In fact, I’ve pretty much been blogging since before *I* knew what a blog was. The first thing that could ever be called a blog I wrote was for a website my ex-boyfriend had circa 1995. I wrote some stuff vaguely about being a teenage girl. I thought I was like a mix of the Spice Girls, the Girly Show and Minx magazine. I wrote it, my boyfriend coded it into a webpage with aggressively pink flashing hearts behind it, and it went out there on the internet. Except back then the internet was the kind of thing you invited all your friends round your house to see that you had, and then you all sat and listened to a dial up modem while the page loaded for 20 minutes.
It wasn’t till I walked out of my job in 2007 and started selling vintage online that I discovered blogging had moved on a little. In 2008 I started a blog on blogspot, but it wasn’t until probably around 2009 or 2010 that I started describing myself as “a blogger”. In the long distant history of, ohhh, 5 years ago, when you described yourself as blogger a blank look would pass over peoples faces. I would then move on and describe myself as “A writer, and I run my own website”.
This is what the internet looked like in 1995.
These days when I describe myself as “a blogger” the look that passes over peoples faces is more knowing. I can see them squeezing me into any number of boxes and stereotypes they have about bloggers (some of which might actually be true). There invariably then some follow on questions, such as any polite person might ask when told someone has an occupation they know nothing about. “What do you write about”, “Do you need a lot of technical knowledge” and “What is your website address” are all examples of questions I am perfectly happy to answer. Moving into slightly more uncomfortable territory are some questions that, while all the information is out there in the open to be found, just make me feel a little bit like I’m reciting my CV, bragging, or worse, being judged for how rubbish I am. “How many followers do you have?” and, “How do you make money from blogging?” are examples of these.
Then there are those questions that you should just NEVER ask if someone tells you that they’re a blogger. Like NEVER. Unless you are on good enough terms with them to have seen them naked at least twice.
How much money do YOU earn? You nosey git.
This is just terribly rude. If someone had just told you they were a Chartered Accountant would you ask how much money they earn? If you answered yes to that question then you should probably take a long hard look at your life and conversational skills.
I once got trapped at the bar with someone who asked me this question over and over again, increasingly aggressively as I tried to laugh it off. I thought he was going to start asking for bank statements. That was fun.
Actually no I don’t. There’s no such thing as “free stuff”. Anything I have ever been sent by a brand or a PR agency came with the expectation that I would do some work for it.
Asking this question makes me feel embarrassed, because I either have to come across all strident and explain the above, or I have to say “yeah, I get free stuff” which I don’t. Then they want to know all about what’s the best “free stuff” I’ve had, and I will immediately forget anything I have ever been sent except that time I got an email asking me if I wanted to try a weird thong/bum bag combination.
A typical bloggers daily diet.
At this point you are assuming blogging isn’t a “real job”.
You are thinking, secretly, that bloggers sit down, fling together a blog post in an hour with a couple of iPhone photos in it and then head off out to their next cocktail party.
I can manage my own day, and my own workload. If I feel I am sat at my laptop not being productive I can get up and go for a walk, but I never realised how blogging would become a 24 hour a day job.
Simply taking and editing photos and writing an outfit post is easily 3 hours work to simply get it out there. A more complex blog post can take even longer. Then there’s dealing with the frankly terrifying volume of emails and keeping up to date with all that essential social media that goes with blogging. Social occasions become photo opportunities and television programmes you enjoy become inspiration for blog posts.
I can safely say I have a lot less time that I consider “free” these days. I think this is a question that a lot of self-employed who work from home face. When you’re locked in an office at the will of your employer all day it’s easy to think of working from home as some kind of dream where you knock out some work for a couple of hours in the morning then spend the day watching Netflix and popping to the shops.
I got this one a lot in the early days. There were a few high profile bloggers that were super successful and then got offered jobs editing online magazines or similar. Thankfully I get it less these days.
Again, you’re assuming blogging isn’t a “real job”. Frankly I wouldn’t have time for a “real job” as my current “pretend job” takes up far too much of my time.
This question makes me want to cry, because it puts me in the super uncomfortable position of having to basically say, “What’s in it for me?”. Remember, if you’re speaking to a full time blogger, whatever their traffic or follower size, then space on their blog has a value to them, they want to create content that will bring people to their site and earn them money in some way.
Asking this is the equivalent of asking your friend who is a plumber, to come to your house, during their regular working hours, and fix your plumbing for free. Time they could be spending doing paid work. In fact, it’s worse than that, if you’re asking for free promotion for your own projects then you’re not just hoping that you won’t have to pay to get your plumbing repaired, you’re hoping that you can then get other people to pay you to get their plumbing repaired and you will send your friend round to repair it for free. Sort of.
I’m always open to collaborating, especially with small businesses, but collaborating is the key word. Lets work together people.
So yeah, don’t ask me these, I’ll get all embarrassed and want to cry a bit. Are you guilty of asking your blogging friends any of these questions? If you’re a blogger, what questions do you hate being asked?