It's not a contest
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."
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.
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 Moms, Mamaista, Tada Shop, Planet 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?