Thursday, 26 July 2012

Where has all the blog love gone?

Good evening everyone. Thanks for all your kind wishes for our little birthday boy, Sam, after my last post. You have hearts of gold. Tonight I wanted to share with you some thoughts which have been rattling around in my brain for a while now. It concerns the lack of blog love or good karma I've noticed pervading Blogland lately. I don't wish to have this perceived as throwing a hand grenade over the fence to create a stir. Far from it. Rather, I'd like to reflect on the positive aspects of blogging and how we can all derive greater pleasure from it than currently appears to be the case. 
Okay so first up, here's some context for you so you can see where I'm coming from.

Meeting a newbie blogger

This week I had the pleasure of lunching at a newbie blogger's place. Gorgeous Romy is the busy mum of four youngsters, loves her Bikram yoga, recently spent time living in France and writes the amusingly titled Diary of a Hobart housewife blog. You can read her first post here for more background. 

Anyway, she was the consummate host, cooking a delectable meal. But the best part was chatting away animatedly to each other for two hours before we both had to whiz off to do the school runs. We barely drew breath. Yet we hadn't met each other before! That is what blogging can do for you. If you let it.

She then told me how, as her first ever meeting with another blogger, she was amazed at how we just started chatting the minute I walked in the door and that the conversation flowed so effortlessly. She was starting to realise how blogging could allow her to meet like-minded people.

Fascinated by her excitement at that prospect, I told her that the friendships I have made all over the world through blogging have amazed me and that she could do the same if she wished. 

So suddenly, I had a fresh perspective on blogging. I realised how much I had been taking for granted. I realised that maybe not everyone is getting what I am out of blogging. Maybe they don't want to. If so, then that's their choice. No problem there. 

But maybe they don't realise how much more pleasure they can derive from it. Maybe they're not aware that you can take your blogging relationships to a higher level. And maybe they'd enjoy this bloggy caper more if they did and knew what to do about it. If that's the case, then it would be a shame for them to miss out, don't you think?

The wonders blogging can bring to your life
So then I thought about just some of the life-affirming experiences fellow bloggers (that would be you, sweet Planetarians!) have sent my way.

I've had the delight of discovering there are bloggers who will:

  • take photos from the top of the Eiffel Tower for me, just because I mentioned in passing that when I had visited, they were doing maintenance work so I only reached the second level and missed the view from the top;
  • buy me the most divinely soft and pretty butterfly scarf in Amsterdam just because it was 'so me';
  • make me a bespoke handbag from old French linen, Liberty fabric and vintage lace and send it to me because I'd marked it as a 'favourite' in her Etsy store, she knew I couldn't afford it and she wanted to cheer me up.
I could go on and on. I've kept a little notebook since I started blogging, noting all the correspondence and presents I've exchanged with fellow bloggers. Today's arrival of a sweet cross-stitched present from a US blogger takes the current total to 160, if you can believe it!

I'm not in it for the presents (although they are gorgeous to exchange) but the real and vital connections I can make with like-minded souls the world over.

I've made some of our loveliest friends through blogging since our return to Hobart. And the best part is that now our families have become friends as well. It's fantastic as Mr PB and I don't have to do a lot of the sorting out of which school-friends might have parents we like. You know the drill. Through blogging, I've already done that until I've found the people we really click with. Just magic.

So, are you starting to see some of the extra benefits you can gain from blogging?

The current state of Australian blogging

That all ties in with observations I've made recently about how the Australian blogging scene has been changing lately. It's growing apace and playing catch-up with the more corporatised and established US scene. Companies are starting to realise the enormous potential of tapping into the market bloggers represent. 

So now so many more bloggers are being wooed by advertisers. Blogging conferences abound. The pressure's heating up. Personalities take stands. Some get applauded. Others don't. Competitiveness seems to be setting in. Trolls abound. 

I'm not criticising those who write sponsored posts and/or have ads on their blogs. Far from it. I think there's room for us all in Blogland. I just think some of the kindness and civility has grown dormant which is sad. It doesn't have to be like this.

What's happened to the blog awards?
For instance, have you noticed how there are hardly any of those feel-good blog awards being handed out anymore? A while back, we had a glut of them. Now, they're rare. I think that's a shame. When I started blogging two years ago, receiving such an award as a newbie blogger did wonders for my confidence. It also allowed me to meet so many other wonderful bloggers as I passed the awards on. It was bloggy karma at its best.

But now, for newbie bloggers like Romy, such encouragement seems to be scarce. It can be so daunting when you're starting out, wondering how to gain followers, which blogs to follow and what the etiquette is.

So, where to from here?

I've been wondering if there's anything I can do to encourage other bloggers so they can enjoy their blogging more. I'd love to make a positive difference.

I don't consider myself to be a big-time blogger or anyone with influence. I'm not doing this to curry favour with anyone or gain more followers. That's not the way I've been raised. 

But I'm happy to offer what I can as my small contribution. Let's bring some positivity back to blogging. What do you say?! Here are my ideas.

Adding your blogs to my blogroll

When I started blogging, the delightful A-M from The house that A-M built invited her readers to let her know more about them here. She offered to add their blogs to her blogroll if they wished. I did. And I'm so grateful to her. That small kindness of A-M's has resulted in thousands of visits to my blog since then. True story. 

Whilst I'm not in A-M's league, I'd like to offer the same to all you Planetarians. I know a lot about my regulars but so many of you are quieter. Lurkers, even! I'd love to find out more about you. Where are you from? Do you have littlies like me? Or pets instead? Are you Francophiles as well? Do you love stationery like me? Do we have other things in common? And do you have a blog? Let us know so I can add it to my blogroll and we can all visit.  Hopefully, I might be able to direct some traffic your way. Let's share some bloggy love around! 

I'll add your blogs to my blogroll and edit this post to list them all at the bottom so you can make some new friends.

Featuring your blogs in my 'Down the rabbithole' column
I know I've just started this column to highlight some of the wonderful Planetarians I've had the pleasure of befriending. I was going to make it an occasional column. Now I want to post it weekly on Wednesdays. So now every week, you'll get to meet a fellow Planetarian. Ooh, this should be fun! Now you'll have so many more opportunities to discover new friends. 

Posting about how I've developed friendships through blogging

I'm no blogging expert. But over the past two years, through trial and error, I've learnt some ways to take my blogging experience to the next level so that my online friendships have spilt over to offline ones as well. If you're interested, I'd be happy to share what I've done. 

So, over to you! I'm eager to hear your thoughts on this topic. I'm pressing 'Publish' a little tentatively as I hope it's received in the manner I intended. But I'm happy to do so in the hope that it might encourage a little discussion about how we all can help to bring back some blog love.

Have you noticed less blog love being passed on lately? Or do you think I'm expecting too much from other bloggers? And do you have any other ideas I could use to encourage more positive interaction between bloggers? As usual, please dive in and share your thoughts with us!
PS Don't forget to enter my giveaway if you haven't already!

PPS Romy also has a lovely giveaway running - pop over here to enter ☺.

PPPS Here's the list of new blogs I've added to my blogroll from the comments you've left here. Why don't you pop over to them and say hello?

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