I have a confession to make. A confession that will probably destroy any hopes and dreams I have of becoming a successful blogger. But this blog has always been a place for airing my slightly controversial opinions, so here it goes…
I don’t believe in the blogging community.
In fact, I don’t know if I want to be a blogger at all.
Now before you all burst into tears, don’t worry. This blog isn’t going anywhere. I’ll still be bombarding you with my opinions and words three times a week. I’ll still be Tweeting every thought that comes into my head (#FollowMeOnTwitter). And I’ll definitely still be using the blogger hashtags to shamelessly promote my content, cos a girl’s gotta get dem views.
But, if I’m perfectly honest, I think the blogging community is complete bullshit.
Not because all bloggers are awful. Not because I haven’t made any friends through blogging. But because the idea of a homogenous community made up of people who also have blogs is absurd.
See, the only thing all bloggers have in common with each other is that they have a blog. Do you know who can have a blog? Literally anybody with an internet connection. Owning a blog is not grounds enough for a community.
Which is why, unsurprisingly, sub-communities spring up. You’ve got your fashion bloggers, your beauty bloggers, your student bloggers, your ‘lifestyle’ bloggers, your mental health bloggers (read: anxiety and depression bloggers), your plus size bloggers, and so on.
But what if you don’t fit into those communities? What if, like me, your blog isn’t about lipstick and self-care bubble baths (both of which are great – don’t get me wrong)? What if you blog about things that are hard to monetise. That piss people off. That don’t conform to the POSITIVITY ONLY PLEASE message that a lot of popular bloggers preach.
Well then you might find that the blogging community everybody loves so much isn’t quite as welcoming as you thought.
Because I’ll let you into a little secret. The blogging community isn’t an all accepting online bubble. It’s susceptible to the same prejudice that real-life circles are. It’s full of the same people who like to clique together cos it makes them feel safe. It’s not a safe haven, where people can let their freak flag fly.
Which is fine. I get it. No community is perfect.
But the problem with the so-called blogging community is that it presents itself as this empowering, welcoming space. Which it is. If you blog about lipstick and positivity. If the most controversial you get is stating that you didn’t like the latest Lush bath bomb. If you refuse to challenge the racism, hypocrisy, and internalised misogyny that lie hidden beneath the surface.
The blogging community is great if you conform to the pre-determined list of blogger ideals. But if you don’t, it’s shit. It’s cold and unwelcoming and downright aggressive at times.
So that brings me to part of of my EXCLUSIVE SHOCKING CONFESSION – do I want to be a blogger at all?
Don’t get me wrong. I love my blog. Writing these posts is my favourite thing to do. To the point where I literally daydream about blogging all day during my 9-5. But when I look at the blogging community, and when I look at other successful bloggers, I don’t see myself.
I don’t see my passion for social justice. I don’t see my unapologetic feminism. I don’t see my penchant for calling out bullshit. I don’t see enough people asking the hard questions.
Do you know where I do see those people? In the writing community.
See, I realised the other day that the majority of people I’ve really connected with from the blogging community don’t actually identify as at all bloggers. They identify as writers. They submit pieces to magazines – both online and off. They’re writing long-form pieces that really go deep into difficult subjects. They’re writers who happen to use their blog to showcase their work.
So no, I don’t want to be a blogger. I don’t want to perfect the art of the flatlays. I don’t want an inspirational Instagram feed. I don’t want to collaborate with Dior or Lush.
Do you know what I want to do? I want to write pieces that make people think. I want to really challenge social norms – and surround myself by people who do the same.
So whilst, for now, blogging is my medium, I don’t think I’m a blogger. I’m a writer. And I think that’s an important differentiation to make.
Side note: Obviously I don’t hate all bloggers. I’m friends with people who do identify as bloggers. I read blogs every day – full of posts about lipstick and OOTDs. Nor do I think everyone who identifies as part of the blogging community is a hypocritical twat. But I do think a lot of people in this community are. And I think that’s something that’s not talked about enough.