Last week I was mainlining coffee at Espresso Alley (you may remember the EXCELLENT review I wrote for them a couple weeks back) and ran into one of the Vinces, who mentioned the review. He asked me, “It’s really good. Are you a writer or something?” I missed half-a-beat and responded with, “Well…I’m a Blogger.” and I said it without flinching. The truth is, bloggers are writers. There is debate in journalistic circles that Bloggers are poor-man’s writers, but I don’t care. I don’t make a living out of blogging, but I’ll be damned if I’m not as worthy a writer as any other crappy journalist!
Defining myself as a Blogger was surprising. The generic question that people ask, “But what do you do?” has seen me label myself as HR Consultant to Mum to HR Consultant and back to Mum and Unemployed Blogger/student type thingo. I don’t really feel the need to put myself in any occupational bucket, but Vince kinda put me on the spot. I’m proud of all the things I am, and one of those is a Blogger. Fuck, yeah!
Bloggers play a vital role in weaving the social media fabric. We have loyal audiences (ummm, at least I think I do. Hello? Hello? No, really, HELLO?), we are social commentators, if only in our own little worlds and we make very real (OK, very virtual) connections. At least, the good ones do. I like to think of myself as one of the good ones, but I also don’t kid myself that I’m some social media genius, as that, my friends, I certainly aint.
So it was with that knowledge I descended the steps into my first blogger function, Digital Parents Unplugged as a frigid, social media mega-virgin about to have my innocence ripped out. OK, it wasn’t quite that drastic, but it was daunting as I knew no-one and had the impression that the blogging world, as small as it is, was very cliquey. Thank fuck for sparkling wine and Brenda, from DP. She’s a little social dynamo, that one. You’ve got to watch her.
The thrust (sorry) of the night was for bloggers and brands to connect. I’m not at the stage of entertaining brands, so I was basically there to meet other bloggers (importantly other parent bloggers) and on that front, it was superb. Like going into Myer as a size 8, standing back and saying “I’ll have that, and that and, oh looky here! That’s GORGEOUS, I’ll have two of those. That’ll totally fit me.” I met a stack of smashing chicks – Kim from Working Women Australia, Roz from Sew Delicious, MummyK, Laney from Crash Test Mummy, Dani from Fitness, Food and Style and others whose names escape me now thanks to the sparkling. Haven’t I dropped enough names now?
I’m super new to the concept of aligning with brands and haven’t decided whether it is for me or not, but one thing was made very clear during the panel. The relationship between bloggers and brands as it now stands is immensely fraught and complicated, and as it’s only a fairly new phenomenon, hasn’t been worked through nearly enough to make me comfortable. The panellists, Chris Barger from Porter Novelli, Claire Hewitt and Nicole Avery certainly made for interesting debate.
Brands don’t want to pay for sponsored posts because they could get better RoI on advertising, a medium they know works and they don’t want to be seen as cash for comments sluts (all fair enough). Bloggers want Brands to pay for sponsored posts as they spend time on them and assert that you don’t get free advertising for nothing, Sunshine (also fair enough). Hello STALEMATE. I think the answer is in getting creative, but this is very much unchartered territory for the majority of bloggers. There are some bloggers that already do it really well and I credit them for that. My brand is my integrity and whilst I’m happy to consider aligning to a brand, I’d better be pretty damn hot for it.
So onto the next opening of the blogging envelope – the Problogger Training Event in October. Bring it.