Is the blogosphere really cliquey?

November 6, 2011

One of the things I’ve noticed this weekend in among all the furore about blogging v blagging is a worrying number of comments talking about how ‘cliquey’ parent blogging is, and how hard it is to break into established blogging ranks.

I feel a bit sad about this, tbh, but it’s also something I can identify with, because when I first started blogging I had no idea groups like British Mummy Bloggers (as it was called then) existed; I was very much a one woman band.

When, about three months later, I finally discovered this ‘blogosphere’ I can remember wanting to be part of some of the groups I could see talking to each other on twitter.

You know how I did it? I read as many blogs as I could. I commented on as many blogs as I could. I tweeted with other bloggers on twitter, and spoke to them at the events I was gradually invited to. And slowly but surely I started to make blogging friends – in some cases very good friends.

And I also formed proper, long-lasting relationships with one particular group of bloggers. When one of us is upset, or angry, or hurting, she tells the others; when one of us is going through something exceptionally difficult, we’re there for her. And we also make each other laugh until the tears pour down our faces. I will always be grateful to blogging for introducing me to these women.

If you’re open and friendly to the more ‘established’ bloggers most of them will respond; but at the end of the day, we’re all busy, with our own lives and friends. It takes time to form friendships online, just as it does in real life. That doesn’t mean you should give up: but you may have to persevere.

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  • maria m November 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    fantastic post and its very intersting. i read a lot of blogs and only recently started commenting. you do feel sometimes like you are interrupting a conversation and i’m not that forward in real life let alone online!!! thanks for raising this.

  • Jean November 7, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    This is a great post and an issue that so many people will disagree on. Is it cliquey? It seems that way sometimes, but I don’t think it’s always intentional – unlike in ‘real life’ where groups of people do get very cliquey to the point of excluding everyone else. I have made lots of lovely friends through Twitter/Facebook etc, many of whom are bloggers and they are a great source of advice and inspiration.

  • Scribbling Mum November 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Surely it’s normal in blogging as in proper-real-life that there are friendships and wee gangs that are formed. Does that make it cliquey? I don’t think so but I think those ‘outside’ watching these friendships sometimes see it as this.

    There are some bloggers that I consider my friends and it’s probably the ones that started about the same time as me so we went through similar stuff at the same time if that makes sense, and I like that.

    I for one have found the online blogging cyberspace friendly and if you put yourself out to say hi, people usually say hi back. At the end of the day, if people don’t like it then turn off.

    Totally agree with CJ in the competitiveness front though and it’s not something I personally can be bothered with anymore. It’s really interesting though as since I stopped my original blog and started a low key/no pimping/no PR/no Facebook/1 tweet a post new blog I’ve seen all of the blogging rules and advice come true. Apart from some of my original readers I’m not driving the traffic like I used to when I gave it my all. And I’m ok with that and it’s proved to me that if you want to be a successful blogger then you need to put the work in! I read and comment on the blogs I like and am happy if someone returns the compliment now.

    Good post.

    • Maria November 7, 2011 at 11:50 am

      Thanks Liz I found this useful as am just starting out in the world of blogging. There are SO many parenting blogs out there it does seem daunting. I guess it depends if you want to make it a commercial venture or not as you need to put effort in to drive traffic to your site. Here’s hoping there will be few friendly bloggers out there!

  • Him Up North November 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Parent blogging isn’t just cliquey. It’s factional. Someone even once warned me against “choosing the wrong side”. From that point, I decided it was better to stand out than fit in.

    Good post, Liz. This is a subject worth bringing into the open. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and all that.

  • English Mum November 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    You were picturing my curtain dance as you wrote this weren’t you? Admit it x

  • lucy November 6, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    It’s easy to mistake other peoples’ cosy familiarity with each other as clannishness.
    I’ve never felt excluded, but maybe this is due to not trying to be part of a group. If you make the first move, most people you communicate with via their blog/twitter are really friendly.
    I think its a case of needing to prove you’re genuine initially. We’ve all encountered those ‘follow back’ types who are only interested in boosting THEIR stats and have nothing to offer you. It can take time to weed out the people worth interacting with, and time is so precious.

  • Elaine November 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I think that it can appear cliquey but it’s only the same as any other group – the ‘mumpreneur’ community, the mums on the school playground or at toddler group or the gym or wherever.

    As you say generally most people are friendly if you take the time to help them out, be nice to them, interact with them then they will do the same to you (and then all of a sudden you are part of the group often without even realising it).

    Obviously within any group there will be people who know each other from other parts of life so they will be closer and share ‘in jokes’ but that’s how life works isn’t it?

  • Annie November 6, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I was just thinking of writing about this having read a comment somewhere where someone said they found it cliquey amongst newer bloggers.

    I feel it’s natural that ‘groups’ form amongst bloggers, especially with people who started out around the same time as yourself. I bet some well established bloggers have seen ‘groups’ appear over the years – it’s nothing new.

    As a newer blogger it’s going to be harder to find your feet and it always seems like everyone else knows everyone else. ‘Groups’ may form and I see them from new bloggers to ‘oldies’ but I haven’t come across any ones that aren’t friendly. It’s a bit like being a new kid in the classroom – it’s all a bit daunting but once you get talking to people you soon make friends!

    If you are a newer blogger feeling a bit left out I’d just say go for it! Get around some blogs, find ones that you like, comment away, follow people on Twitter and don’t be afraid to say hello! If other bloggers don’t talk to you it’s simply because they don’t know you that well and what better way to remedy that than saying howdy! x

  • LauraCYMFT November 6, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Great post Liz. I think yourself and CJ make a really good point. If you want to be noticed in the ever-growing blogosphere then you need to interact with other people and their blogs. I’ve always found people on twitter and on their blogs to be very friendly and welcoming. I also make sure that if anyone comments on my blog I go back to theirs and comment on one of their posts. It’s a bit like when you first go to a mother and toddlers group; you need to get in there and get yourself noticed!

  • Crystal Jigsaw November 6, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    This is a really great post and I too have seen the furore about blagging recently, something I genuinely didn’t know existed. I’m perhaps a little old school where blogging is concerned and I have also made some good friends through online networking. Most of the people who read and comment on my blog are loyal followers and many are original blogging friends. I’m going to give my honest opinion because I believe in honest blogging, but I’m afraid I do think parent blogging is getting cliquey, and in some cases, it’s becoming so much so that it’s quite off-putting. We’re all in this as bloggers and during the last 12 months or so, I’ve noticed how incredibly competitive blogging is, especially parent blogging. I try hard to get round dozens of blogs every week and have great fun getting to know new bloggers to the Tots100 as I do a monthly feature for them. There are, in my opinion, NO rules in blogging but a little bit of etiquette could perhaps be adopted when getting to know new bloggers and contacts online, eg Twitter. By this I mean, if a bloggers feels they’re being pushed out of the loop by the more established bloggers, they should ask themselves how often they interact with others by commenting on other blogs, RT’ing blog announcements, supporting other bloggers. I do think it seems to be the case too often that some cliques are formed simply because the bloggers involved don’t bother to support other blogs that are all trying hard to get noticed.

    And now I shall go and duck from the bricks being thrown at me!

    CJ xx

  • Rebecca November 6, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Interesting post. I’ve found people to be fairly open to be honest. If you comment most people reply. Of course they might not every time but as you say everyone is busy. Most people just appreciate genuine interest in what they are writing.

    • musicforbaby November 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm

      I’m just discovering the blogosphere, and learning how it all works. It is a really vast network, but I’ve never encountered anything that seems cliquey or exclusive, and I’m looking forward to getting to know people as I find my way..