When Did Blogging Become a Dirty Word?

When Did Blogging Become a Dirty Word?

It was a little over six years ago now, that I first tried my hand at blogging. As many of you know, before this one I had a family lifestyle blog called 3 Children and It. Without wanting to ‘blow my own trumpet’ it was relatively successful and by that, I mean that I had repeat readers, an engaged audience and was regularly nominated for blog awards.

I largely put its ‘success’ down to the fact that I didn’t shy away from sharing the nitty gritty of family life. In many ways, I wish that I’d had the guts to pursue my original blog. People need raw honesty in difficult times and the ‘me too’ aspect that blogging provides can feel like a breath of fresh air when you need it most. However, when my brood hit secondary school age, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that one day they might hate me for it, so this new blog was born.

You would think that after pursuing a hobby for six years, I would be 100% confident about owning it. I mean, why spend a good chunk of your week doing something if you’re not prepared to tell anyone about it?

After 6 years, blogging still makes me wince

Two things happened in the last month, to make me realise that I still haven’t got over this crippling embarrassment.

I was recently telling a friend how difficult I find answering the question: ‘What do you do?‘. The easy answer is: ‘I work part-time in our business and do some freelance social media management on the side‘.  When my friend responded with the words ‘But isn’t your main role a blogger?‘ I winced. In fact I think that I physically recoiled!

The truth is, I don’t see myself as a Blogger (capital ‘B’ intended) and even after six long years, I do not feel comfortable talking about my blog in public, with real people.

This became apparent when I felt compelled to share a blog post on my personal Facebook profile a few weeks ago. I knew that some people might find the content helpful but I’m not lying when I say that I deliberated over whether to hit the ‘post’ button for about two hours prior!

Why is blogging something to be ashamed of?

Okay so we already know that my embarrassment is probably born out of my own ridiculous insecurities but what does everyone else think?

Something I’m becoming increasingly aware of, is that I am not the only person who sees blogging as something to be ashamed of. As more and more people are choosing blogging as a career, an increasing number of people are shouting out against it.

When my friend mentioned (not at all in a negative way I might add) that blogging is the thing that I do, yes I felt embarrassed but certainly not because I don’t think it’s a legitimate career.

Why is blogging not seen as a legitimate career?

Whilst I do make the occasional pocket money out of blogging, I don’t imagine it will ever be anything but a hobby for me (if I can’t tell my friends I write a blog then what chance do I have of hitting the big time?!).

For many people however, blogging is their one source of income and it’s proving to be a very lucrative one. If the ACA are now writing clear rules and guidelines around disclosure for bloggers and influencers, then they are recognising it as an increasingly popular career choice and we need to do the same.

Let me tell you, blogging for money is flipping hard work. To be a successful and lucrative blogger, you need to be super organised, confident, skilled with words, technically able, creative (photography is a big part of it), a good communicator and open to learning new skills (this online world moves so blooming fast).

If people are prepared to pay for someone to write good content and publish it on the internet, why shouldn’t it be seen as an acceptable career choice?

What’s the point?

You might well ask; in fact I ask myself this on a weekly basis where blogging is concerned. BUT I love writing and even though I only make a little pocket money from it, I don’t envisage giving up blogging any time soon.

To anyone who is making a living out of blogging however, I say good luck to you! If you can earn good money from something that you love doing, then why on earth wouldn’t you? I’ve come to the conclusion that the naysayers are either jealous or ignorant.

If you’re a blogger, do you come across a lot of negativity? If you’re not a blogger, what do you think about those who make a living out of it? I would love to hear your views.

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20 Comments

  1. October 11, 2018 / 6:47 am

    Very interesting piece, Suzanne. I’ve never really identified as a blogger, more a writer. I guess it’s because I don’t earn very much cold hard cash from blogging, I’e always just written what I feel like writing, and occasionally I collaborate with brands who I genuinely adore. I have never done a paid collab with a company I don’t believe in. Unfortunately there are too many shoddy bloggers out there, taking every few ££ they can, writing rubbish content. Yes it’s always been the case, but it’s definitely worse now, and people are so weary of those who churn out ad after ad, with little original content.The worse thing as far as I’m concerned, is when these people try and “write from the heart” it’s totally pants, because they’re not very authentic (not everyone is!). Some people are amazing photographers, some are great writers, some just aren’t either and shouldn’t bother blogging. Instagram is full of people calling themselves “influencers” purely because they have a few thousand followers. Some of the US bloggers are mind boggling in all the wrong ways. The constant bullying and nastiness that goes on is absolutely shameful. No wonder it’s become a dirty word 🙁

    • Suzanne W
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 1:42 pm

      Yes I think lots of people focus on the few that really do not do the world of blogging any favours! I’m the same as you really Renee – do the occasional collaboration if I’m really interested in a brand or topic. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

  2. Nicolette Bencini
    October 11, 2018 / 6:51 am

    I love reading blogs so I’m a fan ! Maybe it’s like marmite people either love it or hate it xx well said Suz xx

    • Suzanne W
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 3:04 pm

      I keep waiting for yours, Nico! xx

  3. October 11, 2018 / 7:13 am

    Well you’re not wrong in saying it’s flipping hard work! And it’s a funny old thing. While half the people roll their eyes at bloggers, the other half err towards having deep respect for us!

    • Suzanne W
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 1:40 pm

      Yes I think you’re right. It’s probably just a difference in the way people react when they don’t know much about something – awe or disgust!

  4. October 11, 2018 / 9:31 am

    I tend to say “I write/have a blog” rather than that I AM a blogger, possibly because of my own feelings about how I’ve never been a “proper” blogger. I also agree with Renee, there are “influencers” claiming to be “bloggers” on Instagram who’ve never written a single fully formed post, which has definitely given blogging a bad name

    • Suzanne W
      Author
      October 13, 2018 / 3:04 pm

      Yes that does make it sound better, doesn’t it Lara? I think I do the same; kind of plays it down a bit!

  5. October 11, 2018 / 9:58 am

    This is so interesting. I have only really recently started telling people I’m a blogger because it is almost my only income stream these days. And I think you’re right about both the ignorance and the jealousy. It seems that everyone wants advice on how to blog or make their business social media platforms successful but very few people are actually willing to put in the hard work required to make a success of it. People also see all the ‘stuff’ bloggers get and resent it, unable to understand the amount of work that has gone into getting to that point. I never intended to blog as a career, it’s definitely something I’ve fallen into. But that doesn’t detract from the days when I’d stay up until 3am working in order to make ends meet, whilst also building up the blog because I had realised that it was a better way to earn a living than what I was doing at the time. These days, people ask me how to succeed at blogging and can’t understand why they’re not yet successful when they’ve been spending a couple of hours once a week on it. I think that shows how misunderstood it is as a profession and how little understanding people have of the amount of time it takes up.
    Nat.x

  6. Amanda
    October 11, 2018 / 10:44 am

    I find most blogs at the moment so detatched from what I originally thought of as blogs. The change in direction from rather modest almost diary like posts have been replaced with what seems like glossy magazine advertisements. Whilst I recognise the hard work and effort that goes in to maintaining a blog nowadays, I just don’t like the vast majority. It feels like every post os now trying to tell me what to buy, cook or wear…I miss the posts which were just an honest outpouring of how their week was without trying to fit the narrative around selling cleaning products. I realise this is my problem, blogging has moved on whilst I’m stuck in the past, maybe this new generation of blogs needs a new name?!

  7. October 11, 2018 / 11:37 am

    I’m exactly the same as you, I will never be a successful blogger because I’m too embarrassed by it all. I don’t tell many people and I don’t promote posts very often.

    I have a Instagram ad scheduled to go live tonight and yet I’m dreading pressing publish because I’m worried what people will think. Yet I constantly tell my children to be brave and proud! Do what makes them happy and not to care about what people think. We all need to practice what we preach!!

  8. October 11, 2018 / 12:36 pm

    A really interesting post Suzanne, and I have to admit I was never comfortable being a blogger and oddly, the time when I loved it the most was when we were experiencing secondary infertility. During what was the toughest time of my life it was my place to get all my thoughts out and it genuinely helped to get me through a really hard couple of years. The messages I received from other women in similar situations were so supportive and made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
    Once George came along and life got busier I just didn’t feel that I had anything worthwhile to say anymore, and gradually maintaining a blog became a chore rather than anything enjoyable. I still pop over and read some of my favourite blogs (that’s how I spotted your post) but not many anymore. The blogging world is so different from a few years ago and I think the community feel that was there isn’t the same which is quite sad.

  9. October 11, 2018 / 1:46 pm

    That’s got me thinking. Everyone’s comments are interesting too. I’ve been blogging 8 years. I’ll never be big, but that sits fine with me. I’m old school, diary type. I do it for fun and an outlet for creativity, not as an income. I have a steady following that subscribe, so I must be doing something right. I do read other blogs, mainly for inspiration and because I like them, but the ones that are ad after ad, I skip. Also the ones that seem desperate for attention. The follow/unfollow type. I do believe there is plenty of room for everyone and they must have their followers. People comment less and that may be down to the sheer number of blogs out there, or I wonder if it is something else, but I miss those connections.

  10. October 11, 2018 / 2:08 pm

    I think there is a lot of jealousy and also a big lack of understanding about blogging is – partly because it is such a huge range of things from an online diary with a handful of readers to a glossy commercial enterprise with thousands of readers. Like you, I make a bit of pocket money off mine and I’m going to be controversial and say that it’s a lot easier than my freelance work! The rate of pay is at least four or five times higher than I earn as a freelancer, so I will work on the occasional commercial post to boost my income, even though my blog is ‘only’ really a rather time-consuming hobby.

  11. October 11, 2018 / 3:56 pm

    Suzanne,

    I wondered why you were asking Sarah which year the two of you started blogging!
    Back in the day, I used to read a lot of interesting blogs, of which some have vanished from the internet, and others haven’t been updated for a long time. There are always new blogs starting up, but I agree with the commenters who have said that usually these new ones seem more commercialised and less “real-life”.
    Where do the new generation of bloggers find the time and energy for writing the text, taking the photos, publishing a post every day, responding to comments, leaving comments on other blogs, publicising the blog on social media, reviewing products and services and days out and holidays, networking at blogging conferences — as well as running a home, bringing up children, doing the school-run, and working part-time or even full-time? No doubt they are young and highly motivated. Have they drafted someone else in to help them? — if a blog is claimed to be the work of one person, but is really a collaborative effort, that might account for the air of unreality about it. Or… could it be that some of the content of the blog is fiction masquerading as fact? — but that’s such a ridiculous idea, bloggers would never do anything so dishonest…
    Why has blogging become something of a dirty word? Perhaps those of us who have made blogging their main or only source of income are both a new type of journalist and a new type of salesperson. And we all know that journalists and salespeople, rightly or wrongly, are held in pretty low regard by the general public.

  12. October 11, 2018 / 10:41 pm

    I loved reading this Suzanne, you really need to get past it and own it as this blog and its predecessor are wonderful and very authentic. I still love blogging and mine has changed, as like you my kids got older and I didn’t feel I could share eveyrthing i used to and also I do make good money off my blog nowadays. I don’t compromise what I believe though, payday loans, gambling etc etc all get turned down. Mich x

  13. October 12, 2018 / 10:03 am

    Great post!
    Blogging is my job; I will happily tell people that, but I do find the balance between being authentic and too advertorial very hard to get right. Too many have tipped into it being ALL about product reviews and it’s got a bit boring and samey, frankly.
    I agree; I don’t think that there are many great blogs I love to read any more. I like opinions/thoughts/life stories/real life and people just don’t seem to have the time (or inclination) to produce this. I struggle to find ones that constantly draw me back.
    However, those folk that love to blog and write always will. And I do think blogs still have a place in the modern day, but the content has to be truly worth clicking on x

  14. October 12, 2018 / 1:06 pm

    Great post, Suzanne, I can really identify with this one. I too cringe when people ask me what I do. I don’t really know why – perhaps because it might be seen as frivolous? Most people have surprised me by being very positive in their reactions though -I think the problem is with me! xx

  15. October 13, 2018 / 2:11 pm

    This is really interesting. I have no problems using the word ‘blogger’ in my bio online and writing it down. I love my blog and writing on it. But in real life? I say I’m a ‘freelance writer’ and get a bit vague…

  16. October 16, 2018 / 9:20 pm

    Like Renee, I tend to think of myself more as a writer (who happens to have a blog) than a blogger. It’s a shame that some people take such a dim view of ‘blogging’ as a viable full or part-time career, just because it’s a relatively new profession. Yes, there are some who give blogging a bad name – but that is true in any industry. The biggest problem is that some people don’t want to understand or believe that blogging can be a genuine ‘job’, but that will change over time.

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