Last night I had an enjoyable evening with some fantastic, strong, vibrant women.
Half the people there were bloggers, and half were not.
The “normal” people were easily spotted, as they were engaging in polite (or not) conversation with those around them. The bloggers were busy instagramming their food, tweeting and chipping in to conversations while using their phones (I include myself) as a 5th limb.
I love blogging and bloggers, proud to call some of them my closest friends. People without whom I would not have settled into a new country so easily.
But like lots of bloggers I feel uneasy at some of the topics being discussed so heatedly at the moment. Disclosures, sponsorship, plagiarism, GOMI* and the latest – buying fake followers for your twitter or Facebook account.
These topics were mulled over at dinner. With the same question asked again:
How the blogging community could be expected to be taken seriously with things like this going on?
One of my dinner companions chipped in. She’s not a blogger, but a close friend of one.
She spoke passionately about her concerns around social media (she works with Gen Y kids and is concerned that pretty soon no-one will know how to make eye contact, from gluing their faces to the screen for so long) reminding me, as so often when you work so closely with something, you lose perspective.
But what struck me about what she said was this (and I’m using a little poetic license here) we, as bloggers, look ridiculous.
She asked me to think about how someone like her, looking in, views us.
My brain started ticked over, wondering if anyone outside the blogging community reads my blog (they do) and what would they make of this post?
Do they give a shit, or do they think we are just a bunch of back-stabbing malcontents, intent on bringing each other down with our snark?
Meanwhile, all the journalists that sneer at bloggers (all strong women writing a blog must have ‘mummy’ as a prefix to undermine them) must be rubbing their hands with glee. Standing back watching, waiting for it all to implode.
Without a regulatory body (there are pros and cons) we are left to work out our own code of conduct. Some bloggers do it better than others (as a relative newbie, I am learning about pitfalls daily)but it is clear to me that a small minority are giving the majority of bloggers a bad name.
This makes me sad.
We as a community can be an amazing force for change. We can influence. We can make ourselves, and the causes we believe in, heard. We can give ourselves opportunities to create an income for our families.
Time to step back people. Time to think about how we want to be viewed by the general public.
*Get Off My Internets Forum.
Would love to hear your thoughts.