I'm not the Popular Type

Okay.  This is a long one but I want you to read it so grab a coffee or wine if it's after 12 noon if you are so obliged.

In middle school there was a girl named Phaedra. She had brown curly hair with giant bangs teased sky high and shellacked with hairspray.  Our generation of 8th graders single handedly put a dent in the ozone with all of that aqua net.  Me included.  She had thick shiny braces on her teeth, brown hair, blue eyes, an outgoing personality and she was popular.  Everybody liked her.  In High School there were several queen bees that ruled the roost.  One of them was a fellow cheerleader and friend.  Let's call her Lena.  She was smart, pretty and sweet.  She had an upperclassmen boyfriend who was one of the cutest boys in school, she had a big house, everyone thought her dad was cute and she even had a car.  Everyone liked her too.  People just flocked to her and wanted to be her friend. 

I was never that popular kid.  I was always on the fringe.  I wouldn't exactly say I was a nerd.  Okay, I definitely was a nerd up until 10th grade but somewhere around that time things started to improve for me.  I was already on Varsity Gymnastics but I made the Cheer leading team.  I joined student government.  I ditched glasses for contacts and started to get a handle on what to do with my hair.  By my senior year I could call a lot of those "cool" kids my friends and  I even made prom court.  To this day I still can't believe that happened.  I didn't have that outgoing personality that draws people in.  I was quiet.  I wasn't the star anything.  I wasn't loud enough, confident enough, smart enough, different enough or pretty enough.  I didn't have the right clothes.  People didn't flock to me the way they did to them.  I mingled with them.  But I couldn't BE them.  

This post was featured as an editor pick on BlogHer.com

I've been blogging for about 4 years now.  At first I was totally oblivious to the whole blogger industry that was exploding around me.  I started seeing other bloggers post about comparing themselves to others, feeling inadequate and reading a post and wishing they could have written it.  I was like, what are they talking about?  Then I came out from under whatever rock I was hiding under and realized that there were some really popular blogs out there gaining thousands of followers and that blogging was moving in a new direction.  Then somewhere along the way I started having some of those feelings myself.  It was a feeling that I couldn't quite put my finger on. And then it dawned on me that some of those old feelings of wanting to be accepted and liked that I had in high school had resurfaced but substitute high school for the blogging world.  And it was kind of weird to realize this because as an adult I thought that I'd put those kind of emotions behind me.  I work full time, I pay bills.  I have a greater awareness of the world. I have a full happy life with fulfilling relationships.  I have a mortgage and a husband.  Why am I concerned about being popular, liked and coming up with a really witty status update that will stand out?  'Aint nobody got time for that.

The blog world is full of popular kids, cliques and social hierarchy.  And it can feel very competitive.  I'm not saying any of it's bad, good or intentional but it's there.  I think it's just the nature of the beast.  Here's the thing.  I've never been and will probably never be that cool kid.  I didn't win Prom Queen my Senior year in high school and I'm certainly not winning any popularity contests in the blog world today.  Popularity was important to me as an insecure teenager but it's not what I'm after now as a slightly less insecure adult blogger.  

I ran for class secretary my freshman year of high school.  It was a really bold move for someone like me.  I was terrified of the whole process and I still can't figure out what possessed me to do it.  Anyway, I failed miserably.  Not only because I was an unpopular nerd but because I was too afraid to 'put myself out there.'  I didn't want to put up too many signs.  I didn't want to hand out candy with a vote for me tag on it.  I didn't want to ask people to vote for me.  I was running for a class office but it was almost like I didn't want anyone to know that I was.  The more people that knew I was running the more that would know I failed.  Plus, I couldn't actually let them know how bad I really wanted it because that would make defeat even more embarrassing.  In that sense, I am just not a natural when it comes to selling myself.  I don't always like to put myself out there like that.  It makes me feel vulnerable and I've never liked asking people for help or favors.  I want you to like my blog but I don't necessarily want to ask you.  I'm stubborn.  I want you to stumble upon it and make the decision on your own. Perhaps by osmosis.   

I'm not the life of the party.  I'm more of an understated introvert and I guess my blog is too.

I can't be more eloquent, funnier, craftier, more domestic, more fashionable, more this or more that then I am.  It's too exhausting to try to be something I'm not. I can only be me.

Popularity is seductive.  We all want to be liked.  Being liked is validating.  The more validated we become the more we want it.  The less validated we are the more we want it.  It's a natural desire but I try to be conscious of not letting it determine how I feel about myself.

I have come to understand that not everybody is gonna like me even if I like them.  Not everyone will want to read my blog even if I read theirs.  And vice versa.  A lot of people are not going to be interested in a single thing I have to say. It doesn't have to be personal.  It's just life.  We can only read so many blogs in a day anyways.

I can comment 'till the cows come home and some bloggers will never acknowledge my existence.  Ever.  And I am not a no reply commenter. Again, trying not to take it personally.

There is no exact science to blogging or popularity.  It's what you make it and it's what you bring to the table as an individual.  Some bloggers will write two words or post a picture and get a million comments and the next person could post those same words with picture and get none.  Some blogs employ all the tricks in the book to gain readers and then there are others that don't have to.

I realize that if I don't do certain things I may never get noticed.  If I don't throw a party I can't expect anyone to show up.  If I don't coordinate my ideas I can't expect a lot of people to know about them.  There are many tools of the trade available for growing readership but I haven't really utilized all of them.  I can't seem to decide what feels right for me and my blog.  I do a bit of self promotion here and there but mostly I just take it as it comes.  It's the so called organic approach.  Which basically means slow. 

Then there is the business side of it all.  Thinking too much about word optimization, page views, or how to 'drive' traffic makes my brain hurt.  Marketing what?  It's too much like work and I don't think of this blog as a job.

Here are the blog stats in all their glory.  It's not anything to brag about.  Normally you see this stuff posted on the Sponsor tab of a blog but I don't have one of those so I'm putting them here and after this you are likely never to see them again.  I have the lowest number of likes in the history of any Facebook page I have ever seen.  I actually think it's kind of funny.  I'm still not sure why I even bother with it.  I don't pay that much attention to page views but I've seen anywhere between 180-450 per day based on the blogger dash numbers which are known to be inflated.  Nowhere near the astronomical 8,000 per day page views that some get.  My jaw about fell off my head when I saw that posted on someone's blog.  Maybe I should be embarrassed of these stats after 4 years of blogging but I'm not.  They're just numbers.  I wish I felt the same about my weight.

GFC:  236
Bloglovin':  68
Feedburner: 8
Twitter: 105
Instagram:  63
Facebook: 7
Pinterest:  37

I try not to confuse popularity or followers with quality.  It's really important for me to think about MY definition of blogger success.  Whatever that means to me is what will dictate the direction of my blog and how I feel about myself as a blogger.  Not everyone is cut out for blogger mogul status. Yes, you heard it here first; I've coined the phrase.  It's very impressive how far some of them have taken their blogs and I think that's great but not every blogger will get there. 

For me it can't be about followers because if it is then that means I'm a total fail and I refuse to believe that's the case.  I just want to write.  I'm working on a novel.  I enjoy documenting my life so I can look back on it later in life and I've been doing so since I was 9.  For me it's about good writing and feeling good about what I'm putting out there.  It's about consistency.  I may not have a set blogging schedule but for the most part you know you won't go too long without having me pop up in your news feed.  I love the relationships that I've formed with other bloggers.  It's about writing, engaging with other bloggers and having a good time doing it.  As long as I'm doing that I'm good.  I'm not going to sit here and say I don't want people to read my blog or that I wouldn't be happy to have higher numbers.  I wouldn't be on the internet if I didn't want anyone to read.  Having higher numbers would be cool...but not having that doesn't make me enjoy blogging any less.

I may not be good at getting a lot of people to like me but I am good at getting a few people to like me a lot.  There are some really good blogs that not a whole lot of people are reading and I like to believe that one of them is mine.  Not so much the whole nobody is reading thing, but that my blog is good.


P!nky said...

What a great post, I'm with you girlie 100%. It's hard not totake it to heart when you comment ALL the time on a blog and never get anything out of it, but hey, if I"m not important to them, why waste time?!?!

Your blog rocks!

Helene said...

you make some really great points. i don't understand the science of it or what works and what doesnt. but i think it's just so important to be you and express yourself in the way you want to, depsite what you think is popular

M. at Making Sense of Cents said...

Love this post. The blogging world does sometimes seem like a popularity contest, especially with some lifestyle blogs.

Treasure Tromp said...

I absolutely love this post and it hits on a lot of really interesting concepts in the blog world. I've been working hard on not being jealous of those who get 8,000+ views a day. Because I have really formed a connection with a lot of ladies who read my blog. And that is the most important thing, I think.

Anonymous said...

This is a great post, CeCe. It's easy to get caught up in stuff like this, and lately I think I've done pretty good about just shutting it off and remind myself that I don't blog for popularity or anything. Comparing myself to other bloggers makes me feel inadequate, but I know I'm not. Not in a conceited way, but in an I blog for me type of way. Not for the numbers - I'd rather have 5 loyal readers than 500 who could care less.

I've been trying to simplify my blog to make it more for me. I don't advertize with button swaps anymore, I don't really do link ups or anything to get my blog out there. I just write for me and it feels good not to have that pressure.

Your blog is truly one of my favorites. I can count the number of blogs that I read daily on one hand and yours is one of them. Keep doing what your doing!

Sarah said...

I'm new to your blog and to blogging and we share many of the same thoughts. Great post.

Jen Blackman said...

Really glad that you posted this. Think as a new blogger you can get sidetracked by counting pageviews and all that stuff - comparing yourself to bigger bloggers that when you comment they rarely ever reply.
I think the best blogs are undervalued, like yours. It should be content - over the number of pretty dresses, expensive makeup or pictures of your kids that matters (as mommy blogs, and beauty review/fashion based blogs are the most popular).
Your readership should be so much larger for the time and content that you blog. I love to read your blogs as they're not flossy and full of pretty pictures. They're real. So thanks for staying true to yourself and not molding to fit the template of a traditional blogger and keep up the good work!

Jenny xox

Nylse said...

i can relate to what you've written esp "I can comment 'till the cows come home and some bloggers will never acknowledge my existence. Ever."
My numbers are really low - but I'm glad for the readership I have. I'll write because I like to and hopefully others will read and enjoy. I have other observations but I'll save them.
Good post.

Natalie said...

I love your blog! I'm so glad you haven't "sold out" like so many blogs have. I have a tiny blog myself, even less followers than you have, and am quite happy with it. I don't blog for money, I blog for myself and I think that is more important anyways!

Amanda @ Little Lady Living said...

This sentence is perfect: "I may not be good at getting a lot of people to like me but I am good at getting a few people to like me a lot." I think it is those special few people that make everything worth it :) Great post!

Life with J and J said...

Great post. I always comment back because it takes but a minute to write a nice note.

Faith said...

GIRLFRIEND! I seriously adore the heck out of you right now. You seriously wrote exactly how I feel but there is no way I could have said it that well. What an absolute great post. I think this might be my favorite post of yours ever! :)

The Funky Junkie said...

Yep, can't even tell you how often I feel the exact same way! Only when I get in a funk I just say "f*** blogging" and give it up for weeks at time. Which is really going to help make me popular :) It is EXHAUSTING all the work that goes into not only posting consistently but also keeping up with and commenting on new blogs every day, 'marketing' yourself, etc etc. I have developed relationships with only a handful of bloggers who have been consistent commenters (like you!) and that is usually enough for me, but then sometimes I wonder why I can't get bigger like some of the other blogs I read?? You hit the nail on the head with confusing popularity with quality. I say keep doing what you're doing as long as it makes you happy, and if you make it big then great! If not, at least you are having fun :)

Whitney Cypert said...

LOVE this! And, as you know since we have talked about it, this hits directly home for me! I just recently cancelled all of my sponsor crap, except the ones who have already paid, and I could feel a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. I have just had this sense of peace lately with blogging and felt like I didn't care anymore about the numbers or stats. I think it's because I realize that I have several great blogging friends and that's all I need. Not 1,000 blogging friends. I think that, for the most part, the "popular" bloggers got that way from advertising and from writing almost daily posts. Some are just good writers and draw people in but then you see some with thousands of followers who are nothing special. I don't think there is a science to it, I think there are so many ways to get your blog to be "popular" or atleast look like it is. I love you and your blog for exactly what it is, good writing, fun posts, and a friendship! So glad you posted this!

A Life Less Traveled said...

I am a new blogger myself and have enjoyed your blog from the first time I read it. You hit on a lot of things that I have been thinking about in terms of blogging. Keep doing what you are doing!

Stacey said...

I love your blog and have enjoyed reading it. I am contemplating starting a blog myself but just haven't done it yet. After reading your post it makes me even more determined to start one. Doesn't matter how many followers you have.....I think about this way....look how many people are missing out on reading such a great blog. Keep writing girl....... :)

Jhan said...

You know what, I feel the exact same way. I never wanted to reach "blogger mogul status", but I do wonder how it happens... All that matters in the end, though, is that you blog for YOU. Post things that make you happy and go on. I enjoy a "real" blog that's relatable above all the fancy surface posts from big bloggers anyway. Thanks for sharing YOU with us. :-)

afairlie said...

GREAT post. You always seem to nail what I'm thinking / how I feel. I haven't done this nearly as long as you, and have maybe 1/100th of the followers you have, but I love it too.

It's exhausting trying to be witty, funny, or likening yourself to someone else's writing style. You can't ever keep it up. I have to say that's what I LOVE about your blog! I did actually stumble across it and liked it (and not even by osmosis!) and love your honesty and approach! Keep doing what you're doing!

Susannah said...

I love this! I think that we definitely look too much into numbers when it comes to blogging. I try hard to think about the relationships that are made - not the numbers! :-)

Ashley R said...

Yep, I heart this post. If I was in it for followers, I'd definitely be failing at a measly 49. haha. Like you said, I try to document and hopefully make meaningful connections. That is success.

Carmen Herring said...

I'm one of those who "stumbled upon" your blog, and I happen to LOVE it! I actually think we are VERY similar in so MANY! Keep being yourself! Those that like you the way you are, are the only one's that truly matter anyway!

Carmen Herring said...

Many *ways!* oops! lol

Profesora de español said...

Quality over quantity.

As a blogger, I'm a total slacker. But I've never been good about putting myself out there, much like my real-life self.

I continue to follow your blog because you write about things that are interesting to me (from your TV show reviews, to your travels, to simply having good family time - something I don't get that often). Also, although I know you hope for more readers, I don't feel like you sell out and write crap just to attract them. I've stopped following some other bloggers who do things like posting daily just for the sake of posting but really have nothing to say, people who have too much sponsorship on their pages (It just seems inauthentic to me, writing just because someone is paying you to, not because you want to.), or people who just don't seem genuine because their "blog mogul" (to use your phrase) has gone to their head.

Keep doing what you're doing, posting when the mood strikes and when you feel like you have something interesting to share. Unless you're planning on quitting your day job to blog full time, don't worry about attracting people. People who are truly interested will read and stick around!

Pegster said...

Cece - this is so well said. I definitely noticed the clike-ishness (totally made up a word there too) going on with blogging. I must say I love your blog. I find myself attracted to blogs that I have similarities with (married, traveling, hair journeys, mom and so on).

When I stumbled upon your blog and read your trip to Europe I was hooked, then I found your wedding and such and I knew I had to come back. We have a lot in common and I like the way you write.

I guess you can try to write to attract a bigger crowd but my opinion is that when you do what feels good it will never be a chore. Forget being the popular kid you are definitely the cool kid in town :).

PS - I loved the outfit post too, you should do more of those :)

Brittany said...

This is such an amazing post and I couldn't agree with you more on pretty much every last point. Who cares about stats??!! The people that are here want to be here and we LOVE your blog! I'm with you on the "organic approach"...why beg people to come? If they find my blog, they find it, if not I'm not losing sleep. Not gaining tons of followers that way, but certainly not losing sleep. You just keep doing what you're doing- you're fabulous and so is your blog! Not many bloggers are as smart and witty as you and I love how well thought-out and written your posts are.

Paige (The Last Doughnut) said...

Your blog is better than good! It is awesome! I am not the popular type either. I spent a lot of years trying to be, and being sad when I didn't measure up. Since I've gotten older, I've realized that being the best person that I can be is what is important--and that as long as I am happy, it doesn't matter what anyone else is doing.

Also, thanks for the sweet comments that you have left on my blog lately-->makes me smile!

Annie said...

Hey Cece! I just came over from Nadine's blog and I just wanted to say I loved reading this post. It's so relatable and I think we all feel a twinge of this at some point during blogging. Anyway, just wanted to say well said, and so well written :)

The Other Side of Gray

Meme Stueckle said...

I've never commented, mostly because I can hardly figure out how to..but your blog is one of my favorites! I would imagine there are plenty readers who don't follow or comment but do enjoy reading! Great post!!

shefali velingkar said...

So true! Sometimes blogging just seems like a popularity contest. I tried the blog hops and such for a while when I started, but it feels like blogging for myself is way more satisfying. Great post :)