For ten years I’ve bristled at being called a blogger. It’s an awful word. It looks like booger, sounds like blobber, and has an air of artificiality and preciousness that most made-up words have (and you can can it with your ‘all words are made up’ crap, I know that, but you have to admit that some made-up words [see any ‘word’ that has evolved from twitter] are more heinous than others).
I’ve struggled with being a blogger (the label applied to me) who is blogging (the thing I do) on her blog (the place I do that thing I do) ever since I started I Will Dare in 2000. You’ll have to take my word for this because the earliest complaint I can find is in 2006. That’s probably because I was in denial for six years that I was actually a blogger who blogged on her blog.
At first I detested the label because I never dreamed a “serious” writer would lower themselves to blogging. I wanted to be a serious writer and not a blogger. Blogging was the domain of heartsick college students who spent all their time gazing at their own navels. Then as blogging gained more and more acceptance, I hated the label a little less. Though I would always say it with a little bit of contempt. It is, like I said, an awful word.
There was a brief time, probably around the time I was working full time at The Nerdery where I was all “hell yes, I am blogger hear me roar.” But the more time I spent reading marketing blogs and advertising blogs and design blogs my roar turned into a whisper.
Blogging has evolved into a marketing/SEO/SEM/branding strategy. Which is fine. I get why blogging is smart for businesses and brands and people who are looking to brand themselves. But that’s not me. That’s not what I Will Dare is about or why I created it.
A few weeks ago I was the Geek Girls Guide Geek of the Week and we very briefly touched on the topic of authenticity (when I wasn’t giggling about Skittles and Pinky Tuscadero). Meghan had asked me how I felt about authenticity and transparency being that I make a living writing posts for other people.
What I didn’t say, and should have said, is that while readers crave this transparency and authenticity the most apparent thing, the one thing that’s never talked about, is that most blogs want you to part with your cash. Yes, the musician’s blog, the author’s blog, that company you really admire — all those blogs want you to spend money on their stuff. Which, again, is fine. I am not trying to deny anyone their money or marketing or advertising.
Really, the onus is on the readers of those very fine blogs to remember that. Most people aren’t blogging because they want to, or because they love it. They blog to make a buck, and it’s probably the one thing they aren’t very transparent about.
And I think that’s what the term blogger has evolved into, someone who writes stuff in the hope of getting your attention and casually deflecting that attention onto stuff that you can buy from them.
I’m not doing that here on I Will Dare. I’m not here to be a thought leader, or to brand myself as a social media wonk/marketing master, or to get you to buy my widgets/books*/music. I’m here because I’m a narcissitic storyteller who wants to practice her craft in some way, shape, or form.
And there ought to be a cool, made-up word for that. You know, besides writer.
* DISCLAIMER: If I ever publish a book, I will change this tune so fast your head won’t just spin, the centrifugal force of that spinning will cause your brains to fly out your nose. In fact, I will pimp my goods so hard you will be all what the what what? I thought she was the high and mighty moralist who wasn’t selling stuff. Then you will go search my archives to find this post so you can hoist me on my own petard only you will never find it because it will have disappeared and I will deny it ever existed. Why? Because I am the all powerful benevolent ruler of I Will Dare.
P.S. This rant was brought to you by Bloggers quitting what they call a demanding task with few rewards, an article (and the accompanying comments by PR vultures and SEO sorcerers) that induced so much gagging and eye-rolling while I read it that I think I pulled a muscle in my eyelid.
P.P.S Nabisco, I’d still totally sell out for a Nutter Butter sponsorship. Just imagine it: 1 part mean red + 1 part don’t give a damn + 1 part delcious Nuttery Buttery goodness. Call me!