Am I a blogger

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 literally wrote about anything and everything I could think of, even mundane things such as this XD

Coming back

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.

The present

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!

  1. A real blog? What does that even mean?
  2. I don’t even know what is considered “content” nowadays.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

33 Comments

  1. Isn’t it so strange? I’ve been blogging since I was in middle school, all the way back in 2001 or 2002. And until just recently, it was all about just sharing your life or your passions. And then it kind of got bull-dosered by these “career bloggers” that seems to have over-night changed the platform from “I’m sharing about my life or hobbies!” to “THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE MONEY AND QUIT WORKING!!”

    I left blogging in college because I got too busy to keep up online presence, and was really confused to come back few years ago. I was glad to see some of my friends from back in the days were still here, and still blogging like we used to in the early 2000’s, but I’ve found it very difficult to get into the “new” trend of popularity contents and “buy this buy that.” I’m glad there’s some people that I’ve come to know recently that still blog like we used to, though…

    And yeah- no- we’re bloggers. We have a blog, we write in it, we’re bloggers. Eff the haters 😉

    1. It’s so nice to see that I’m not alone! Like you, I didn’t really ride on the new blogging trends and just blogged about whatever came to mind, just like the old days! It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find other personal bloggers too so I really cherish my blog friends a lot <3

      1. I agree!! Sometimes I really wish LiveJournal was still a thing because having that community of friends (and only they could read your posts!) was a great way to talk about “real” issues that you just aren’t willing to air out in public. 🙁

  2. I started blogging at about age 20 or 21 back in I think around 2000 or 2001. I know exactly what you mean and have been thinking the same thing myself. Honestly though these blogs like ours are the ones I really connect with and enjoy reading. There is only so much fashion or finances or home decor and branded posts I can take before I get really annoyed lol.

    It’s getting harder and harder to find blogs of a personal nature, with people writing about their day, their dreams, thier wishes and every day life. Especially among anyone over 25. I find sometimes I loose interest mainly because I can’t find anyone new who just wants to write about every day life. Blogs like ours are more interesting to me.

    As for WordPress, I find coding themes a bit daunting and sometimes I feel way in over my head but at the same time when I finish one I feel so accomplished, then I get bored with it in a few days or weeks and start all over again, and yeah, it leaves less time for just writing. I started trying different “starter” themes to make it easier, so that all I really need is some CSS and a little bit of adjusting to save some time.

    1. I also think that finding personal blogs has become increasingly difficult, so I really cherish my blog friends <3 I'm the same way, I enjoy reading personal blogs more than other blogs. It's just a matter of preference!

      I still want to learn how to code themes someday though, but as of now I really want to focus on my writing and be consistent about it before I do anything else XD

  3. This is such a home-hitting blog post, Claudine! We started during a similar time period with the same intentions – just to have an online diary, just to write and just to have a website… for fun. I also took a break and returned horrified because I wasn’t buying new items of clothing every single week and reviewing them or reviewing new brands of lipstick. It took me quite a while to adjust to this, trying to get an understanding of where I stood in the blogger market because people also said that I wasn’t really a “blogger” because I didn’t have a niche! I learned that overtime, I needed to stop giving myself a label of not being good enough, I needed to stop comparing what others were doing and focusing on what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. And now, I have found my own grounding in my own way in the blogging world which has allowed me to continue writing (something I love), creating cool things (e.g. interviewing people around the world), and writing code (editing my WP themes!) This is my version of what my blog does for me, it doesn’t have to be universal – in fact, it isn’t at all!! People need to stop putting others in boxes and dismissing others who aren’t exactly the same as them! You wanna blog about cats? Blog about cats! I’m gonna blog about dogs because cats terrify me! And thats OK!

    Some thoughts:
    A real blog? What does that even mean? A BLOG IS WHERE YOU WRITE STUFF. STUFF = WHATEVER YOU WANT.
    I don’t even know what is considered “content” nowadays. For me, content is any piece I create including blog post or video!
    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. AND THATS OKAY <3 There is no requirement that you need to be a WP developer to be a blogger!
    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 YOURE MORE RELATABLE THIS WAY <3

    1. I remember you writing a blog post about this too, Pauline! It’s nice that you’ve already found your perfect blogging “formula”, and I love how everything in your blog reflects your offline personality so well. I think that’s why you’re so relatable! <3

      As for me, all I really want is my own place on the internet where I can write and share my life away from social media. For me, blogging is my way of documenting my experiences. I want to write all about these things so that I could look back on them when I grow older. That's what blogging is for me <3

  4. It’s interesting to see how blogging transformed over the years, isn’t it? I mean at the end of the day, you define what you want to be as a blogger. There isn’t exactly a rule. Those comments are uncalled for, though. You don’t need to be making money or have 189247198247198 followers. Keep on doing you.

    1. That’s true! Like I said, I’m not blogging for a living and that’s perfectly fine – there’s a place for everyone in this diverse blogosphere! All I wanted when I started blogging was to share my life and that’s what I’ll keep on doing.

  5. Thank you for creating this post and sharing your thoughts. I find it so rude that anyone could be so critical of you and your blog. As you mentioned, there are many types of blogs and just because personal blogs don’t fit into the professional category doesn’t make them less valuable. It’s about your life, and you are important!

    I started a blog a long time ago (2003), and a lot of the people I connected with had personal blogs. It has been strange to watch the rise of blogger as a profession and how the old school blogs are becoming less common. I still like to read them, and see what people are doing with their lives. A blog to me will always mean a personal space to express thoughts and opinions. I continue to blog because it allows me to see how I have grown!

    1. I still love reading personal blogs too, and these are the types of blogs that I really connect with because I feel like I’m getting insights into other people’s lives and learning from them, to the point that my blog friends actually feel like real-life friends to me! <3

  6. I don’t even remember why I started a blog. I guess cause that was the thing? These days I barely have interest, but I don’t want to give it up.

    As for what makes a blogger, I feel anyone that has one is. Screw the so called rules. XD

    1. I felt the same way as you! Blogging was making me very unhappy at one point but whenever I gave it up, I would just miss it and then I would go back to writing once again XD

  7. It’s definitely an interesting question. I’ve been blogging since I was in middle school, so when old friends are like “Remember when us blogging was a thing?!” I’m just like… yeah.. because I still do it LOL I can also totally relate to your early days. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to think about what I wrote about because I literally wrote about everything, haha.

    I also get embarrassed sharing my personal blog >.> Only because I’m way more honest through my online space and sometimes I have trouble opening up to people. It’s like they’re seeing a part of me I don’t really want to show them >.> If that makes sense.

    1. I totally get you Rezina! I usually pour my heart out when I’m writing my blog posts so this is the most honest version of me that you’re gonna get, especially in this social media age where people only post about their highlights or triumphs.

  8. I would still consider ourselves bloggers. Maybe we should be labeled Old-School Bloggers because we have been doing it for so long and aren’t in it for the money. Either way, I don’t really care. I just keep a blog for myself. If no one reads it, it doesn’t really make a difference to me.

    I can code a WordPress theme. But it would require me to re-teach myself which I really have no time or interest in doing that. Before using WordPress I used to make my layouts completely on my own, but now that I’m older and busier, I would rather just use premade ones.

    1. I keep a blog for myself too, just to document things that are happening in my life (outside social media)! Actually, most of the people I know in real life don’t even know that I have a blog XD

  9. Hi Claudine, sorry for the super late presence!

    Although I am aware of how much blogging has “evolved” since the trend began (I’d say maybe late ’90s-early 2000s), if you own a blog, you are a blogger. It’s always been that way from the beginning and it’ll always be that way today. Like (almost) everyone here, I started blogging in late 1999. Blogger (before Google purchased it) first opened around that time too, and when I first signed up, there weren’t any “specific rules” on what makes a blogger a “blogger.”

    But if we’re talking about these “specific rules and regulations” that should define a “legit blogger,” I guess I still am. I own a blog about my tech journeys and I own another one about my love for my current fave J-Pop boy group MADKID.

    Still, if you own, operate, and maintain a blog, niche or non-niche, you are a blogger.

    1. I can only go for so long writing about a niche before I run out of ideas. Haha. XD I definitely consider myself a blogger after going through this thought process!

  10. I’ve been a “blogger” since I was in High School, but I’ve always enjoyed expressing myself in the design aspect. When I was in middle school, I used to make web pages just for fun, but then once blogging came along, I used it more as a way to embrace my creativity. I also used to write posts on LiveJournal and Blurty, but only because I could make those posts private, and control who could read them. There was on point on my blog where I would write every day, but I guess that’s because my life was a lot more interesting.

    Nowadays, I’m not even sure if I would consider myself a normal blogger. I have a blog, which I barely update, and a theme which I purchased, because I don’t even have the attention span to code. I do enjoy designing my blog graphics, but that’s pretty much the only thing I do anymore. I’ve gone from blogging every day to blogging every few months now.

    How times have changed…

    1. I don’t blog as often anymore just like you, but that’s alright because life happens! Of course we have to pay attention to our offline life too! 🙂 I used to be pretty insecure about my posting frequency because that’s one of the “blogging rules” – you have to be consistent. But hey, we’re doing this for fun and not to make money, so I feel that we have to be free to choose when we want to post!

  11. As you know – from our conversation on Twitter – I totally understand. I haven’t heard that kind of rude comments regarding my blog, but I kind of see them between the lines when I read articles about blogging. And I think that the professional/for-profit blogging has hi-jacked what I call real blogging. In my opinion, blogging still means what it started as – sharing from life, thoughts, opinions and experiences on a blog website. The hard definition of a blog still is “a website built with dated pages that are ordered by date” but in the big world out there, the blogging definition has become a profession and as you say, with a huge set of “rules”.
    This is why I haven’t blogged recently, I’ve been so doubtful whether or not I “should” do it, if there is a point or if I even could call my site a blog. Now I decided that I want to decide for myself if and how I want to share my experiences that lie ahead, what to call my site and what I do, regardless of what other people do or call it. After all, our type of blogging was the original type of blogging!! We all write blogs if we produce articles on a blog site and there are so many styles of blogs but they all have the right to be called blogs!

    Let’s continue do to what we enjoy, write for the pleasure of sharing, and call ourselves bloggers, because that’s what we are if we write blog posts of whatever type.

    1. We have the same sentiments, and it takes a while to get over these thoughts or feelings because of the new trends!

      I do hope that you restart blogging – I will definitely read your posts! <3

  12. That was something that threw me off too. Blogging in the past was just like having a livejournal account and sharing with your friends that things you did. I really loved it and miss those days to a certain degree. I still do that though, my blog is whatever I feel like writing and whatever topic I’m currently into at the moment. It is strange though, cause even my little blog has gotten offers to help on sponsor and stuff. I’ve only done it a few times but I’m not an active blogger.

    Just like the cosplay community. There are those we call can call professional but that doesn’t make the other people we call cosplayers any less legit so I agree with you on the blogger title. You and I are bloggers just of a different group. 🙂

    1. I connect more with personal blogs like yours, where people just write about whatever they feel like writing! <3

      I feel like it would be strange to get offers for sponsoring or reviewing stuff! I feel like getting paid or being given stuff in exchange for writing something takes the joy out of blogging XD

  13. I started my first blog in… 2001 I think? I don’t think professional blogging was a thing back then. It’s weird to see how it’s evolved from the simpler days of just blogging about our lives. I mean, it’s great that people can make a living out of it now, but it shouldn’t take the fun out of it for people like us who do it casually and don’t want to have a niche.

    To me, being a blogger is simply someone who owns a blog. I feel like it’s become something similar to “photographer”. If you call yourself a photographer, people think you do it as a career vs calling yourself a “photography enthusiast”. Even though I don’t make any money from blogging, I would still call myself a blogger, though I suppose “casual blogger” might make more sense to people who see blogging as a profession.

    Also, I don’t think you have to make your own WordPress themes if you don’t want to! Using a pre-made theme is so common, and blogging is about the writing.

    Overall, I’m glad I could still find bloggers who have casual, nicheless blogs. People should do what they want with their blogs, whether it’s a niche or nicheless, whether they make their own themes or not. In the end, if it’s a hobby for us, then we should have fun with it! Do what makes you happy!

    1. I so agree with you about the “photographer” label! Now that you mention it, I do think the term “blogger” is becoming somewhat similar to the label of “photographer”, where everyone automatically assumes that giving yourself those labels means you’re doing those things for a living! Awesome! Thanks for pointing this out!

  14. I think it’s weird how blogging has changed so much over the past five years. The first time I saw someone getting paid for blogging I was so confused! I still can’t believe some people can make a full wage from it. It definitely wasn’t like that before.

    I think you’re still a blogger just for having a blog, it doesn’t matter that it’s not your job. I’ve spent the past couple of years worrying that I’m doing it wrong and should be trying to make it more “professional”, but that’s not what I actually want to do. Just do what you enjoy, who cares what anyone else thinks.

    1. I spent the last couple of years worrying if I was doing things right as well, but going through this thought process has helped me stop comparing myself to others. You’re right, it all boils down to what you want to do and what you want out of your blog. Since we’re mostly interested in sharing our personal lives and insights, then we don’t have to worry about making it more “professional”! And I feel like no one can tell us how to blog “the right way” because we’re writing about our lives, and we’re the ones living them!

  15. I don’t really care all these definitions. Blogging is a profession and I respect that. However, I highly doubt I will ever go into such profession. I don’t see myself monetising my blog. While blogging is a profession, I don’t see it as a career.

    Similar to you, I have a personal blog and I’m proud of it. I don’t intend to monetise it right now or in the future. I write what I feel like and don’t want to be paid for what I write. I used to do it but after some years of working, I decided to have a career and just keep my blog as a personal blog. I wanted to start a technology blog but is just too lazy to do so. Maybe I will finally work on it but for now, I still enjoy blogging about my personal life.

    1. I don’t see myself monetizing my blog too, like ever! I just don’t want to take the joy out of writing by being forced to do it even when I don’t want to, or even when I don’t like what I’m writing about.

  16. Hello Claudine!

    It is not the first time I visit your blog only this time I decided to comment because I also feel like you.

    Here in Brazil you have a Blog is synonym to be famous-practically an exhibition stand for brands.

    What is not my case, I like to write to me, record important moments of my life or give a hint to mothers and sometimes happens to someone come to talk, ask for some kind of help or even thank you for having read certain post.

    The blogosphere has changed a lot, it’s up to us not to lose the serenity:)

  17. I think that you’re a blogger regardless of whether it’s personal, lifestyle, travel or whatever and whomsoever thinks otherwise is silly! What is really the difference between them – a blog is a blog and that’s that! Ugh, some people are so annoying.

    I remember in 2015 when i first got approached about my blog and I went to my first blogger event and got asked, “What do you blog about” and my answer was, “Everything!” and they looked at me all weird. That is the one and only time I’ve ever felt self-conscious about my blog. since then I’ve been like, eff it! My blog has evolved so I don’t write too many personal things as I used to back in the day but I still write about whatever I want and that’s the way it should be!

    A real blog is a blog that you write in, just like you mentioned. I see no other explanation for it – whether professional or personal.

    Haters gonna hate, you do you, boo!

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