It's really hard to come to terms with what I'm going to write. I feel disappointed in myself and a little bit confused about why I hadn't realised this before. I am a fake blogger, but I'm working on it - I promise.
(PS: Feel free to giggle at my 2 minute illustration below - it's not meant to be a Picasso replica.)
What am I talking about? Nothing too juicy, sorry to disappoint but nevertheless, it's a pretty big personal revelation that I've had about myself as a 'blogger'. I have been blogging for what feels like donkey's years. I started blogging when I was fifteen years old (I'm now nearly nineteen). I suppose you could say that I've grown up with my blog and on my blog. I've learnt a lot.
Writing-wise, I have become a much better writer. I'm no expert, but I'm so comfortable with blogging and writing that it's become almost second nature to me. However, one thing that I've never been able to 'get the hang' of for all these years is self-promotion. I made a twitter account for my blog alongside the creation of this little webpage of mine back in 2012. I started out by following friends and family (these people, I could count on my hand). Needless to say, my follower base was a bit sparse.
For three years, although my following base grew a tad, I never focused on ensuring I 'spread the word' and promoted my blog posts properly. When it came to my blog, I guess it was because I didn't really want to blow my own trumpet. Currently, I have got a few followers on sites like Bloglovin' and Twitter but they are just a few. Most of my readers are unsubscribed. They have stumbled across my blog through random google searches. They return but they don't follow. Before now, the majority didn't know where to find me on social media to stay subscribed.
Only now, three years later, am I realising just how bad my blogging tactics are. To be perfectly honest, I never really 'got' Bloglovin'. I looked at it a few times, thought it was an alright site and barely ever returned. Similarly, with Twitter, I used it only to post a quick tweet with a link to my new blog post. I never interacted with other bloggers. Never. I didn't really know it was even a 'thing'.
People always talk about blogging as being this fantastic, communicative community. I was always wondering what they were talking about. Was it in reference to the fact that people are being communicative through their blog posts? I was literally clueless.
A week ago, I stumbled across a 'Twitter' blogger's chat live in action. I'd been scrolling through my Twitter just by chance. In reflection it was like the Universe was finally telling me the answer to all my blogging failures. I was confused at first. There were all these hashtags flying around and people were interacting with one another. 'What is going on?!' I pondered...
With a little bit of research and profile stalking, I finally understood. This was the blogging community that I'd been missing out on all these years! I loved the look of it. People were friendly, sharing opinions and having a proper conversation. What was even better was that it gave the opportunity to discover new blogs and bloggers to follow and befriend!
A couple of days ago, I participated in my first ever blogger's chat. It was a big deal for me - I was a bit nervous because I was the 'new girl'. But, I was accepted straight away! I was having convo's immediately, participating in the #FBLCHAT and loving every second! I had some cute little chats!
I've learnt a lot about blogging over the years, but this year has been my biggest learning curve. I've been labelled a 'blogger' because I have a blog - but, I was a fake blogger. I didn't participate in any chats, I barely read other blogs and I didn't have a clue about how to use social media let alone 'Bloglovin''. If that's not a fake blogger - I don't know what is.
I suppose I was just so invested in writing my own blog and writing because I enjoy it, I didn't put much effort into making my posts known to other people. This has been one of my fatal flaws as a blogger. I'm not focused on view counts or subscription numbers but it always puts a smile on my face when I get a new follower. I like to think that what I'm writing is being enjoyed. I also love receiving comments and replying to them all.
Recently, I have been discovering and following new blogs. I've discovered just how great Bloglovin' is. I've been punching that 'follow' button like there's no tomorrow! Reading blog posts is soothing - I love having a snoop into someone's life! Bloglovin' lets me follow all my favourite blogs and discover their recent posts all 'under one roof!'. ps: This blog post isn't sponsored by Bloglovin' despite how much I'm singing its praises...
Not so long ago, I wrote an honest post about my thoughts on blogging and my struggles as a blogger this year. Writing this post really helped because it made me hone in on the areas that I've 'failed' in as a blogger. I had a serious blogging 'rut' this year. Due to a number of reasons, I just wasn't blogging often and when I did, my posts felt a little bit contrived.
Since realising all these things and being honest with myself, I've fallen in love with blogging all over again. I was a blogger but I wasn't doing everything I could to own my title. You can be a blogger and you have a blog or you can be a blogger, have a blog and join a community and interact.
One of my resolutions as a blogger, which I've already put into action, is to frequently hunt down new blogs and really become an active member in the 'blogging community'. I'm really focusing on my blog in 2016. I'm on a gap year and I have this incredible amount of time that will enable me to really develop my content (and hopefully my following).
Like I said above, followers aren't everything to me but it is so rewarding to know that there are people who are enjoying your writing!
So, bloggers - be prepared to hear from me more! I've recently started a YouTube (yes, this is scaring me senseless) but I am really enjoying it so far. Hopefully it will be an extra platform that will be a virtual spouse to my blog. I've uploaded a few videos already so if you fancy, give them a little watch and subscribe if ya' fancy by clicking here.
I'm also trying to dabble in Pinterest (@iblogthefashion) and have reclaimed my Instagram account (@hollylatkinson) of four years. I'm bored of being a 'fake' blogger. I want participation and I want it now!
Please follow me, please subscribe to me and send me a little tweet! (All social media links in sidebar!) I want to get to know as many bloggers as I can and find new blogs to read and follow in this New Year! Comment with your blog links and I'll be sure to have a snoop!
2016 - I'm chasing my 'blogger' title!