The ugly side of blogging has recently reared its head, and I’m feeling quite annoyed about it. Frankly, this post goes against everything I stand for (which is why I’ve tried to balance it with a cute cat picture), but a few issues have popped up recently which I felt the need to write about.
It feels strange to unleash this into the world on a Friday. The Twittersphere is full of everyone sharing their favourites because it’s Follow Friday. It’s amazing and shows how willing we are to support each other. This is the side I know and love. It’s the reason I champion the blogging community at every chance I get.
But, it’s not always plain sailing.
I had been warned about this at the beginning, but I was in a happy little bubble. It’s not I didn’t believe what people were saying, but I think I was simply too excited to be starting out to allow it to sink in. When I tweeted about bloggers disappearing, a few people reached out and said things can get ugly. It made me sad to know people had bad experiences because mine had only been positive so far.
Famous last words.
As with any area where competition is a factor, there is always going to be some degree of tension. I understand that. I appreciate we all want to do well, and we all want to have our work seen. We work hard to make it happen and it sometimes feels like we’re getting nowhere. When this manifests into unpleasant behaviour, I have absolutely NO time for it. I know I can’t single-handedly change social media so it becomes fairies and rainbows, but let me highlight something: we can achieve far greater things by supporting each other than we can by tearing each other down.
Sometimes, your views are going to suck and it can be hard to deal with, especially if you’ve been having a good streak. If you take those emotions and then direct your angst against the community you rely on for support, things will only unravel further. The people most likely to read your blog are bloggers themselves. It’s probably not a good idea to turn on them. There are ways and means of gaining more traffic, and I don’t remember that list mentioning “blame other bloggers for your failures and watch the views come rolling in.”
There are days when my blog views struggle, and I look at all the factors which could have caused it, and remind myself it’s not the end of the world. Is it a beautiful, sunny day? Given the U.K. is in the midst of a heatwave, it probably is. So, maybe everyone is out enjoying it, and good for them! Was it something a lot of people would be interested in? Perhaps not, it could have been content which I wrote for my own benefit. Did I have promotional tweets scheduled for that day? Oops, nope, I forgot.
Jealousy is an ugly emotion. I received a horrible message from someone recently. In fact, I’ve had a few over the last couple of weeks. There is zero chance of me disclosing who it was to anyone, so please don’t ask. I don’t talk about them because I don’t want to feed into that person’s need for attention. The only reason it’s getting a mention here is that it’s relevant.
The nature of these messages has varied. They’ve ranged from accusing me of not having a mental illness and “jumping on the bandwagon” to asking me to justify why I’m so popular. I blocked them in the end, but it was hard. I’ve been lucky with the support I’ve had and I’m thankfully in a strong enough place to recognise the truth behind the words, but it can only take a comment like that to plant a seed of self-doubt and stop somebody doing something they love.
And while that might accomplish their goals of reducing the competition, there are still going to be hundreds of other bloggers to go up against. You know what makes it a whole lot easier and more enjoyable? Stop seeing everyone as competition. I see the blogging community as a team. Help others, and they’ll help you.
Do I sometimes feel jealous of other bloggers? Of course I do, but I don’t let it rule my actions. There are so many varying factors when it comes to being a successful blogger. The amount of free time you have, your willingness to approach brands, the niche you are in, just to name a few. Try not to let the green-eyed monster take over.
If an issue does pop up, then address it in a mature way. I don’t think many people object to genuine, constructive criticism, as long as it’s delivered in a fair way.
There has been some controversy on Twitter this week about blog RT accounts. As someone whose success so far is largely built upon the help of the incredibly kind people who run those accounts, it’s hard for me to agree with you. I personally couldn’t keep up even half as well as they do, and I’m so grateful they exist. However, if you have been disappointed by them, or feel like things could be done better, be reasonable and discuss it directly. Indirect tweets about it are pointless, as is launching a malicious attack against the people behind it.
People who run blog RT accounts don’t owe you anything, and neither does anybody else, for that matter. They do it to try and help. They might miss tweets sometimes, but why not just try again? Or, if it happens repeatedly, ask them about it, or try a different RT account. Don’t spit your dummy out and have a go at them. Some of my tweets have been missed in the past, and that’s okay. The people running those accounts usually have their own blogs, as well as other things in their lives going on. The fact they are willing to use their time to try and give others a boost is not something to be criticised.
If you really think you could do a better job, then why not start your own and give it a try?
People ask me all the time how I’ve done so much so quickly and here’s my secret: BEING NICE. Genuinely nice. Not nice until things don’t go my way. I probably get more excited about other people’s achievements than I do my own. The number of incredibly sweet messages I’ve had about how I’m a breath of fresh air in the blogging community has blown me away, but when others start showing their true colours, I can begin to understand why people say that. You don’t need to share my enthusiasm, but just be respectfful. Let others have their time, and yours will come eventually.
Realistically, I know the ugly side of blogging is always going to exist. I know there will be people who come into it with expectations that aren’t met and attitudes which stink. There are people who live for drama and thrive on causing it. Rather than encourage them, ignore them, block them, forget about them. I know it’s hard, but it really is best to rise above it. They’ve got no place here.
The blogging community welcomed and embraced me in a way I’ve never experienced. As well as anti-depressants and counselling, I attribute the improvement in my mental health to being part of this. For many people, it’s a safe space. It’s an escape from all the other nonsense which might be going on. I don’t want that to change.
It’s probably the way you’ve all reacted to me which means I feel very protective of all of you. I want you to be happy, and I want you to succeed, and what I certainly don’t want is anybody ruining your enjoyment of blogging. When I see people disturbing the peace and causing drama, I get mad. But, I’m not going to let a few people ruin it for me, or for others. You shouldn’t, either. There are already enough challenges when it comes to blogging.