Whiny Bloggers Quit Because It Was Work

Whiny face

It is probably unfair of me to paint the bloggers in this article with such a broad brush. Yet, I can’t help but roll my eyes because what I read is so very silly. Take a look at the excerpt below.

“There are about 31 million blogs in the United States, a number expected to swell to 34 million by the end of this year. But Mr. Harbison is part of a small but growing trend of blog quitters. Last year, the number of blogging teens and adults ages 18 to 33 declined, in the first reported drop in blogging, according to Pew Research Center data.

Some have simply switched to another blog-like medium, say, Twitter or Facebook. Others have faced unpleasant facts about blogging. It’s cheap to do but usually doesn’t pay. Having a platform may be fun at first, but building a following takes much more work than simply typing and posting.

And millions of them go virtually unnoticed, despite the occasional breakout sensation like the humorous “Stuff White People Like” and the Julia Child-inspired “The Julie/Julia Project.”

When “people see these, they say, ‘I can do that—it will be easy,’ “ says Raanan Bar-Cohen, vice-president of media services at San Francisco-based WordPress, which hosts 16.5 million blogs. “If you’re looking for fame and fortune, blogging has as good a chance as any medium,” he adds.

But new bloggers misunderstand what the venture is really all about. “The best bloggers are good at highlighting, snipping and curating,” Mr. Bar-Cohen says. All that draws “the feedback that is as or more important than the actual posts.”

The effort involved in building a following caused Ray Silverstein to give up. Mr. Silverstein, 73, is principal at Pro Presidents Resource Organization, a Chicago-based small-business consultancy. Four years ago, he began blogging about small-business issues in order to draw traffic to his firm’s website.

He posted about twice a week but failed to read other blogs, comment and connect. “You really have to work the blog more,” he notes.”

If you are in this with dreams of getting rich you better hope that you love it too. There is a reason why I keep repeating certain truths about blogging. There is an exceptionally low barrier to entry. Anyone with a computer and internet access can start a blog. There are a million different voices competing for the same readers as you and many of them have no business sense/intelligence whatsoever.

But let’s ignore all that and read the last line of the excerpt I provided.

“He posted about twice a week but failed to read other blogs, comment and connect. “You really have to work the blog more,” he notes.”

Blogging takes time, effort and work. They call it social media because it requires many of the same social skills you would use in the real world. In the real world you build relationships first and ask favors later. Why would it be different here. What makes people think that if they simply write a story millions will come knocking on their door. Sometimes luck is more important than talent. We see that here all the time.

Sorry, I just don’t feel badly about this. If you start a brick and mortar business it requires time and effort to make it work. It requires commitment. Blogging is no different. If you can’t deal with it or don’t feel like it works for you than you really should find something else. In the end if you don’t love blogging you are going to find it to be more trouble than it is worth.

Dear Angry Mommy Blogger

Dear Angry Mommy Blogger,

Hello. It is your good friend Jack writing to you from his little corner of cyberspace. I am here to tell you that my heart bleeds for you, poor little mommy blogger.

You, the overworked and under appreciated renaissance woman deserve better than you have received. For the past year or so you have worked really hard to build a blog that you can use to get free crap to giveaway to your readers. You have gone to parties, conferences and conventions and worked really, really, really hard to be nice to the mean girls as well as the nice ones.

Every day you devote hours to your blog. And you do that in between changing diapers, driving carpool, cooking dinner, telling stories about how crazy your mother-in-law is or swapping stories about the stupid things your husband does.


Whiny face

But in spite of your best efforts you aren’t given the respect that you so rightly deserve. The brands want you to work for free. They send you press releases and ask you to write about their products/clients without any sort of compensation. That is the kind of stuff that you did when you were a new blogger and didn’t know better. Back in those days you were happy to get any sort of attention from a brand. It made your heart sing to get that email from the PR person. You remember the one. It made you feel appreciated and acknowledged.

Fortunately you are better educated now about the game and understand how it works. A virtual eternity has passed since then and now you know that someone tried to take advantage of you. Your mother taught you better than that, you don’t put out for free. You didn’t do it in high school and you sure as hell aren’t going to do it now.

You have seen the banners floating around other blogger’s sites and you know that they aren’t better than yours. You know that if they can do it so can you. So you tightened your belt, arched your back and joined some of your sister mommy bloggers in raising your voices in outrage. This abuse is going to end and soon, because if it doesn’t those brands will be sorry.

You won’t stand for emails that address you as blogger any indication that the writer hasn’t read your about me page and three other recent posts. Don’t those PR people read. Can’t they understand that women make major purchasing decisions, that moms are a mighty force in the world.

What? What is that you say? You have never heard of me. You don’t know me, have never heard of Jack and can’t understand why I have taken a rude and sarcastic tone. Why I am shocked I tell you. Outraged that you haven’t any clue who I am. My poor fragile male ego is destroyed.

But before I climb back under my computer desk let me throw a few things out at you, free advice/commentary. There is a very low barrier to entry in blogging. You don’t have to spend money on hosting, themes or domain names to get into it. All you need is an internet connection.

The field is cluttered, noisy and more crowded than the most popular concert you have ever been to. And to make matters worse the shrinking attention spans of people has made it even harder to get their attention, let alone keep it.

If you want to survive and thrive in this environment you need more than luck and hope. You need to remember that it is a marathon not a sprint. You need to remember that it takes time to build a business and that is ok. Because most bloggers don’t last. Most give up relatively quickly.

So if you can hold on, if you can sustain your effort over the long haul you will benefit from it. And you need to remember that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will ever earn enough to support your family from blogging. But you might. Or you might reach a point where it generates enough monthly income to pay for a few extras, to cover gas and groceries.

I know, you aren’t really interested in hearing me lecture you. Have no desire for a man to come fix the problem or to offer solutions. You have a husband/brother or father to do that. So I suppose that I’ll go back to being my cranky, curmudgeonly self  at one of the daddy blogger’s joints.

It has been a while since we shared a beer, bitched about being nagged at and rolled our eyes at being forced to see chick flicks like Sex and the City 2.

Editor’s Note:  If I have learned anything in 12 years of blogging (I started in May ’04) it is that many of the comments and complaints about it are cyclical. We always hear about how it used to be better and how we wish fewer people were selling out.

This post is tied into that sentiment, it was first published in 2010. As I sit here writing this note six years later it is funny to see how the more things change the more they stay the same.

The only thing I claim to be an expert upon is how to last in blogging. You have to have fun because if you are not, you just won’t hang around. Find you way to have fun and just write.

P.S. If you like what you see here take a moment look around and see the other posts, there are only about 10,000 to check out. 🙂

In Praise of Posterous

My parents have a dear family friend who has become a legend among us for his discovery of the “best” restaurant/car/movie/vacation etc. It reminds me a bit of the cracks people make about Columbus discovering America.

It is not like it was unpopulated when he got here. Part of why this friend has become legendary is that he has discovered restaurants that the family has eaten at for years. Somehow he has managed to make this trait endearing and not annoying, don’t ask me how.

Anyway, if he was a blogger he’d push in front of me to tell you about how cool Posterous is and he would be right. I discovered it around January or so, but I was thick in the middle of doing the Gaza updates and was too busy to check it out.

Eventually I got around to taking a looksy and let me tell you, I LOVE IT. It couldn’t be easier to use. I especially love how easy it is to work with pictures and videos. It is an excellent complement to the tools I use now and I only wish that I had started using it earlier.

At the moment I am still exploring and working out how to most effectively integrate it into my system. It is worth taking a look at.

Here is a link to my Posterous blog which is slowly being integrated into this one, I think.

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