Bloggers, Blogging and the Blogosphere

I watched Media Watch on the ABC last night as there was to be a segment on ‘the rise of personal bloggers’ often referred to as ‘Mummy Bloggers’.  Personally, I don’t like the term ‘Mummy Bloggers’ much at all.  Well at least in regards to myself.  I find it a tad demeaning – but that may be because my children are older now so I feel that I personally don’t fit that “mummy” category.   Maybe if I were mum to little ones it would feel more appropriate and less offensive?  Anyhow, why can’t bloggers just be referred to as “bloggers”, regardless of whether they are male or female, mothers or fathers?  Do we ever hear of “daddy bloggers”….I think not! Hmmm…

The segment was more about the bigger bloggers who have 20 – 30,000+ unique visitors per month.  Unique visitors are returning viewers/readers.  Most of the bloggers mentioned I am aware of and admire and some I follow – hence my interest.  Here’s a link to the segment:

There is a lot of debate around lately about whether bloggers are journalists.   In my humble opinion, bloggers are publishing for public consumption so in that respect they are journalists.  However, there are bloggers who have previously worked as qualified journalists and there are bloggers who have no prior journalism experience, so therein lies the crux of the debate I suppose!

As pointed out in the segment, bloggers mostly have loyal and supportive followers (obviously because people choose to follow them!) and comments on their posts generally reflect that, whereas mainstream media often has to contend with quite a lot of scathing comments and feedback on their stories.  If bloggers get any nasty or uncomplimentary comments, they can choose to not approve/publish them and can ban any nasty riff raff if they choose to.  They can also freely state that intention on their blogs.

Many of the bigger bloggers can earn a good income from their blogs with sponsored posts and advertising.  Brands are becoming more and more aware of bloggers and the impact they can have on their product sales.  Many of the bigger bloggers have agents that specialise in connecting bloggers and brands!  As a general rule of thumb, sponsored posts are identified as sponsored posts and blogs that do sponsored posts usually contain a disclosure policy advising that they accept forms of cash advertising, sponsorship etc.   Not all of bigger bloggers choose to do sponsored posts though and I suppose not all blog types are suitable for it.  I guess it depends what your blog is about and whether it is in keeping with your blog’s general focus, and also your need to earn an income!

With regards to my own fledgling blog – started only one month ago –  it’s very early days.  I have a very small following and I’m still learning about the ‘blogosphere’ – not to mention twitter (#newbiealert).  My blog is evolving as I go along.  I think it will always be evolving and I think that is a good thing!  Whether I ever become one of those bigger bloggers remains to be seen but is unlikely and has never been my  intention or the aim behind starting my blog.  Regardless, it is fascinating to observe the bigger bloggers and to learn from them.

In order to better understand blogging and the blogosphere, I’ve been doing some reading about blogging from various sources and there is much to know and learn about the in’s and out’s of being a blogger in the blogosphere.  It’s exciting but it can also be a little overwhelming.

My opinion, formed over my whole big long month of blogging (haha), is that the best approach for a new blogger is to YES read and learn about blogging but be careful to not let what you read cause you to stray off track.  Stay true to yourself.  Dig deep and let your true self flow into your words.  Develop your own individual and unique blogging voice and style and let your blog naturally evolve so that it makes YOU happy – and hopefully along the way it will also become of interest to others.  Also, remember that there is nothing wrong with being small.  Often from small things, big things grow.  I have to keep reminding myself of this one!

Though I enjoy reading all the blogging advice and guidance out there, it is very easy to get caught up in all the hoo ha about how to get larger readership, what are the best fancy plug-ins and who does the best web designs and how to make money from your blog, that it can detract from the soul and original purpose of your blog.  This is especially true and important for a new blogger where the focus really needs to lie on establishing your blog’s focus or purpose and producing good content.

Nevertheless, it is very interesting observing and being aware of how the bigger bloggers became big and I think it is wonderful that bloggers have the potential to earn an income from their blogs.  Afterall, a lot of passion, work and time goes in to them!