During the past few months, I’ve had several conversations with different people where I was asked about my blog. Every time they find out that I’m a blogger, they automatically ask me what I write about or who my readers are. And when I answer them that this blog is a personal blog, people suddenly lose interest, with some even telling me that I’m not a legit blogger.
I’ve been avoiding this question for a while but because of these conversations, I was finally driven to reflect on it: am I really a blogger?
The early days
I started my blogging journey when I was 10 years old, out of a desire to have my own website. I wrote about anything and everything in my life, but mostly about school and [the occasional] travel. A lot of people were doing the same, and I enjoyed reading other people’s stories and making friends through blogging.
That time, I was proud to call myself a blogger because for me, being a blogger simply meant that I owned a blog. I loved writing about myself and for myself. It didn’t matter what I wrote about or what I did with my content. There were no hard and fast rules.
I stopped blogging for a while because I was busy making the transition from high school to college, but when I came back a few years later, I felt like I was in a different world. All of a sudden, blogging wasn’t just about owning a blog and sharing your life, it was a profession. Everyone was blogging about a certain niche such as fashion or travel (fashion blogging was super in at that time).
To add to my confusion, I was surprised to hear about people blogging for money, and suddenly there were “rules” to follow if you wanted to be considered a blogger. I was horrified to find out that based on those rules, I was committing all sorts of mistakes: I didn’t have a niche, I didn’t have a target audience, I wasn’t trying to “brand” myself, I wasn’t monetizing my blog, I didn’t know how to code my own themes (I still find WordPress difficult to this day) and other stuff I don’t even understand.
I still like writing, but to be honest I came to a point where I was embarrassed to share my personal blog. I didn’t even want to self-identify as a blogger anymore. The few times I did and shared my blog to people, I’d get remarks like these:
- “Oh, I thought you had a real blog1.”
- “But you don’t create content2 at all, who would read this?”
- “You can’t even code your own themes3, you’re not legit.”
- “You’re a blogger? Why haven’t I heard of you?”
- “You won’t make money out of something like this.”
- “Why do you keep on writing if you’re not thinking of engaging or inspiring4 people?”
I still get these comments sometimes, and I’m tired of the negativity.
It seems like my blog isn’t considered a “real” blog because I’m only writing about my life. But for me, it’s better than writing about just one topic that I don’t know much about or have no interest in just because it’s a popular niche.
I started blogging because I wanted to document my life and look back on those memories when I get older. That’s it. I blog for myself. Becoming famous and earning money from blogging was never my intention when I started. I still don’t care about these things, but apparently the blogging world has changed so much to the point that these are considered requirements before you could call yourself a blogger.
Answering the question
So, to answer the question: Am I a blogger?
Based on these trends, it seems like the term is increasingly being used in a professional context so answering this question is more complicated than it seems. In the end, I guess it all boils down to the definition you prescribe to.
If I were to apply the broadest (and original) meaning of the word, then I can call myself a blogger because I do have a blog. I write in it and form relationships through it. But I don’t blog for a living and I’m not a professional writer by any means, so I can’t be considered a blogger in a professional context.
That’s it, maybe there’s just a need to distinguish between casual/personal bloggers and professional bloggers. The way I see it, the rules I see all over the internet only apply to professional bloggers who really want to make money from blogging, and there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what they want out of their blogs. But for personal blogs, I feel like people should feel free to write what they want since personal blogs are more for sharing stories and documenting lives. The blogosphere is huge and diverse, so I believe that there’s a place for both professional and casual bloggers, niche or no niche!
To all my blog friends: I’d love to know what you think about this. Let me know in the comments!
- A real blog? What does that even mean? ↩
- I don’t even know what is considered “content” nowadays. ↩
- Not knowing how to code WordPress themes is still a major insecurity, but as of the moment I’m more interested in writing posts than coding my own themes so I’m focusing on that first. ↩
- As for inspiring others, I don’t really think my life is super inspirational. I’m just an ordinary person writing about my ordinary life. So I’m not gonna go all-out preachy in my blogs, guys. Don’t worry XD ↩