11 December 2011

The great blogging divide. The in-crowd and the rest of us.

So the types of posts like the one I am about to write sometimes make me disengaged. I often wonder whether the blogger is resentful or just having a bad day. I think it's all a bit high school. But then I felt the need to write one. Because I think the blogging community that I love is changing. It's going to be hard to write this - I always want to be nice, and please people. I never quite know the damage this sort of opinion will do to me. But here goes.
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Blogging is changing. It no longer feels secure and supportive. Fortunately for me, the negative comments I receive are quite low, and the friends I have made through blogging are amazing. I also know I am not going to please everyone. And that my blogging style has changed a bit. Lucky I still love blogging. But recently, I have seen bloggers get into arguments, slander other bloggers in blog posts, or have sneaky digs at them. I've seen bloggers being ignored on Twitter or Facebook. And I've known of bloggers be dropped from advertising companies because they didn't fit the mould. I've also seen bloggers stop their blog altogether, because they didn't find blogging fun.

Blogging is getting more and more exclusive. Who you know. What events you're invited to. The reach your blog has determines its worth. Blogging used to bring people together. Not I think it can drive people apart. And then when bloggers vent, they are torn down.

Perhaps it is the PR and advertisers that create the exclusiveness. As I tweeted, "When the blogging community is so open and inclusive, I think it's unfair that the PR part of it is SO exclusive. Not in the spirit." I think this is the case. Because all of the bloggers I've met have been lovely. It's the events and online communities created by the PR companies that may create the exclusive feel.

A number of bloggers and I engaged in a discussion about a recent competition to win an invitation to a Christmas party. It was an advertising opportunity disguised as an invitation. Very deceptive. And it implied there are A-list bloggers out there, and they were the ones invited to the event, the rest of us had to sell our blog space for advertising to vye for a chance to attend. Sneaky indeed. And it doesn't seem fair that, when we are all part of that particularly blogging community, there is a hierarchy.

I couldn't attend the event anyhow, as I had something on. My birthday. Cold Chisel. But these tactics made me feel like us bloggers are no longer equal. That some are celebrities and some aren't worthy. To me, we are all worthy. We all have a passion, and are mostly great people whose opinions and creativity deserve to be noticed.

There are other exclusive events - some I've been to, others I've been overlooked for. I am not resentful for not being invited. I am invited to a number of great events - for blogging and for other things - but often when they involve brands, the events are often targeted towards select audiences. Often mummy bloggers.

Don't get me wrong, I have met some great mummy bloggers. I love hanging out with them, and made some great friends. But sometimes I think the greatest emphasis is placed on mummy bloggers, because of the value of the reach, and the brands they can work with, but I think this leaves the rest of us - me genre-less - feeling a bit stranded, like we don't quite belong. And I wonder whether I should pose with a watermelon shoved up my dress just to get an invitation to an event that has apparently been advertised 'all over Twitter'.

And I've seen blogs becoming less authentic. They're no longer about the writing or original content. But about the adverts. They're becoming putty in PR hands. And the original, creative writing has now turned into the way bloggers can best spin a press release and make it their own. I recently clicked on a link via Twitter - a fellow Tweeter said 'what a great blog post' and so, valuing their opinion, I went to read the great blog post for myself. I can't even recall what the post was about now. It may have been great. Well written and thought provoking. But what caught my attention, and has stuck in my mind, was the blog was divided into three columns. One of those columns was dedicated to content. The other two were purely ads. It's a sad day when a blog has become two thirds ads. I understand bloggers need to make money. I understand blogging may be a person's only source of income. But now bloggers have the power to influence buyers, the writing sometimes takes second place.

I'm not going to deny it. I will do adverts on my blog. I may seek sponsorship for my trip to BlogHer. But I am selective about the brands I believe in, and don't want to compromise my integrity by replacing good written content with sponsored posts. I have been in talks with two brands I believe in, that are important to me, and will hopefully connect with my readers. But this blog is definitely not going to turn into an advertorial. I want to maintain quality writing and use my blog to leap into other things.

This blog, Tune into Radio Carly, is about to turn two years old. I have received some amazing opportunities through blogging. The people I've met have been the best. Conferences I've been to and spoken at have been fantastic. Some free things. Freelance writing. I even had a job interview recently, and I said at my interview that if it wasn't for this blog, I wouldn't be there. And I receive comments from strangers saying that I've helped them in some way. These are all privileges. And to have my writing read (and enjoyed) by so many is the biggest privilege of all.

I hope the blogging community continues to stay strong. We can do amazing things to raise awareness and build friendships. And there is always some great writing and opinions to be read through blogs. But as long as this exclusivity continues to drive the community apart, the in-crowd and the rest of us - it feels like blogging is no longer about writing but the notion of being a celebrity.

To end this little rant, I am not phased about *only* achieving 400 views per day. I know the value my blog has had on those with disabilities and chronic illnesses and those who have been bullied. I am damn proud of the writing opportunities I've created through this blog. And I cherish the friendships I've made through blogging. Those things are all more important to me than being in the 'in-crowd' and having my worth measured by a company.

Post script: I completely forgot to raise this in my original post. Anonymous commenters and their 'constructive comments'. I've received a few of them lately. If you feel the need to crtiticise a blog post, at least have the decency to put your name to your comment. I blog with my name, true to my values and opinion. And I've set up my comments where you can list your name too. As my friend Genevieve Maynard commented once, "As for you Anon, it is very easy to create a log in. It's too easy to hide behind a made up name, or Anon, and comment on other people's thoughts.". Comment with conviction. Just like we blog with conviction. Put your name to what you believe in.


What are your thoughts about exclusivity in the blogging community? Is this new 'exclusivity' only coming to a head in Australia, or is it world-wide?

63 comments:

  1. im not a blogger, only a reader. i only read what is on the blog of choice, i dont have twitter, i dont check the bloggers out on facebook.. so i really have no idea which are the "A" list blogs or which arent. i just read what i read because i like it.

    so my thoughts arent particularly helpful, as i have no idea how "exclusive" blogging is or isnt. i just read to enjoy in my downtime.

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  2. "Only 400 views a day" jeez girl that rocks. I'd love to get that!! You are a fab blogger and person. Blogging gets all weird sometimes and then you meet a new friend through it and it's all worth it. xx

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  3. Big thumbs up. I'm only relatively new to blogging regularly, and only recently started paying attention to the Australian blogging community as a whole, so am in no position to judge whether it is becoming more exclusive.
    I do know that some bloggers get offered more opportunities than others, but there are also an equal number who do NOT want to be offered those opportunities. Some don't accept advertising or product reviews on their blog. But I think we all blog because we want to write, to share. Each blogger to their own, I say.
    All I know is, I only get 400 pageviews a MONTH, so I think you're reaching an amazingly large audience getting that per day!

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  4. I agree that their are blogging cliques and companies that are trying to divide bloggers.

    As for anonymous commenters, if they don't like a post they should exit the blog instead of attacking the blogger. At least sign with your name and email!!!

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  5. As a reader, not a blogger, I can kind of see this going on, but please, Carly and so many other wonderful bloggers who are hurt by the competition (both of the win something and the Whose blog is better variety) please don't be drawn into it. Us readers, who have nothing to offer but our eyes, our comments, our hearts and minds, we don't care about kidspot or macleans or fisher price or etc etc etc often I will close a sponsored post even if it is on a blog I usually read. I hope you don't lose what made you start in the first place - the fire in your heart that needed a place to shine.

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  6. Great post Carly, and may I say, the "exclusivity" of invitations doesn't just stop at Mummy Bloggers, but even fashion bloggers, especially in Melbourne. I used to feel left out (sometimes still do) that I don't get invitations to fashion launches that I would love to be a part of, and when I look at the photos of those who do get invited, realise...Ummm..you'd either have to dress "special", as in have a distinct style or love couture. If you're too mainstream and average, even though you love fashion, then better not hold your breath at getting any invitation. But, I've learned that this is who I am and great if I get noticed by PR and if not, that's fine too, I create my own opportunities and I still blog the way I blog and the stuff I love. While most PRs still look at stats etc...they have to start learning too that it's not just about that. They have to READ what the blog is about, see if the event fits the blog and the readers it's targeting. As for causing bloggers to pit against each other...I find that really juvenile. I tend to avoid getting involved by not commenting because they just seem to rock the boat and make people feel bad about each other. There are no "A" listers in the blogging world really, imo - what's an "A" lister to one might be an unknown to another. It's all subjective. ;)

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  7. Thank you so much for your lovely kind supportive comments. I was not expecting to get so many people agree with me.

    Rachel - it is so reassuring to read your comment. Thank you :)

    I am a writer, not a puppet. And I will continue to be that.

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  8. I do get sick of PR driven adverts disguised as posts. It feels so fake. I value such posts if they give a true opinion, measuring pros and cons from a voice I trust. But it gets hard to tell what's opinion and what's PR.
    Heidi xo

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  9. There was a food blog I used to read until I wised up to the fact that it wasn't really a foodie blog but one great big ad - nearly every post she wrote about she had eaten in restaurants or traveled for free and was writing about it in exchange.

    It's a really popular blog but I don't understand why people are interested in her freebies.

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  10. Well written Carly, awesome post. And I agree with you. I've been watching silently from the corner, and you are right.

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  11. What a breath of fresh air that post was! I wholeheartedly agree with you Carly, I have felt for some time that thick skin is needed for blogging because it has become "exclusive". Which is sad, but it also shows who really loves blogging too. Don't lose your light, I'm so glad you're proud of your blog and all your acheivements! <3

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  12. Good post Carly and you raise a number of issues about blogs.

    There's always going to be an A-List, B-List and – for some of us – a Z-List and that's fair enough. I don't have the writing skills and/or compelling subject matter that far more popular bloggers have.

    Those A and B listers are going to always be attractive to advertisers and PR folk which again is fair enough.

    None of this is an Aussie phenomenon, I don't think we can even call it a problem.

    Where problems do arise though is where bloggers sell themselves out, I'm not convinced that many of them understand the risks and instead just go for the quick freebie not realising they are estranging their audience and compromising their content for a free meal, mobile phone or packet of nappies.

    This has been particularly noticeable in the food, travel and tech blogging spheres which again is understandable as PRs in those fields have long been used to giving freebies to journos in return for favourable coverage.

    What I find really interesting is the mommy blogger field where the various arms of the parenting industry have piled in recently offering freebies all over the place.

    Again this understandable as the good blogs have a loyal community and if Smith's Baby Powder can get favourable coverage out to 2,000 moms and dads that's a great win and a darned sight cheaper that getting a product placement on morning TV or an evening advertorial.

    Still, I can't help but thing many of the bloggers are selling themselves short for a quick freebie.

    I guess we should keep in mind we're still in early days on this and when we look at 1950s TV or 1930s radio advertising we laugh at how crude it seems, maybe our grandkids will think the same way about the thinly veiled PR driven blog posts of our era.

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  13. I am don't think it is necessarily a reflection on the blogging community getting cliquey, more that the blogging community has gotten considerably larger than when I started blogging. I think it is human nature that, as a community gets bigger, then groups will form. As for PR people, they are trying to create a buzz and controversy will create as good a buzz as any. And they will alway be interested in stats as they are trying to get a message to as many people as possible. That's their job after all.

    I think the most important thing is for each blogger to remember why they started blog and the direction they want to go. If it is to make money then they need to get in there and do what it takes. If it is to educate and break down barriers then that's what they need to aim to do (and it is something you do incredibly well Carly and you should be proud of that). Likewise we only need to read what suits us. My blog is very light and fluffy and reflects a fraction of my real life - I am fine with that.

    Your blog is your space. You can choose who or what you put in it, and how little or much you choose to reveal. I love your blog Carly - I think it is fine to stay just as you are (as long as that is who you want to be, with the operative word being you)

    Take care.

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  14. It's a strange old world, blogging. I fit no where and get no invites. But I'm pretty okay with that. Not that I wouldn't say yes to the right brand, that fits with me and my blog/readers. Mamma wants to buy a coffee from a cafe now and then. But, there is a freedom to not being part of that side of things. I say what I want, how I want and don't have to even think about watching what I say in case a brand is watching.

    I don't read blogs that do a tonne of advertising, as I'm not there to learn about a toy, saucepan, skin cleanser, etc I'm there for unique and entertaining reading. Having said that some writers can make a product review highly entertaining but for many it just seems like they are going through the motions.

    I would say PR does seem to focus on Mummy Bloggers to the exclusion of many others. And it may be the case that this is simply the first group in the blogosphere that PR agencies recognise as having a 'power' of sorts. Often I read on twitter of blogging events that 'everyone' is going to only to have no clue what they are talking about. As much as I can be mostly meh about it all, a little part of me is still a teenage girl who wonders why they don't like me.

    Blogging is becoming a business these days, which is fine as we all want to buy our cornflakes. But I just hope it can maintain the unique humanity, that drew us all to it in the first place. It's a delicate balance and something we shouldn't leave up to the PR companies to direct, and in some cases divide.

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  15. Great post Carly! I've been feeling that same change in the blogging world for a while now ... and I think that's partly the reason that I haven't been blogging recently. I get frustrated at bloggers who succeed with inferior content.

    I don't mean to sound arrogant or superior (because those two things are honestly the last things that I am), but my blog is first and foremost a place where I try to focus on good writing and good content ... sometimes I guess though, we can all lose heart from time to time.

    Here's to being on the 'right' side of the divide. ;)

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  16. Great post! I definitely agree with you on all of this. (Although 99% of my anonymous commenters are spam. The other 1% is my technologically challenged mother!!)

    It's only in the past few months that I've started reading more Australian blogs - a side effect of joining 20SB! - and it definitely seems a lot cliquier than other sections of the blogosphere. I think it's especially obvious at this time of year because PR companies want to pimp their brand out in time for Christmas. So glad I'm not the only one who's sick of insane numbers of sponsored posts! xx

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  17. Thanks for writing this. I know we talked about this on FB and I am glad that I'm not the only one "brave enough" to write about it.

    Frankly, what is so special about mummy-bloggers? At a recent event, aimed at them/us, not all brands were mum-specific. Frankly, I thought of you, realising there was no reason why you should not be there. Especially as you have a much higher profile than a lot of others who were there.

    And I am really sick of the stereotyping by brands and PRs of what a woman blogger, who happens to be a mother, would be interested in....

    So, I try to approach brands and businesses that I am interested in, rather than follow the crowd...

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  18. Thank you Carly, the points you raise about blogging is a similar feeling I have about much of the business side of the music industry. The people with the financial backing get the good PR and get exclusive access to A&R and music publishing. I admire the fact you do this because of your passion and conviction of what you believe. I have recently started a Blog because I wanted to include people who our radio show support, both musically and artistically. I am also glad you have included people with disabilities and chronic illnesses and am proud of how you play your part to lesson the stigma in our community. Rock on Carly! Once again a terrific read :)

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  19. I understand and support your views, Carly. However, all people are different. Someone makes money out of blogs, others write for personal pleasure. You know there are good people and bad people in this world, right? Life is like that! I wish that all of us bloggers were nice, sweet, altruistic and supportive. But it's not!
    And you can't really blame PRs or brands for that - it's just a human nature.

    Business, school, work, family - any social group or community there are always all different types of people: leaders, cool kids, bullies, sweethearts, nerds, etc. Same with blogging.

    As for me, I don't do ads, sponsored posts or press releases if they don't fit my blog. I just don't. I value my readers too much :) Invites, free stuff all good but ! that was not the purpose for me to start blogging so why all of a sudden I'd change my mind?

    I did recently a similar article "Blogging for love or money?" The main conclusion was "Whatever you do - as soon as it makes you happy". Same I wish to say to you - Don't worry about others, your blog is great, you know why you're blogging and your readers love you. That's the main thing!

    re: Anons. These are people are really annoying trying to bring us down. Oh well, we'll have to deal with that I guess :)

    xx

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  20. It's so difficult. And I think - excuse me if this seems sexist - the majority of bloggers in this domain are women. And women ARE cliquey and they ARE bitchy at times. People play nice until they see opportunities and then it can get 'all claws out'.

    Unfortunately PR's are playing on standard human nature - and they're the ones that are winning. For the moment.

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  21. Really great post Carly. I've not seen the nastiness of which you speak but know that as you and others have said it has happened that it must be true. I don't much like that, in fact I hate it! As a non-east coast based person I don't get invitations to things often and when i do I really carefully consider what it is and if it fits for me. Like everything I do in my life I think about whether any PR approach fits with my values. I don't check my blog stats and have no idea about that side of things. I don't mind ads or people making money but it's a shame that things are becoming "exclusive" that an "in" and "out" crew are developing. I must admit it takes the fun out of things knowing people are being hurt. Since I met you you've served as an inspiration and I admire your positivity and respect your views greatly.

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  22. struggling with some of what you've talked about here is why I've had a huge break from blogging... And I'm still not sure what I think of it all. Sigh.

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  23. Carly I've always loved your work and to be completely honest with you I did think you were an A list blogger! If not you then who is lol!? I've actually just written a post similar to this one questioning my role in the blogosphere. My perception of it all changed when I took a break to have a baby recently. Apparently if you want to remain "hot" on the scene you must never, ever, be absent. I came back and it seemed that the blogging world exploded with new comers and they were all heavily into the PR. It made me start questioning my direction and whether I should conform. Thankfully I found my inner peace and have decided to stay true to form. At the end of the day if it doesn't make you happy, why the hell do it? Love your work x

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  24. Hi Carly

    I really enjoyed this post. Very thought provoking. You have provided an insight into the side of blogging I haven't really seen first hand.

    I understand the allure of the commercial side of blogging and I think it is a personal decision as to how far bloggers will go to engage with that side of things. What is right for me at this point is going to be different to the needs of other bloggers. Things can change for all of us so I can't afford to be judgemental.

    As for the Anons of the world, I'm also fortunate to have not been the victim of too much of this. The benefits of having a blog that floats under the radar of the cynics.

    Like you, what I enjoy most about blogging is the connection I have made with readers who have come to be my friends. The opportunities my blog have given me have been mainly non financial and these have been the most rewarding. To inform, to engage and also to let people who have shared some of my experiences know that they are not alone and that hopefully I have been able to articulate at least some of the feelings we have all felt,

    Take care Carly and please keep going with your wonderful blog!!

    SSG xxx

    Sydney Shop Girl blog

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  25. I've never felt particularly included or wanted as a blogger in the wider blogging community. Sure I've made some bloggy friends, but I have always felt that there has been some sort of exclusive club of the high-profile bloggers that I am just not part of and never will be.

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  26. Carly, I love this post! And I'll admit, while I'm hear that I'm a bit of a lurker on your blog because I often read it on my phone and don't get to comment.

    There's a lot of talk about a shift and A lists and exclusivity. I think you're right that PR and Brands have a LOT to do with that feeling when inviting what THEY see as top bloggers to events.

    I'll also admit to feeling that a bit like a washed out mummy blogger as the newer ones who are better writers and funny shoot their way through.

    But you know, I'm happy with my blog and I still love blogging and will continue doing it and if I can still make a bit of money from it, that's a bonus :)

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  27. Terrific post, Carly. And I say that because you demonstrated with it just why you *are* getting 400+ page views a day; because you write well, with sensitivity and honesty and integrity.

    As others said, people come in all forms. For some, the growing interest by advertisers and PR people in blogs as a platform gives those bloggers new opportunities to make a living, or at least supplement one. It IS really sad when it appears to dilute the quality or intent of their original blog.

    It's also really sad when it begins to make people feel unworthy, as advertisers pick and choose based on their brand profiles. That's a BIG change in a community which used to be all about sharing feelings, ideas and writing in a way that generally felt safe and supported.

    Bottom line: keep being you, Carly. I know I don't have to say that. The landscape has changed; that can't be undone. The blogs that last, the people who continue to inspire and grow and craft beautiful posts will do so, and no advertiser's rankings can touch that. x

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  28. Hi Carly!

    This is a subject I'm a little torn on. I've been a blogger for coming up on three years. I don't have any commercial PR on my blog, however, I do a bit for not-for-profits every now and then.

    I also started working in PR earlier this year and have actively been engaging bloggers with regards to events coverage and reviews/giveaways of the brands we look after. We know the reach of bloggers just as we do with other forms of media, hence why we work with them. Often bloggers will approach us because they are interested in the brands we look after.

    I can honestly say that we don't try to create any tension between bloggers. We form relationships with certain bloggers, just as we do with journalists, while always keeping an eye out for new opportunities. But that's just the agency I work for, I can't speak for all PR's.

    The way I see it is if the blogger isn't interested in the product or in PR in general, then that's completely fine. It's exactly the same with print/broadcast media.

    I know I blog to build my profile as a writer, I'm currently completing a journalism degree and I find writing a blog and guest posting on other blogs acts as an online portfolio.

    But that's just me, all bloggers are different.

    Kate :)

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  29. I've been blogging for nearly 5 years, and its only been the past 12 months that I've dipped my toes into the "mummy" blogosphere. What an eye opener!! I didn't know there were events, and PR opportunities, and ways to make money from your blog. I was happy plodding along, sharing my scrapbooking layouts and family stories. I have been invited to a couple of events, both of which I wasn't able to attend; and I've done some PR stuff...but only for companies where I have a genuine interest. Its hard to balance out the fun writing with promo stuff. Your post really struck a chord with me Carly. I have watched twitter from the sidelines too and wondered why I wasn't at xyz event. I should be more worried about what's going on in my own family circle that I can control. Blogging is meant to be fun, not cause depression, jealousy and sadness.

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  30. I think the change in blogging is happening because reading them is becoming more and more mainstream. Advertisers are seeing an opportunity and people are taking advantage of that.

    That said I have stopped reading a couple of blogs that I felt were basically becoming a continue advert. I love a review, as long as it is an honest personal one, but otherwise, count me out.

    For me I can't imagine ever having advertising on my blog, or doing sponsored reviews, but that is possibly because my audience is so tiny that I can't imagine ever being asked either!

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  31. I'm going to be honest with you. I don't really understand your gripe.

    Blogging is generally an even playing field. Almost anyone can start a blog, write about anything they want. In fact I am sure that there are thousands of Aussie blogs in existence. Blog content (which the author is responsible for) is what determines the size of your audience. People like your content, reader numbers go up. Which brings me to my next point.

    I don't know how you expect 'every blogger' to be invited to every event. Of course it's going to be exclusive, of course most of the authors of the thousands of blogs I mentioned earlier ARE going to be left out. The invite list line has to be drawn somewhere. To borrow a line from Heidi Klum, sometimes you will be in and sometimes you will be out. It's just the way it is.

    If you don't like it I suggest protesting against the whole sponsorship/PR/advertising influence. Don't seek sponsorship, don't advertise, don't attend events. But I read you are seeking sponsorship for your trip next year and I am sure I have read sponsored posts here for products reviewed by you (disclosed, but sponsored none the less). So that is why I really don't get your gripe. It seems to me you are just a little hurt that you have been left out once or twice. I haven't seen you advocating for bloggers that were left out of events that you WERE invited to.

    My thoughts on this issue are just to stay true to your blog. If readers like your content they will return. For blogs heading to deep into sponsorship and advertising, readers will get annoyed with that and stop visiting. Therefore their blog will suffer and lose the sponsorship and advertising. I'm not against these things (sponsorship, events, advertising), I'm just saying its a game and there is a fine line. Play the game correctly and your blog will prosper, play the game incorrectly and you will fall flat on your face.

    Instead of having a whinge about blogging being so exclusive, it may do you good to review the content of your blog and see if there is anything you can change to attract more readers. (This isn't directed specifically at you Carly, just in general). Attracting more readers may bring you the 'exclusivity' you desire.

    OR just keep blogging and stop coveting invites! That's what I do!

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  32. Dana, re advocating for bloggers who did attend/were invited to an event - interestingly I recently attended an event which I believed was an inclusive blogger event not pitched at any genre. And when the speakers came on, their pitch was for mummy bloggers. I actually did speak to the organizers about this, stating that the event became exclusive because of the way the mummy blogger focus left out the wider blogging community. I initially didn't want to write about that on this post to avoid being mean/critical of a particular event.

    You do make good points and when writing this post I have considered pulling out of the sponsorship side of things as it may seem like a contradiction. But I read Lizosaurus's posts about her similar feelings and think that it is ok to be discerning about the sponsors we choose to run.

    I know every Blogger is different and some are in it for the money and some are in it for the love. Im doing it For the love. And it does sadden me that writing can be compromised, but again, everyone is different. Some people blog because they can and love to write, others blog because they want to sell.
    Blogging is a tricky balance.
    I find that when blogging feels like work - When I have to meet a deadline or do somethig in return, it isn't as fun as writing for myself and an appreciative audience.

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  33. Well said !!!! And especially with regard to people who make 'anonymous' comments. If you have the time to read the blog, you have the time to sign in , and if you truly believe in what you are saying, put your name and face to it like the majority of us bloggers do ! If you dont like it, why read it? (sorry for ranting but I have had so many blogger friends upset over that happening that it really makes me angry LOl)

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  34. grrr. I wrote a realllllly long comment to this but it didn't really make any sense and was all over the place. I agree totally with how shit that "invitation" to enter a competition for the xmas party that was only for food bloggers, was. I was befuddled and disappointed to say the least. I deleted it while thinking "wtf?". But I didn't feel left out - just thought it was a stupid marketing decision.
    I hope you get a kick-arse sponsor for blogher though!

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  35. I also hope you get a kick arse sponsor for BlogHer.

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  36. Good on you for such honesty! I'm obviously not online enough as I've not thankfully witnessed any bitchiness but can certainly atone to the odd "wonder how you get invited to those gigs" line of thought.

    Bravo for those 400 page views a day too - am not even close to that! And anon commenters are complete cowards - its like being rude to someone when you are a guest in their home. Poor form!


    Just do as you have done and enjoy x

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  37. I agree and I have to say that the offers aren't restricted to just "mummy bloggers" but it tends to be groups that the PR companies stick with. The same people getting offered the same stuff.
    It's hard to take, especially when it's something you've been chasing or you're trying to make a crack.

    Chin up and know that not everyone wants to read the nitty gritty parenting stuff and because of that you will always have people coming back, and it would be silly of a brand not to notice this, that you capture an entirely different auidience too.

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  38. Thank you for this Carly...it is hard to be authentic when sometimes it feels like a secret club that is hard to break in to (and then that sneaky thought that you're unsure if you wanted to be there anyways). I had a piece on Mamamia last week and the hideous 'guest' comments can really dent your honesty, enthusiasm and passion for the written word. I agree with one of your earlier commenters I don't know which ones are A list but as a reader I know what i'm searching for and it isnt a bucketload of ads x

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  39. What a great post and a great conversation. I can say that I have seen and experienced the cliques, but I find that in my corner of the blogosphere (the design/art/inspiration corner) that I've found everyone to be really open and welcoming. We all blog about things that we love and things that inspire us, including other blogs, so I like to think it's a pretty inclusive group on the whole.

    I've also been really lucky to avoid negative comments, but I imagine that's in large part because people go to my blog to be inspired, so they're not in a critical frame of mind. Blogs like yours challenge your readers to think and obviously (and unfortunately) some people don't seem to enjoy that. Why they don't just close the big red X will always remain a mystery to me, though! ;)

    It's a shame other corners of the blogosphere aren't quite the same, but to some extent I think it's inevitable. Groups form, local people meet and catch up, people collaborate. It's like life offline. Some people hit it off, others not so much. PR and marketing companies are also targeting very specific demographics with very specific types of bloggers, but perhaps this will branch out and diversify as more brands become aware of the reach of other kinds of bloggers too.

    I've only done a handful of sponsored posts and I still feel a little guilty sharing them, even if I'm confident my readers will like or enjoy it. I must confess though, it still amazes me the amount of emails I get from PR firms asking me to share their products to no actual benefit of myself or my readers. Hopefully they'll catch on soon!

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  40. Hi girl...
    Really well written text!
    I am sad to say that this goes one in every country all over the world. The sad part is that when everything comes down to how much monet you can make/what events you can go to...I think you can loose focus VERY fast!

    I can only say why I blog, and why I don`t want to go to every event I get invited to? There is always the expectation that when you are invited something nice must be written about that particular brand..."just because you got invited" - You may have gotten crappy service/people hosting the events may have treated you like crap...but hey...at least you were lucky enough to get invited!

    In these cases I usually write a short post with photos, but that is all...I give them no more credit then I hav to..

    However if they were nice I will tell the world...you have to stay true to you after all it is your blog:)

    As far as a "bloggin world divided" - what I see is this...some of these so called "in bloggers" are the once with the most crappy layouts/ writing styles/ no original work...and really bad photography!

    Once PR firms (and many more) gets over this who is the hottest right now type thing, and instead starts to focus on quality there is not much we can do:)

    Do your thing girl,and really believe that what you are doing is the right thing:)

    Bye from Norway...

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  41. I'm brand new to blogging (so new I only have four posts lol) but I agree. I've been following certain blogs for a few months now and have noticed one person in particular sell themselves out to advertisers. Their blog has become nothing but a tiring chore to read and they have developed quite an attitude about themselves due to their growing publicity. I believe this publicity will be fleeting and what they have gained in the meantime will not make up for what they've lost in the long run.

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  42. Blogging is different now than it used to be, but I still like the atmosphere. There are great bloggers and bad ones, just be careful. chinese astrology compatibility

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  43. I started my blog a little over a year ago... after being inspired by yours! I love that you just talk about life, the things you love and those that challenge you. Just keep doing what you are doing, your readers obviously enjoy it! Be true to yourself and if that involves a bit of advertising or sponsorship, along with your musings of life, well, I think that's ok :-)

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  44. I normally classify the blogs I peruse into 'professional' and 'personal'. Too many ads or PR stunts and I'll consider it 'professional' and am less likely to follow it or leave comments on it and I definitely don't click through to ads!

    I guess I always prefer an insight into someone's life rather than an insight into their funding. Much more inspirational.

    And yours is definitely an inspirational blog Carly, with a lot of support. Ignore the parts of the blogging world you don't like.

    xo

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    1. Why won't you click through on ads? I never understand this. Why is a professional 'personal' or lifestyle blog suddenly less interesting once the owner tries to make income off of all their hard work?

      I find it bizarre that people take issue with paid advertisements and that they would make a conscious decision not to click through. It seems mean-spirited to me.

      That being said, I see Carly's point about the cliqueyness of it all.

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  45. Like some other commenters have mentioned here, I consider you to be an A-list blogger Carly :)
    I have luckily never experienced any "in-crowd" moments, but I have had my share of nasty Anon comments, so I feel your pain there.
    Just know that your readers love what you do, and hope you never stop blogging! xx

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  46. I think the "popularity contest" is bizarre, simply because the angst it seems to cause on all sides is just odd. I have been blogging for 12 years, about 5? of them on my current blog. I don't review things, I don't have ads and I'm not exactly sure how many clicks I get a day. I know I get some, because sometimes people comment! But I never started blogging for this, and it's so artificial when people do.

    Because I've always just blogged as an egotistical, cathartic outpouring of me, the new proliferation of mumzilla blogs with glitzy pictures, flash advertising and keen PR sells with tips to get more readers (with no content) have largely washed over me. But you'd have to be living on Mars to not see the new Mummy wars brewing.

    People blog for all sorts of reasons, and those "popular" blogs are like magazines that people flip through in the checkout at the supermarket. They're fine while you're stuck in line, but do they personally speak to anyone?

    My favourite, all time blogs are little ones I've stumbled on, where I've tentatively "made friends" with someone based on the pure chance of meeting through a blog that resonated with me.

    You are a lovely writer, and when you write things that you mean, others will connect as well - even if they don't invite you to their parties (because, if they're anything like me, they're too busy enjoying wearing pyjamas +/- fuzzy slippers).

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  47. This is a really thoughtful article, I have only blogged for 1 month but I have read blogs for many years and I do see what you are talking about here. But I have to say you are a breath of fresh air, lots of positivity and you inspire me x

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  48. Wow wow wow!!! Thank you all so much for contributing to this discussion. I didn't expect it to resonate for this many people - the commenters here, twitter and Facebook, plus the readers who haven't commented too! Wow.

    Above that, thank you all for the lovely praise of my writing, blog and integrity. It means a lot. When I wrote this post I wasn't doing it to seek praise. Si I really do thank you For all your kind words. :)

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  49. I very much admire your candour and writing style Carly. As for the details of which you speak, I can't really comment from experience because I'm small fry and not chasing opportunities. PR's will always go for the profiles that fit their needs.

    I completely and utterly relate to the concept of compromise and competition though. I don't want to read blogs that aren't in the voice of the blogger I've come to enjoy. I don't like promotions that pit bloggers against eachother in popularity contests. Why have I never seen a Vote for your Favourite Blog POST campaign? (What about the *writing* did you love, how did it make you *feel*?)

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  50. Great piece! Well like you say blogging is getting away from being a forum for debate and going more corporate. It is bad in a way but in another way it is meaning I can earn from my blog instead of just having PR people think I will advertise their products for free! Now they know they must pay. Love your blog and just keep on doing what you're doing!

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  51. Every time I think like this, I go and write a random blog post about something mundane. Simply putting words on the screen washes away any sads. Xx

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  52. i get invited to a couple of things but im by no means a fancy blogger, nor do i have time to be.

    i loved this post :)

    x

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  53. Very inspiring Carly, all this useless noise gets in the way of my writing sometimes, thanks for reminding me of why I first started blogging. Nx

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  55. I'm with Paul and a few of the other commenters. I think blog advertising is totally crude and is very similar to television advertising in the 1950s.
    Furthermore, the 'blogosphere' is not a place, it's a fabrication: it's like we're bringing all of our real world baggage into the online world, when actually blogging and the internet are not at all like high school if we choose to follow our own tune and write about our passions. Really, there is a huge wide world out there waiting for great content.
    If you're looking to PR to validate your blogging, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Your blog clearly touches many people with your authenticity and your credibility and kindness: I think that's your validation right there. You don't need PR invites to feel good, you are good and your readers and the relationships you are building are evidence of this.
    I'm tempted to say, don't take it personally ... but I guess that's hard when your blog IS personal. If it really bothers you that much, maybe use your voice to empower your audience. That way, it's still your voice, but not so much about you as a person.
    Good luck. x

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  56. Hi carly, I have been an avid reader of blogs for a while and have only just become one myself! I blog to raise awareness on recycling, fairtrade and all things handmade. I want to see growth and appreciation in these areas. Blogging is a whole new world and some of your points I have already seen. BUT I intend to keep pushing my message in the most engaging positive way and you are the perfect role model. Thanks for sharing your honest feelings and never change YOU! belindax

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  57. I love the way you have written this Carly and I've thought about it some more. I think, at the end of the day, you've just gotta do what you do and not worry about what others are up to. If you're keen to get in with PR companies and brands then there are certain things you know you can do to get there. The question is... would you want to?

    x

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  58. I think it's much the same the world over. I get discouraged when I write my heart out and I'm overlooked even though my blog might get more traffic or be rated independently higher than other blogs. But it is what it is. There is always going to be a more popular/better-looking/richer/whatever kid out there than me. If I'm going to keep blogging I have to do it for me, and anything else is a bonus.
    I had my first recent run-in with 'anonymous' and then actual named nasty trolls and it was pretty gut-wrenching. I wanted to get in there and defend myself but it would have turned into a war and overtaken my blog. And that's not what my blog is about. So I acted on advice and removed the comments, including those of people who supported me (because they were in turn attacked by the trolls and they did not deserve that).
    As for the mummy blogger niche - it's not restricted to that niche. I know food, travel, craft, fashion bloggers etc, who experience similar situations. And I've found myself at events for young trendy peeps like yourself and have definitely found myself making my excuses and leaving early as I'm clearly out of place.
    It is what it is.
    Keep blogging, you know I love your work. x

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  59. I got that same email too, even though I am in Tassie and wouldn't be able to go to any Melbourne event, I thought why would I bother writing that just to get an invite. Seems the same people keep getting invited and the rest miss out. I am happy just plodding along, blogging for myself, occasionally I might get an opportunity for an ad but if it happens then yay, but I am not going to sell out for just anything.

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  60. Wow. When you talk about a "great post"....This is one.
    I appreciate that you have taken the time to write this. I share the same feelings as you.
    Initially when i started blogging I felt there was a spirit of support and a sense of community, that no one was better than anyone else. I felt that there was less competition and more equality.
    Now I feel that it is competitive. I don't like that. I don't need to compete. I have a good career as an ICU nurse. I use and treat blogging as a hobby. I enjoy taking photos, I enjoy writing posts, I enjoy reading comments, I enjoy going onto twitter and talking with others about the best eyeliner! That is why I love blogging, because it gives me a sense of enjoyment. I feel like people are actually interested in me. Especially when I receive comments. It is heartwarming. I don't want to lose these feelings. These feelings make me happy.
    On the whole though I have met some amazing people and made some great friends from blogging. This is what keeps me going.
    Carly, after speaking with a number of other bloggers- we are not alone. This post you have written is what has been on the minds of many bloggers recently.
    I am glad you wrote it.
    Thankyou

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  61. I'd say this is the most level-headed "rant" I'd ever read. I'm entering the world of blogging soon and have decided against advertisers before I even start. A single sponsor, so long as it's a good match for my audience, I'll accept. Thanks for this.

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