Have you seen the video? If you haven’t seen it before, watch it it’s really sweet, but in case you’re reading this on a computer that blocks you tube or you can’t be bothered, it’s a little girl doing positive affirmations. She goes ‘I love my mum! I love my dad! I love my garden! I love my pyjamas! I love my haircuts!’ and so on for a full minute. And it’s so nice to see all the positivity and being thankful about what you’ve got. So cute!
I loved the whole thing – right until the end when she says ‘I can do anything good, better than anyone else’. Why ‘better than anyone else’? Why is a girl that age already setting herself up in competition to others?* What is it with all this competition? Shouldn’t we be enjoying the good things in life without always comparing ourselves to others? And if we want to do well, why does it have to be better than everyone else? Can’t we just be good on our own terms?
I see a lot of competition in fashion blogging. Obviously not everywhere, but it’s hard to avoid. It’s all about who’s got the most followers, comments, the best sponsors, the most coverage in the traditional media, what have you. People want to be on top ten lists. It just seems like such a limiting way of measuring success, ordering people into ranks by some statistic. The numbers don’t really mean anything very much, do they? I have about 250 followers at the moment. Does that make me 25% better than someone with 200 followers, or 20% worse than someone with 300? Clearly not!
And a lot of bitchiness comes from that competition. A lot of comments about other bloggers along the lines of ‘why are they so popular, they’re nothing special, it’s not fair’. Again, this kind of thing is more prevalent in some parts of the fashion/lifestyle blogging world than others, and I do try and stay away from the places where you get concentrations, but it’s near impossible to avoid completely.
Neither am I resistant to this negative feeling and jealousy, not at all. I’ve never said it out loud, but I definitely feel it when I read a blog with 5,000 followers and 200 comments on every single post, when all they do is sponsored content and re-post vogue editorials. I hate feeling that way, and usually my reaction is to take that blog out of my reader and never think about it again. This is the reason I follow hardly any of the ‘big’ blogs, because this has happened quite a few times and I hate being disappointed (because being ‘famous’ inevitable raises such expectations) and feeling negative about people. It’s the reason I refused to even look at Style Bubble for ages. Which was a silly thing to do really, because now I’ve added it to me reader and I love it!
And what makes it even sillier is that I feel that way despite having no ambitions whatsoever to become ‘big’. I am setting myself up as being in a competition that I don’t even want to be in. I’d be lying if I said I don’t want my little blog to grow, but organically and on it’s own terms, in a way that makes me happy and crucially, in a way that doesn’t become a full-time occupation. I don’t want to be in competition with anyone, I want to be in dialogue with readers and other bloggers. I enjoy the interaction. It makes me feel all fuzzy that some people actually enjoy reading about my silly rants and obsessions, and a few people come out to comment and say hi. But I am honestly, genuinely not interested in gaining sponsors, or media coverage, or being offered paid work on the back of this blog. And it is only if you’re interested in those kinds of things (and I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it’s not for me) the statistics matter at all.
So I guess what this post is a message (mainly to myself) to just chill out a bit, and enjoy the good things about blogging without worrying about numbers or what others are doing. I (we?) need that kind of reminder every now and then.
* To clarify – I’m not picking on the little girl in particular. I am merely using he as an illustration of these ideas that are floating around the blogosphere and society in general.
Photo from here.