Let me be frank: I love the idea of your services (a platform to follow blogs from a variety of web hosts), but I don’t use them very often. I do plan to use Bloglovin’ more frequently – becoming more familiar with it has been on my to-do list for quite some time, actually – but for now I’ll settle for having a barely-used account, occasionally glancing at the app on my homescreen, and reading your emails.
I may not use Bloglovin’ very often, but I am passionate about blogging. Since starting sherinaspeaks three years ago, I have been focused on becoming a better writer and writing about a variety of topics. I love writing posts, reading other blogs, and developing my blog brand. The message behind what I write has always been important to me; more so than the amount of followers my blog has. That’s why I was so shocked to read your email the other day.
The first line of the email read: “Do you have less than 10k followers?” I scoffed – I do, and so do virtually all of the other blogs that I follow. The email details your “Get Famous in August” challenge: the top three Bloglovin’ users who gain the most followers this month will be featured on the Bloglovin’ website and blog. (You can read more about the challenge by following this link).
At first, I thought it was an interesting incentive – but something didn’t sit properly with me. When I went on Twitter shortly after, I saw tweets from other bloggers putting my worries into words (all tweets have been used with permission from the tweeters).
I wish I could say I understand why you decided to make gaining followers and “becoming famous” your August challenge, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. In most cases, bloggers are writers, not mathematicians: it is words that matter to us, not numbers. I consider my blog successful by my own terms, because I am able to share my words and try to positively impact others and speak up about things that matter to me. I refuse to measure my success in the blogosphere by how many followers I have.
Your challenge sends the wrong message to bloggers: it tells us that we should focus on becoming famous and gaining followers, instead of spreading our message and changing the world with our words. Focusing on gaining followers means people are no longer writing for themselves; they’re writing for people to follow them.
You’re asking people to round up followers for the purpose of winning – not for the purpose of making meaningful connections, or creating a community. As a result of this challenge bloggers might end up with a plethora of followers who aren’t truly interested in their posts, having only followed them to help them win.
Not only is this inauthentic, but it creates confusion around the purpose of blogging: is it to write, regardless of how many people are reading, or is it a competition to gain followers? I thought the answer was obvious, until a few days ago when I read your email, Bloglovin’.
I love blogging and I love the blogging community. That’s why I feel so passionately about this issue, because instead of being a challenge with the potential to be a positive force, it seems focused on negativity and inauthenticity. And I don’t think that’s what Bloglovin’ is all about.
PS – I based my title for this post off of Taylor Swift’s open letter to Apple. Her letter resulted in a huge positive change for the music industry. I understand the change that could result from this letter might not seem quite so drastic – but if you think about it, it actually could be.
Bloglovin’ is one of the premier blogging social media sites. If their challenges were focused on creating a positive environment for bloggers to share meaningful and authentic posts and interact with each other (instead of asserting that a high follower count is the most important part of blogging) I think the entire blogging community could really benefit.
PPS – This isn’t only about Bloglovin’ – it is about all bloggers, and the services that we use. It is about making the blogosphere (and the entire Internet) a positive space. If you agree with my message, please share my post or write your own.