those diaries with the little lock on them, they are in front of you but impossible to read. You however are like a biography off a bookshelf and make for more interesting reading because your life is an open book.
    Blogging has become like karaoke is now. The Japanese started karaoke as a way to unwind after work. They would go into a bar, have a drink, lose some inhibitions then get up and sing. Didn’t matter to them if they were awful because it was meant to be FUN. Go to karaoke bars these days and you think everyone getting up to sing was in the X Factor finals. It has lost its meaning and purpose.

    Also you aren’t to what I’ve seen so far ruining the experience with constant bombardment of advertisements for that $2.75 click. There is no more annoying comment that you can get than a link to a page that is selling you something. Replies to comments are meant to be for just that, commenting on your post. Not taking advantage of your provision by the way of you accumulating spam.

    I normally do posts on another blog space and have just moves over to WordPress so my page is blank at the moment but I will be keeping an eye on your page from time to time as I think you are both a great inspiration and a great ambassador for what blogging should be about.

  45. i love it. i feel the same way about many of these things! maybe that’s because we have the same meyers-briggs personality type, yayyy. :] so excited to have found your blog recently. xo!

    -vanessa-
    thechinncredibles.blogspot.com

  46. I’ve gotten totally ADD on your blog and have gone through like 5 different entries but this is the one that’s sticking out to me right now. It’s empowering really. It reminds me of my purpose in blogging, which I need to be reminded of ever since I caught wind of recent gossip over something I wrote about in my blog. I was looked down upon for what I was saying, written during a period of my weakness, people said this and that, and it felt all wrong. It gave me so many self-doubts about who I am and made me really question what I should and shouldn’t post. But from reading what you wrote here, I realized that, you know what? It’s okay to be judged. It’s okay to be misunderstood. That is a natural discourse in life, but I am *not* going to let it discourage me from being myself and expressing my thoughts and feelings.

    And it’s funny, because I’ve tried so many times to say what my blog is about in my “about” section (over like 50 drafts), yet I came across this post to find that you pretty much wrote it better than me. You and I, we blog for the same reasons, which is why, I think, we’re drawn to read each others blog. The fact that we both came to these reasons on our own, together, makes the world seem so much more beautiful to me now. There are so many beautiful people here with wonderful hearts, full of stories and heartaches to share, all of whom are reaching for the same light of love and liberation, and the fact that we can come together like this… there are just no words. I can’t find them right now.

    Your words made me want to cry: “In life, I think the most important thing you can do is stay true to yourself, and stay focused on being a positive force in the world.” I just melted when I read these words. The first part you mentioned about staying true, I already acknolwedged to myself, but I just died when I read the second part about being a positive force. Emily, you just stated my purpose in my life. The purpose which I have all but forgotten in my year-long sorrows and meanderings. It has escaped me in despair while I have suffocated in my sadness and my emptiness. But you, you are like oxygen right now. I really do love you.

    And it’s actually just occured to me that maybe the “About” section is not about the blog, but about who *I* am. Maybe I should write that? Indecision… but yes… this blogging… it’s a good thing. Poke me if I ever get lazy in my posting. We can be friends… We are friends!

    This is probably the longest comment you ever got, but forgive me… I just had so much to tell you! ha

    *hug*

  47. oh! and about facebook… I’m not on it… yet! I deactivated before I left China and I haven’t reactivated yet. I’m gonna wait until I got a steady life set up for me here before I get back on (cause I get crazy addicted), it’ll probabaly be a week or two. I’ll find you when I reactivate!

    1. Thank you for such a sweet and insightful comment! I am so glad we found each other’s blogs in this big online world we have, and I really appreciate your friendship 🙂 I would love for you to write an About section! It can be whatever you want it to be – about you, your life, your blog… I think it’d be great. I am truly humbled by your kind words, but truly grateful we were able to connect. Looking forward to seeing you on FB!

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