Monday, March 22, 2010

B for Blogging & W for WOW

I am so so so so so excited, lovely reader, to tell you about a brilliant new blogging community that’s been started by the fabulous Pam at Pam’s Perspective and the sensational Sandy at It’s a Jungle Out There. It’s called Words of Wisdom, or WOW for short, and its purpose is to unite “bloggers of substance.”

Who are “bloggers of substance?” you might ask. I’ll tell you. They’re bloggers who focus on content; writing blogs that are thought-provoking, encourage conversation, challenge your mind, stir emotions, and maybe even make you laugh once in a while. The goal of WOW is to unite these bloggers so that these like-minded individuals can find one another and support each other’s blogs. I am excited to watch this community grow, and am eager to meet more bloggy friends who are more like me.

Lovely reader, if you’re looking to connect with bloggers who want to put the blogging back in blogs, go visit WOW.

I’ve been blogging for about five months now. Well, here at least…I did the whole myspace blog thing for quite a while, and I did a few posts on another blog I’d setup, but this is where I’ve settled in as a blogger; my little home on the internet, if you will. In that amount of time, my readership has grown, thanks in large part to SITS. I’ve found some brilliant blogs and bloggers though SITS, and am very fortunate that other brilliant bloggers found me.

The concept of SITS is wonderful, and I’m pleased to have gotten some great followers as a result of participating in the community, but I don't really get all that much blog support anymore. Lately, all I really get from SITS is the occasional commenter who stops by to point me to their own blog rather than to read mine. I’m sorry, but that’s just a waste of my time. If you can’t stay long enough to read even one post that I’ve written and to make some sort of meaningful comment beyond, “Stopping by from SITS. Nice blog!” (tell me what’s nice about it, for example), then clearly I will not waste my time visiting your blog.

Look; I know my posts tend to lean towards the lengthy side, and I know that’s not for everyone. But, if you’re going to take the time to comment, you really should read at least part of what you’re commenting on. It just seems trite and meaningless, and leaves me feeling a little used, when all you have to say is, “Hi! Now, come visit my blog.”

Through visiting blog after blog that I’ve found on SITS, I’ve noticed some trends in blogging that I just can’t get on board with. At the risk of alienating some readers, I will summarize them below.

The “mommy blog”
You’ve probably heard it before, “Don’t mess with the mommy bloggers!” I recently read/heard, “Mommy bloggers are taking over the world!” If you’re a mommy blogger, you see that as “girl power,” strength in numbers, and a call to arms, which is great for you. Since I’m not, nor will I ever be, a mommy blogger, it's a scary thought and really just irritates the crap outta me.

I’ve figured out that the majority of bloggers out there are mommy bloggers, so they are, in fact, taking over the world. I just wish they could leave some small part of it for the rest of us. I used to make it a goal to visit as many bloggers doing SITS roll call as I could. I don’t do that so much anymore, because almost all I’m finding is mommy bloggers, and that’s just not what I’m interested in.

Don’t get me wrong, lovely reader; I don’t hate moms. Well, okay, I hate bad moms. (If you’re a mom, and reading this blog, and I’ve read and commented on your blog, you are not a bad mom. I try not to associate with bad moms, because they just make me want to punch things.) However, I don’t understand why one would want to define themselves only as a mom and nothing more. I know that having kids kinda takes over your life, and that it’s hard work, and blah, blah, blah; however, I don’t understand why one would completely give up her identity to her children. I don’t need it explained to me either; it’s not a concept I’m interested in understanding.

What I’m trying to get at is that I don’t much care for, or about, mommy blogs. If I want to see cute pictures of kids or hear stories about the super funny things they do, I’ll talk to my sister, my mom, or my cousin; I know their kids and like their kids and care about the things their kids do. I know that being a mom is a hard, often thankless, job. I don’t care to read about just how hard and thankless it is, especially over, and over, and over, and over again. Many mommy bloggers seem to forget that they chose motherhood. As a result, you only get to bitch so often about how hard and thankless it is, okay? I don’t want to hear about it, so I’m just not going to read it.

I have met some cool moms, some of whom I'd consider friends, who are bloggers and many other things: wives, daughters, friends; and funny, witty, intelligent women. These fabulous women understand that they, and their lives, are more than playing the role of mommy. Thus, I can relate to them on other levels, and when/if they occasionally choose to write about their kid(s), the stories are usually interesting and/or funny and/or make me really really really glad that I’m not a mom and will never be a mom. (To humans, at least; I love being a dog mom, and that’s also sometimes very hard and very thankless.)

Advertising, Sponsors, and Giveaways
I started my blog as a way to document my journey through school as an adult student. I thought maybe there were a few people out there who might be interested in how I approach the whole experience, or maybe I could encourage someone who’s thinking of going back to school, or perhaps I could answer questions an adult might have about returning to school.

Eventually, I evolved to writing about my life as well. It was scary at first; opening myself up in such a personal way. However, the feedback I received was fantastic and supportive, and encouraged me to continue blogging.

I write for me, and I write to write.

That’s why I’m absolutely baffled that there are people out there who’ve managed to turn their blogs into businesses, and many others who are trying to follow in their footsteps. Many of the “do’s” and “don’ts” of blogging involve commentary on how to draw advertisers and sponsors to your blogs. Giveaways are apparently a good way to draw traffic to your blog; perhaps helping to increase the number of followers one has. You just won’t find that stuff here.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll tell you that I would absolutely review a product that I’ve wanted to try. Were a company to contact me with some cool thing that could be helpful to adult students, something fun to have or use, or something to possibly improve my life, I would gladly accept the product and write a review for it. That’s as far as I’m willing to go though, and I most certainly will not seek out these types of opportunities.

I don’t have any delusions that I am really the next big thing; I'm not just waiting to finally be discovered. I’m a relatively simple, thirty-something woman who happens to enjoy writing.

Social Media Overload
I don’t understand why bloggers simply “must” have Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts tied to their blogs. It’s enough for me to just maintain this blog. I can’t imagine having to update a Facebook page and Tweeting (is that even right?) as well. I would seriously run out of ideas for blog posts if I were throwing out every single idea that crosses my mind as soon as I have it! If you have a blog, a Facebook fan page, and a Twitter account, kudos to you for being able to balance all of that!

I understand that social media is yet another tool to draw traffic to your blog, but I’ll pass. I know my limits, and I don’t want my blog to become a chore, so I’ll maintain the status quo.

Popularity Contest
Speaking of drawing traffic and increasing followers, some of Bloggyland is a little too high-schoolish for my tastes. There are some really competitive, really cliquey people out there. There are also some really big egos. I hated the high school bullshit when I was in high school, so I most certainly won’t take part now. Also, I have enough drama in my life. I don’t need to seek it out in the form of blog wars or narcissistic rants.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy followers and comments just as much as the next person; I think it's awesome, and I'm really flattered, that there are people who enjoy reading what I write. I also love feedback, good or bad (though bad gets a better reaction if it’s respectful and/or constructive). I appreciate every single one of you who has taken the time to read and thoughtfully comment on my posts. I hope I show you how much I love and appreciate you when I respond to your comments and visit your blogs.

I also hope, lovely reader, that if my head ever started to get too big or my ego evolved into a nightmare of epic proportions, that you'd smack me kick me throat punch me right back into reality. That's just not who I am, and it's not who I ever want to be. No one likes a vain, narcissistic, braggart.

If you genuinely enjoy reading what I write so much that you decide to follow me, that is incredibly cool and means a lot to me. If, however, you’re following me in an attempt to get me to follow you back so that you can watch your empire grow, you will be sadly disappointed.

I follow blogs that I find interesting. Period! If I like the writing style and attitude of the blogger, and can relate to them in some way, I will follow their blog. I visit the blog of every single blogger who comments here (as long as I can find the blog and the comment was meaningful), and if I like what I see, I’ll follow or subscribe to the RSS feed. If I’m just not interested in the blog, or don't feel a connection with the blogger, I’ll try to leave a thoughtful comment; then, I’ll be on my way.

It’s not personal!

I wouldn’t want you to force yourself to follow me simply because I follow your blog. Life's too short for that kind of tit for tat! I want you here, reading my posts, because you want to be; not because you feel forced to by some arbitrary Bloggyland rules. I don’t take it personally if a blogger chooses not to follow me back, partially because I don’t check to see if they do (Who has time to keep track of that?!), but also because that’s just the way the world works. If everyone loved and appreciated everyone else the same way that everyone else loved and appreciated them (did ya follow that?), we wouldn’t have racism, classism, sexism, hate crimes, etc.

I seek out and spend time reading blogs that challenge my thinking, give me insight into who the blogger is, make me laugh, have good content, educate me, encourage conversation, and restore my faith in humanity.

THAT is why I’m so incredibly happy and excited about WOW.

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  1. How do I know if I have enough substance...? I mean, I like to believe I might, but on the other hand my posts are mostly 'genre' (whether that be travel, cooking, crafts, writing...). I'll definitely check it out: even if I don't qualify, I'm sure I'll find some great blogs to read.

    PS I'm a non-mommy blogger who found you through SITS! :)

  2. omg - I've thought the same things for so long...since when do women completely lose who they are when they have kids? They identify themselves as "insert-cute-name-here's Mom' and nothing else.

    As soon as I go to a blog with a bunch of ads or giveaways REQUIRING that one MUST follow the blog in order to win something annoys the hell outta me.

    There have been a few times that someone will stop by my blog and comment and it's SOOO obvious that they didn't take the time to read it because they'll comment about something that wasn't written.

    All these reasons are why I follow your blog - because I can relate and understand where you are coming from. It's great to get constructive comments - and if someone can give me some advice about something I've written I always appreciate it.

    I'll be checking out WOW =)

  3. I agree with you on people not leaving comments that show that they took the time to read what you say. I just post whatever I want to post and I get tired of all the drama with the mommy bloggers. It seems like they are always going at it like they are stuck in high school. They need to grow up and I have stopped following people because they are all drama and were making blogging not any fun.

    I with you on raising the furry babies! They are so much easier.

  4. I have heard about that networking site and I think it's a great idea, I am just not sure if I have a blog of "substance." But I will check it out because hopefully it will give me some good stuff to read.

    I am with you on the SITS thing. I try so hard to leave meaningful comments and I think it's rude when people leave the whole "stopping by from SITS" thing in my comments and nothing else. Like you, I don't have time to comment on those blogs.

    There are some mommy blogs that I really do like, but I have a hard time commenting because I have no experience. When that happens, I just read and leave.

    And drama recently stopped by me for a visit and I was so over it before it even started. I don't understand why people feel the need to be in competition with each other. We are all here for the same reason, showing support just seems to make sense.

    Great post. You are definitely a blogger of substance!

  5. You're totally right. People get into blogging for all sorts of reasons (and many reasons that I can't relate to). It's all about the writing for me, though I've realized that connecting with others is also really rewarding. Hence, I'm trying to do the Facebook and Twitter thing, too, but frankly, I don't have the time to go all-out. I am definitely going to give WOW a shot!

  6. you sooooooooo just read my mind! i've just been afraid to say those things out loud :) maybe it's cos i don't have a kid, but i'm not a huge fan of the mommy blog. maybe someday i'll relate.

    and i could never join that community. my blog is decidedly substance-free! ha

  7. Mmmm-hmmm. What you said :-)

    (that's not really a comment of substance, but I think you already know how I feel about the whole mommy blog/SITS thing. I haven't been back since that one post...can't decide if that'll be a permanent thing or just for a season)

  8. I joined WOW a couple of days ago after I clicked through from your blog. Still have to see if we, me and WOW, will enjoy a solid bloggy social marriage. Cause I don’t know if I am blogger of substance; does not even know what it means in bloggy terms.

    I wrote extensively about SITs, the pros and cons of SITs according to the Fabulous Bitch. I just know this, the more I am writing negatively about SITs and Mommy Blogs, the less visitors and comments I am getting. I think I have a better chance to be killed by a snow storm then to get that one day much desired crown of FB. Nope, not Fabulous Bitch, that I am already. But I am out to prove a point and it is for that reason that I am still hanging around on the SITs site. I do click through to other blogs, seeking new blogs to read but if I don’t like what I see, I leave. Simple as that.

    As for that comments, ‘Stopping by from SITs’ underlined with a link, I delete them. I don’t care for spam.

    I would absolutely do the paid post thing, and I did a couple of reviews. I have nothing against it. But I would only do it on my terms. Honesty first. I am not willing to sell my soul for a couple of bucks. And so far nobody asked me to review thing I really like, like alcohol, coffee and chocolates. Or gorgeous man. Just get weird officers which I have no interest in reviewing.

    I will never ever tell anyone else to write what I like to read. If a Mommy Blogger wants to write about her kids, baby poop, laundry, etc, good for her. I am not going to read it, or even pretend that I like it but obviously there are many other blog readers who are into that. Each to its own.

    It is the clique thing, almost bordering on street gang mentality, that urghhs me. Like you said, high school all over again. It is just sad that how people can lose their identities just for the sake of popularity, for the sake to belong to the ‘popular crowd’.

    My post about the New York Times seems to attract a lot of attention; it received a massive amount of hits, still does. Hits with no comments, of course. All hits, according to sitemeter, originated from a certain facebook page and a forum discussion page. So, yeah, my post received some attention. And this Bitch is convinced that it was not exactly the I Heart Her Blog attention. Me don’t care. I am just waiting for them to take it further. I am ready, bitchy, willing and waiting. I don’t fear the cliques.

    Vain, narcissistic and braggart? I am just that. All of that. Bitchy, vain, shallow and absolutely in love with myself. Hey, I call myself Fabulous!! And I simply don’t care if anyone would think that of me. In the words of Sylvia Plath: Kiss me and you will see how important I am.

    But I still like your blog even though you don’t like vain narcissistic bloggers like me! Hehe! Did I mention that I have a thick skin?

    Cool post!

  9. WOW, did you say a mouthful! You made just about all the points Pam and I have tried to make while creating Words of Wisdom.

    Again, I want to stress that we are NOT looking for 'great' authors. Who or what is that anyway?

    And we are in no way bashing 'Mommy Bloggers.' Pam was a SAHM for nearly 17 years. I'm not but certainly respect the jobs that moms of all descriptions do.

    And both Pam and I followed SITS for months and months and enjoyed the experience. We also found many blogs and bloggers there who we loved and continue to enjoy. WOW is just our way of branching off into something of our own that we thought (and now know) certain bloggers might be looking for.

    So Elle, thanks for the fabulous post and for telling everyone what you like and are looking for in blogging. We are so happy to have you along!

  10. WOW, Elle, thanks so much for linking to us and for your support. You've said here everything that I've been feeling for awhile. Which is exactly why Sandy and I started WOW.

  11. Elle, YOU are a ROCK STAR!!! I love love love love this post!!! I wrote a similar post on my blog about a week ago, but you expanded on it so much more than I did! I agree with everything you said. And that is why I am so excited that Sandy and Pam formed WOW. And from what I am hearing the "mommy bloggers/SITStas" are a little put out about it. I just don't get it! Why?! Why should it bother anyone. But, like you said in your post, it is that high school crap/clique mentality.

    I don't know. Whatever. I just know what I like and it is blogs like yours, that are about the writing.

  12. Hi, I found you from WOW,and I enjoyed your post. I've been blogging nearly 2 years and it began as a way for me to write and share about my life, all of it, from being a being a mom, and wife and daughter to politics book reviews, etc.
    I'm very opinionated and write about it quite a bit.
    Yes in some ways I'm a mommy blogger with more to talk about than just my kids, but you will see some of that too.
    I look forward to reading more of your blog.

  13. This was a really great post to read and I'll definitely have to check out your links.

    When I first joined the blogging world, back in 2001, I pretty much considered my "blog" an online diary. Over the years my writing style has changed a little but I still use my blog as a way to get out my thoughts and idea.

  14. My dear, funny and thought provoking Elle! I think it's time you and I sit down and have a chat with our Mom's to find out HOW exactly we got separated at birth.

    You said so well so much of what I think and feel that surely we must be twins.

    While I still check in with SITS (and they made me a featured blogger a few weeks ago), I couldn't agree with you more about the 'Mommy bloggers'. It's enough already.

    I have written on more than one occasion that I support their need to have a place to vent and connect with other Mom's and that perhaps were blogging around when I was raising my kids, I may very well have participated. But I've also written that are we not the sum of more than being Moms????

    Due to this, I have lost followers and even had one person call me out as hateful and wanted me to explain myself.

    I will not add to the Mommy hysteria by replying to people who disagree with my perpsective, which I see is not unique. I've been there and done that and all it does is suck me into this whiny tit for tat. To engage in that doesn't suit anyone.

    My blog is made up of ALL my parts; Mom to two grown children, wife to Ed, friend to my loyal followers and to those I CHOOSE to follow, 'sufferer' (drama queen alert here!) of anixiety and depression, survivor of bankruptcy and on-going financial woes, the MS cause, entertainment news and daily tid bits.

    That's why I LOVE you. That's why I choose to follow you and read your well thought out content.

    Not just because we're like minded but because I like you.

    It's that simple and cerebral.

    I support women. WOMEN. Not just Moms, not just SAHMs, not just working moms and not just people who aren't Moms. WOMEN.

    I want to thank you for turning us on to 'WOW' -- I am so there.

    What a great post today, my friend. SUPERB!

    Love you,

  15. That was a great post. I agree 100% with pretty much everything you said. I started my blog for me and I find it amazing and incredible that anyone actually likes to read it! I really put my heart into what I write every day and I get so excited when someone takes the time to leave me thoughtful and helpful feedback. It really burns my ass when I get all excited to read a new comment and all it says is "Stopping by from SITS." I mean, I'm grateful you stopped by but why did you bother? I've found some great blogs through them and I will continue to go there daily, but some days I feel like it was just a waste of my time. I've also stopped reading a bunch of blogs that I used to follow because I was sick of reading sponsored reviews and giveaways. I want see something that is going to make me laugh or cry or think or...something.

    Thanks for the recomendation for WOW - I will definitely go check it out.

  16. Very well stated. Frankly, I just found SITS and am just starting to figure out what its all about. I haven't spent a ton of time on there, but the time that I have hasn't been all that productive. And when I say 'productive', I mean finding blogs with relatable, interesting content. I follow a couple of bloggers who belong to SITS, but I found them in other ways, through other interesting blogs.

    I started blogging because I'm a single-mom with a full time job, an alimony check to write and a job that doesn't exactly encourage creative thinking. I needed an outlet. I enjoyed Facebook for awhile, but am taking a break because of the 'drive-by' comments (wrote about this yesterday actually). It seems to be very similar in the blog world.

    I love comments and followers as much as the next person - who doesn't - but I really just like settling in with my laptop at the end of the day and putting a little piece of myself out there. It's not poetry or philosophy. Sometimes its moderately serious. More often its not.

    My only promise to myself is that I will never write about my daughter's biological functions...maybe my own...but never hers.

    Btw...I found you (and WOW) through the Fabulous Bitch. I think maybe a finder's fee is in order. ;)

  17. SITS was exciting for me, at first. Then, after a couple of months, I realized I was putting a lot more into it then it deserved. Really, how long is someone going to put a dollar in a change machine, only to receive back 50 cents, before they give up and find one that works? (for me it was 1/2 me stubborn:)

    I did do like a good SITS girl, and say to a new blogger that 'I was stopping by from SITS'...but I also read, read, read everything and put a lot of thought into what people were trying to say and commented with the content in mind. On several posts, usually. And then, the majority of time, I'd get a shout-out (maybe) in my comment section "Thanks for stopping by my blog". hmm.

    I know that my title doesn't appeal to most and my content is a little whack, but I'm not about to change it to make others feel more comfortable; to get more followers. What would that say about me?

    Funny thing about the high school drama I finally figured out in my 4th it never ends. High school was the beginning. All that groupie mentality started there, and continued after graduation. Snippy bitches are still snippy bitches...just more haggard. Back-stabbing bitches are the same, except they do it now to the other moms in PTO or at the office.

    That's not to say that some people haven't changed for the better, because I know a few. When they step outside of the 'all me, all the time' mentality, they are fabulous. And they come from every walk of life. I love a genuine person.

    That's why I love you, Elle. You're one of the genuine treasures I found via SITS and, for that, I am thankful!!

    Fantastic post....very candy:)

  18. I completely agree with you on all counts. I started out utilizing SITS quite a bit but now I rarely stop by. The whole mommy blog thing is okay to a certain extent but most of them are lacking any substance. It gets really old. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of commenters on my blog even though I like to think I write fairly well. I guess I just don't work hard enough to find the followers.
    I'm going to check out that WOW site. Thanks for that.

  19. "Hi! Now, come visit my blog!"

    Haha! Oh, I hear you on that one, or even getting ANY comments. No, seriously...I do get comments from a lot of newer and some long time readers who have been with me since I first began blogging in April 2005, right after my Dad suffered a devastating stroke and my daughter suggested I keep a blog...I am notorious in our household for bottling up whatever is really bothering me and she thought a blog would be a good release for me. What I SMART woman/child I gave birth to 33 years ago! I have written thru a lot of old emotional baggage - on my original blog - and found peace. I have written thru the pregnancies of my lovely d-i-l and births of my two grandsons, my father's death, serious health issues I dealt with for a couple of years which culminated in two major surgeries in one year, 2008. Why do I blog? I blog because what I write here is my LIFE. That is my interpretation of what a 'blog of substance' is all about. You don't have to be profound. You don't have to give every detail. But to go back over 5 years and something like 1600 entries gives ME a chance to remember and relive some very special moments in my life. I'm not writing it for a reading audience...hence the sarcasm about how some people DO comment, ha! I say I'm writing it for my grandsons, and I am. But I guess, most importantly, I'm writing it for myself. I have come to know myself and love myself like I never had before. And if you're expecting a clique from high school or a giveaway? Don't come visit me. I was never popular in high school...or middle school, for that matter. I don't even know if I'm popular here...but I sure do enjoy myself!

  20. Very well said. And I absolutely agree with you.

    Even though I'm a mother, and I blogger, I really hope I'm not considered a "mommy blogger". 80% of my posts are NOT about my kids, but rather my life. Does that make me a "life blogger"? Don't know.

  21. Very interesting thoughts here! First of all, I have seen so many moms who are devastated when their kids go off to college, and I think this is what is supposed to happen; if your kids filled your life, you need other things to fill your life. I also get turned off by multiple blogs kept by the same person and for what seems to be shameless self promotion by putting each blog link on FB. We all want readers, but I'm seeing people try too hard and I wonder do you like writing, or is this just a popularity contest where you see how many commenters you can get?


Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and for taking the time to comment! Readers like you make me want to continue writing. I will do my best to reply to your comment by either commenting on your blog or by sending you an email. In order for me to send you an email, which I really really like to do, because it's a more personal response, you need to put your email address somewhere on your blog or in your blogger profile. Also, can you please make sure to leave me a link so that I can come and visit your lovely blog? Thanks a bunch!

I hope to see you back here again soon!

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