This post was written yesterday but I’m only getting around to posting it now.
I’m sitting on the train from Næstved to Køge in Denmark and thinking about where us bloggers get our sense of entitlement from.
We as a group are constantly complaining that corporations don’t engage us properly, that we don’t get treated with the respect that we deserve and that we deserve to run with the big boys in terms of pitches received.
Also, there are a lot of people who seem to thing that when bloggers are being pitched, we should be pitched the same way as journalists are!
What gives us that right to complain? What do we do that makes us so god damn special and gives us a sense of entitlement!
I’ll answer the question for you – NOTHING!
As a group we do not deserve it.
There are a number of bloggers out there that do. They put in the work and the effort and command a large enough audience to warrant “preferential” treatment beyond that afforded to the average ordinary bloggers.
These bloggers are the exception.
I would wager that those bloggers who get that kind of attention are in the minutest fraction of a percentile when you look at the total number of bloggers out there.
We may all aspire to be those people. We may all want to be treated as they are, but we are not them.
Most of us will never be good enough to emulate or surpass their success. No matter how committed you are or how much you pour your heart and soul into your blogging, the reality is that 99.9% of us will never ever make it big enough in order to command the type of respect that we are seeking.
Most of us simply do not put in the effort required, yet still expect to be treated as a “real journalist”.
I used to share a house with a girl studying to be a journalist when I lived in Belfast. The amount of hours this girl spent of the phone and doing the leg work of chasing down leads and stories was phenomenal.
She put in the kind of effort that would make most people cry.
Yet us bloggers, even the dedicated ones, put in only a few hours a day (if even that) and still expect to be treated with the same level of respect.
I can here people already claiming stuff like, “but we’re part of a community, we have audiences, we are influencers!”.
Most of us do not command or engage a large enough audience to say that.
So what if you have 200 or even 2000 subscribers! What is your reach?
Even piss poor reporters can get jobs writing on local newsletters (like the one from my hometown) which have audiences in the 10,000 range. These newsletters are not just read by the purchasers, but also by the people who live in their household and in waiting rooms and lounges.
How does your average blogger compare to that?
Again, I must stress the average blogger, because it is among us that the sense of entitlement appears to be strongest and least deserved.
As bloggers we tend not to break the news. There are a number of high profile blogs and sites that do this a lot, but again they are not the norm within the blogosphere. They are the exception.
You’re average blogger will be extremely lucky if he or she manages to break 1 new story a year.
The rest of their posts will just be commentary on ordinary events, personal opinion and regurgitating existing content in order to keep their post count up.
That kind of blogging is not journalism and it does not give you any right to demand anything of corporations or business.
In many senses, most bloggers, myself included, are like the dogs that lay around under the tables in the kings courts of old and should be happy for any scrap of attention that is thrown to us.
How you act upon that scrap is what will set you apart from other bloggers and it is how you will earn or destroy your reputation with your readers and with the business’s you wish to engage you.
With respect to business, as individuals 99.9% of bloggers have little to no value. It’s only when we become a collective that we have any strength and influence.
Within that collective it is the ones who are perceived as being the major influencers that will gain the respect of business (and main stream media) and it is they who will get pitched in the manner that all bloggers want.
Like Generals promoted through the ranks of an army they get given the information first and get to choose how to act upon it and disseminate it to us peons below.
So, my question again is: Why does the average blogger have this sense of entitlement and think they should be treated like a journalist?
We don’t do the work, we don’t have the audience, we don’t break stories and most of us don’t even bother to research what we write, we just regurgitate content with a heavy smattering of personal knee jerk opinion.
I’m really glad for the bloggers who have managed to make it big enough to earn the respect and treatment they deserve.
For the rest of us, I suggest we stop stamping our feet and crying like children and get about the process of building our audiences to a level that we can demand the respect and treatment we appear to crave.
This “me to” attitude belittles us as a group and demeans the work and effort of those who have made it to where we want to be.