Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Question Of Potential

I've been having a rather heated, but still, I think, constructive discussion with another blogger about marketing. I won't link to her because it's not my intent to villify her or call her out.

But she made a point that was interesting and I wanted to publicly address it.

Suffice it to say that our views on the issue of marketing in the blogosphere are vastly divergent. And I think we have to just agree to disagree in that respect.

We do agree on one point; the vast potential inherent to his medium.

For her, it is about making money. For me, it is about sharing and establishing a connection with other people through something I love; the written word. She finds my contempt for marketing closeminded. I find her exploitation of the blogosphere to be mercenary.

But she asserted that whether I liked it or not, I myself was guilty of "marketing" because I market myself and my views here. She also asserted that marketing isn't about money, it's about creating a product and putting it out there for public use or consumption.

As I said, it's an interesting point, and I had to really think about it.

Am I guilty of that which I have loudly and emphatically denounced?


And here's why:

First, I do think financial gain is key component of "marketing". If that were not so, the word would not have evolved from a simple verb, into a multi billion dollar commercial industry and catchphrase. There would not be degrees, and seminars, and any number of do-it yourself guides to marketing.

In short, if "marketing" wasn't profitable, nobody would be doing it.

I don't make a dime off of this blog. I'm not complaining, because that was my choice. I've been solicited for marketing "opportunities" numerous times. I've been offered money and merchandise to hawk products or post links or even just embed text.

But I have always declined. Why? Not out of any kind of misplaced philanthropism, I assure you. But allowing someone else to exploit me, my words, my thoughts and my feelings, which I have put down for you here with the intent to facilitate a FREE exchange of thoughts and ideas, is something that I find very distasteful.

Because the FREE exchange of thoughts and ideas is what attracted me to the blogosphere in the first place. Lots of great stuff to read about, lots of great people to interact with, lots of inspiration, celebration, elucidation...all at my fingertips and yours, all free and easily accessible because people were willing to share themselves.

By selling that to the highest bidder and allowing someone not invested in this medium except as a means to fatten their wallet to exploit me and my readers...I cheapen it; make it less than it is. I choose not to allow that.

Secondly, the word "marketing" itself implies disingenuousness to me. Not lying. Not outright dishonesty. But definitely a cunning. A manipulation. A strategem. Taking something and making it more appealing by wrapping it up into a shiny package with mass appeal.

Come hither readers, and see. Blog Antagonist solves all your problems, soothes all your woes, answers all the toughest age old questions, and also, shares her tips for taking ten years off your age.

I don't try to make myself more appealing so that you will read me. I am me, here. Sometimes, I am more me here, than I am out in the real world. You get me and all the unvarnished truths that come with me. Do you get all of me? No. But what you do get is honest and forthright, insomuch as it can be, and still protect my privacy and that of those whom I discuss here.

I am sitting here quietly, in my little corner of the blogosphere, where people can find me if they wish, or ignore me if it is their wont. I took myself off of all the lists and directories long ago, or at least, those for which I could remember signing up.

If you come here, it's because you intended to land here. And when you get here, you find what you expected to find; an anecdote, a story, an experience, a lament...a human presence in a digital medium, trying to say something that matters.

One of my readers, who is a fellow blogger and a fantastically intelligent woman, commented not long ago that a lot of bloggers have now realized that fame and fortune from blogging would only become a reality for a very select few.

That's very true. And it's a freeing thing, because once that expectation is gone, there is no more pressure to create a product out of the persona and tailor writing to fit a demographic.

Thus, I must respectfully refute the claim that I am "marketing" myself here at Blogs Are Stupid. What you find here is not a product. Not a concept. Not a gimmick.

It's just me.

Please understand that if you have ads on your blog, I am not condmening you. Indeed, many of my most beloved bloggers have ads. I can separate the person from the action and the idealogy. I may disagree with your decision to put ads on your blog, and you may think me foolish for not capitilizing on my own. If you are a terrific writer, I'm going to read you regardless and chalk the ad thing up to simple, but surmountable disagreement.

But those who prowl the blogopshere seeking only to plunder and exploit, make a fast buck, squander the opportunity to connect with people on a meaningful level...

I'm afraid I can feel nothing but antipathy for you.

But don't take it personally. I disdain marketing in all mediums equally.

I'm a realist. I know that marketing makes the world go 'round. But I don't have to like it. Not one bit.

And I don't have to allow it to happen here.

I'm removing the MyBloglog widget. Because once again, people have found a way to exploit something that was meant to be fun for financial gain. Marketers(though NOT the one with whom I was having the discussion; though we disagree, I think her presence here is honest and without intent to exploit) are joining my community just to get their face on my page, hoping people will be compelled to click on theirs. Free advertising, with my words and my reputation as inducement.

That infuriates me.

It's my personal crusade, I guess. One of my pet causes. One about which I am passionate.

If I want to make money from my words, I'll write a novel. Sumbit articles to a magazine. Write for a web publication. And when I do that, I will be subject to all the pitfalls of a commercial writing endeavor. My thoughts and ideas will be tempered by someone else's vision. And I will accept that, because that's the price that has to be paid when one is being paid.

But this blog is for you and for me it will always be a labor of love rather than an excersise in free enterprise.

You can count on that.


  • At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i would advise against writing a book or submitting to magazines if you want to get paid :)

  • At 8:21 PM, Blogger Notes and letters to myself.... said…

    I think really when we get right down to it -- no matter how we slice it we write because we like the attention on some level.

    Others who take it to a higher level are what we deem "Attention Whores" or "Comment Whores".

    Then are those who are Capitalists who make money of this and that's okay too.

    But I gotta tell you, if you happen to write a book, write for a magazine, or make a movie, honey you gotta market:)

  • At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You know, this post strikes me not only for the main topic at hand, but because I think I needed to read these words: "...a lot of bloggers have now realized that fame and fortune from blogging would only become a reality for a very select few."

    And this: "That's very true. And it's a freeing thing, because once that expectation is gone, there is no more pressure to create a product out of the persona and tailor writing to fit a demographic."

    And also this: "...squander the opportunity to connect with people on a meaningful level..."

    Before I go copying your entire post here, I'll get to my point. I've been struggling. I've been wanting to make the connection. I've been reading for years, writing for a lot of that time, and wanting to make connections the whole time, but I wonder if the time for connecting was at the beginning of blogs, and that now because I don't have flashy ads or catchy demographic focused content that I am something I never thought I'd fear of within the blogosphere: overlooked.

    I have made meaningful connections. For a time. Like real life, some of those connections have faded as lives change. I get that and understand it. But I can't help but wonder if the blog world has moved on without me and my desire to remain a simple diarist without an agenda or a product to hawk.

    I'll be honest. The blog world is getting a little lonely for me. I'm thinking that my anecdotes aren't enough anymore for what I've started to think of as Web 3.0, the Executive Bloggers and the Social Media Machine. I'm still just me, a mom, photographer, writer, mistake maker, jokester with a horribly inappropriate sense of humor, and I'm not very marketable, so I'm becoming obsolete. And I'm sad.

    I also don't know what to do about it, other than to adjust my expectations and think hey, I started as a way to document my kids' young lives, my life, and general observations. And I'm not one of the few chosen ones, nor did I ever expect to be. while the connections I have made are important to me, it seems that I'm no worse off than when I started, though I can't help but sometimes feel that I'm missing out on making new connections because I'm not a brand, don't have a cause to promote, and have only mundane midwestern suburban family stories to impart, shot through with some foul language. I don't know where I'm going with this, or how to wrap it up, so I'll just say this: I love your blog, your honesty, and your integrity for calling it like you see it. I will keep reading regardless of what's on your sidebar, as long as you choose to keep writing.

  • At 11:16 AM, Blogger said…

    I appreciate what you have said. I feel exactly the same way. I also do not condemn anyone else for making some hard earned dollars on their blog. I know for many bloggers, they absolutely need the income. I do not so I also want to be clear that if I needed it, I might feel differently. I am grateful to be able to blog without worry. I also know that others feel strongly that their writing should earn them money and I totally understand that too, but I am not there yet (probably because I am not such a good writer, and I only blog because I find it fun and exciting to me.) A lot of you out there are amazing writers - witty and funny and clever etc...your choice to NOT earn any money is a lot more interesting to me than my choice!


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