It's not a contest

The other day I attended Federated Media's Conversational Marketing Summit, which sounds like five words I never ever would have put together in a sentence together a few years back, let alone preceding them with the words "I attended." My transformation to full-on nerd wearing fake Spock ears and an I heart JarJar Binks tee is nearly complete!

One of the attendees, a nice gentleman with a major online media company was trying to understand who I was, and what I did at Cool Mom Picks, and what I did at Mom-101, and probably, how important I was doing it. Typical network-y stuff.

"So who's your competition?" he asked.

I hesitated. "My uh...my competition?"

"Yes. Who are your biggest competitors?"

And I realized in any other industry that would be a perfectly reasonable question.

In my capacity as an ad agency type, I could throw out a few other ad agencies we've pitched against recently. Prada can cite Chanel, Time can say Newsweek, and Target can tell you about the other guys, the ones who don't give their employees health insurance.

But a blogger?

"We don't have competitors," I said unequivocally. "We have a community.

There's enough bandwidth to go around."

This sort of blew his mind.

Last night I was engaged in a Twitter discussion about the illegality of Facebook contests and requiring a "like" of a fan page as an entry. (Yes, even as an "extra entry." Susan Getgood clarifies it very well here. ) Several bloggers responded that that was frustrating to think of other bloggers doing it if they couldn't, putting them at a "disadvantage."

A disadvantage?

This morning I read a post at Blogher by Amanda of "I Am Mommy," called What no one tells you about blogging. It has a whole lot of great stuff in it, but introduces the line, This is a full-on competition to see who can get most comments, most followers, most page hits, most features, have the most and biggest and best giveaways. 

A competition?

I understand feeling frustrated--even envious--when someone else gets recognition or a book deal or a link from Heather Armstrong. I understand feeling competitive. But that's not the same as blogging being a competition. Is it?

It is entirely possible that I am living in another world than everyone else. It wouldn't be the first time. Maybe I alone live in a world where I go to lunches like this (also this) and make friends and laugh and trade business ideas and eat too many carbs and walk away feeling anything but competitive.

With new friends from Little Lunalu, Divalysscious MomsMamaista,  Tada ShopPlanet Awesome Kid, ikidNY, Pistols and Popcorn and The Momtographers, who made these pretty pictures. Hold the competition. I'm on the right in the third photo,

But then, I've always believed if you follow your heart, remember why you blog in the first place, and work towards that, you'll find clarity of purpose and far more joy.

Do you feel it's a contest? Why do you blog?

[photo credit]


Anonymous Meredith Lopez said...

Oh honey, no one hearts Jar Jar Binks!

I must live on the same planet you do, because I don't feel like I'm in competition with anyone else, either. I just don't see the blogging world as either/or - either you like this blog or you like that one, but not both, and you certainly don't comment on both.

If anything, I see "mom blogs" (ugh, for lack of a better term) each as a voice in a chorus and a conversation. Now, let's all hold hands and sing "Kumbaya."

6/10/10, 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Jo said...

Amen sistah! I have a private blog, because I don't want to deal with people and I can write whatever I want. But from the perspective of an avid reader of blogs, the simple story is if he/she is a good writer and can hook me in, make me laugh and feel something, I will follow! I follow Dooce, but I also follow many semi-unknown blogs. They could have one commenter or hundreds. Happily, the reader doesn't need to choose only one writer to follow. If your blog can be found and you are good at it, people will come. It's usually obvious when a writer is insecure about their audience and desperate for followers and that is a turn-off. I think the most popular bloggers got that way because they are honest, creative, and interesting, and as a result have many followers; which in turn, makes them more confident and the writing gets even better and they get more followers, rinse, repeat... It isn't about contests (which can be annoying) or popularity (also annoying) and millions of comments (annoying). And I'm sure there is a bit of good, old fashioned luck thrown in with a great talent, which I suppose incites the jealousy. But at some point we grow up and realize not every blogger is going to be Heather Armstrong (not every opera singer is going to be Renee Fleming; not every soccer player is going to be David Beckham...). Just do the best you can, get your name out there, and write.

6/10/10, 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

loved your post! your attitude is inspiring.

6/10/10, 8:45 AM  
Blogger MommyLovesStilettos said...

We all want people to read our words, but I don't see it as a competition. I blog cause I love to write :)

6/10/10, 8:55 AM  
Blogger Sarah @ Sterling Creek Ranch said...

I've been following the discussion on blogs here and in references for oh about a year now and it's been interesting to me. I work in a traditional office setting 40+ hour a week career. I blog for personal enjoyment and because it's the quickest way for me to write these days, which I enjoy doing when I have time.

I read blogs because I identify with the writer, not to be pitched a product. If that blogger writes about a personal experience they had or product they used in the normal course of their daily existence, I might look into it because I identify with the person behind the page first. IMHO why is it necessary to use this media outlet to try and earn a living, wasn't that what traditional WEBSITES were designed for? I am 100% of the opinion that if you are writing a blog to earn your living, then disclose it - as well as who's paying you to do it. Then I can at least make the choice on whether I want to read the content knowing that or if I want to completely skip it and go on to someone who I can truly identify with through this medium.

I want the community, if I wanted it corporately I'd head to the branded website and read their material incl. whatever comments are posted by their community of contributors - isn't that a better place for it anyway?

6/10/10, 8:59 AM  
Blogger Sarah @ Sterling Creek Ranch said...

Oh, and isn't there enough competition among mothers these days - does it have to drag into this too? I compete with myself enough, God help me if I start worrying about who actually reads my blog and comments.

6/10/10, 9:01 AM  
Blogger suzannah @ so much shouting/laughter said...

people are naturally competitive, but i'd doubt the quality of the content from anyone who blogs to "win" instead of because she loves to write or needs to get her thoughts out there.

6/10/10, 9:04 AM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

I blog for a couple reasons, neither of them competitive. But I am not competitive in ANY area of life...

I blog because I like to write without an editor for once. I can say "gonna" and use sentence fragments and make wild speculations and be overdramatic and it is all in good fun. My place, my voice.

I also blog because I can turn the worst situation into something funny or touching or educational by framing it into a blog post rather than just awful. It's blogging alchemy - the dross of existence into something golden.

6/10/10, 9:09 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...


The sentence fragments may in fact be the very best part.

6/10/10, 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Ashley said...


6/10/10, 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Boston Mamas said...

First, whenever I let companies know that I'm going to feature them in editorial and ask whether they're interested in pairing a giveaway (totally optional of course, and the ask is made AFTER they know they will be featured), if they come back with entry requirements such as Twitter follows and Facebook likes, I say something along the lines of, "I'm not wild about that method because of the coercion factor. But if you'd like to do it my way [insert details] I'm happy to administer it. Otherwise, no worries, I'll run the editorial on its own."

And usually they respond back saying, "OK, cool, let's do it your way."

Which leads me to...

I think the competition factor continues to get fueled by both sides (bloggers and companies) and it's impossible to just will it away (much as I'd like to do that). But I do think that bloggers would find a lot more peace and joy with their process if they did things on their own terms, without worrying that if they don't do X, they will lose out on potential Y and Z down the road. Because that mindset, as far as I have seen, leads to questionable ethical behavior.

I used to live in high pressure competitive worlds -- both in my 20 years as a violinist and as an academic. There's very little fun in the creative process when you're bound up in the game of knocking others over to scrabble to the top. I hope eventually the community will rally around the enormous gift that we have -- to create what we want, on our own terms, as a community not competitors.


6/10/10, 9:11 AM  
Blogger The Panic Room said...

Delurking to express how hilarious Meredith Lopez's comment was: "Oh honey, no one hearts Jar Jar Binks!"

I laughed for 10 minutes.

6/10/10, 9:11 AM  
Blogger moosh in indy. said...

It wasn't.
And then it was.
And then I almost quit.
But I didn't.
And then it wasn't.
And then I helped someone.
I made some friends.

And now it most certainly isn't. Nor will it ever be for me.

6/10/10, 9:13 AM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

I think some people act like it is. Like whoever dies with the most hits per day/comments wins. Sadly I don't think they known what they win though. They don't seem to realize it's just a sample for Swiffer wipes or a little alien toy from Toy Story. No one ever wins the car in the middle of the room, ya know?

I blog for the community. For friends. To get words out of my head that don't need to be there anymore. I try to write what I want and how I want, although I'm now re-thinking it a bit after all the crap I caused last week. Of corse by next week I'm sure I will go back to doing what I do.

I think it's like anything else, it's what you make of it. Those of us who ha e been around long enough know the truth. There is only ever going to be one Dooce. For us there can be a great time and ton of friends to be made, but a hgtv deal or a movie like they are making about Ree? Few and far between.

6/10/10, 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Rita Arens said...

I think, like anything in life, it can be a competition if you make it one, or you can relax into it and enjoy it. Same as motherhood. Some women make that a competition. Some women make work a competition (and, because it has more "winners" and "losers," it's easier for that to be a competition. I think some people see their blogs as work and are depending on the income from it, so I can understand how that would end up feeling competitive.

I challenge myself to write better with each passing year. My posting frequency has gone down because I am putting more thought and effort into each post. I feel very competitive with myself to turn out consistently better writing. My naturally competitive personality gave up on making blogging competitive in the "I want to be an A lister" kind of way a few years ago when I realized my writing attracts a rather nichey reader, and I will never appeal to broad swaths of the populace. But I do know who reads my blog, and I have the utmost respect for those readers -- it is, in fact, knowing who the readers are that took the keen edge off my feelings of competitiveness.

I do, however, think you can have competition within a community and still have it be a healthy community. Competition doesn't have to be ugly. I've said before that feelings of jealousy can in fact push us to be better -- I think they are healthy as long as they don't consume you. So I guess I do see a bit of a competition in terms of attracting readers and keeping them, getting them interested in your other writing projects and being chosen to speak at various conferences, etc. There are only so many spots for those types of things, so there's naturally a bit of competition for them. But I don't think it has to be die-hard and cut-throat -- more like a good game of pick-up basketball between old friends.

6/10/10, 9:15 AM  
Blogger Mamaista said...

great sentiment liz. i agree. that's been the most amazing thing about starting biz. the new network of momoguls :) my theory is that we're all too busy to be catty and competitive, which leaves room only for being supportive.

6/10/10, 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Kimberly/Mom in the City said...

It's interesting. This topic has come up in several conversations lately. Personally, I don't feel like blogging is a competition - we are all so different with such different blogs and interests. Then again, as I was sharing with a blogger who recently relocated in New York, there are SO many opportunities here that it is impossible for one blogger to take advantage of all of them. There's just not that feeling of "scarcity of opportunity".

I would like to think that I would have the same attitude if I lived in an area where there was only a couple of things happening each year and "scores" were kept solely based on what was going on online. I'm not sure though. (I'm more about the social interaction than the page views.)

6/10/10, 9:35 AM  
Blogger Dyar Baby Momma said...

I write my blogs just to have an outlet to share about my kids & photography - not to make money, not to win anything... I read blogs I find interesting, where I feel like I would be friends with that person or at least really interesting discussions.

Yes, comments are fun - its nice to know someone reads and cares - but its not the point.

6/10/10, 9:35 AM  
Blogger WILLIAM said...

Wow what a great word dis-ad-vantage for marketing.

See with the community of blogging not only is there no real competitors there is also the fact that bloggers all advertise to each other. We all travel in various circles and some of those circles have the same marketing.

6/10/10, 9:40 AM  
Blogger Cara said...

I read that same post and was a little disturbed that she made blogging sound like a competition. I never felt that way. I blog because I like to. I have an awesome community of blogger that I read and follow. I am friends with people from around the world, I would never have meet if it was not for blogging.
I have learned so much from the community of people I read, from photography, to sewing, to recipes, to parenting, to the fact that I am not alone in the fact that my baby NEVER slept through the night, etc.
I must be living in your world because I see it your way.

6/10/10, 9:46 AM  
Blogger Marinka said...

yes, I'm training for the Blogging Olympics and will crush all competitors. Or I would if I were more motivated. Maybe it'll be enough if I just take blogging steroids?

Interesting post. We have colleagues, not competitors.

6/10/10, 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Ava's Mommy said...

Thanks for posting this. I think the competitiveness of blogging is cray-cray!

I blog because I have a voice -- and my mission is to speak out about autism. I don't make any money blogging, although I should -- it is not why I started.

When my daughter was diagnosed my world came crashing down. To keep my sanity, I started to blog. I wanted friends and family to know my daughter's struggle - without having to call each and every one of them.

So I reject the concept of competition. Writers write.

6/10/10, 10:00 AM  
Blogger Adventures In Babywearing said...

I think it is whatever the blogger defines it as- that blogger that says it's a full on competition for comments, followers, etc- that must be what she is in it for. Because if she wasn't, she wouldn't CARE about being "ahead of the competition."

I am here because it feels good. Blogger was down the other day and I couldn't post and people couldn't comment and many bloggers were complaining and saying "doesn't it make you so mad people can't comment?!" etc etc but I didn't care. I was at the beach with my kids.

One thing I can credit blogging with (and love so much) - my very closest best friends (that live nearby), I met them all through blogging. And no way are any of us in a competition with each other or anyone else.


6/10/10, 10:09 AM  
Blogger fer said...

Oh, this post is so timely! In the spring I entered a writing contest sponsored by a certain wonderful mom-owned company, with the grand prize a trip to BlogHer 2010 and a "paid" gig writing for their blog for a year. I totally dug the contest prompt, wrote a kick-ass entry, and was named a finalist. And then? When my initial excitement wore off (being a finalist in a contest feels good!), I figured out I was not going to win. Because I am not here to market myself; I do not blog to gain followers (I have a small but mighty group of readers); I am not trying to make money; I cannot make myself morph my blog into anything that isn't pure with my original intentions. I write because it feels good to me, like going for a run feels to me. I write on a blog because it's the first medium that keeps me true and faithful and consistent to my desire to write. I write as a record for my children and my family. I write because it connects me with others. And at the start and the end of the day, my blog is not about business, so I do not have that to offer. I didn't win the contest, but I gained clarity on what the heck I am doing with my writing, and the resolve to keep on doing it. Mostly for me.

6/10/10, 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Bill said...

I have to disagree with you...nobody would wear a "I heart JarJar Binks" shirt with spock ears. Everyone knows the only fashionable choice to wear with spock ears is an "I Grok Spock" shirt. Duh.

6/10/10, 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Busy Mom said...

Visit me at my new site, Mom 201, where I talk about this and MORE!

6/10/10, 10:41 AM  
Anonymous red pen mama said...

(haven't read all the comments yet)

For myself, I blog to write. I don't run ads, I don't compete. It is for myself, and it is for community that I do it online at all.

That being said, I do see other bloggers being competitive and/or jealous. I think it happens, and I think it's an unfortunate side-effect of the "monetizing" of blogs. That's why I don't do it for the big bucks! :)

But I'm pretty much on the same page as you.

6/10/10, 10:41 AM  
Anonymous red pen mama said...

Oh, geez, pretty much what fer said, only without the contest entry part.

6/10/10, 10:43 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Oh, god. It's so not a competition. And anyone who goes into it believing that it is is going to have a really hard time of it. No one - not Heather Armstrong (who has so graciously acknowledged this, many a time), not anyone - gets ahead here by viewing this as a race or a battle. The blogosphere - the so-called momosphere - is a classic example of a 'rising tide lifts all boats' - we only flourish to the extent that we treat this space, and our peers and friends herein - like the community that it is. We are each others' audience, we are each others' readers, we are each others' consumers, we are each others' friends, and the more we help each other along, the better we all do as a community and as individuals.

That doesn't sound like competition to me.

6/10/10, 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Hip2Housewife said...

I ask myself every day why I blog. But your post kind of answered for me. I do it to be part of a community, I do it b/c I love to write. I do it b/c why would I want to earn money writing (like I did for years) when I can do it for free!! And not have anyone read me? Still, I do it. And while I am jealous of people who get tons of followers and comments, while I have virtually NONE -- I'm still doing it. And I don't think I'm gonna stop.

6/10/10, 10:46 AM  
Blogger mapsgirl said...

I write whatever I want whenever I want (with a few time-restricted reviews here and there). Would it be nice to be as recognized as some of the bigger bloggers? Yes. But I'd never say that this was a competition. I'm not a writer and I've never claimed to be. I want to enjoy blogging and I want to enjoy reading others' blogs. It's that simple.

6/10/10, 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Lanita @ A Mother's Hood said...

I don't feel I am in competition with anyone else. But it sometimes is a competition with me...but that's how I operate. Why did I get so many hits on one day and not another...what was better about that blog than this one. But the bottom line is I do it for myself. You talked about clarity and purpose...in 6 months of blogging I have a clearer image of what I want to do...and that is despite the fact that I worry about the number of readers I have...hourly. A dual edged sword.

6/10/10, 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

LOL @ BusyMom

I like feedback, sure. But that's because my posts are geared toward making people think and because I want to know what they think, even when we disagree.

And that's why I blog - not for money or recognition or inbound links.

6/10/10, 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Average Jane said...

Exactly! I write because I enjoy it and I love meeting new people. And maybe that's why I've spent years having a "little blog," but that's fine with me. I guess the more ambitious are free to view blogging as a competition, but I'm happier looking at it as a chance to build a community.

6/10/10, 10:55 AM  
Blogger Just Margaret said...

I don't think I am in any competition with the bloggers of the internet. I'm not in a contest. It's not a race to me.

If it were a race, I'd be the kid at the way back of the pack, run-walking the last 200 yards of the 400 meter Presidential Fitness Award race.

Wait...I *was* that kid. And I still am--I blog because it's part of my writing routine. A routine that I mix up a bit sometimes. But ultimately? I. Must. Write. Blogging is a big part of that for me.

I don't fit into the construct--I don't necessarily "know" anyone. I don't pay for my blog space. I'm not a 'big deal'. I'm not a Blogger with a capital B.

I read blogs that make me want to be a better writer. Perhaps that is being competitive, but I see it as more inspirational. And I love the point that you make:

There's enough bandwidth to go around.


6/10/10, 10:55 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I'm just happy to have one thing that is just for me that makes me happy. Do I love it when people read? Of course, but even if no one ever did I would still write. I've never had any hobby that I enjoy as much as this one. It is something that I do all for me. And I think of it as a huge bonus that I've been able to make friends through the process.

6/10/10, 10:55 AM  
Anonymous amanda said...

I suppose the perspective depends entirely on how someone gauges satisfaction and return. Watching things unfold, most heatedly over the last two years I'd say, it's shocking to see the disintegration of purpose for many.

How can someone else's success be a sign of your failure?

How can friendships mean exclusion, isn't it about who and what brings you joy and brings out the best in you?

I wince as some allow blogging to bring out their worst.

I blog. I live. I write. I smile. The yield for me is in the time between having an idea and hitting publish—everything else is icing. And everyone else, well they are entitled to the same joy and I genuinely wish it for them, nothing less.

6/10/10, 10:57 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

First, I loved this post.

Second, no one blogs for themselves. The statement "I write for me" is bullshit because if you wrote for you, it would be in a journal or a file on your computer. The fact is, you publish your thoughts online for the world to read.

Maybe it's fair to say that you don't give a shit what other people think, or you write as a brain dump, or that you don't run ads because you could care less about monotizing. That much I can stand behind, but every one of us is boosted by the community reading our thoughts... if you weren't, you would have a private blog like Jo.

Lastly, most of those who are in it to compete are not those who I read. It doesn't need to be a zero sum game, that is to say if Mom 101 wins, I lose. That is bullshit, there are readers who might enjoy us both.

I seem to be drawn to writers moreso than review bloggers or those who (and in most cases this is fairly obvious) are looking to increase their numbers by any means possible. I once took someone off my reader because she went into a rant about how her numbers were so low, why don't people like her, etc... well, what about those who were still reading?

I've found (and maybe this is just my experience) that if you write well and are involved in the community, the numbers will follow.

6/10/10, 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Esther Crawford said...

I have to preface this with I am a very competitive person - I actually really enjoy competition - it pumps me up & motivates me to do my best. I've learned not to keep score when it comes to personal relationships though because I've found that makes everyone lose... and blogging has created some of the most precious relationships I have.

However, when I started video blogging on YouTube in '06 there was a huge competition factor to it all - it was inherently built into the system because of views, daily/weekly/monthly/yearly 'most popular' videos for every category. You needed ratings, comments, and of course lots of views to get featured or to get awards on your videos (and the awards of #1 Top Favorited for the day) really felt like something.

For about a year I spent a lot of energy caring how each video I posted did, and at the time, I was pulling in big numbers so it felt good - it felt rewarding. Then real deals came in and I started getting paid too so it seemed worth it... but it burned me out & I eventually realized it wasn't how I wanted to spend my time because I wasn't an aspiring filmmaker or on-camera personality.

What I really love about blogging is that there isn't a daily/monthly/yearly leaderboard... because if there were I'd feel in competition to be on it - that's just who I am. I think that's one reason I tired so quickly of Foursquare - it's a weekly competition I didn't stand a chance in hell of competing in.

Side note: I do have to say I'm envious of all the talented people who are truly writers and photographers. I know a lot of bloggers are here for the writing but I'm not. It's just a means to an end, which for me is telling stories - whether on my personal site about the journey of life or on SP about the blogging community.

6/10/10, 11:02 AM  
Anonymous drlori71 said...

I blog because I'm a doctor.
As a doctor, I only get to use the boring, analytical half of my brain. Blogging gives me a chance to use the creative half of my brain. That's it. I don't blog for the wealth or popularity :-)
I'm a doctor who blogs, but I have delusions that I'm a blogger who doctors.

6/10/10, 11:09 AM  
Blogger CecilyK said...

I blog because I love writing.

I tweet because I love talking.

I go to conferences because I love my community.

I speak at conferences because I enjoy speaking, and I want to share my passion.

I do not believe that it is a competition. I've put six years of work into this lifestyle and community, and while it doesn't pay the bills (and probably never will) I love it beyond reason.

And while I'm at it, I love you. :)

6/10/10, 11:10 AM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

I always miss these memos.

I had no idea we were competing. I'd always thought of this as a community, a cooperative...dear me, even sometimes a COMMUNE.

Maybe it's how I think but I figure that when we all work together it makes something beautiful.

But I grew up in the 70s, sang Kumbaya at camp, braided hair and daisy chains, and thought Coca-Cola wanted to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.

I think Rita (and you too Liz) nailed it: some people see it as a competition.

When I played on teams or danced in the corps, I considered us a TEAM first and foremost, and I carried this idea into adulthood.

I was confused in childhood when team members sabotaged one another to get ahead...on our team. I was triply confused by this when it happened in adulthood. I get it now, but I don't accept it.

I am an ambitious person. I do compete with myself. I do work to get ahead. I do grab opportunities when and where I find them when they feel like a fit. I make them when I can.

But never do I do it through the deliberate tactic of at the expense of another person.

You said it best, Liz: plenty of bandwidth.

6/10/10, 11:15 AM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

Oh, right ON TOPIC: I blog because I love to write, it's a compulsion, but also because oh my gosh I love to talk, by which I truly mean I love to pontificate. Seriously, true story.

I read blogs because I am voraciously interested in other people, how they live, what they think, what they have to say.

My dream vacation is sitting in a gorgeous place just TALKING and SHARING. About everything.

Anyway blogging saved my marriage, among other benefits, like finding my way slowly but surely to my dream work and incredible experiences and amazing people.

Seriously, true story.

6/10/10, 11:19 AM  
Blogger Coma Girl said...

You always have to make us think, don't you?

I blog for myself. I have like 4 readers and I enjoy hearing what they have to say and the camaraderie of the whole blogoshphere.

Would I like more readers? Of course, but I realize that maybe it means I need to improve my writing. Or maybe it means that some people just don't want to hear what I have to say. Who knows?

I know I do not want to force people to friend or follow me.

Just seems disingenuous.

6/10/10, 11:19 AM  
Anonymous meredith said...

^5, Panic Room!

6/10/10, 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Pistols and Popcorn said...

Beautifully written - I think being aware of what other people in your same industry are doing is healthy and inspiring. It doesn't have be be a competition, it can simply be a coalition. So happy to have met you and find a jackpot of women who seem to share this same attitude.

6/10/10, 12:19 PM  
Blogger Varda said...

What a wonderful and timely conversation. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I have been mostly a “small time” niche blogger but have recently had the heat turned up because The Bloggess listed & linked my post “From Autist to Artist” in her weekly wrap up this past Sunday and I suddenly had a huge swell (for me) of visitors. I was a little freaked by it, because I am not a wide interest blog, and have so far been running mostly under the radar. I started blogging for very personal reasons – my elderly father was dying and the pressures of caring for him and my equally elderly and impaired mother and my two young sons, one of whom is on the autism spectrum, was leading me toward implosion. I couldn’t keep having conversations with people about what was going on and how I was feeling, so I started openly publishing the thoughts I had been quietly writing for myself for years.

Now, Jenny, the Bloggess is amazing and funny, so she has this huge following of people who are mostly looking for more wonderful quirky humor and entertainment, and while I had a huge uptick in visits, it translated into only a handful of new followers and comments. My post does have AUTISM right in the title, but I have to assume a lot of folks automatically clicked it & went “meh, not funny” and moved right along. After a moment of disappointment, I realized I’m really OK with that. I would rather have 20 dedicated readers who truly want to hear what I have to say and want to enter into a fruitful conversation about autism, than entertain a multitude.

By blog is pretty much about special needs parenting and elder care and bereavement. It’s never going to have a huge mass appeal, it’s not much the stuff of big laughs (although there are certainly small funny moments in it). At one point I was feeling a little put off by how serious I am on my blog vs. my somewhat goofy persona in real life, and I started to write a post called “I’m funny, too, really”. I was looking through old posts to corroborate this and realized that I’d made the most jokes in my post called “Who needs toes anyway” about Dad’s foot rotting away … um, I guess I’m really NOT a humor blogger.

So, for me it is definitely about community, and not about competition. Which is not to say I don’t get a little envious when another “Autism Blogger” gets a lot more traffic than I do, but it passes quickly, mostly because I am so eager to read her blog and see all the wonderful blogs of her commenters and continue the leapfrogged connecting that I have found to be the best part of this whole blogosphere thing.

And I ditto what everyone said about this being a community and blogging because they love to write. And I know this comment was way too long, I am always too long-form, it’s just me ;-)

6/10/10, 12:21 PM  
Blogger Mama Cas said...

I blog because I have mental diarrhea....It's highly unlikely that I'll make more than 23 cents off my blog and that's okay with me. Also, I blog because I truly love to write. And finally, I blog because I have family that's scattered all through the US and I want to share a little of our daily life and pictures with them. I don't do it for the "competition."

6/10/10, 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Lisse said...

To me, it's not necessarily a competition, but it is a struggle. I'm not in it for the money, but I would love a larger community; some kind of acknowledgement (how pathetic is that?).

I had a similar experience to fer where I realized I was not going to be offered a chance to volunteer @ Blogher because I wasn't a known name. They are a business and I can't really fault them for that, but it's still discouraging.

As much as I enjoy blogging, I sometimes wonder if it's worth even the smaller effort I can put into it because the most hits I get are from people in foreign countries looking for "all the bad words in the world."

I have a small audience and I truly appreciate them. I would miss them if I stopped writing, but the lack of growth breeds frustration. In much the same way that one often needs money to make money, one seems to need an audience to grow an audience.

It appears that if someone was lucky enough to find an audience in the early days, great, but that window has been closed. Not on purpose, but because people don't have the time or brainspace to follow, let alone comment or link to someone new.

Given that, for people who are blogging as a business, I can't see how it can be anything but a competition.

You appear to be one of the few "big names" that will still assist, educate, and even acknowledge someone you don't already know. I've always appreciated your energy and attitude toward blogging and other, newer, bloggers.

6/10/10, 12:46 PM  
Blogger Just Margaret said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6/10/10, 1:04 PM  
Blogger Just Margaret said...

@Lisse: I just wanted to share with you that I don't think that BlogHer only gives volunteerships to 'known' bloggers. I am SO not a 'known name' and I'm not a BlogHer Ads participant. Yet, I applied, and they offered me a volunteer slot for BlogHer10. Don't let thinking that they won't select you because you're small stop you from applying for such opportunities.

6/10/10, 1:25 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I don't think I'm a good judge - my blog is no threat to anyone and getting any sort of "deal" is such a far out concept to me that it doesn't seem right to say one way or the other... although I like the ideal you present - a community - that is nice.

6/10/10, 1:25 PM  
Blogger Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

The gentleman wasn't asking who you see as your competitor for "most popular blogger." He was asking who you compete with for dollars.

If there's a finite # of dollars to be earned by bloggers, and one hopes to pay one's mortgage with the money earned on one's blog, then shoot, of course one has competitors.

The question is: how does a blogger prove her value to a potential advertiser (or whoever)? One way is with likes/visits/comments. And that's where the competition comes in...

I'm sure there are other ways to measure the value of a blog for a potential advertiser. Assuming a blog is a source of revenue, of course.

6/10/10, 1:26 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

Blogging is cathartic. I started because I was embarking on a new and terrifying journey (Weight Loss Surgery/WLS) and needed some support and validation that I wasn't able to find in my 'real' life.

At times I 'feel' competitive with other Lap-Band bloggers but I don't really see it as a competition. If I had only one reader I'd probably still blog but having more readers certainly prompts and inspires me to keep it up.

The more I write, the more I learn about myself. The more I write, the more I feel connected to the Lap-Band world-at-large. The more I write.

But the bottom line, the more I write, the skinnier I get and that is incentive enough to keep it up.

6/10/10, 1:37 PM  
Blogger Amelia Sprout said...

I hate that some people think that way. Why, on earth, must every damn thing be a competition. Have we not learned that we get more done working together than alone? Oh wait, current state of politics and the Gulf of Mexico says no.

I can try though. I blog for community, and while comments, and followers and stuff are all good. I like them only for the warm fuzzy community feeling they give me, not because of a competition.

6/10/10, 1:45 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

@Lisse, maybe because I don't see myself as a "big name?" Just a chick with a big mouth and a free blogspot account, same as anyone.

I think there are a lot of popular bloggers who are giving of their time by the way. The challenge is, once you get bigger you do have less of that time to give. Sometimes I am literally choosing between writing a commenter back, and spending five minutes with my kids.


Thanks for another point of view.

I don't actually look at anyone as competition though. In four years of professional blogging (via Cool Mom Picks) no one has ever asked me that question about competitors, and I have never thought about it in that way. Not because we're the biggest--we're certainly not. But as Catherine and a few others said above, because we don't operate like competitors of other blogs. Mamaista, linked above, could be considered a "competitor" I guess - so could Stroller Traffic and Design Mom and Mighty Goods and Mommytrack'd and ParentHacks...but we link to them, they links to us...we send them ad leads...we love each other! They're my people!

It's a new model, where we really can't do it without one another like Catherine said above. Kind of exciting!

6/10/10, 2:07 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

Fun pics! I read that Blogher post in my Facebook feed, and was kind of baffled by it. My thought was, "I must be on some other internet."

Not my experience at all. But then, I never entered as a contestant.

6/10/10, 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Tammy H. said...

I blog as an outlet for me and a conduit of information for my readers. It started out as a therapy to journal our move from New Jersey to Vermont and has since taken on a life of its own, but still -- I blog for me.
I think we live on the same planet. I have made a few friends through my blog and I enjoy and look forward to their comments to my posts. No competition here!

6/10/10, 3:01 PM  
Blogger Kyran said...

As an afterthought, I think people who are caught up in the numbers game don't fully appreciate the social part of social media. Meaning, relationships are what make this world go 'round. They're not the means that serve the end; they are the end. They're foundational. And that's not the traditional business paradigm, however much lip service is given to it.

Competition--the unfriendly kind--doesn't enhance relationships, but undermines them. Totally counterproductive in social media, where karma and reputation is everything.

I wish we talked less about brand and more about reputation. Day after day, I see bloggers throwing away goodwill with bad manners. It may not show up in their numbers, but it costs them nonetheless.

Would love to hear your perspective on that, Liz!

6/10/10, 3:05 PM  
Blogger Marketing Mommy said...

I've never considered mommyblogging a competition. If anything, it's like high school or college or a workplace. When you're new, you're nervous and lonely and unsure of yourself. You admire the popular kids and maybe feel a little intimidated. But then you find your niche and you make friends and eventually you even meet some of those popular kids ( and you realize they're not at all like the cheerleaders you feared in HS. They're really cool.

6/10/10, 3:15 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

YES Kyran, on all counts!

This blog thing is a totally new paradigm because we rely on one another. An ad agency could exist with no other ad agencies in town. I'm not sure a blogger could succeed without other bloggers (or social media users) to link her and support her and help get the word out.

Love love love your thinking about reputation. Numbers certainly aren't everything.

Go write that! I want to hear more from you.

6/10/10, 3:17 PM  
Blogger Cloud said...

I started blogging because becoming a mother ate up all the time for my other hobbies and I needed something that was "mine". And I found a community that made me feel less incompetent as a mother (AskMoxie), and I really needed that.

I keep blogging because now I have an audience who are my friends, even though I have never met them. My Mom said to me that my blog does for me what standing around the playground talking to the other moms in the neighborhood did for her, and I think she is right.

BUT- it also makes me happy when a young woman trying to figure out if she wants a career in science contacts me for advice (this has happened exactly twice, and because it has only happened twice, each woman got a detailed, personal answer). It makes me happy to see in my search stats that people are finding my posts with advice on pumping, on being a working mom, on dealing with a picky eater (and being a picky eater myself), and on handling a baby who does not sleep It makes me feel like in some small way, I am giving something back to the world in thanks for all the unbelievable good luck I've had in my life. (But the most common search remains "why do American toilet stalls have gaps?" I'll give away the answer you'll find on my blog: I don't know.)

I don't see myself as being in competition with any other blog, be it a parenthood blog or one of the bigger women in science blogs. But it is also true that even if I were to put ads on my site, the blog would never come close to paying the bills. It is just a hobby to me. If it were my main source of income, I might be a little more competitive about it. But maybe that would actually be counterproductive, and being more aggressively community-oriented would be a better strategy.

6/10/10, 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Danny said...

It didn't start out competitively for me but it definitely got there and I definitely let my fragile ego get swept up in it. It took me a good couple of years to take a deep blogging breath, step back and gain some perspective, but even now I still get a little bummed when I put up a post and no one comes by to say hello. But I made that bed myself.

Where I stop being competitive is in the content. I'm so disinterested in branding and giveaways and trying to be something "more" than a guy who writes about his life. I think that and the corporate influence on blogs has made a mockery of this corner of the genre of blogging. Twitter hasn't helped either.

6/10/10, 3:19 PM  
Blogger Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

To follow-up with your follow-up: The way that bloggers, even those with revenue, share & help one another is similar to how non-profits work.

Non-profits compete for donor dollars and for grant money, but even competitors (in the fighting-for-dollars sense) are ultimately trying to achieve the same goal, and so they work together.

6/10/10, 3:33 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Good point Jennifer - I just spent like 45 minutes trying to get a charity to pick up some stuff and each one referred me to another that might be able to help.

The difference is, I think charities can exist without one another and we can't.

I also think there truly is enough sponsorship money to go around, if that's what people are "competing" for. Not me, not Dooce, not even iVillage have enough page views to fulfill the needs of one Johnson & Johnson or one Honda. So we really can collaborate. But I don't think the competitiveness is always about money.

6/10/10, 3:37 PM  
Anonymous Diana said...

Excellent post!

I'm agree with Rita and Julie entirely in that I think some people, many people do see this as a competition. And if I'm honest it disheartens me a little bit.

I didn't grow up in the 70s but perhaps I should have. I prefer cooperation to competition among my peers always. And this is one of the reasons I have pulled back from the mom blogging community in the past couple of years. It's not something I want to immerse myself in, this spirit of one-upping. I'm here for the community and my feed reader reflects that.

6/10/10, 3:45 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Diana, instead of pulling back, I'd say start hanging out with the awesome commenters here. They seem to share your spirit!

6/10/10, 3:50 PM  
Blogger Bon said...

to follow up on what Kyran said, i think social media is (or maybe always was and i'm just slow?) this fascinating relational economy, where there's business potential to interactions, because everything you do builds reputation and therefore capital (as in leverage, as least, which can sometimes be turned into $)...BUT everything business-ish you do is based on those relationships and acting like you're a tonic salesman in Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show only bites you in the ass, thus destroying capital.

i see competition for attention, to an extent, but no, not the traditional model of competition. i like the analogy to non-profit, which i suppose is a sort of relational economy?

6/10/10, 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Redneck Mommy said...

I agree, I find this world to be a community rather than a competition. (With the exception of Jenny, the Bloggess. Bitch is totally my number one competitor and she wipes the floor with me daily. *shakes fist at Jenny.*)

I understand the feelings of jealousy and competition, having felt them myself a time or two, (what blogger hasn't?), but I remain here, entrenched and surrounded by people, writers, I love because I've gained so much emotionally.

I lost a son, but gained a plethora of life time friendships. It's not something I'd have traded for, but it certainly isn't a horrible consolation prize.

Plus, I get to ogle your boobs. Total win-win.

6/10/10, 4:12 PM  
Blogger Magpie said...

Why? Because there's all this clutter in my head that needs an outlet.

6/10/10, 4:19 PM  
Blogger The Empress said...

Tremendous post. It's what I've been thinking.

Blogging can be what you make it. I stay away from any competitive spirits I encounter.

I blog because I love to write. Posting is my favorite thing to do. And the friends I've made? I just didn't anticipate that. I wanted to write, and was tired of just doing nothing about it.

Now I get to hit "Publish Post" as often as I want. It never gets old. To see your words in print, for one or two or two hundred to read, it's there.

The people I've met are the finest people I've ever come across.

I am so happy and proud to be part of this supportive community. And I seek like minded people out.

LOVED this post, Mom-101.

Thank you for your words.

6/10/10, 4:21 PM  
Blogger jodifur said...

I have never, ever, felt it was a contest. Sure, I have been jealous when someone has gotten more comments or more attention. But a contest. Nah.

I love this community. That is ahy I stay.

6/10/10, 4:21 PM  
Blogger liz said...

I have never felt like it was a contest either. It's a place to vent and to learn and to schmooze and to commiserate.

And that's the way I feel about my personal blog AND my political blogs.

So, Amen.

6/10/10, 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Twenty Four At Heart said...

I have definitely MET bloggers who are out there to compete. I'm a no-niche blogger. I'm not in the mom space, I fit really ... nowhere. Maybe that's why I've absolutely never felt like I was competing with anyone. To me, it has just been a great experience of doing what I love to do ... writing and photography. The enormous bonus has come from having met so many wonderful people while I'm at it!

6/10/10, 4:27 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

I blog for the free therapy it provides. Saves me a bundle in co-pays!

But, competitive blogging? Oy. Though no one tells the story of a colonoscopy like me.

6/10/10, 4:33 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

I blog for the free therapy it provides. Saves me a bundle in co-pays!

But, competitive blogging? Oy. Though no one tells the story of a colonoscopy like me.

6/10/10, 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Barnmaven said...

If I lived or died by my stats, I'd die. Literally. Thank God. I can't imagine how shitty life would be if I was relying on my blog to provide an income. Fortunately I have a career, one that pays me enough to feed my kids, be mortgaged to my eyeballs, and keep a couple of horses, thereby providing me everything I truly need in life.

I think - and I qualify that with "think" because most people, me included, aren't always self-aware enough to know why they *really* do things - that I blog as my own personal way of seeking relevance in this world. I only have a few followers, but that small group is enough to make me feel as though someone out there besides my mother cares who I am and what I think. I'm one of those people who is more comfortable "talking" to people via the box on my desk than I am socializing with them in real life. Blogging and reading/commenting on other blogs enables me to connect with other people. With two children, a long commute and a lot of things that make it hard for me to not be at home a lot, the internet is the only hope that I have of having something that resembles a social life.

I feel sorry for anyone who thinks that this is a competition and that their worth is only validated by readership. I can't imagine how anxiety-ridden and stressful it must feel to be that way.

6/10/10, 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Maggie, dammit said...

Can't stop giggling at Busy Mom's comment.

6/10/10, 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Andrea @ MommySnacks.net said...

I blog to help people.

It can seem like a competition, especially in the money-saving/deals niche that I primarily write in. However, it goes back to focus - why did I start to begin with? Not fame, fortune, trips or free stuff.

Also, I rarely get a ton of comments unless my post is about something personal which tells me something in itself - they like the majority of my content, but they like me better. And, there really is only one of me (I'm sure many people are thankful for that too).

I blog to help people. Through helping them, they have helped me stay focused on what's important (and the relationships I have formed by being in this community are some of the best gifts ever!!).

6/10/10, 6:02 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

So did I win? I mean I know I won right? You picked me? ;)

Actually I just always love coming back and reading the comments. You really do get the best discussions going.

Someone and now I'm forgetting who said, no one online blogs for themselves. I sorta disagree with that. We all started out with no one reading. Me, you, Dooce. Writing what we want to, saying what we want to? To me, that is writing for me. Comments or no.

6/10/10, 6:12 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

I blog because I want a book deal and a TV show like Heather Armstrong.

Isn't that enough?

I try not to get all "this is a competition with other bloggers" but secretly in my head I can't help but see some people and think "I'm gonna take you dooooowwwwwwnnnnn skinny bitch with the big house and nice cars"

Sometimes competition can fuel you to become your best so I don't really think its a bad thing. But its the level you go that makes it bad. And wanting to be your best and attract visitors, readers, comments, link backs, etc isn't bad. If you don't want to try and exceed at least a little bit you are taking up value bandwidth.

6/10/10, 6:14 PM  
Blogger Loralee Choate said...

I've been thinking about this all day--wanting to comment but not wanting to sound like a whiner. Because in terms of blogging I feel like a blessed creature and am usually quite content with the little world I've created.

I really only compete with myself. I don't see me as "Me vs. them".

Like I said, I feel mostly content with where I am at and what I've done but sometimes...I don't.

Right now I am in a bit of a sucktastic blogging place. I feel someone better at this could have made more of the opportunities that have come my way. That makes me feel disappointed in myself.

That said...I love doing what I do and in the end I love going at my own pace, so I will just put the wench yapping on my shoulder in a muzzle and tell her to just deal. :)

6/10/10, 7:07 PM  
Blogger erin said...

I blog because I suck at putting together baby books and keeping photo albums up to date. I take a gazillion digital photos and very rarely print them. With blogging, at least I can keep up with my digital hoarding and look back at my kids milestones easily without having to tear the house apart looking for some random book I wrote a memory down in! I really don't care if anyone reads it, but along the way, I've reconnected with some old friends through it, which has been a bonus. I agree...so not a competition for me, but I didn't go into it with the mindset that I was going to gain readers, build a fan base and make money. I know others who have, though, and I get that. I'm just not there with them.

6/10/10, 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Tia Hain said...

Wow! What a fantastic post, and I loved reading all of the comments. There goes an hour of my work day.

I actually started blogging because I wanted to support a website that I was creating. I thought it would be a good way to get followers and beat my competition. I got my twitter account and followed everyone in my niche. I was gonna be power-blogger.

The I realized something. I really liked reading the people I was following. I read their blogs, etc. I found the community part of my niche. I discovered that this is what I was looking for when I found out I couldn't eat gluten (my niche) and it took me four years to find it. Getting into blogging made me change the whole concept of my website to what I wish was around for me years ago. The site actually links to all of these wonderful people that I have found. I want others to find them, too. I got to know my "competition" and found out I really liked them, and want us all to be friends. (I feel like I am a six year-old when I say that. But maybe six year-olds have it right.) We have even been talking about doing our own little blogging conference, so we keep missing the big ones. That way we can get to know each other in person.

I also found friends I can talk to since we automatically have something in common. I moved away from all of my old friends, but we were growing apart a bit since we have been following different paths. I don't feel so lonely anymore.

And, like many others, I just like to write. Whether it's good or bad, I like to do it. I have always been a frustrated artist of one kind or another. Acted for 15 years. Got no where except better. I was happy with that. Then started writing. I have 10 'novels' I have started and tossed aside. Writing my blog lets me get out that artistic side of myself without sacrificing the rest of my life.

And, I agree about the first line. I was actually watching a play-by-play of Steve Jobs keynote at the Apple Conference. Felt like a total geek. And kept watching.

6/10/10, 8:29 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I don't think it's a contest. Which doesn't mean that I don't occasionally feel competitive or jealous. But the same could be said of many things that aren't contests. Like the kind of shoes I'm wearing, for instance.

At this point, I feel that bloggers are still working to establish our credibility and determine our standards. We need to co-operate and work together to do those things. We need to forge a strong community. Competing with each other isn't really the best way to do that.

6/10/10, 11:32 PM  
Blogger Sara (Self-Made Mom) said...

I'm the slowest blogger around, but I just posted a quick snippet of a "blogger" event I'm coordinating this weekend and if it's anything but FUN (no networking blah blah) then I'm not doing my "job" right. Because I got into this for fun, and as soon as that stops, I'm shutting down my small little blog. And, FWIW I hate contests where you're forced to be a fan or a friend. It devalues the number of people that would actually like that brand or product on their own.

6/10/10, 11:41 PM  
Blogger Jessica {Team Rasler} said...

I started blogging for the same reason so many people did - to get these thoughts out of my head. As I started reading more great blogs, the common theme I found was that the writers found this amazing world of connection to others. I began to crave that, and yet I can't find it for myself. Almost no one reads or comments on my blog, and I don't want to do all of the time-sucking things that it would take to get more followers, like the memes and the follow hops, etc. Those detract from what I really want to write about. I don't believe that it's all just about the content anymore. Yes, the content keeps people reading, but getting the attention in the first place is awfully hard these days if you don't have some kind of hook to your blog that makes you different from all the other personal and parenting blogs out there.

So I don't feel at all like it's a competition, but I do sometimes feel like if I'm just writing to get thoughts out of my head and no one is reading them, it might make more sense to just write a journal and put it back on a shelf after each entry.

Thanks for making me stop to think about what I'm trying to get out of this whole experience. At the very least, I'm enjoying reading what writers like you have to say!

6/11/10, 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Amanda said...

Interesting perspective!


6/11/10, 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Kelly Whalen said...

So many great comments my eyes are crossing.

I don't view the blogosphere as a competition, I view it as a community. I base that on my decided dislike of drama, and the amazing support I've always received from the personal finance and mom blogging community.

There are people out there who do view it as a competition, and so far every one of them that I've encountered has fallen flat on their face when it comes to producing the results they are looking for: money, swag, clients, etc.

It does make me feel better knowing that backstabbing, and competitiveness won't get you very far in this community.

The blogging community is like the exact opposite of high school. It's the Bizarro version of high school where geek is chic.

6/11/10, 10:39 AM  
Blogger Maria Melee said...

Okay so I've been pondering on this for a day or so.

I think blogging can very well be a competition for some people. I'm not sure there's anything wrong with that on a general, broad level.

For me, it comes back to a deep sense that there is no "Blogging is _____."

Blogs, by nature, are so individual.

For one blogger, it might be an outlet that involves deriving a sense of satisfaction from getting comments or twitter followers or whatever goals that blogger has set for himself or herself. In that case I guess that yes, it's a competition.

All I can say is that it isn't what I'm there for.

But I can also say that as a beginner, it was impossible for me to not get wrapped up in that feeling that comment counts were very important. That such and such had 40 and I had 2. That so and so had 14 and I had none.

I believe that's human, and natural. And forgivable.

When people start justifying bad behavior or engaging in shitty practices to GET those comments or traffic or attention, it makes me crazy. But even then I feel like it's my responsibility to take a deep breath and step back and bury my head into my little space where I have full editorial control. (That isn't always easy.)

Anyway, there ya go. :)

6/11/10, 11:56 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Great points Maria - as always!

I agree that people get satisfaction from blogging in all sorts of ways and if they want to push themselves to exceed on those measures, more power to them. But if they start to feel that they are in a game where there is a "winner" and a "loser" and that if you have fewer comments than someone else you somehow "lose" - well I find that odd.

I guess I'm differentiating a bit between competition and competitiveness, and an actual contest.

What's that old saying about runners losing races when they look over their shoulders too much?

6/11/10, 12:41 PM  
Blogger Kimberley Clayton Blaine said...

Okay I'm you're 100th comment, will you even get to it Liz? Yikes! I feel the more bloggers advance, get book deals and more corporate sponsors the better chances for others to follow in their steps. Trail blazers like Heather A. have paved a path and we should be thankful for that. The doors that have been opened, stay open and multiply for other bloggers to learn, live and take advantage of. All my success and opportunities came from other mombloggers who opened doors for me when I was starting out. That's what inspired me to write my book, "The Internet Mommy."

Thanks Liz.

Kimberley Clayton Blaine, MA, MFT

6/11/10, 12:59 PM  
Blogger Busy Working Mama said...

Phew, I'm glad I don't think of it as a competition. I have only been blogging since January, and personally I have "met" other new bloggers like me and helped them out with tips on their layout, even working to help someone re-vamp their site - good karma. I like to see others grow.

Thanks for the post. I was not aware of the FB thing. I will be tweeting about it.

6/11/10, 3:25 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

No contest for me either. I think it's natural to get a feeling of envy sometimes when you see someone else get a really successful boost, but for me it fades into genuine happiness for them. I can see how people would blur that line and think we are competing, but freedom comes when you realize that there really IS room for everyone! And that's why blogging is so great.

6/11/10, 3:44 PM  
Blogger just making my way said...

I haven't ever felt like I was competing against anyone. When I first started getting comments and followers, I was totally psyched and honestly wanted more. But then I ended up having to start over and become more anonymous. I admit I was bummed at first because I lost some people. Lately though, I have hardly had time to post and I feel a bit guilty about how little time I am spending blogging. If this is a competition, I'm not going to be winning anything soon!
But I love how you can jump in and out and people are always like, "good to see you!" That's a community I always want to be a part of.

6/12/10, 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Steph said...

I haven't read all of the comments. I blog because it gives me an outlet and I meet people who have been through what I have or who can relate to me. I can't find people like that in my town so I cling to the people in other places who can nod along with me when I relay a feeling or thought.

I don't see it as a competition or anything related to competing. It's a big internet.

6/12/10, 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Leighann of D-Mom Blog said...

Competition? No way.

I write a blog about parenting children with diabetes. Though I may have the slickest and perhaps most well-read blog on the subject, none of that matters.

What matters is that I have found community with parents throughout the world who also deal with their children's diabetes every minute of every hour of every single day.

Parents who are on Facebook or Twitter at 2am when we are up battling life-threatening low blood sugars. Parents who help celebrate little triumphs. Parents who just "get it."

I was alone with my child's diabetes until I began writing about it. I found so much information and support from other parents. And now I can be the "mom blogger" there offering an outreached hand of support and information.

For me blogging has made me a better advocate for my child.

6/12/10, 10:38 PM  
Blogger Stimey said...

There are a lot of reasons why I blog. It gives me a Voice. I blog about autism a lot and feel that I am doing as much as I can to help make a world that will accept my autistic son, and that Voice is a big part of it. The community I have, especially the special needs community, online has been essential to me.

But on a far more personal level, this is why I blog: http://www.stimeyland.com/2009/07/history.html. It's for my kids. It's so they know who I am. And it's so I can remember.

6/12/10, 11:07 PM  
Blogger The Professional Family Manager said...

I think, for some bloggers, blogging is a competition. I've run across a few blogs whose main pages read like a car sales commercial. "Sign up now! Be a part of the coolest blog on the internet!" You have to crawl through the pitches to follow/friend/like/tweet to find the content.

I don't follow those blogs. (Thankfully, they are also in the minority.)

Sure, I like that people read what I write. Yes, I blog for me...but part of what I enjoy is getting feedback from my community on what I wrote. But I'm not competing with anyone else. If I thought I was "competing" with other bloggers, I'd quit today.

The blogging platform is still relatively new and, therefore, traditional companies are still trying to wrap their minds around this new concept of community versus competition. It's never been about community before...but, then, networking has never before had this medium.

6/13/10, 11:34 AM  
Blogger J at www.jellyjules.com said...

100th! OK, you know how some people say 'first!' when they're the first comment? I'm 100th. Which is why I am VERY glad to agree with you that this is NOT a contest. Because if it were, I'd get discouraged and quit. The most comments I ever got was 50, and that was when I posted on my Mom's blog that she had passed away. So really, those were her comments, not mine.

I don't even look at blogstats anymore. I do this (less often now than I used to) for fun, because I have made good friends here, and because sometimes I have things to say, and I like the safety of saying them on my blog. That's it.

6/13/10, 11:48 AM  
Anonymous St. Louis Smart Mama said...

I recently started blogging, and wrote a post about how I wasn't sure if I wanted to be a "mommy blogger," and why I ultimately decided it's something to be proud of.

I started my blog because I wanted a place to sharpen writing skills that have been dulled by years of neglect. At this point I really don't care if anyone is reading it because I see it as sort of a practice arena for me to figure out what I like writing about and what kind of writing I'm good at. But if you see your blog as a business venture I guess I could see how people get competitive.

6/13/10, 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Debbbie, i obsess said...

Smarty blog post aside, I can't help absorbing your face in that image and thinking, WHEN THE HELL ARE YOU GOING TO START LOOKING YOUR AGE?

As in, you look eternally 27.

I'd say I feel competitive about it but you've already coined the best competi-names. Plus I'd be lying. I'm glad you're so pretty. And I was never really too interested in competing with you since you're kind of out of my league. In the best possible sense.


6/16/10, 4:03 PM  
Blogger The Ironic Mother said...

Thanks for the post! You share such wonderful insights.

I blog because it is cheaper than therapy, and because at the end of a post I always feel a bit better and a bit accomplished.

Happy typing!

6/16/10, 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I so enjoyed reading your perspective on this. I started a cooking blog about a year ago and have decided not to focus on comments as a measure of success. So many popular cooking blogs are full of comments but if you actually read them, they're more quantity than quality. When I search for a recipe online, I like reading reviews of the dish by people who've actually made it, so these are the comments I try to encourage. I enjoy reading other cooking blogs, but only comment when I have something genuine or useful to say. I have less comments for it, but get to focus more on the parts of blogging I enjoy...the cooking, the writing, the sharing and the photography. I don't see myself in a competition with other bloggers at all. Instead, I focus on growing my readership of home cooks (most of whom are not bloggers) who need good recipes and will actually make them. This is much more rewarding for me.

6/18/10, 6:27 AM  
Anonymous motheroad said...

Because I can.

6/18/10, 6:31 PM  
Blogger Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

That's kind of silly to me - but I know a lot of people feel that way. Personally, I think that if it becomes a competition you might have lost sight of why you started in the first place. Unless you just started because you heard you could get free stuff, and the whole point is to get more free stuff than everyone else. Which is also silly.

Silly all around then. Unless you do it because you enjoy it. Because it makes you feel good. Because you met amazing people and made great friends, people you probably wouldn't have had the privilege and joy to meet and hang out with and know and become friends with otherwise. Because those are the things that make it worth the time and effort.

We all like pretty things, especially when they are free. But the happiness you get from something pretty is pretty short-lived when compared to making a new friend you can trust and hug and support and talk to and... pretty things don't make you feel less lonely. Not unless you talk to them, in which case being silly isn't the biggest problem you may have.

6/21/10, 2:26 PM  
Blogger bernthis said...

I don't see it as a competition. I see it as a community that has given me a new direction in life and an introduction to an amazing group of women from all over the country and even parts of the world and I'm so grateful.

6/24/10, 1:35 AM  
Anonymous MDTaz said...

One of the reasons we're part of a community, not just a group of friendly competitors, is because of YOU. Your attitude and the fact that occasionally you write a post just like this one is exactly what keeps us all mindful of what we're doing in this on-line space and why. Once again, thanks.

6/25/10, 11:13 PM  
Anonymous Heather said...

It makes me sad to think of blogging as a competition. I guess because it can accomplish so many bigger things. In the end, (when blogging's 15 minutes of fame is up) I think those who blog competitively will fall by the wayside. And then we will be left with those who are just great writers, and do it because they can't not do it.

6/30/10, 12:51 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Great post. I blog because I love the creative outlet it gives me. I also love the sense of community it has enabled, and of course I love sharing what I've learned along the way with others. This is especially true since I blog about living a DIY/green lifestyle - I want everyone to be healthy and happy. I have to be honest though, it's nice to see follower numbers increase, I guess it's only natural, but I try not to let those numbers define me. That's not why I started blogging in the first place.

Love your blog. Peace. ;)

7/18/10, 12:18 PM  
Anonymous HerMelness Speaks said...

I have seen some self-flagellation certainly since the MADs awards, and the rankings this and the non-rankings that. So, yes, I think even those who entered for the 'right' or personal reasons are now somewhat caught up in competitive smoke and mirrors.

To answer the question, I blog because if I have two hands on a keyboard it can't be around the necks of people employed solely to piss me off!

6/9/11, 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Reluctant Housedad said...

I've never come across you blog before. Linked to it through a Twitter recommendation, which proves the point that there are thousands of fantastic blogs out there that haven't yet found their audience. I think this comment stream in reply to your question is the best I've seen in six months of blogging. My POV is that competitiveness means you're trying to beat someone else to whatever rankings (non) prize there is. I compete with myself - or with the stats. Of course I want people to read what I write, otherwise I'd just open ip a Word file and type it all there. And the more exposure you get i.e. stats, then the more likely you are to come across like-minded people who come back to you time and again with whom you can then begin to share bonds. I've achieved that with just a few people in blogosphere - I like what they write' they like what I write - but I would like to meet a lot more, and I would hope, a lot more would like to meet me - as long as they could find me. So how are they going to find me, or you - through Twitter, Facebook, all those marketing tools. I don't think it's shameful to actively encourage higher stats, because the more people read you, the more likely you are to find your compatibles.

6/9/11, 1:37 PM  

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