When Is A Blog Too Much?

by Becky on May 30, 2013 · 2 comments

in Meta Blog, Parenting

So I’m taking a break from our travels for a minute in order to take up a theme every blogger will resonate to:  when/what is too much?  For example, when does a fashion blog cross the line, becoming an excuse for the blogger to display her fabulousness,  prompting the rest of us to want to swallow down that last bit of arsenic because we cannot ever (for love or money) get skin like hers, or we cannot afford Chanel bags (I mean, who can?–are bloggers selling body organs to finance such purchases?), or we cannot manage to summon the DNA needed for thinking up/putting together outfit posts that look adorably effortless.  (My ‘effortless’ is men’s pajama bottoms and a Hanes men’s V-neck.)

(I know, I sound a little strident.  Just stick with me.)

My answer?  When a blogger’s having a ball, then the blog works.  Which is why Miss Lavender (a fashion blog junkie) and I never get sick of Design Love Fest, for example, or Wendy’s Look Book.  Yes, endless pictures of Bri Emery adorn Designlovefest.  And yet it never seems to get old because she is SO tirelessly imaginative, that you just look at her blog and think, HOW does she come up with all this fun stuff?!  And Wendyslookbook?  Have a look-see, and you’ll get it.  Every photo features Wendy, yet she never leaves you wondering whether she’s self-obsessed.  Or if in fact she is, you can forgive her that–because she’s imaginative.  And very good at what she does.  Her How-to-tie-a-scarf-twenty-five-different-ways video is off the hook.  Yes, it’s her, her, her doing nothing but messing with a scarf in a video on YouTube, but she is having so . . . much . . . fun!  And eighteen million other people have been having fun right along with her.

Observation number one, then:  having fun with your blog is a huge plus (fun-ness effectively mitigating self-obsessiveness).  And fun-ness works even better when a blog has a strong sense of voice.  Emma and Elsie come to mind:  abeautifulmess offers vintage-inspired/homemade fun and a distinct sense of blog identity as well, all in a venue loaded with photos of both sisters.

So what about mom blogs?  When does a mom blog cross the line into Look-at-how-precious-my-kids-are?  But wait!  Stop.  EVERY mom blog has a strong element of Look-at-how-precious-my-kids are.  Right?  Moms wouldn’t blog if they weren’t invested in creating a register of their kids’ (who are precious to them!) comings, goings, triumphs, challenges, outfits, projects, etcetera.  That’s what mom blogging understands itself to be.  That said, I have to confess that I find myself going back over and over to certain blogs whose tone appeals to me, either because it’s drily humorous or touchingly confessional or brutally straightforward or just wonderfully informative.

Observation number two.  Blogs are like people:  you naturally want to visit with the ones who have stories to tell and authentic voices in which to tell them.  And if lots of photos accompany the stories?–hey, I’m down.

So if you’re wondering what prompted this post, I’ll tell you.  Miss Lavender came to me this morning, wondering whether some of the people she knows had begun to feel that her blog had become self-obsessed.  She showed me a Facebook post, where someone she knew had mentioned that (and I’m quoting very loosely) some people’s photos were merely about self-obsession.  So, let’s clarify first.  This person was talking about no one in particular, though in her own mind she may have been thinking of someone specific.  But Miss Lavender wondered, Was this individual talking about her?  Miss Lavender’s blog is indeed a collection of pictures of her, as most young people’s blogs are.  However, I pointed out to Miss L. that, in her latest post, she was happily unafraid to be ironic, goofy, and distinctly un-fixed-up.  Moreover, she included pics of the landscape and of an iron shill of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza out in front of a restaurant.  Plus, she speaks.  She tells.  She’s exercising her voice.  I thought the post was just cool.

My point?  Miss L. loves blogging and hopes at some point down the road to monetize her efforts.  As a potentially remunerative form of self-expression, a blog says, This is my face, this my story, and I am okay with trading on both.  But it also says, Let’s converse, let’s build a community.  In other words, compiling ideas and photos and putting it all out there:  that’s what a blog is and what it does.  And if you know that that’s what you’re about and particularly if you have a sense of ‘mission’–what you ultimately want to accomplish, let’s say–then deploying your-self as currency, so to speak, no longer sounds as, well, as self-obsessed, especially considering the fact that you’re your own brand.

What are your thoughts?  Particularly about your teens who blog or who spend time on Facebook, a platform that also trades in photos and self-expression?

Really curious!

Karen L May 30, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I think the writer’s voice is key. When there is enjoyment or purpose in their stories, it never comes off as self-absorbed or narcissistic. However, that said, I also think that the enjoyment of certain blogs depends upon the mental state of the reader. Some blogs I enjoyed years ago I can’t stand – but it’s not necessarily because the blogger changed {although that has happened where they did become a little too “aren’t I so great”}, but more often, it’s because I am in a different place and therefore “read” it differently. :)
Bottom line, I think the best thing to do is to have a few key people that you can check in with now and then, just to make sure you are still on track – that you haven’t crossed that line to self-aggrandizement (not even sure if I used that word right :)).
Anyway, Miss Lavender doesn’t have anything to worry about. Her blog-voice is a charming, transitioning to adulthood, finding-the-joy-in-life voice.
It’s an echo of her mother’s.

Becky May 31, 2013 at 3:28 am

As is so often the case with your comments, this is its own beautiful post. And I like the idea of having a little community of people you can check in with, to recalibrate, if necessary. People whose opinions and tastes you trust. Your comment about Miss L.’s blog drew a lovely little smile from her this morning, so thank you for that. xx

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