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…

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164 responses to “Confused About Blogging, And Some Hawaii Pictures

  1. Thank you for raising this issue! I find myself a little bewildered by the whole thing, too… One of the greatest things about blogging is that it allows interaction through comments/conversations.

    I suppose all you can do is continue writing for your passion and continue to spark and enjoy interactions with other bloggers.

    Thank you for sharing =)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m with you! I don’t understand why people have blogs, then don’t answer comments. I’ve also had those ‘follow me’ requests which I ignore. It still amazes me how many people don’t know what a blog is. 😃 Yours is a breath of fresh air .. Wonderful images my friend ..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much Julie! I need to bring my blog back to zen mode after this post and the snow rant, hahah 😀 But yes, I honestly think that answering comments is the best part and you are seriously missing out if you don’t care to answer… and what is the point?! Oh well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been blogging for about four years now and I never ask people to follow me back. I don’t even ask friends or family to follow my blog. I don’t write with any kind of a theme in mind and have probably made every mistake in the book but I do think the weekly exercise (I’m not a daily blogger) has improved my writing overall and I’ve “met” some super nifty people!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for the etiquette tips. I am new to blogging and trying to figure things out. I think asking someone to follow is rude, but you see this a lot on Instagram and YouTube, so maybe it stems from that? I think the sponsored bloggers are too busy doing other things like Instagram, YouTube and going on sponsored holidays than responding to comments.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re probably right about them being too busy reaping the benefits – which just goes to show where their heart is and where it isn’t. Knowing that, I still don’t get why someone would engage with these bloggers in the first place! Oh well, some things I will never understand 🙂
      Thanks for commenting and good luck with your blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This has puzzled me as well. My blog is only just over 2 months old. It may seem rude, but I just don’t find certain blogs interesting. I’m not a fashion blogger or commerce. I’m a writer and I dabble with images. This whole blogging thing confuses me yet I am intrigued. Those Hawaii captures are lovely!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve think blogs as well as other social media sites (e.g. Instagram) should be all about engagement and quality of content. Unfortunately, many who know how to game the system are currently rewarded for creating endless reams of crap. But in the end, I think it will all work itself out, so continue doing exactly what you are doing until the noise fades away.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Beautiful photos! Hawaii is probably my favorite place in the world! A very interesting article. I started my blog years ago after my family wanted to see what I was doing with my travels. That is pretty much how it stayed for several years with just my family reading my blog and commenting and me not telling anyone else about the blog. It’s only recently that I’ve started to get caught up in the community we have here and started to expand my horizons off my own blog! Advertising all seems a bit silly really. It’s nice just seeing and hearing about other peoples adventures and ideas and hopes and getting caught up in another world for a moment or 2…!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your comment! Many people commented that they started their blog like you did. I like that idea of just going with the flow, what feels right at the moment. And I also like hearing about other people’s adventures – if I were only interested in mine, I’d get bored pretty quickly! I follow lots of photoblogs – I started out as a travel blog and have come to realize that I love looking at pictures from all over the world – not in the travel sense but random pictures bloggers post from their daily lives. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Not only the blogging world is strange, the whole world is strange. I usually ignore people who just like a post to get a like themselves or a new follower. I blog because I’m passionate about the things I write about. Unlike lots of bloggers I don’t get 500 likes for each post and honestly, I wouldn’t be able to follow 500 blogs and comment on them. Sometimes I don’t get around to answering all comments. I think you can only do that when you’re retired or not working. Modern life is very tiring and complicated and social media is very demanding…and I sometimes wonder if it’s worth it at all…wouldn’t I be better off investing my precious time in other things I care about. But then I’ve met some very nice people through blogging etc. and they’ve become friends which is nice and shows it’s not all horrible and superficial. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Annette for your thoughts! 🙂
      “Modern life is very tiring and complicated and social media is very demanding…and I sometimes wonder if it’s worth it at all” — I so agree with you on this! I guess the solution is to find a balance. I like to log off sometimes.

      Like

  9. It’s a great post, expecially for me that I just started blogging. I feel the same, blogging is a passion for me and it’s horrible to be obliged to explain your passion to people who think you are doing it just because you hope it will bring you money. Anyway, in any case I think that also blogging for work is hard, so I wouldn’t say that “not much is needed for fame to come your way”. Every job must be respected. Nowadays there are so many new jobs, and blogging is just one of them. It’s possible for “professional” and “amateur” bloggers to coexist, like for photographers or any other job!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your thoughts! 🙂 There are so many potential ways to blog for a living. Finland, where I live, is a tiny country and our capital, where most things happen, only has a population on half a million. In certain professions, everyone knows everyone and it really is easy to become a celebrity in 5 minutes if your blog gets featured somewhere, your one-hit-wonder video goes viral internationally, or if you for example happen to date a politician. The same people then appear on TV shows for the next twenty years entertaining regular folks who don’t remember what originally made them famous. Anyway, my point was simply that competition in Finnish language blogs isn’t as hard as in the English-speaking world, and so the quality of these almost-famous blogs isn’t that special. They just get lots of clicks and that’s what it seems to be about today. Engagement doesn’t matter over here, simply CTR stats.
      But I agree with you in that there are many new jobs and also a whole new mentality to working and creating a brand out of yourself. It’s interesting but also sounds kind of stressful – maybe I’m too old! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting post, Snow. Like many others who have commented here, I have found blogs with tens of thousands of followers, with no comment activity or very little of substance. Perhaps these blogs pay for followers and achieve as a marketing tool? I don’t follow those blogs. And I don’t respond to those that ask me to follow them unless we are compatible in any way, a common interest and so on, and then I follow them. I have to confess I have added a link to a comment on a blog here and there, but only in relevance to the blog post, and it is rare for me to do that. It seems very pushy to foist your blog link onto another person’s blog! A lot of my word press community is very giving, and I feel lucky to have followers who take the time to post comments that are more than the words, “nice post” – although I do understand that everyone doesn’t always have time to comment. I guess it comes down to the purpose of one’s blog. My blog is like a public diary, about information sharing and building a reciprocal community, other’s do it for the commercial benefits it brings. I don’t feel that these commerically slanted blogs will stand the test of time, as they will become outdated very quickly. When we write about our lives, our travels, and our thoughts, it is timeless information.
    And just look at the substance in the comments on this post!! All like-minded bloggers!! Yay to that!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Amanda! 💕 I agree, our type of blogs are timeless and I’m so happy to be doing this kind of blogging!
      Also happy to have stumbled upon WP in the first place, and all these like-minded bloggers, as you said!

      Like

  11. I barely have time to keep up with the blogs I like, never mind following blogs I’m not interested in just so they’ll follow me. Like you, I’m not trying to squeeze money out of this, and like you I’m not interested in a huge portion of the blogs I see. Boring, boring, boring.

    I started my blog to publicize a book that was coming out, although I doubt I changed the sales by more than a few dozen copies. (I’m making up the numbers since I haven’t a clue either what the press run was or how many sold.) Before long, though, blogging took on a life of its own. It’s been a hell of a lot of fun. If anyone thinks less of me for it, to hell with them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahah! Well said!!
      I had several reasons for starting a blog, but one of them was job hunting (long story). Anyway, like you so aptly said, it took on a life of its own and I’m so happy I stumbled upon this whole thing, this community.
      Let’s keep having fun and blogging 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. great post! yes, I think the word blogger has become synonymous with only one type of a blogger: the so called influencer who only promotes brands and has a lot of followers on social media but little or no interaction with his/her readers. I also think it’s important to reply to all comments and don’t like too when someone leaves a link/follow plea in the comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. OH HAHAHA GOOD LORD you hit so many excellent notes on this post. I don’t know about you but I always thought blogging as those last bastions kind of things, where influencers can never get a really good hold of. Because (1) there’s so many other platforms that scream more eyecandy like IG and youtube and (2) blogging is really personal and so removed from the idea of a ‘lowkey’ celebrity. I live in the Philippines, and we’ve got a huge ass population ,and I’m not really subscribed to any online newsletters to be able to tell you if we got ‘influencers’ on there. Ever since I’ve been blogging though, I’ve been getting targeted ads about ‘living the dream’ , beaing a travel vlogger/blogger and what not.

    And . Eh.

    I love replying to comments. I love human interaction on the internet, I think it’s one of it’s best features. To be able to respond to media and experience collectively on this interwebs, and also have legitimate interactions with people even if it’s just through this weird magic of electronic cells and text. I really aspire to do get some fun comments and engagement. And I’m having fun peering and commenting on other people’s blogs. I’m still having trouble writing about my personal experiences that can be somehow helpful and interesting to other people, without actually filtering myself out too much with my niche interests. It might confuse what followers i already gained if i zip from one thing to another. I am so glad you grew your following organically!! It’s so nice to hear someone living out my goals. If anything I’m committed to blogging to just get to know myself more and meet some cool people along the way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for the thoughtful comment! 😄 I do hope you get engagement – it comes with time, if you yourself engage, too. From your comment I have the feeling you will 🙂 I like how you said “weird magic of electronic cells and text” – that is the reason I blog and follow blogs. Influencers have no idea!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. This is a very insightful and sincere post, straight to the point. You asked the questions that I often ask myself. Being a new and inexperienced blogger, I knew nothing about the rules in the beginning. I still don’t, after being presented here in the blog world for months. I started blogging because I went through a little tough period in my life. It’s my retreat, in a way. Having had a passion for language, literature and writing for years, so I took the courage and created a site. I’m an introvert, exposing myself to the outside world was almost unthinkable to me, so in that sense, it was a hard decision.
    Responding to some of your questions, I don’t follow any sponsored blogs, fashion is not my primary focus, it’s the exchange of thoughts, genuine ones that I appreciate. I don’t go on following other blogs, I’m not an active follower-hunter. I think it’s important and necessary to respond to the comments I’ve received. To me it’s like showing respect and my thankfulness. Most people have a busy life nowadays, it takes time to read a post and give a comment, especially those you know are written with the heart.
    I also feel blogging kind of has a negative connotation, people seem not to take it very seriously. But there’re differences between blogs. There’re bloggers who create their blogs purely based on their passion. Money isn’t the drive behind every blog. Thank you for addressing some of the common questions relating to blogging. A brilliant post! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Isabelle, for taking the time out of your busy life to read and interact 🙂 I do appreciate it! How long have you been blogging? For me, it’s just over 3 years now. It felt very personal in the beginning and I’m happy I’ve stayed anonymous. I’m quite a private person in the end.
      I don’t really care for fashion, either. Not enough to follow fashion/beauty blogs, anyway! Maybe if they had existed when I was much younger, then I would have followed some. Or maybe not.
      I like what you wrote about responding to comments. I think it’s important, too. Like you said, it’s a way of showing respect – well put, actually. Respect for your readers. Yes, I do understand that some/many bloggers have busy lives, but so do their readers! It’s quite disrespectful to assume that the people who read and comment are people with loads of time on their hands. Even if they were, we all prioritize and choose how to spend that time. Also, if a blogger has time to write posts, how can they not have time to respond to comments?? Maybe just post one monologue less and use the time instead to interact and engage with the people who are interested in sharing their thoughts with you, of all the bloggers in the world! There might be a whole blog post worth of writing to be done in the comments section, and not in the monologue-way that posts can be.
      It’s a sign of our times, this me-myself-and-I thing. Or maybe it has always existed and social media is the perfect channel for it? 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for taking time to give me such a comprehensive and thoughtful comment! Appreciate a lot. I started blogging on 30 March 2017 but it was only a little interaction space between my 3 friends and me. I wasn’t certain if I was brave enough to share my thoughts with people I didn’t know well or even were strangers at that time. I was then encouraged to share the posts on FB, and I did it with the heart beating heavily every time I pressed the “publish” button, fearing of being misinterpreted or even worse, misjudged. After sharing my posts on FB for about 5 months I realised that it wasn’t the right media, it might work for other bloggers, but not for me. People didn’t really bother reading blog posts on FB though I did have a few regular readers. Having never been an active user of FB so I withdrew myself at the beginning of October last year. I only had three followers by then. Gradually, other bloggers noticed my blog and I started reading their posts. It’s been about 5 1/2 months now. Just a few more words about sponsored blog, I’m not against this type of blogs as long as the content (articles, recommendations) are genuine and I’m interested in the products being promoted. Nice to have a chat. Thank you 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for chatting and I’m happy you’ve shared your posts in public now! Almost all my readers are other bloggers from WP, which isn’t how I imagined it would go but I’m more than happy! Just go with the flow and what feels right! 😊

          Liked by 1 person

          • Just rephrasing it a little bit, I’m not against sponsored blogs based on genuine experiences and sincere recommendations. I’d probably follow if the things offered are of interest, such as books and vintage items. 😊

            Liked by 2 people

  15. Thank you for this post! I am new to blogging and was wondering why people would “like” every post I would write and then as soon as I follow them they disappear. Or they would ask me to follow them? Like, what? I write to hopefully inspire hope for other people and if people read then great but geesh!
    I love your photos!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Thank u. I still don’t understand why people don’t respond to their comments. I hate it when a person just likes my comments. Like really!. In Nigeria, I guess blogging is becoming sth on the rise. But people think that blogging is to be monetized immediately it starts.nice post

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts on this. I so agree with you about the comments! And it’s a shame that people automatically think it’s for making money. I mean, great for those who can do it, go for it! But that’s not every blogger’s goal!

      Like

      • Exactly….the first time I created a blog…I thought it will result to instant money. That blog doesn’t exist today. It’s all about wanting to share something with people..that’s how I see it. Thanks for commenting

        Liked by 2 people

  17. Pingback: Why some blogs annoy me….. | Third Time Lucky!·

  18. I adore this definition “I blog organically”… It is the sweetest, warmest way to define this activity. Once again, the way you’re choosing your words are spot on!
    These blogs you are telling about seem to work so well in France. In the comment sections you have hundreds of “you are so pretty ma chérie” or bland equivalents. I think these are for readers in need of a female figure they would like to resemble. I am thinking of a particularly famous blog… the author became worshipped first thanks to her unique hairstyle and tattoos. She was everywhere on Pinterest and magazines… Now years after, her beauty videos (long long very long videos with a juvenile quality!) have thousands of views! But still, her hair have seen so much I would not want it even for free!!! Her fashion style is not what it used to be. But brands follow her! And as long as it will be the case, she will be idolized. The power of emptiness.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well said, the power of emptiness. I guess it’s naive to wish that money didn’t rule the world. Brands collaborating with already famous bloggers will always attract people. I don’t know exactly who though – maybe like you said, young girls searching for a role model. Which reminds me of a movie I saw recently, Ingrid Goes West, quite thought-provoking.
      Anyway, thanks so much for your time!!! I appreciate you reading my posts and leaving a trail of your thoughtful comments! Thank you!! Bonne soirée!

      Like

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