The New Politics Of Blogging

There's a reason I don't live in Washington D.C. I am not a political person. I recycle, I vote for the presidency, and I file my taxes with little to no grumbling. I may be a bit green when it comes to how our country's politics work, but the politics of fashion blogging are something that really gets my blood running. With the IFB Conference so close at hand, I thought it was a perfect time to discuss (in a cheeky way) some of the old, new, tried and true strategies and issues we as bloggers are facing in 2012.

 

5 Bills To Consider In The New Politics Of Blogging

 

Commenting

The Bill: We should encourage bloggers to post comments on as many other blogs as possible to build traffic.

The Vote: Failed to pass. We're not sold on this method any longer. In the early days bloggers would comment and leave their URL on as many blogs as possible, in hopes for click-throughs, traffic boosts and new followers. While this can still work in some cases, we're for a new age of commenting with care. Meaningless, disingenuous comments breed a mentality of greed and self-motivation. We believe one should reserve comments for feelings of real appreciation, or to ask a question of the blogger. Commenting should be about building a relationship and starting a conversation within the community. Consider the kinds of comments that make you smile, that you respond to and that make it obvious that the person who left it is genuinely interested. Emulate that attitude in your efforts.

 

Gifting & Giveaway Policy

The Bill: Bloggers should have an established gifting and giveaway policies regarding their acceptance of products from brands and retailers.

The Vote: Pass. We believe that if you want your blog to maintain credibility with followers, advertisers, sponsors and brands, you should have a hard-and-fast policy when it comes to gifting and giveaways. These policies should be posted on your blog, freely available to all who visit your site. Decide for yourself if and how you will disclose that a product has been gifted. Consider making brands aware that if you receive a product but do not like it, you reserve the right not to post it on your blog. Establishing guidelines will help you create better and more professional relationships.

 

Follow Friday

The Bill: Send out “Follow Friday” tweets to put your handle in front of the eyes of bloggers and brands you would like to follow you, to gain more followers.

The Vote: Failed to pass. We the people are so over this. It's a nice gesture, and nothing more. Follow Friday tweets do not have any traction in gaining a blogger more followers.Β  Especially for more visible Twitter personalities, an #FF in their “@s” will probably earn you at the most a “Thank You!” tweet in return – not a follow back. We think Follow Friday is at most a way to say hello, I love you, or thank you – and not a social media success strategy.

 

Blogging Posse

The Bill: Forming a ‘blogging posse' of sorts is an alienating practice that negates the sense of community within fashion blogging.

The Vote: Failed to pass. This was a tough vote. As with any community, fashion blogging can feel a bit like high school. There are queen bees, mean girls, teams, clubs and gangs of girls that all hang out together. Some are inclusive, some are exclusive. Some of the groups that have formed within the fashion blogging community are very visible, some are more discreet. Overall, we feel like forming a group of bloggers is more helpful than harmful. Even if you aren't physically close to many bloggers, you can form mini-community online! Reach out to bloggers you like (who are also perhaps just getting started, have similar traffic or comment rates, etc). You can add each other to blogrolls, link out to their posts, and write guest posts for each other. We have all felt left out or excluded in our lives; from not being invited to an event or being on the outside of a joke. We empower you to leave jealousy to the weak, and gather good people around you and build each other up.

 

Social Media Sharing

The Bill: Worthwhile sharing across social media channels should either educate or entertain your followers.

The Vote: Pass. This is how we the people view the new politics of self-promotion. When you're posting on your Twitter account or your Facebook fan page, think before you send. What would you like to read? What do you click on? Becoming a trusted and popular voice on social media channels is about enriching the conversation as much as it is about sharing your personality and promoting your blog. Educate your followers by sharing something they can use; whether it's a hot online sale you just found, an interesting article about SEO on ProBlogger or an inspiring DIY project from your friend's blog. Entertain your followers by linking out to a funny video from YouTube, sharing a funny moment or great outfit from your day with a tweet orΒ  Instagram photo.

 

Fashion blogging is a democracy – so share your thoughts in the comments! We're here to listen, to discuss and to keep the conversation and debate going. What do you think of these “bills?”

 

Β [Images via Shut up, I love that shirt on you; IFB; and Flickr Creative Commons]

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44 Responses

  1. ICFashionChic

    Well Said! Hear Hear!

    As another point:
    I think Twitter, for a blogger, is your best friend. I have seen awesome results from twitter including retweets from some of my favorite designers. Embrace Twitter!

    Reply
    • the sparkle (@erincg)

      i agree! twitter is a very powerful tool but you MUST use it correctly or ppl will tune you out. it’s so much more useful than facebook now imo.

      the twitter rules they outline are totally true, however i believe that keeping broadcast tweets to only a few a day is most effective. i chat back and forth with ppl all day on the platform, but don’t throw out tweets to all just to ‘hear my own voice’. x

      Reply
    • The Calvin Show

      I agree! Twitter can be fantastic! I wrote a post focused on Pat McGrath and she actually retweeted which gave my post well over 100+ hits afterward.

      I’ve stopped as much commenting not because I don’t feel like I have anything to say but it’s because I almost felt like my comments would get lost in the shuffle of “AWESOME! [insert blog url]” but I’m glad to know the idea of commenting is still encouraged. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. crystal

    this was so helpful, it definitely put to rest some of my concerns/questions about how I could be spending my time promoting my own blog. thank you!

    Reply
  3. madeleine gallay

    Agreed … and maybe time to get rid of that time-wasting spam word protection thing … slows down the possibility of an enthusiastic comment and really isn’t it the blogger’s obligation, not the commenter, to do any spam control? Set it up to approve comments before posting if you will. It’s tedious and unfriendly.

    And count your bloglovin’ and google friend followers. As we turn to blogs for so much now, we can only show so much genuine thanks, especially if you’re a daily visitor.

    Total agreement on the considerations of the “bills” … blogs are impressive and have exponential potential. Even BryanBoy jammed from a cool 40000 at the end of 2010 to a mind-blowing, does Vogue do this well, 225,000 followers and may sometimes have views that I can barely count the zero’s in?

    Reply
    • Bun Bun Makeup Tips

      I agree with the spam word protection thing! It’s really annoying especially when the pop-up pops up somewhere hidden and I can’t find it, or it just hangs suddenly and there goes my long, meaningful comment. GAH!

      Reply
  4. Shayne Renee

    I especially agree about the gifts & giveaway disclosure. It is so vital to your integrity and the integrity of your blog to be upfront. In fact, I believe it’s important to the integrity of blogging as a whole. Do your part! πŸ™‚

    Reply
  5. Bun Bun Makeup Tips

    Oh yes, I nodded vigorously when I read the first bill. Commenting is about establishing a bond between oneself and the blogger, not just to gain traffic. It’s kinda… rude to just leave a link and leave.

    I’ve gained many online friends ever since I started blogging – friends who share the same love for makeup!

    Reply
  6. PvdH

    There is nothing worse than receiving a comment on the lines of “You have SUCH a NICE blog!!! Come visit my blog and FOLLOW!”

    Are these people serious? These comments go directly to spam and I can guarantee that I will never visit their sites!

    Reply
    • LaurenF

      I so agree. Those kind of comments are just plain insulting. I get genuinely excited when I receive comments, and like to take the time to respond to each one personally and visit their blog (if they have one). However, if it’s obvious that the person is leaving the exact same comment on as many blogs as possible to try to increase traffic, I don’t bother.

      Reply
  7. the sparkle (@erincg)

    very useful info, guys. i am proud to say that i stick to the good side of these ‘laws’.

    sadly, i have noted the mean-girl cliques and it can be quite discouraging. i just stick to my strengths and keep truckin’ regardless. glad to know it’s not person, just the trappings of the industry. x

    http://thesparkle.net

    Reply
  8. ROXYmodae

    ikr! omg th@ happens 2 me all da tym. lol- it kinda bursts ma bubble wen i open a “u got a new comment” notification nd its jus sum selfish fool saying “i LUV your blog. I LIVE 4 IT! follow mine 2 at….” UGH!

    Reply
  9. Jennifer

    I agree whole heartedly with the Comments bill! It drives me crazy to read comments where it’s obvious the commentator hasn’t read the post – it almost feels like the online version of being fake.

    Thank you for this article! Definitely a much needed post πŸ™‚

    Reply
  10. Monica // crossthat

    Totally agree with the commenting bill failing to pass. It was always the intention for the comment section to be an interaction between readers and bloggers – after all, it is this interaction initially that made “web 2.0”. Whilst social media has ousted that term, the truth is, the web is now more than ever about the interactions between people – the line between “blogger and commenter” is finer and finer, and it’s really more about adding to the giant conversation that is the internet.

    Don’t say something unless it’s necessary. There’s just way too much spam out there.

    Reply
  11. kristy

    one of the better IFB articles in a long time. it’s so nice to hear someone say that things like blogging posses and commenting as much as possible are failed practices. i’m all for supporting people, but i’m really tired of the abundant insincerity.

    Reply
  12. M

    I really loved reading this article! Thoroughly enjoyed how it was written. I also agree with what you said about commenting. I’d rather have 3 comments that are sincere, rather than 30 one liners (or worse, a single word) with a “follow back”.

    Thanks for this πŸ™‚

    Reply
  13. Angelica

    Thank you for this article! I agree 100% with it and it also has helped me understand more about the world and politics of fashion blogging seeing as I am new to everything xx

    Reply
  14. Kayta Hackman

    Completely agree with the Follow Friday and Commenting points. I think the meaning of Follow Friday got lost a long time ago, for people now it’s just something nice to do.

    Reply
  15. Sabina

    Not to sound like a broken record but I couldn’t agree more about the comments point. After a while the comments that read: Nice blog! Follow me on Bloglovin. Follow me on Twitter. Join my giveaway! start to leave me feeling like I’ve been spammed.

    That said I still feel like most bloggers could/should devote a little more time to commenting. As long as the comments are sincere, of course.

    Reply
  16. LenyDaily

    I’ve just started blogging and I must say it is very hard in this pond full of fish πŸ™‚
    well I started blogging rather for fun than to become famous. But I also must be honest, when I see all the super successful fashion bloggers I think: wow I want that too! I guess some of you are with me!? πŸ˜‰

    This post is very helpful for newbies like me! It gives great advice about blogging code of conduct.
    And the message that I take from this is, to stay true and remain myself!

    Thank you!

    xx
    Leny

    Reply
  17. Rebekah Esme

    Although my blog has been going for quite some time its still perfect to view a fresh response to where bloggers go wrong! .. great article! thankyou!
    Rebekah Esme! x

    Reply
  18. Anna

    Really good article – couldn’t agree more on every point. Though I cannot stand it when someone gets a giveaway (which is obviously an unwanted gift) and then spams comments every where for you to take part in it…

    Reply
    • Stacey

      I’m shyly shielding my head in response (that should answer your question) πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  19. anne the SpyGirl

    enjoyed reading this very much.

    the twitter #FF thing baffled me for the longest time — I didn’t understand it.
    I have come to embrace twitter in the last couple of months. good community building can go on there more easily than facebook

    Reply
  20. Sarah

    I say aye!

    A note on follow Fridays: I’m not the biggest fan of them but an absolute DON’T in my eyes is retweeting the follow Fridays YOU get. Argh!

    X

    Reply
  21. the Mod Mama

    I really appreciate this. I’m not a huge fan of FF or commenting random, meaningless blah. It means nothing really.

    I realize that in order to gain followers I have to be real and have REAL content.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  22. Marion

    Such a well written and insightful piece! I personally don’t understand the people who use the comment form to just leave details on their own blog and their next giveaway. It just seems to be in poor taste.

    And the #FF thing is a little weird for me. I get wanting to spread some love and acknowledge your favorites, but I don’t think you should do it in order to get something in return.

    Thanks for producing such a wonderful article!
    XO – Marion

    Reply
  23. Soloni B.

    Wonderful article. I agree wholeheartedly on the commenting on blogs. I see a lot of people just commenting to hopefully get people to their pages but I think it’s best to comment because you truly appreciate the post that was written.

    Reply
  24. Brooke

    Excellent article counsellor! πŸ˜‰
    The ‘Commenting’ and ‘Blogger Posse’ bills are the ones that really had me nodding in agreement the most; a considered, sincere comment goes a long way in comparison to a ‘great blog, follow me and I’ll follow back’ comment any day of the week, surely it’s about supporting and appreciating each other rather than proving the theory that bloggers are a narcisistic bunch.

    These kind of articles are so encouraging and positive and really help me see that I’m not the only one who gets frustrated. So thanks. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  25. the mannikin

    great article! very helpful πŸ™‚ and I couldn’t agree more about the genuine comments & blogger posses! xx

    Reply
  26. Bailey

    I’m torn on the “Blogging Posse” one. There’s not much I dislike more than people who are pretentious, exclusive, and altogether “too cool”. I like how’ve you’ve evened out by encouraging bloggers to “leave the jealousy to the weak”. Amen! Be kind and encouraging!

    Reply
  27. BeLighter

    Fantastic post! Completely agree on the comment/spam, blogging posse (just realizing the truth in it!…). Follow Friday?… well, didn’t realize that even existed! I simply like to thank the follow, and I don’t usually follow back, but I always check out the people who are following me, first because I’m just curious what they’re about, second because I think it’s a nice gesture.

    Giveaways? Don’t have does, never done that. Gifting? Again, never had that, so…

    In the end, I think it’s all about good sense and balance and being polite to everyone…

    Reply
  28. Clara Dourado

    I agree with all the politics, but I think we have other topics to discuss too. As a blogger and digital media trend researcher I have to read hundreds of blogs everyday. I’m always looking for something fresh, something new. The point is, when it comes to a brand, they always want the most “successful” blog, with millions of pageviews everyday, instead of looking for the good things that are coming. I feel really bad because I know how hard that whole “blogger lifestyle” can be sometimes. And some really good people, with great writing and new points of view, end giving up, thinking they are not “a success”. The more I research, the more I feel blogs are looking all the same. From the subject to the pictures. It’s really sad how people want to follow the steps of others bloggers instead of building their own way.

    Reply
  29. Lauren@Styleseer

    Thanks for a straightforward and informative article. I’m just starting to make more use of social media, so the last “proposition” above was especially affirming. Glad it passed!

    Reply
  30. Johanna

    Attention grabbing post (loved the angle) with some rich gems of information which can be applied across the board for most blogging platforms, not just fashion bloggers πŸ™‚

    Reply
  31. No chic, Sherlock!

    this is one great article πŸ™‚ The bill about commenting, I have been a blogger since 2004 and it had never crossed my mind to comment just for leaving a link, saying “follow me back” or something like that. I think its rude, unimaginative, it shws you don’t really care for the readers per se, have no respect for the blogger you are commenting and for his or hers time and effort put to writing that article. Now I am starting again, with fashion blogging, and it feels like the first time ever, and its a slow process, but I don’t care.I am here for people, their thoughts on the common matter not numbers…

    Reply
  32. J's Everyday Fashion

    Totally agree with everything… except the blogging posse point. I love it when bloggers rally and create fun events and groups and get together (I, for example, started a group in Central FL that now has more than 150 lady bloggers and fun monthly meet-ups! totally encourage this!).

    However, when these groups are actually a way of gaining extra blog views for yourself, it’s totally weak sauce. Staring an online blogger challenge like it’s trendy to do right now, is a marketing method that really needs to go away. Unless the blogger has a vested interest other than getting themselves some extra promotion (such as raising money for charity! that would be an awesome cause for bloggers to rally around!!), I don’t understand why other bloggers choose to participate, when it’s just a program aimed at the organizer getting more attention. I’m guessing this will fade at some point too, along with the other methods you mentioned that used to be popular! Total faux pas in my book though.

    Reply