A Blogger’s Sense of Entitlement

entitlement

Sometimes I have to blog about blogging. I often contemplate if I should write about it over on Social Dialect where I actually focus my writing specifically on the business of blogging. Most of my readers over there are bloggers or brands or PR professionals. But sometimes, like today, it’s got a personal slant.

Realizing that not all of you who graciously come and read here every so often are actually bloggers, I get how the whole blogging about blogging thing can make for some dull reading. But stay with me because I’d love to hear your opinion on this.

If you’re a blogger, you probably already know this. But for those people outside of the blogging world, I try to explain that not only are bloggers a community of their own but we’re also a little subculture. We have the celebrities (think Dooce or the Pioneer Woman), the bad girls (who leave no stone unturned and no curse word unwritten), the popular girls (fill in your own blanks), the wannabes, the groupies, the hangers on, and so on.

As with any work environment, you have all sort of personalities. There are really nice people and climbers and just plain old jerks. The same is true for blogging. Except it’s different.

In a more traditional work environment, there’s usually some sort of hierarchy. There might be an executive leadership team, followed by senior managers and middle managers and supervisors and the all-important worker bee. Everyone usually knows where they stand and where they want to go. The hard part is figuring out how to get there.

But blogging is nothing like this. There are no real bosses or managers. It’s every man (or woman) for himself. And we don’t all know where we want to go. Or can go. It’s like the Wild West.

Or is it?

Trying to find some sort of order in this world, I started thinking about how bloggers are often like real estate agents. We’re all independent contractors that may be friends with one another and may work together, but ultimately we’re all competing for the same business.

It’s still different though. We’re not all selling something. And we certainly haven’t all taken a standardized exam that awards us a license to blog.

Then I started thinking about the entertainment industry. I minored in theater so it’s a world I know and can relate to. And I started seeing some of the similarities.

You can be an overnight sensation or have a slow, steady climb to success. Like actors.

You can be a great writer that goes completely unnoticed because no one reads your blog. Like great actors in indie movies that never see the light of day.

You can write a horrible post that people absolutely love. You can write a darling little piece that people could care less about. Think about how those awful blockbuster movies are always so popular even if the acting and writing are terrible.

Let’s take it a step further and think about the qualifications for blogging and for acting.

Here’s an example of what I’m getting at.

Lindsey Lohan and Meryl Streep are both considered actresses.

That’s it. They are both defined by the same word, the same profession. Actress.

Behind that word, you’ll find one woman who attended the Yale School of Drama, has won three Oscars, and has mastered virtually every accent on Earth, all while raising three daughters. Behind that word, you’ll also find one woman who started as a child model, won a Teen Choice Award, and has now become virtually unemployable, all while creating a rap sheet that rivals Snoop Dogg.

The same is true for bloggers. Some are experienced professionals. Some work hard, play fair, have ethics, build relationships, and generally still stay true to the nice people that they are. Others… not so much.

As in the entertainment industry, you’ll find people who have developed overinflated sense of ego, an erratic temperament, and a strong sense of entitlement.

Now, as far as I know, nobody has specifically requested they be given Cristal, Fiji water, and a bowl of ONLY green M&Ms back stage at a blog conference. But I do hear plenty of other stories.

Some are more widely known and have become legend (like the woman who demanded that she get a pair of free Crocs at a conference). Others are discussed in hushed tones in private settings.

Frankly, it’s starting to get pretty irritating.

I hear about bloggers who steal things off of sponsor displays. Bloggers who request review items and never review them – but still find time to sell them on Craigslist. Bloggers who complain about the steps required of them to secure their travel documents for a fully funded trip. Bloggers who only talk to brands on Twitter when they want to complain about something (yes, we all know you’re fishing for something free). Bloggers who are working for a brand and trash that brand directly in front of the brand’s reps.

Oh, the stories I could tell.

I once bought a domain with the idea of an anonymous website built solely for the purpose of calling bloggers out on all the things they’re doing wrong. I still fantasize about this idea but I’ve shot it down for several reasons.

First of all, it’s not my place to be the judge, jury, and executioner of any one person. Second, I’d rather focus on the good things in the blogging world rather than the bad. And third, because I know from my own personal experience, what goes around comes around. Every dog has his day (or something like that).

So then I have to ask myself, why did I write this piece in the first place?

Mostly I’m hoping it will be a little food for thought. Maybe at least an appetizer for thought. We all need to stop once in a while and reflect on our own behavior and decide if we are the people we want to be.

And also to say to the world of brands and public relations professionals, we’re not all like that. Promise.

 

  • FrugalCouponQueens.com

    Blogging is like any profession- there are professionals and there are not-so-professionals. Eventually (at least I hope so) all the not-so professionals fade into the darkness and are only remembered in one of those “do you remember that blogger…” moments where their worst atrocities are relived by other bloggers sitting around.

    • FadraN

      What you said… exactly. The lack of professionalism lies everywhere but when we’re all technically self-employed the unprofessionals aren’t going to gain any perspective when their annual review time comes around – because there isn’t one!

  • claudoo

    Having worked for a major Fortune 50 company who leveraged the support of bloggers for years, I can say that all of what you reference here is true. MOST of the bloggers out there are wonderful but as with any group, there are some who can really create a bad name for the rest.

  • Stephanie

    Great post. What a great analogy to the entertainment industry. My husband spent a very brief time in the industry in LA so I totally get it. He got out when he realized that it’s not a sustainable venture if you have to provide for a family. Blogging could be the same…am I willing to do this as a hobby for years and years w/o a substantial payout? B/c that is is very possible and many actors do just that. They have gigs here and there but keep their day jobs b/c it’s not enough to live on. I guess all bloggers have to ask themselves if they really love it or has it become a burden. If they really love it then are they okay w/ just being a unknown actor, extra in movies or having small roles here and there? B/c most of us won’t reach Meryl Streep status.

  • Tatanisha Worthey

    Wow, I just came across your blog from another blogger sharing. I am a blogger as well and thanks speaks volumes! Thank you for writing it – great food for thought. I loved the illustrations you used to describe bloggers to the entertainment business!

    • FadraN

      This industry is always changing so I’m hoping (fingers crossed) that perhaps behavior has changed (or is changing) in the year since I wrote this. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Gwen Mulholland

    Thank you for posting this and it was very well written. As a blogger who has just broken out on her own I find myself “finding” myself in the blogging world. The one thing I want to make sure of is that I am true to myself and don’t fall into the old clique’s. I have made my husband promise that if I start to slip he has the right to reign me in. The important thing is that I am a woman of honor and someone my husband is proud to call his wife and my children their mother. As a Christian woman, it is important that Christ shine in everything I do. I have done things for “Free” – that other bloggers would chastise me for doing since they would want to get paid. I, however, felt God telling me that is what I was to do. I don’t always know why but I have learned that when God speaks I need to listen. I know by following God’s plan he will guide and provide for me long after material things are gone. I pray that those that come to my blog see this in me and don’t ever classify me as a blogger who feels entitled.

    • FadraN

      The one mistake I think people make is demanding payment for everything they do. I’ve done plenty of pro bono work (sounds better than free) because it was something that I believed in or it felt like a great opportunity. And that has lead to OTHER opportunities that paid very well! Follow your heart, be yourself, and the right people will find you.

  • primetimeparent

    Well put, Fadra. I really like your comparison as well, to actresses. On the flip side, I have felt like a girl at a sorority rush party, hoping the brands (the sorority to join)would in fact invite me back to work with them!

    • FadraN

      I think we’ve all felt a sense of, “ooh, how do I get to work with that brand? how did she get to work with that brand?” But it’s really about networking as in any other profession. And a little bit of luck (I still believe in the right time, right place mentality!)

  • Holly Rosen Fink

    Amen.

  • http://www.mamabzz.com/ Mel Lockcuff

    As I write this, I feel like it’s gonna sound all flowers and rainbows, but truly not my intention…. life is far from perfect. lol

    Reflecting on our own behavior; love that, Fadra…. something I’ve definitely really taken a look at in the past year or so in my own life, especially in relation to my end goals. How do I want to be perceived, to be known? What is the real passion behind my blogging? Yeah, that one was a huge realization for me, realizing what my real passion and end goal is. For me personally, thinking about everything you wrote…. it honestly boils down to being the change I want to see, whether it’s in my career as a blogger and a writer (and yes, I consider myself a writer) or in my personal life, as well. Keep on doing what I’m doing, face forward, work hard, be professional, be supportive to other bloggers, steer clear of the drama, and not so much worrying about what others are doing. Worry about what I’m doing, learn from other bloggers…. but see them as the real people they are, even the hugely successful bloggers. After all, we all button our pants the same way, right? lol

    I’ve seen some of the things described above too…. A LOT. It’s sad when you really think about it. I guess I just look at it as what kind of legacy do I want to leave for my kids? ‘Cause that thought right there brings so much perspective.

    • FadraN

      I can’t tell you how many times my approach to blogging has change over the past 4.5 years. I’m always trying to think of what I really want, besides just to enjoy to way I earn an income. What I love is that I feel like I have a modest level of success (open to interpretation) and I’ve done it on my own terms. I’ve tried a few tactics here and there but bottom line is that it doesn’t feel good unless I’m simply being me.

      Sounds like you are doing all the right things!!!

      • http://www.mamabzz.com/ Mel Lockcuff

        Ha, I don’t know about that, but I’m definitely trying. You’re so right about doing it on your own terms and being yourself. And I just realized this was written a year ago…. Good stuff!

        • FadraN

          It’s because my work is timeless :D

  • owensmom

    Though I enjoyed the post, and found several points I agree with, here in the comments there seems to be a divide between writers and public relations. …oh, and we could even throw designers in the mix with all the talented photography bloggers out there.

    I have a background in advertising, so while you joke about the free vacuum, that is what I do. I share brands and products that I use (mainly food or family related) with my readers. I share recipes and ideas for crafts or activities with my children, too. I am not trying to grab at freebies or demand products, instead I am usually contacted by a brand for the purpose of showing their product in use. My favorite posts involve a new food product that I can incorporate into a family meal. I know everyone who commented here means well, but please don’t lump “review bloggers” all together.

    I do consider myself an entrepreneur. I help companies promote, syndicate across social media channels. etc. I have set work hours, duties to fulfill and even expenses for photography backgrounds, props, ingredients, etc.

    Again, writing is such a small part of what I do, but I do consider myself a blogger. I truly believe we come in all shapes and forms, but good manners are just good manners no matter the industry.

    • FadraN

      I don’t think anyone is begrudging you a free vacuum (I reviewed one last year!) if it fits with your personality and your blog type. I do plenty of reviews on my blog but I have specific criteria for the products I review (loose as they may be). But I have plenty of first hand experiences of bloggers who will LITERALLY push you out of the way to get a free widget. If you haven’t been to any blog conferences, that’s where you see a lot of the behavior!! Since this post was written over a year ago, I do feel like the climate is changing as conferences change and brands are looking for fresh approaches to working with bloggers.

      While this post was a bit ranty, the core of it is that we need to act like professionals if we want to be treated like professionals.

  • Kyla @ Mommy`s Weird

    I stole one thing. COME ON. And I am still waiting for those damn crocks.
    p.s Did another bad girl already beat me to this hilarious comment? :) Nice post.