Confused About Blogging, And Some Hawaii Pictures

Today, I’ve been thinking about blogging.

I recently received some nice comments from a blog/website and then, like getting the bill at a restaurant after a nice meal, they asked me would I please follow them.

What are your thoughts on comments like these? Do you reply? Do you mark them as spam? Do you do what they asked and follow them?

I almost replied that this isn’t how the blogging world works, though I know Instagram, Twitter and other social media work very much like this.

But then I stopped myself: Wait a minute, maybe this is how the blogging world works. What do I know? Here I am, quietly growing my blog organically (without any marketing tricks or bought followers) and genuinely enjoying every authentic, human-generated comment I get. Silly me.

When I first started blogging, everything was new to me and so I spent some time studying blogging etiquette, for example, as well as advice on how to create a blog that’s easy to navigate, and so on. I soaked up every word, I was so enthusiastic. I thought everyone else was doing this too: why would you set up a blog if you weren’t passionate about it? I guess I was pretty naive. There are a million reasons to set up a blog and only a few of them involve passion for creativity.

So, after reading all about etiquette, I was always under the impression that it’s generally frowned upon to ask someone to follow you or to add links to your own blog in a comment, and I’ve considered those kinds of comments spammy – unless there’s a reason to add a link. In any case, there’s a link to your site through your profile Gravatar, if you bother to add one, so people can find you: there is no need to appear spammy and tacky.

I decided long ago that I would only follow blogs with topics and posts that I genuinely wanted to see in my feed. And I’ve stuck to it. I don’t do the follow-me-and-I’ll-follow-you thing. That’s where I’m drawing the line. I’m sure twenty-something “social influencers” would laugh at me at this point. But it has worked well for me.

But there’s still something I can’t wrap my head around. Over here, in Finland, online newspapers (which are more and more like gossip sites) promote some blogs. I usually never read these blogs because they are all sponsored, commercial blogs. Advertorials.

They invariably feature a cool hipster woman wearing lipstick in oversized clothes that she clearly likes, posing on the street like a model, and showing off her manicured hands wrapped around a tea mug in an Ikea-designed home. The topic of the day is whatever product she is advertising. There’s nothing of interest in them for me and I’ve always wondered who reads these blogs. The writing isn’t professional or creative, and, worst of all, they never seem to respond to their comments. If you scroll down to the comments section, you’ll either see no activity at all, or a few unanswered comments.

That’s what I don’t get. Why would you have a blog and not answer comments? Wouldn’t it feel like you are talking to a wall if you didn’t get any comments at all, are you not grateful for them? Even if it’s your job to blog (which always sounds so funny to me), wouldn’t it in that case be a professional way to handle your job to respond to readers’ comments? Why would anyone sponsor a blog like this? Why would you waste time writing a comment to someone who’s not going to write back?

I do understand that not everyone has time to respond to comments, but in that case you could just close off the comment section altogether, or write a polite little note above the commenting space saying that unfortunately you will not have time to respond. But I haven’t seen this done. I think it’s actually quite rude and even egoistic to expect people to read about your life and take the time to comment without offering anything back.

Why do people read these blogs and why are they sponsored? The answer to both questions, I believe, is publicity. Finland is a very small country with small social circles, and if you know the right people, you can get your blog onto the websites of magazines and newspapers, and gain readers. You’ll even become a “celebrity” (over here not much is needed for fame to come your way).

How are these things in your country? Do your local newspapers regularly link to lifestyle bloggers’ websites as if their blog posts were pieces of news? Do you follow any sponsored blogs? How do you feel about not responding to comments?

Lately, whenever I’ve told a new acquaintance that I have a blog, I’ve seen raised eyebrows. They seem to think I’m aiming to be a sponsored blogger or an “influencer” since those are the only types of blogs that most people know of over here.

Blog lists over here don’t even have an option to list your blog as a photo blog! I used to be proud of this little hobby of mine, but now I’m almost embarrassed or feel like I need to explain. “Blogger” has become a synonym for I-think-I’m-special-and-I-don’t-want-to-work-for-a-living. Maybe next time I should just say I have an online journal?

The photos are from lovely Hawaii, too long ago…

175 replies on “Confused About Blogging, And Some Hawaii Pictures”

Omigosh! I have found my kindred blogging sister! I don’t get it either. I never spend time on blogs where the blogger does not bother to nurture i.e answer their audience.

Like you have said SMS, it’s just manners and not a lot of people are taught them these days. Of course people are busy and don’t always have the time to answer right away (me!), but you can go visit their earlier posts and see the same lazy behaviour (not me!) To me it’s just rude and with most things in life there are people who do their job well and people who do not.

I’m different from you in that I see both camps. The Home Style Directory, whom I work with, works with influencers – it is a business – passion helps – but also if you do your job clinically it can be accomplished without passion – albeit not so well in my opinion.

How many people go to work, give 13% and clock watch through their day and steal a wage? Well the same people apply this attitude to their blog and ANYthing they do. I never worked 9-5 hours – I worked for results and therefore I applied to jobs that I was genuinely interested in…or even a stepping stone to the job I was interested in. Therefore to learn my job I would happily make the coffee, run errands, be a dogsbody because I was interested or passionate to learn as you said and not shortsighted and fixated on initial low pay or doing the unglamorous bits.

Today everyone is a superstar (in their heads) with zero skills and because of how the whole social network system is structured (long story!) some people can get away with low effort, low discernible skill sets and still attain some degree, (or a great degree) of success.

I see you have been blogging for nearly 2 years now so I am sure you can tell spammy compliments much easier now. For me I give them as much time as they give me i.e none. I mean look how long this comment is…look how long and thoughtful YOUR comment was – folks of a kind recognise each other and my core audience is made up of these folks as yours is.

Don’t get me wrong I like ballsy, cheeky people who ask for what they want, but what have you given before you want something from me? A cheesy see-through compliment? Jog on brother! 😀

I’m interested, how do you cope with not being able to nurture your blog as much as you’d like to because of being busy? Have you got to that point yet?

Liked by 1 person

Thanks for taking time to read, think and discuss – I love long, thoughtful comments like yours! ❤
And I agree with what you're saying. Since writing this post, I've come to realize that commercial blogs and hobbyist blogs have nothing in common. (And that's ok. It's just good to keep this in mind and not confuse them.)
I've been blogging for 4 years actually and yes, I'm quite busy! I have twins who are active toddlers and I work full-time! Still, I find the time to reply to comments because I want to do so. It's important to me. It's all about priorities. Like I said somewhere in another comment, IMHO, if you have time to write about your life (and expect someone to read it with interest) then you also have time to respond to comments. Just postpone your next text if you get "too many" comments. Or if someone is paying you to meet a deadline then close off the comments section altogether or add a polite text above saying you will probably not answer. That way no one gets disappointed and you at least appear to care! 😀 It's disrespectful because we are all busy, not just sponsored "superstar" bloggers – their superstar readers too.

Liked by 1 person

Wowsa on the twins front and the 4 years! 😀 …I liken what you have said to Tom Cruise. At film premiers stays on the red carpet in all weathers shaking hands, taking selfies, smiling….others shake a few hands and dive for cover into the theatre.

HE’s busy, He’s a superstar who doesn’t have to do this, but it’s just manners and mutual respect. Granted he has more of a vested interest as he produces his own films, but I think he’d still do it regardless. Anyhoo that’s my weird analogy of the day lol. 😀

Liked by 1 person

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