A few months ago when I was still finding my feet in the blogosphere, I joined a Facebook group for bloggers in my city. And for weeks and weeks and weeks I’d seen post upon post upon post pop up in my newsfeed with blogger questions, requests and promo opportunities. And lets not forget all those pesky notifications telling me that Claire and 7 others commented on a top post in that group.
A lot of these groups (quite rightly) don’t want you selflessly promoting yourself and every blog post. And being a new blogger, I didn’t really feel comfortable sharing anything there until I felt I had found my feet and had some confidence in my blog. This particular group recently started a ‘Sharsie Friday’ kinda thing, where everyone is invited to share their latest and greatest posts for everyone to read over the weekend. So, last Friday, I finally plucked up the courage to share a link to my blog.
When I got home, I sat down to read some of the blog links that were posted. I was hoping to make connections with some of the other blogs, and was also expecting a little traffic to come my way too. But neither of those things happened.
The majority of blog links there seemed to be from people blogging about beauty, fashion and shopping (absolutely nothing wrong with that). But to be honest, they just weren’t really blogs that I could relate to. I didn’t feel that I could add anything of value by commenting on a blog that was trying to help me find my style for under $49. Just as I’m sure the beauty blogger telling me about that must have mascara brush wouldn’t be interested in reading about my diabetes.
And judging by the activity in that Facebook group, it seemed that their blogging goals were the complete opposite of mine. They seemed to be seeking instant fame and monetisation from their blogs, with talk of building media kits and contacting companies for promo/product opportunities. I, meanwhile, am here to share my story and hopefully make a connection with you. I want to read about your stories and be inspired too. I do selfishly hope to build a strong brand for myself and this blog over time. But its not the sole reason that motivates me to write week after week.
So what does?
Its the Diabetes Online Community. And all of you that are a part of it and make it so strong. I’m so glad that I found it. So glad that it exists. Every day I’m inspired by all of the stories, tweets, blog posts, links and diabetes trends I discover. I’ll read something and instantly come up with three new ideas to write about. Its the first thing I look at when I’m having my morning coffee. At night its sometimes a struggle to look away from Twitter and go to sleep. But better yet, I’m always inspired to push myself one step further. To be healthier. Stronger. More resilient to the ups and downs of life with diabetes. To be the very best version of myself that I can be.
So, I guess the morale of this story is just how important is it to write for a clearly defined niche audience, rather than the masses. And networking with the right people. Because exposure means absolutely nothing if the audience isn’t interested in your work. Can’t connect to it. Can’t relate to it. And a blog means nothing if you don’t give back and be a part of that community.
And as for that Facebook group? Well, I’m now open to suggestions of any good diabetes related ones…
Some people think that the importance of diabetes blogging is being replaced by more people hanging out on Facebook. For sure Facebook is much easier than writing a blog and the immediate interactions are fun/informative/helpful, etc. At the same time some diabetes Facebooks groups can be absolutely brutal if you don’t toe the line of the most influential participants. I kind of do both (along with Twitter), but mostly participate in “open” Facebook rather than groups. As Diabetes a Blog Week proved, blogging is not quite a dead medium yet…
Definitely. For me personally, I have found that I get more out of blogging and Twitter than I do from Facebook. I find that the information I get from there is somewhat more intelligent and focussed, whereas Facebook is a little more fun and in the moment as you said.
I agree Laddie. I would like to add that what really helped me when first diagnosed t1, reading day to day stories about people living with the disease and sharing their life hacks. Later on, reading blogs was how I learned that when you fly with the Omnipod the chances of lows are greater during flight due to air pressure causing more insulin to be delivered. So I was prepared. I did have a very uncomfortable low where I was nudging my daughter awake to pass me her rice crispy treats as I had consumed my sweet treats and didn’t want to do more glucose tabs.
Yes, I really wish I’d found the DOC when I was first diagnosed (like you) and not 5 years later. There is so much valuable information out there from ordinary people like you and me living with diabetes.