While I haven’t been that active in visiting other blogs and commenting on various posts and reviews in recent months, I have noticed certain trends that have me rolling my eyes, raising my eyebrows and in general wondering about the state of book blogging. I want to take some time to address each one and hopefully start a discussion about them. As I have a lot to say, this is going to be spread out over several weeks. Think of it as a modern-day expose on the world of book blogging. I’ve discussed readathons, giveaways, and blog hops. This week I tackle the idea of blogging rules.
While I might not understand some of the more recent trends I’ve examined over the past month, for the most part they are harmless and provide some benefit for new bloggers. Yet, in my exploration into some of these trends, asking why they exist and getting feedback from those who have participated, I have noticed one running theme among new bloggers. The only reason they participated in some of these events is because they “did not know any better” and were “only trying to follow the rules.”
Now, anyone who knows me and understands my approach to blogging will realize just what those words are inclined to do to my blood pressure. Rules for blogging, especially for beginner bloggers about memes, blog hops, readathons and giveaways, is laughable and yet so sad. That new bloggers felt that they HAD to participate in some of these events is ultimately disturbing to me because I immediately wonder who is applying such pressure to these new bloggers that they feel compelled to participate in various weekly events even though they do not want to do so. This, to me, is the most disturbing trend of all.
Why do new bloggers feel this pressure? I know that there have been several mentoring programs in years past that were created to help new bloggers navigate the tricky and somewhat confusing world of book blogging. Have these programs disappeared? For those in the first, second, and even third generation of bloggers, which includes those who started a year ago, are we so wrapped up in our own branding and blogging that we are forgetting the newest generation? Should we? Do we nor owe it to these newbies to help them out, just as more seasoned bloggers helped us out, so that they do not feel compelled to participate in every single thing that comes their way because they do not know otherwise? For those who knew her, is this acting in the spirit of Dewey, who more than anything wanted to build a strong, united community of book bloggers?
For new bloggers, there are no rules when it comes to blogging. Just because you are invited to participate in an event, you do not have to do so. If you are not a fan of memes or blog hops, readathons or giveaways, do not participate. Rather, research which ones actually look like fun and which ones tie into your blogging goals and dreams. That way, you will not be overwhelmed with all of these daily activities and can continue to grow your blog as you see fit. No one is going to kick you out of the blogging community for not participating. Trust me.
When it comes to blogging, the best guidance I can give you, as opposed to a rule, is to stay true to your voice. Set aside some time to think about what you want to accomplish with your blog and do that. Blogging rules only stifle the creativity and fun, and bloggers who follow these supposed rules often find themselves losing the passion and spirit which caused them to start their blog in the first place. When you remain true to your goals and aspirations, and when you speak from the heart, you will find blogging more enjoyable and fulfilling than you ever thought possible. That I can promise you.