Are Big Bloggers Cliquey?

blythe basket by yasmapaz & ace_heart

Over at Serenity Now, Amanda has a great series called “Blogging Myths” going on. This week, she’s tackling Myth #9: Big Bloggers are So Cliquey.

Every so often, I’ll see a comment on another blog, or a mention on Facebook where someone complains that popular bloggers are too busy mixing and mingling to return comments or interact with their audience. I can see how it might be frustrating to spend time reading and commenting on a site, and to never hear a word from Suzie Blogger…

It’s easy to see posts and pictures from some of the successful bloggers out there and feel like you’re looking in on an exclusive club.

You should click over to Amanda’s post to read her great article, but in short, she has a few great points:

  • Big bloggers have often been blogging for many years
  • Their popular friends often started around the same time and they have interacted together over the past few years, building friendships
  • Big bloggers are often very responsive if you send a question
  • These bloggers are often quicker/more responsive if you send a question via social media
  • Ask yourself what your intention is in commenting? Are you commenting JUST to get a response?
  • Instead of cliques, think of the groups as tribes (such as the tribe here at Crafterminds!)
  • Form your own support system with other bloggers you have built friendships with

Amanda’s post struck a chord with her readers, and many people posted thoughtful comments about the topic.

Stephanie from Binkies & Briefcases said:

I agree that the big bloggers are so friendly and approachable most of the time. I’ve emailed [several successful bloggers] and received responses from all of them within a few days. I’ve been trying to get together with [one of them], but her schedule is crazy! Sometimes it does make me feel like a freshman inviting a popular senior to my lame birthday party, but I understand that she is just crazy busy.

I love Stephanie’s comparison to high school. NOT because of the misery that is often associated with high school social politics, BUT because blogging really does develop in waves, much like the grades in school. People you meet during your freshman year will often be your best friends when you hit that “popular senior” year. Why not? You’ve been through a lot together.

Shelley from House of Smiths shared why it can be hard to return emails or comments sometimes:

I don’t know what is considered “a big blogger” but I definitely know how it feels to get a lot of emails with very specific, detailed questions or requests, like: “Can you help me decorate this space?” or “What do you think about that idea and can you give me suggestions?” I would love more then anything to drop all that I’m doing and answer questions like these, but alas, there’s just SO little time in my day, and if even a small amount of readers were ALL sending these same kinds of emails, I’d never have time for anything else (like blog business related work or my family!)

I LOVE Shelley’s advice here:

That’s why I feel like it’s so important to make your site as navigate-able as possible, and to cut out the “guess work” for any NEW readers, or even long-time readers who want to ask simple questions about past posts. I also try to quickly send them links to other blogs or posts that may help them with their question… in general. OR, if I get the same question often, then at that point, I’ll write up a dedicated post about it.

More than one commenter brought up the concept of “balance.” Anyone who has a regular blog knows that it can be hard to balance blogging (and the upkeep of your blog and social media accounts) with the needs of “real life” and your family.

Melissa from 320*Sycamore said:

I always feel like I need to be so much better at this, but sometimes it’s such a tricky balance: answer emails/comment on blogs or take my kids to the park? Everyone I have corresponded with is very understanding, even if the answer to the email is over a month old…:)

Amy from The Idea Room:

I have been in both situations as a blogger and remember being able to visit many of my followers blogs and pages in the early stages of blogging. But now it is almost impossible to do that and still have time to blog and keep up on the emails. But blogging is an interactive community so it is important to keep up those relationships as much as possible. It is a balancing act for sure!

Most successful bloggers are successful because they have a strong combination of talents: putting together compelling content, and a good sense for networking. Most bloggers find it hard to abandon these things, and will try very hard to keep doing what made them successful in the first place.

Anne Hogan said:

Blogging is a lot like real life – there will always be people who are kind, helpful, and encouraging. And there will always be people who aren’t. Fortunately – in my experience the former have far outnumbered the latter.

I LOVE that she said blogging is like real life, because honestly, it’s like real life, but it isn’t actually real life. I can be a rockstar blogger online, but a miserable failure at home if I am not careful.

Wendy from The Shabby Nest:

I worry about my inability to respond to everyone that comments, and it makes me feel so bad sometimes. But as other commenters have mentioned, we all have families and other commitments besides our blogs, and finding balance needs to be the priority. I just choose to assume the best of everyone, and if I don’t hear back from someone whose blog I commented on, I choose to believe that they are just plain swamped and doing the best they can. Just like me.

Laurie from Tip Junkie added:

Right now I’m actually online a lot less than I ever have been before. I got to the point where I had to choose where to spend most of my time – and I chose my family.

Becoming a “successful” or “big” blogger almost always takes time. Most bloggers don’t experience overnight success. I always tell my chatters at #crafterminds that I feel like my blog’s success was built brick by brick, person by person.

Chris from Dear Lillie said:

…My blog friendships have taken a long time to nourish. You will not instantly make friends because you blog. Give it time. Let it grow. We are a generation of “instant gratification” and then we get upset if something doesn’t happen quickly.

Chris has a great point. You can’t expect instant gratification. Just like you can’t get your driver’s license when you’re a 14 year-old freshman in high school, there are some things you aren’t ready to do until you have had some experience out there in the blog world.

It’s not that seniors won’t talk to freshman, it’s just that their calendar is full of stuff, and it can be hard to fit anything extra in. But maybe if you show up to the dance (#crafterminds chat, Mondays at 1pm Pacific on Twitter!), you will get a chance to hang out!

I have a lot more to write about this (and I’m pretty sure I could stretch the high-school-is like-blogging metaphor out a LOT further), but I really must go return some emails! Maybe yours?

Please feel free to hit me up anytime on Twitter, Facebook, or here in the comments.

Photo credit: yasmapaz & ace_heart, creative commons license
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