How to share the love as a blogger & why it's important...

Wednesday 18 May 2016

I tend to stay away from 'how to' posts about blogging. Both in terms of writing them and in reading them. Why? Because, in all honesty, the technical parts of blogging, aren't why I'm here. Yes I would like lots of people reading my posts, but at the end of the day blogging is a hobby. A hobby that has taught me a certain amount of skills, including social media, photo editing, and to some extent analytics, but I have a full time career and freelance work too. 

Blogging is my happy place. My place to read and write and connect with other like minded people like you. It isn't a place I want to use as a gravy jug for adding 'extra shoulds' to my plate. When I have the time I like to delve in a little deeper, spruce up my design, improve, of course I do, but generally on a day to day basis, I come to the blog world to unwind in some way. To read and write and connect, not to look at statistics and look up definitions of terms I have no idea about. That's why I avoid 'how to' posts, because it would be easy to spend my blogging hour each day, reading up from all the experts, and leave feeling overwhelmed and like I'm not a proper blogger.

This by the way, is in no way whatsoever a critique of the people who write how to posts, or the people that read them and implement them. For a start whenever I do have time and space to dig a little deeper I am so grateful that you share your wisdom, and secondly I totally appreciate that every one who blogs comes at it from a different place, and enjoys different aspects of it. That's why there are blogs for everything and anything. All I am saying is that most of the time I steer away from that element.

So you might be wondering why I'm here today with a post that specifically says 'How To' right there in the title. Isn't this a little hypocritical, and isn't it clear that I'm obviously not an expert in the technical side of things given everything that Ive just said? Well maybe.

But this post isn't about the technical side of blogging, this post is about the human side of blogging. The side I think I can safely say we are all interested in.

I'd been thinking about this post for a while, wondering if I really had enough to say about it, should it be a step by step guide or should it just be a wider statement. Then I read this post from Hannah Gale and I was inspired to just go for it.

Luckily I've never experienced any negativity in the blogging world. Nobody has ever left a horrible comment on my posts, I've never read something on twitter and thought "hang on is that about me?" and I see very few posts shaming other people. To me the blog world is a positive place. But that's just from my perspective. Maybe because my blog is teeny tiny (probably because I don't read enough how tos) and probably because with some of my opinion posts I feel myself self editing so as not to offend. Maybe even self editing too much, but that's perhaps a whole other post.

However, just because I haven't experienced it doesn't mean I don't know it's out there. And just because I haven't experienced any negativity, doesn't mean that sometimes I feel there could be more room for a little love and positivity. Because in life there is always room for a little more love and positivity.

For the majority of this year so far, I haven't been all that involved in blogging. I wasn't posting, I was barely reading, and I was very rarely commenting. I also SUCK at twitter again I should probably read more how to posts, but I'm not sure how big a priority I want to make twitter. Anyway, all of this led to me feeling pretty isolated. If I did post I was getting very little engagement, and I don't just mean in terms of views, I mean in terms of comments and conversations. I felt I was standing in a room talking to myself.

And then I realised that to some extent that is exactly what I was doing, standing in a room talking to myself. A room on my own, because I'd turned up at the party and locked myself away in a bathroom, instead of getting involved and engaging in other peoples conversations before trying to start my own.

In real life I would never do that. I'd never walk into a room, express an opinion out of nowhere and expect people to join in. In real life I'd enter a room, meet people, find out there interests, tell them how much I like there necklace, agree with the excellent point they were making and then give my own two cents. So why was I doing that with my blog?

Well to some extent, of course it is naturally fine to be the conversation starter. To pick a topic out of nowhere and put it out there, this world would be boring if we all posted about the same thing at the same time. But even if our posts are on different things we should still join in with other peoples conversations.

Congratulate them for being brave enough for putting out an opinion, share that opinion with other people, shout HEY EVERYONE THIS PERSON IS REALLY INTERESTING, or say 'Hey so and so, you know I think you'd love so and so, have you met? Let me introduce you' and we should all still be complimenting eachother on our excellent choice of accessories. Only instead of doing it a real life party, put it in a comment on their beautifully styles #ootd post.

It's not only important to share the love as a blogger, because it brings people back to your space, but because behind every blog post is a person. A person who has their own insecurities and voice, and has been brave enough to put it in a public arena. Sitting behind a computer screen and doing that can feel pretty lonely, I certainly know that, and I'm sure you do to.

Across the blogosphere I've noticed people seem to be commenting less and less these days and people are saving their social media shout outs for those who really deserve it. The people who maybe already have a lot of followers. Because if you tweet them, they might retweet you. And f course if you love something one of the bigger voices has said you should definitely DEFINITELY congratulate them too, because they are the ones that are probably also experiencing the most negativity, but don't forget to throw a little love out to the smaller voices too. The ones that are just starting out. The blogger who has been on hiatus for months, and is tentatively dipping their toe back in the water. Leave a comment, share their post, encourage them. Welcome them into the party.  

The world on and offline can be a scary place, and for some reason we find it so much easier to throw shade than we do compliments, but us bloggers, we're a flipping great and positive and loving bunch, and so while the majority of us are already sharing the love, I think we've all got room to share a little more!

I know I certainly have, and I've unlocked the bathroom door, and gone back into the party, and if you're looking to do the same, here's some simple ways I'm sharing the love:

  1. Leave a comment if you've loved somebodies post, or if you love their blog in general. I know nothing makes me feel better than reading a comment from some one who genuinely has something to say about my post.
  2. Share that post! Add it to your buffer schedule, put it on your facebook, send it to a friend in a private message. Treat good blogs like you do a good book. Pass it on.
  3. Save their post on bloglovin' because it literally says it in the sites name!
  4. Find new blogs! Go through the comments on a post you've loved and click through on peoples links. If they've loved a post you have chances are you want to know more about what they have to say.
  5. Oh, and leave your link in the comments! If you've joined the same group as me at a party I want to find out about you too!
These are all really obvious things, and really as 'how to' posts go, this isn't exactly ground breaking, so consider this a gentle reminder. Not only that we should all be sharing more love and positivity, but also that not getting as many views, mentions or comments as you would like, doesn't mean people didn't love your post, they maybe just didn't have time to tell you. Sharing all the love x

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