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.
Thanks, Grace! It is very important to me that new bloggers realize that all of those memes and giveaways and blog hops are completely and utterly voluntary and not necessary to be successful as a blogger. I agree with you in that I feel many of them do detract from discussing books, but just because I do not feel comfortable participating in them does not mean that others feel the same way. It is a large blogging world, and we should all feel comfortable with our content and not succumb to peer pressure or supposed rules if we disagree with them. Kudos to you for realizing this and good luck blogging!
MIchelle – I love your last statement. I was going to say something to that effect but figured someone would get upset if I put that. I truly believe that those bloggers that experience burnout are those that have deviated away from their original reasons for blogging or have failed to determine just why they are blogging. No matter how busy I am, I still find time to blog because I truly love to do it. I love to express myself and share my thoughts with others. It doesn't matter if no one comments because I will continue to write what I want about what I want. I have yet to experience burnout two years later. I'm not saying I'm perfect or the best example of a blogger, but I know what I want to do and I let no one stop me from doing it. In doing so, I feel that I have been a fairly successful blogger.
Good post! I've never quite understood 'the rules' either. I participate in what I want to, when I want to and I do not pressure or hound anyone to participate in my events, etc. And what you said about being true to your own goals is totally right. As I said to a blogger last week, "stay true to yourself, otherwise how can you be true to anyone else" or something to that effect. You get what I mean. In my opinion, blogging has to be motivated from within yourself or you will burn out real fast.
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Originality is the key element to blogging. I like how you put that. The blogs that I follow, now that I've culled the list, are those that are unique and offer something different. I got tired of seeing the same memes, the same books, the same everything. Those that are in my Reader now are refreshing in their own right; there is the right balance between eclectic books and those about which everyone is raving. I love that because that has opened my eyes to a whole new world of reading, of writing, and of blogging.
We all encourage comments, so just be patient. If you write and visit others, they will come. I promise! In the meantime, just enjoy the freedom and exploring your voice!
Thanks Teresa! Visiting blogs is a great way to get out there and help get traffic to your own blog. I know that it has always helped me. Memes do as well, but I agree that if you find yourself skipping over them, then they probably aren't for you.
Isn't it sad? I hate that at least one person feels like that, and I do suspect that others feel like that too. I guess we need to do a better job of welcoming newbies and helping them maneuver through the fun, freeing but confusing world of blogging.
You completely took the words out of my mouth, Michelle.
Rules when it comes to blogging? Huh?
I thought a blog was a place where someone could express their own opinions and ideas about whatever they wanted. Crazy! I feel for whoever's out there feeling pressured to blog a certain way in order to feel like 'worthy.'
Originality is the key element of blogging. I love that I visit blogs that are completely unique and different in their own way. Who wants to visit blogs that are all the same? :S
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Okay if these new bloggers are under the impression that there are rules they have been mislead. There are no rules! That's why blogging is so freeing. I agree with unfinishedperson that memes help you meet people and find your blogging buddies but no one should feel like they must participate.
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Welcome to blogging, Julie!! I love your different spin. I can't wait to see it in action.
As for your questions, the biggest thing is that it takes time. I am not one of the "big" bloggers, and even two years later, I still have days where I do not receive a single comment. I personally never get worried about it because I personally am not blogging about the traffic or the comments. They are nice to have, but I'm blogging because I want to do so and no amount of traffic is going to change what or how I write.
To encourage more participation, you will need to get out there and get involved in Twitter. Visit blogs and get to know your fellow bloggers. Participate in various memes and blogging events, those that best fit your personality and your blog's personality. It is going to take time, but if you get out there, they will come! Good luck!
Doing memes is how I got my name out and how I met other bloggers too, so they definitely have their purpose. However, I picked those memes that I felt were the most worthwhile and best fit with what I was/am trying to accomplish. I have had a few bloggers mention that they felt like they had to participate in everything, and that just breaks my heart because blogging is not about feeling obliged to do anything.
Thank you SO much for stating that I am true to my voice. I've tried so hard to maintain that. As a fellow blogger, I'm sure you can appreciate how easy it would be to succumb to the pressure to write only positive reviews or pretend to be something I'm not!
You are very welcome!
I only mention this because someone did mention this to me, so I imagine she isn't the only one who feels this way. I wanted to set the record straight.
Exactly. But to say that you "have to" do anything is misleading; I can see how new bloggers get overwhelmed in the beginning if they feel like this.
While I agree with you that no new book blogger should feel pressured into memes, I do know that starting out that's how I met a lot of the bloggers I still know today. I think I might have been introduced to you through The Sunday Salon and as for Dewey, she was the founder of Weekly Geeks, for which I was grateful to meet so many bloggers. However, all this said (and just so you know I'm not trying to start an argument), I agree with you that there are no rules and that all bloggers, book or otherwise, should be true to their voices — that's what will make them a good blogger…and it's why I like your blog, because you are true to your voice.
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That's so weird. When I was a new blogger, I never thought I HAD to participate in memes… I can't even wrap my brain around that!
Thanks for giving advice and helping newbies out :o)
Great advice! I think sometimes as a newbie you just do what you see for the first bit until you figure out what works for you. I know that is a little what I did.
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