Remember last year when I told new travel bloggers it was okay to make mistakes? It was difficult to take my own advice this week. “Wow, Rachel, that’s melodramatic,” you might be thinking, “What happened?”
Basically, I was a member of a travel blog sharing group for two or three weeks. A couple days ago, I was removed because I mistakenly failed to finish not one, but two sharing threads. Ouch, right? I bit off more than I could chew, that’s for sure.
As you can imagine, even though it was my fault, I was still super embarrassed so I messaged the moderator to apologize. I was then told one of the reasons for my removal was to protect the group’s other members. And this? Made me feel so, so, so sad. Incredibly sad.
I don’t consider myself a malicious person. Scatter-brained, yes, but not someone who wants to take advantage of other bloggers to soar through internet “rankings.” I don’t want to known as a person who others need to be protected from either. In my mind, I had made a simple mistake, but this response indicates a bigger problem. The internet is vicious, and a lot of people aren’t kind. It’s only natural to slam the e-web hammer when rules are broken. Still, I was hurt.
Please note this post isn’t about “calling the mod out.” I’m not going to name names or groups, copy and paste what was said privately in messages, or shame this moderator (so don’t ask). Personally, I’m glad I don’t manage a 1000+ person facebook group on top of my duties as a teacher and blogger. It can’t be easy especially when so many people use sneaky and unethical methods to rise above other content creators.
On a similar note, I’m a member of several instagram communities, because I adore pretty photos and want to build my “okay” travel account into a “spectacular” one! In one of these communities, I recently read a heated fight between two members – one accusing the other of not commenting/liking and vice versa. This argument got quite ugly in a short amount of time.
Both experiences happened, because not much good faith exists between online influencers. Travel bloggers included. Point blank.
So new travel bloggers. I’m speaking out and telling you to please, please, please be kinder to each other. More positive. More supportive. Less selfish. We’re all on our journey together. Let’s lift each other’s spirits rather than scramble and step on toes. Over the past year, I’ve noticed a lot of dismay in the travel blogging community. Why? Lots of reasons.
Unthoughtful “great post! check out MY blog” comments left on entries, some which took hours to write. Fake automated comments spamming unrelated photos on Instagram. Emails requesting all sorts of favors for free. Ruthless following and unfollowing on Twitter. The list goes on. So we act suspicious.
Believe me, I understand where the resentment comes from. Lots of travel writers are jerks just like in the “real world.” But still, guys. Be better than this.
How can we be kinder as travel bloggers? Welllllll, it’s not always an easy task, that’s for sure! The anonymity of the web makes it tough to remember that real people sit behind the computer screens. Here’s my advice for being the kindest online influencer you can be.
EMBRACE THIS ADVICE, M’DEARS!
Share quality content, that’s NOT yours, to your social media channels.
Don’t use Facebook and Twitter to constantly promote your own content to followers. It comes off as self-absorbed and spammy, especially if you’re pushing products and tours 24/7. Plus social media algorithms may penalize you if you’re strictly sharing content from your site.
In the group I was removed from, I had just finished subscribing to over sixty new blogs as part of a share thread. Instead of bitterly unsubscribing to these writers, I plan on keeping every single person and reading their posts in the hopes of sharing fresh material with my readers. Why not? The more quality content, the better. I may even make new friends or learn something cool. And if I find a special post, I will share it around the net, far and wide!
Now I’m not saying to flood your channels with low quality content that’s not related to your niche. Your readers will hate you, haha. Be picky. But when you do find something good, share share share.
Don’t “take advantage” of other bloggers’ social stats and numbers.
If a blogger has a large audience, he or she has been writing and traveling for years. Years. It’s a lot of work, time, and money. I’ve already poured a small bank account into this website. So it’s especially annoying when strangers try to milk that success for free. Taking advantage of stats while giving nothing in return is a big reason why many sharing groups have such strict rules. Instead think of ways you and others in the community can help each other. A one-sided relationship isn’t awesome.
Oh, and this extends to real life too. DON’T play “nice” or “make friends” at blogging events solely in the hopes of benefitting from another blogger’s audience. Do I even need to say why that’s the worst idea ever?? When I attended TBEX Stockholm, I didn’t care if I spoke to an A-lister or a person who didn’t have a blog yet. I smiled and talked to everyone. No strings attached.
Remember this world is big enough for every blogger.
The travel industry is enormous and diverse. Just look at travel bloggers themselves. We all have our own niches and writing styles, some that are super specific. And the industry at large is even bigger. For example, tourism contributed 7 trillion dollars to the worldwide economy. A lot of money and opportunities are available for bloggers.
So don’t feel like you need to compete with every. single. blogger. You couldn’t possibility write about all the niches and brands anyway. Instead support and encourage. For example, I’m not a family blogger but if I saw a good opportunity for a family blogger, I’d promote it on one of my groups. Furthermore, smile when a good friend receives a chance to shine. If any of my BlogHouse pals got a huge sponsorship, I’d cheer and clap and send e-hugs. Do the same.
Join a supportive facebook group.
Interact with the community. Be open to everyone. Blogging got so much more fun for me when I put myself out there. For instance, I’m a member of Travel Blog Success. I love their facebook group. In this community, top travel bloggers give their advice on most, if not all, posts. No “stupid questions” exist either. It’s actually against the rules to apologize for asking a question – which is GREAT. I love these people, for real. And you should check out the course. It’s wonderful.
In addition, I’m a graduate of BlogHouse Philadelphia, and part of two separate groups: the main BlogHouse group and personal Philly group. I encourage you to apply if you want to take your blog to the “next level.” This workshop changed my life, and now I have a personal network of incredible cheerleaders.
Finally, I want to add a new goal for 2017.
This year I want to interact a lot more with the community. And not fake “share this and I’ll share yours!” interaction either – though this type of activity certainly has a place! But it’s not the only method I want to use to make connections. My fellow bloggers deserve better.
So, to “kick start” this goal, I’m giving ya’ll permission to use the comment sections to tell me about your blog if you have one. Yes, I’m allowing “promotion” on this post, haha. So go for it. You may also email me to write a guest post. Tell me about your travel passions. Are you a photographer? Story teller? Graphic artist? Spill.
Finally, not only do I want to be a bigger part, a positive and loving part, of our community, but I want to learn from other content creators. So if you’re a fashion blogger, I’d love to hear from you. Lifestyle? Sure, you too!
Despite joining a lot of groups, blogging feels lonely, sometimes, and I think it’s important to teach one another great ideas. So what can I do on this site to improve it? What cool techniques have you learned to enhance your own blog?
So go, go, go. Tell me all about your blogs. I want to read them.
And remember: be kind.
Dear New Travel Bloggers
Are you new to travel blogging? Check out my other posts in this series!
Talk about your blogs in the comments sections. Feel free to discuss anything. What inspired you to be a blogger, your blog’s mission, your journey, etc.? Seriously, talk about anything. And thank you so much for reading.