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Friend Friday: Comparing Bloggers

This week’s Friend Friday is about comparing yourself to other bloggers. It’s sort of related to last weeks one about blogging resolutions, which I didn’t do because I was on holiday and also because the blog, while I do love it and like to prune it and see it grow slowly, is not my priority in 2011. As far as I have blog related resolutions this year, it’s to maintain regular posting and high quality content with the reduced time I’ve got.

Because: I’m going back to studying while still working full time! And I’ve never studied while working before. I’m doing economics in a bid to become a super-analyst!*

On with the questions:

1. Have you ever looked at someone’s blog and thought yours will never measure up?

Kind of. I don’t tend to agonise over my small fishness in the blogging world too much, because this is really just meant to be a hobby. But I do sometimes look at big successful blogs and think that this is so far removed from what’s going on with me that it would be inconceivable for me to ever get there without giving up either my job or my life.

It doesn’t make me feel bad though, I’m perfectly happy to be in a lower (smaller, at least) league. I’m generally a confident, happy person and am pleased with what I’ve done with my life so far, so I’m not going to beat myself up about one little tiny aspect of what I’m up to.

I really enjoy blogging because I learn new things all the time, and that is my ambition in life, to never stop learning new things. I try to do the best I can in everything I do, but I’m not that bothered about being better/bigger/more successful than others. I’m an ambitious person, but at the same time I am not at all competitive!

Also, my amazement at other bloggers’ achievement is usually about their professional blog design and loyal following, not so much about content. There are a few blogs who produce content that I am seriously in awe of, but they aren’t necessarily that successful. Like Footpath Zeitgeist. She rarely posts and has a basic template and gets hardly any comments, but her posts on fashion, respresentation, racism and the construction of hipsters are AMAZING.

2. Do you (did you) feel pressure to meet some kind of undefined standard for fashion bloggers?

Not personally, no. Bloggers are such a diverse bunch, there’s something out there for everyone, on every topic imaginable, with many different personalities. I truly believe that every blog will eventually find its niche so the best thing to do is just to blog about what you enjoy, and then when you find your niche it’ll be extra fun because you’re doing what you love!

However, I do notice that a lot of the bloggers that are the most successful are of a particular type: model pretty, skinny, with photographer boyfriends or husbands and rich or young enough not to have to work and still afford lots of new clothes all the time. I can see that to some people it might feel like you will have doors opened to you and get ahead if you’re gorgeous, have a man at your side, family connections and or money, just like in so many other parts of life. And I don’t actually know, but can imagine that this might cause aspirant bloggers to diet excessively and overspend in a bid to look glamorous, rather than being themselves and having fun.

3. Many established fashion bloggers are also extraordinary DIYers, bakers, and crafty people. Do you think you need to combine all of these things to be successful at blogging?

Course not! There are plenty of hugely successful blogs that don’t post about any of these things. Like I said, it’s just about finding your niche. That being said, people who are really good at craft or baking or whatever usually get so good because they are really passionate about that thing. And passion is always a good thing, and is more likely to make you successful.

I think what this question is alluding to is this Jezebel article about what they call blogger ‘Marthettes’, who present a perfect domestic life on their blogs. And it’s funny that this perception persists. Years ago, I was interviewed for a a huge article in the Scotsman, Scotland’s biggest newspaper, which ran under the headline ‘the online Stepford wives’. I just thought that was so weird!

Of all the crafty and fashion bloggers I know, I can’t think of anyone whose motivation is to show how perfect and wonderful their life is. Crafty posts are about sharing your ethusiasm, and being proud of what you’ve done, but not in a ‘check me out, I’m perfect’ way. I could go on, but I’ll stop it here for length reasons. For more views on this, check out the link to my post on the Scotsman article, and also the comments on that post.

Also, I am a DIYer, knitter, baker, cook and general crafter myself, not extraordinary of course, but not amateurish either (I hope not at least!). This has resulted in Oranges and Apples being a kind of hodgepodge of things, with personal style pics and fashion musings, but also etsy shop updates, food photography, Dave’s sewing, increasingly other photography too. This makes it difficult for me to summarise in a pithy phrase what this blog is about, and maybe I’m a bit jack of all trades. It might be better (from a purely blog success point of view) to stick to one thing, get really good at it and become known for that thing. I don’t know though!

4. The most successful blogs are the ones that have their own personal voice – how are you developing your voice or how did you find yours?

Not sure I did anything in particular. I just really know what I like, what I think and what I want, I guess that comes through. That is what voice means, isn’t it, your personality coming through, and not pretending to be something you’re not? I’ve never particularly done anything to develop that in my writing, it comes naturally to me because I am quite opinionated.

5. Toot your own horn… what’s one thing you do that is unique to you and your blog? What gives your blog an edge?

I may post about lots of different things but there’s a consistent aesthetic of being bold, bright and colourful in everything. I’m also proud of my writing, and my arguments and musings posts where I really think things through.

But do tell me! What do you think about all of this?

Visit Modly Chic for a round up of this weeks posts!

Happy Friday!

* Social researchers (like me), statisticians and economists come under the umbrella term analysts in the UK civil service. Super analysts are trained in all three professions. It’s not an official term or anything, but I like it! Especially once I am one!

Photo source

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • veronicadarling 7 January 2011, 10:02 am

    You can always sum up things so well Franca! Totally forgot to mention in my post today, but perhaps have mentioned it somewhere else, you are totally totally right about continuing to learn new things… it's amazing to gain new skillz. I just don't want to stagnate and be the same person I was! Always inspiring, and I love your Arguments and Musings posts the best too.

    Also congrats on the Super Analyst goal, it sounds amazing and very super! You seem to be pretty organised, I bet you'll juggle work and study better than most people!

    Best, xoxo

  • Emily Knightley 7 January 2011, 10:08 am

    Good luck with the studying and working Franca. I did it (a masters in public policy whilst working full-time) – it was tough at times but totally worth it. I miss it now!!

    Totally agree re the diversity of blogs and bloggers. There really is no standard and that's greta I think as it means there's something for everyone!

    Great post 🙂

  • MisfitsVintage 7 January 2011, 11:00 am

    Good on you Franca, working towards your goals can always be counted in the 'something to look forward to' part of the recipe for a happy life.

    If I compared myself to the really 'successful' bloggers, I would have never begun my blog – it would have been way too intimidating!

    I appreciate your separation of 'ambition' and 'competition' – a very good point!

    Great post – thanks!

    Sarah xxx

  • Veshoevius 7 January 2011, 1:38 pm

    Super analyst – Wow! You certainly are a busy lady.
    I totally feel the same way about a lot of things you've discussed here – blogging, being happy about what you are able to achieve and never wanting to stop learning. I so agree with your attitude to blogging – why agonise over the success of others if you can't dedicate your life to becoming an uber blogger? In all your answers you've put things very clearly into perspective.

  • Tracey 7 January 2011, 2:01 pm

    Best of luck with the studying and working balance – I'm sure you'll be absolutely fine!
    In any case, working towards being a 'super analyst' is an amazing goal!! (what a cool job title that is).

    I loved reading your answers, they're always so interesting and insightful …

  • Sartoriography 7 January 2011, 6:55 pm

    Super-analyst! That sounds so cool and adventure-related. Do you get to wear a cape?

    I love your issues post and agree, you definitely rock the brightness, both in your smile and your colorful clothes.

  • Helen 7 January 2011, 10:07 pm

    Ooh good luck being a 'super analyst' and your return to studying! That Marthette article is quite interesting but I think you have to take those blogs with a pinch of salt. I just like them for inspiration, like home or food magazines I guess.

  • Grit and Glamour 8 January 2011, 1:03 am

    Franca…you are right! Our responses are eerily similar. I think we all feel like small fish sometimes, and it seems like you don't let it bother you either, and that's good. If blogging were my full-time job, it might. But like you, I do it for fun, so it needs to BE fun.


  • MrsBossa 8 January 2011, 9:59 am

    A very healthy attitude! Excellent point about those bloggers who are thin and rich with photographer boyfriends – it can be quite intimidating, even to those of us ego are relatively self-assured. I suppose it's natural for that to be an Achilles heel in the flogging context – we're putting ourselves out there, after all…

    Good for you on the analyst front. Love the idea that you'd get to wear a cape!

  • oranges_and_apples 8 January 2011, 11:59 am

    This comment came through on the blogger email, but not on the disqus email or the blog, so I am posting it. Hope no other comments got lost in the ether!

    Franca…you are right! Our responses are eerily similar. I think we all feel like small fish sometimes, and it seems like you don't let it bother you either, and that's good. If blogging were my full-time job, it might. But like you, I do it for fun, so it needs to BE fun.


  • oranges_and_apples 8 January 2011, 12:04 pm

    I love the cape idea! and thank you!

  • oranges_and_apples 8 January 2011, 12:08 pm

    Thanks. I totally agree that you can't take those blogs as something that you should aspire to at all times. I wouldn't read the same blog regularly, but i do enjoy them, especially when I'm looking for some craft thing in particular, I can spend hours looking at lots of blog posts about the same thing.

  • oranges_and_apples 8 January 2011, 12:09 pm

    I was surprised that not more people picked up on that actually. I'm mulling things over on that topic, I may do a post about it soon if I get anywhere.

  • Linda 9 January 2011, 10:32 pm

    With more than 300 followers (myself included) it is funny to hear that you consider yourself a blogger in a smaller league! Everything is relative, right?
    I agree with your description of the most professional bloggers…most have fancy cameras or photographers…the rest of us will just have to work with what we've got!

    The Auspicious Life

  • Emma Clark 10 January 2011, 11:02 pm

    Great post. Your thoughts are very clearly articulated, I got to see some blogs that are new to me and I got to learn a bit more about you. Thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous 14 January 2011, 10:46 am

    Superb blog post, I have book marked this internet site so ideally I’ll see much more on this subject in the foreseeable future!

  • oranges_and_apples 28 January 2011, 8:14 am

    Yay, I am glad, lets spread the love for footpath zeitgeist! and thanks!

  • oranges_and_apples 28 January 2011, 8:14 am

    That is true I guess! A year ago I would have thought 300 followers was
    huge! You just adjust I guess, I've heard people with 1000 followers
    describe themselves as small fish!

  • oranges_and_apples 28 January 2011, 8:14 am

    thank you! I think the distinction is really important. Often competitive
    people assume that if you're not competitive, you're not ambitious! so not

  • oranges_and_apples 28 January 2011, 8:14 am

    Thank you!