In the wake of a new category of voting on Circle of Moms, there’s been a little discussion this week about blog contests and their validity as effective means of giving exposure to bloggers. Katherine wrote the linked post and stated her feelings and thoughts regarding the lengths to which bloggers go to get their names on lists.
I love Katherine and respect her as a professional and friend and I know that nothing she said in that email was intended to be applied to anyone other than her. But, as is the nature of blogging, sometimes the discussions that come about as a result of something we’ve written is unforeseen at the time of our writing.
And the discussion that ensued in her comments has certainly stirred up a gazillion different emotions in me this weekend.
Some bloggers seem to feel that the return on the investment of their time is not great enough for the contest to garner their attention. That these popularity contests are just that and as such should be squashed unless they are not the variety designed to drive traffic to the site instead of the blog.
Other bloggers see the potential chance to get their name in front of thousands or millions of readers as a way to grow their blog. They are starting out and curious about what to do and where to go and how to gain readers and share their voice. Someone has put their name on a list and OMG! HOW COOL. (And it is. I feel that.)
Mid-level bloggers, like me, are kind of ping-pong-ing between the two sides of this discussion trying to figure out what we believe to be true for us.
Rationally, I know that contests like this will not grow my blog, which is why I’m not a member of Top Baby Blogs or Top Mommy Blogs or any of those sites that make me feel like a personal and complete failure when there are literally thousands of blogs vying for the top spot. I do not ever plan to hound you to votevotevote to get me to the top of something that will just be reset one day causing me to start all over again.
(Would those sites send some traffic my way? Yes. Perhaps. But when’s the last time you Googled “Top Baby Blogs” to find new blogs to read? Exactly. That’s not how it usually happens.)
Irrationally? I have a deep-seated need to be liked that is rooted in years and years of insecurities. Of not being accepted. And as a result of those insecurities and the lack of acceptance I experienced growing up? I have a hard time accepting myself. Of knowing that I’m good enough, or even great, independent of the approval of others.
I want to know that people like me and accept me, so when I see that I’ve been nominated for some sort of accolade I cannot contain my emotions. My excitement becomes palpable. It is a big deal to me no matter how small it seems to someone else.
On the one hand, seeing votes next to my name on a list is like crack. I see it and I’m all “YOU LIKE ME. YOU REALLY LIKE ME!” Because someone, somewhere must, right? Maybe?
On the other hand, seeing more votes next to someone else’s name than I see next to my own leads to jealousy and bitterness that someone else is getting what I feel like I deserve.
But do I deserve it? No, probably not. Probably not more than anyone else, at least. Though that little green-eyed monster that lives in my heart would try to tell me otherwise. I’m humble enough to know and admit that I’m not the best and that there are always those who are better than me. That I do not deserve anything I have not earned through hard work and elbow grease.
This blog? My readers? You? This has grown slowly and wonderfully and in ways that tell me that my readers are not fly-by-night kinds of readers. I believe you have really seen into my heart here. I believe you know me here. I believe that I am giving you something that makes you want to stay and so you do. And I am so ridiculously, incredibly grateful that you stay.
So why all this talk about contests and blogging and readers?
When I saw that email in my inbox, I got butterflies in my stomach and I wanted to squeal a little bit with excitement. I was nominated. I was chosen. All of those feelings of acceptance and being wanted? Were fulfilled in that moment.
And then this discussion happened and, to be honest, I feel a little deflated after it.
But there’s one thing I’ve known from the moment I saw that email which I still know to be true now.
This category? The Mental Wellness category? Is not frivolous. And this category, mental health, continues to be ridiculously underrepresented in contests like this.
To the women who write these blogs because they have lived this darkness? This is not a frilly or fun topic.
We write because we have hope that one day getting your mental health checked up will be as routine as getting your teeth cleaned.
So, while some might think it’s bad form to ask for votes? I’m asking for them. But not for myself.
One click for each blog. One time only or once a day; that’s up to you.
Visit these blogs. Pass on their stories. Share their hope.
Let’s do our best to use this list for good.