This question – why are bloggers so competitive – has perplexed me for a while.
It’s something that comes up time and time again in the blogosphere:
“Blogging is so competitive!”
“It’s a dog-eat-dog business!”
“Nobody will help you when you’re a blogger!”
“She was such a b**** when I met her in person!”
This cattiness is something I find absolutely abhorrent, but I’m also in slight disbelief that it actually occurs because my experience as an over 40 blogger has been nothing short of overwhelmingly positive. Yet I hear stories of this sort of thing happening time and time again, and unfortunately I find that it’s amongst the younger bloggers – the 20 somethings and perhaps a few (and I mean a few) 30 somethings who are moaning about the attitudes of their peers.
But why is it like that? And is it really just amongst the younger bloggers? Is it possible to be a successful blogger without getting a reputation for being a b****?
The day I learnt about catty bloggers
I was first made aware of this cattiness amongst bloggers when I went on a (blogging) trip to Paris last year with about six other bloggers – all of whom were in their 20s and 30s. I’d not met any of them before, but they were all lovely girls.
It was a whirlwind 24 hour thing, so the one night we had in the hotel we went to the bar and sat drinking and chatting. The conversation was going well, until it moved onto whether any of us knew a particular blogger personally.
The story that followed really opened my eyes: This very successful blogger had apparently treated the people hosting an event appallingly, in a “Don’t you know who I am” kind of way. My reaction was one of incredulity – I mean, did she think she was Mariah Carey or something? – but as my reaction so often when watching movies about jealous partners or people just being general arseholes is, I just find it hard to believe that these people really exist.
I told the group that as a 40-something I’d never encountered anything like that, and that my community is nothing but supportive, kind and generally wonderful.
I found myself being stared at by several pairs of wide, staring eyes of disbelief.
My description of the blogging community that I’m part of was met with wonder – as if I’d just described the magical mecca of blogging. They couldn’t quite believe that there were bloggers out there who stood up for and supported each other… I mean, how sad (as in upsetting, not as in pathetic) is that?
How the over 40 blogging community is different
After I told them about how much we all support each other (and this was a year ago, before I’d met all the other ladies in the Over40Collective in person), it seemed to trigger a wave of comments that I came across on social media and on blog posts – all bemoaning the fact that blogging was so competitive and bloggers so unsupportive.
(You know when you learn a new word that you’ve never heard before and then you hear it used over and over? It was like that with the statements about other bloggers. It was like the floodgates were opened up – after that nearly every time I chatted to a younger blogger they would mention how everyone was just so darn horrible.)
But what was so very obvious was that it was all younger bloggers saying these things. Not once did I hear a 40+ blogger say that they’d encountered other older bloggers being bitchy at an event, or that they’d been met with arrogance or contempt when communicating with them on social.
I’m really not sure whether it’s the age that we live in, or whether it’s the age that we are. Older women, whilst sometimes thoughtless and catty, are generally too wise and too long in the tooth (and in many cases, too tired) to get into childish squabbles, cat fights and whispering behind each others’ backs. Many older bloggers have already had long careers or been bringing up children for many years (or quite often both), and they just can’t be bothered with behaviour that belongs in a school playground.
So this, in a way, is an open letter to any younger bloggers out there who are either a) thinking that bloggers are all selfish and competitive, and/or b) thinking that being selfish and competitive is the way to get ahead.
Believe me, no one gets anywhere by being like that – maybe in the short term, but not in the long term.
As my mother always says: It’ll come back and bite you in the bum one day, so just don’t do it…!
Some uplifting quotes from 40+ bloggers
As an added extra to the post, I asked my fellow members of the Over40Collective – a professional blogging group I’m (so proud to be) part of – this question:
“In what way has another blogger helped you or someone you know in the past that you thought was really great/helpful/kind etc.? Something that helped you to either sort a problem out, or do something in a much more efficient way, or gave you lots of exposure, or something that led onto something really brilliant?”
Enjoy their answers – and if you know a younger blogger who might like to read these uplifting answers, please do share this post with them…!
(As a final note: Please note that I am most definitely NOT saying that all younger bloggers are like this. It is most definitely a minority… I think just about every single younger-than-me blogger I’ve ever met has been nothing short of absolutely lovely…!)
Liz, What Lizzy Loves
“I started my blog almost three years ago, having done no research and knowing nothing of the technical side. Over the years, I met more and more bloggers online and began to realise just how supportive the blogosphere is. Like-minded, supportive women are just a click (or a Tweet) away.
I tentatively made contact with one of my blogging idols when we were taking part in a competition over two years ago and we have been friends ever since. Now, she sends useful links, shares social media tips and just the other day pointed out that a social media icon was missing from my online boutique. Another blogging friend pointed out that I should be optimizing my image size so my blog loads more quickly. Day after day, these snippets of advice help to make my blog better.
I’m now in the process of helping a friend set up her own website and social media channels, using everything I have learned from my fellow bloggers to do so.”
Michelle, Michelle Tyler
“Soon after I started my blog, someone nominated me for a Liebster Award. This unexpected, seemingly random gesture of kindness was the beginning of an online connection and we quickly became real-life friends.
I realised I had inadvertently stumbled onto the perfect medium for women like me to link up and support one another. Promoting other blogs instead of competing against them is the key to growth for us all.
This thought soon took hold prompting me to reach out to the women bloggers I admired. Before I knew it I had become part of something truly amazing – my new blogger girl squad genuinely wanting each other to succeed!”
Annette, Lady of Style
“The first time I learned about the importance of networking was back in the late 90s and ever since it became an essential part of my professional life. When I started blogging four years ago, I was overwhelmed by the worldwide support amongst 40+ bloggers and soon realised this is the best part about blogging.
Meeting fabulous like-minded women online and IRL who support each other instead of competing against each other immensely helped me grow my blog and social media – it is my aim to give back as much as I can!”
Michelle, The Barefaced Chic
“Before I even launched my blog, I decided to reach out to other mature bloggers and ask one simple question, “What is beauty?” I explained that I would be including the answers I received in one of my first posts. Not every blogger answered the question, but they all answered my email. Every. Single. Blogger. I knew then that I had found a crowd of supportive women who are happy to help each other.
When I published the post it received quite a few tweets and shoutouts – unexpected awesomeness. I am amazed every day at the extent of the positive support (rather than competition) that exists and I am so very, very proud to be a part of it!”
Lisa, The Sequinist
“Madeleine Albright said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” My pre-blogging career was in a very male-dominated industry, so I’d never worked with many women before.
At first I quite liked the idea of blogging because I thought it would be a solitary and independent pursuit, writing about what I love and sharing it. I had NO idea how much I’d come to rely on other bloggers. Almost daily, a blogger teaches me a tech-trick that I didn’t know, promotes one of my posts or, more importantly, encourages me to blog on when I have the classic why-do-I-bother moments.
Madeleine may be right about unhelpful women having a place in hell, but I certainly hope there is a special place in heaven for all of the supportive blogging angels who have helped make my first two years of blogging so rewarding, and SO much more fun than working with men!”
WHAT EXPERIENCES HAVE YOU HAD OF BLOGGERS AND THEIR ATTITUDE? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!
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