The Big Boy's Have Gotten The Social Media Bug Bad seems to have it a nerve. It did because it was what a lot of people had felt before, but we're afraid to say. There is no garden blogging community anymore, and those of us in garden blogging knew it. There use to be a community, but now there are many communities. It was bound to happen but the knowledge has "depressed" some people from what I read at various pages. It's especially depressing for those who just thought garden blogging was always going to just be about people gardening, and sharing their love of gardening via The Internet. What has developed are a series of garden blogging communities, each with it's own dynamic. This is a natural progression, and not to be feared. Yet some people are fearful. So fearful they are brought to a point where ethics are thrown out the window, and they do things they wouldn't do otherwise. Fear also has kept some from speaking up about what they saw happening to their "community". They might think if they say something negative they will be ostracized by the community, loose the "link love" and other benefit's that come with being a part of "the community". They might have also felt that if they speak up they would be responsible for the disintegration of the beloved community. They need not be fearful, as the community has fragmented, just like the garden center business has fragmented. Right on!
If you going to try and monetize your blog, great! If you "just want to garden and write about my experiences in the garden", great. The problem is some say the later, but want the former. Ain't going to happen. Like any business you are going to have competition that might not always agree with what you say, and they are going to let you know it. How you react to criticism is going to be a big part of the success, or failure of your blogging business. Sure, if people don't like your blog they can just not read it and move on. They don't always move on. When you align yourself with a brand that has competition (they all do), sometimes the competition won't sit still. They will show up at your blog, and let their feelings be known. It's not a matter if this is right or wrong, it just is.
Where do we go from here? It's not really a concern for those who do not want to monetize their blog. What do they care? They can just write away, and say what they want. Those who wish to monetize their blogs need to understand that there is also no one garden business community. There are several, and they compete with one another. "That grower" is not always buddies with "that other grower". "That fertilizer" company is not always friendly with "that other fertilizer" company. Align yourself with one, and people who like the other may not let it go. We may not like that, but it's just the way it is. Get use to it.
I received a comment from Gayla Trail who runs one of the most popular garden communities ever, "You Grow Girl". Since 2000 she has been involved in the online gardening world, way before most of us. She is thinking about cutting back a bit. She said, "Yes. There are lots of places to be online and while it often starts off as a bit of fun, it can quickly become overwhelming. I had to pull back somewhere for my sanity. This is gardening season. I want to be gardening. I need to garden. It is a requirement for living.
Lately I’ve been thinking about taking too much on, especially when it comes to social media and how sometimes this can stem from a fear that if you are not everywhere at all times that you’ll be forgotten and left behind. I don’t want that sort of fear to dominate the choices I make in my career or how I live my life. I want to be okay with taking breaks and disappearing to recharge for a while.
So I’ve begun pulling back. I will likely pull back even more even though the timing is all wrong and most would think I am ill advised in doing so. I have known for nearly 2 years what I want to do next (when this current book is done), and yet I have found myself saying yes to too much, which is starting to get in the way of what I WANT to be doing and how I would like to spend my time." Right On!
That's unusual in the online world, and quite remarkable. So remarkable it got my attention. It's when people do remarkable things that the word spreads, not when brands try to "make things go viral" by having enough people talk online about their product. It backfires, and we witnessed it the last few days. It got me to thinking if I am trying to cover too many bases. I have a Twitter feed, 4 Facebook Pages, two websites, a LinkedIn group with over 1400 members, and this blog. I have purposefully not linked to the above sites, since I am getting tired of seeing social media posts that have a bunch of links to the brand that's being promoted. Where to cut back is the hard part. Perhaps like you, I don't want to miss something important. Yet with more and more noise coming at us everyday, from all the different media outlets, sometimes by doing less, you get more out of it.