Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Opinion: Why It's Ok To Blog For A Hobby

Let's be clear first and foremost- I love, read and enjoy lots of blogs that are full time businesses run by people who put a just value on their profession, their time, their brand and what they do. I'm not judging or criticising these people, they do a great job, producing content that is out of this world and they do so, for the most part with great integrity.

 I repeat: this is not an attack on blogs as businesses, but a response to those who seem to think it's just plain wrong that monetisation isn't for everyone

I blog as a hobby. I started my blog that way and I still enjoy it that way. I have zero designs on making it my full time job because the two businesses I manage present me with more than enough challenges in an average hour to keep me occupied and interested. And I'm lucky like that, I know.

But in a time where my Popular Posts feed is filled with advice on monetising my blog and tips on how to build my brand or the posts which speak of the blogs who devalue the hard work of those who do charge for their time, it seems that it's 'not the done thing' to run your blog as your hobby, and be happy about it.

Talking about being kind to yourself on my blog this evening. #bodymode30daychallenge #day8
Me, my blog & I

So let's address this properly...

To those who say I devalue what they do because I don't charge brands or companies to write about them or link back to them..... 

I say.... I don't solicit advertising campaigns or payment of any kind (including goods or services) in return for what I write. I write about things I've bought, seen or experienced and there's no reason I shouldn't do so. I never set out to write advertising or marketing copy, and my purpose isn't to market or advertise. I'm not doing the same thing as you for free, not if you're charging a brand to write a specific post, with a specific purpose to a deadline, and therefore I'm not undermining you and your work.

To those who say I lack ambition, and why don't I want to be the best I can be.... 

I say... I have a job I love that comes with a whole host of lifestyle perks that I worked hard for. I don't want to give those up for my hobby, which though enjoyable, would take up far more time, encroach far more on my personal life and provide more financial instability than I'm prepared for. I like to run and cycle, it doesn't mean I want to be a world class athlete, and that's ok too. It's not always about being the very best at something, but appreciating that something for the benefits it gives you at whatever level you choose to pursue it.

Off on a road trip.
Still taking mirror selfies and I don't care

To those who wonder why would anyone read my blog when it doesn't contain editorial content and professional photography....

I say... I don't know why they read. I suspect it has something to do with the difference between magazines and blogs aside the print. I write about my own personal experiences- the good, the bad and the ugly. My posts are brutally honest precisely because I'm not paid to write them. That's not to say that you won't find frank, honest and personal content on a professional blog, but without having to worry about whether I will secure my next ad campaign or brand collaboration, I can be as , critical, awkward or biased as I want, to put no finer point on it. I'd like to think I'm not rude or biased in a way which might be considered offensive, but I also know that my tone and opinions are not suited to lots of brands and businesses, and were my livelihood to depend on those brands and businesses, I might just have to be more considered about where and how I voice my opinions and experiences,

But there's no community left in blogging and everyone's in it for themselves anyway...

I think this is the single most irritating thing I read on a regular basis. Community is formed by interaction, if you don't comment on other people's blogs or reply to comments and tweets yourself, then no, there won't be community. If you post about your personal experiences and don't respond to the people that try and reach out to you, please don't say there's no friendship and community in the online world. If you go to an event and you aren't prepared to do someone the courtesy of a greeting or small talk, then you're not helping either. I have found blogging of the last 12-18 months to be more community focussed than ever before- I've interacted with more people, seen less of the clique-esque groups forming and continue to enjoy friendships with people who I first contacted and met via my blog and my use of Twitter (which I only ever joined because of my blog). Rarely to do you find such a clear example as blogging gives, of the principle of 'you get out what you put in'.

I read and enjoy lots of blogs. Some of my favourites include professional, editorial style content and more of favourites chronicle life, loves and disasters on a very human level. Other favourites are still full time jobs and businesses for people but come with a personal element. As has been said before- blogging is a new and emerging industry and idea, one that is changing every day and as it does, maybe it's time we stopped idolising what came before and started enjoying the development that brings us new and exciting things. Especially the diversity that is those enjoying their hobby and taking mirror selfies in their bedrooms to those shooting professionally and being featured by major international brands.


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