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Building Blogging Relationships – Attitude

In my recent post on Blogging in Formation – Lessons from a Goose I promised to write some posts on how to build blogging relationships. This will be the first of numerous posts on the topic.

Before I get straight into strategies about how to make contact with and build mutually beneficial connections with other bloggers let me suggest that a starting point is not about choosing who you want to connect with – but rather that its probably worth doing a little self analysis first. Ask yourself some of these questions:

- Do you have the time and energy to connect with other bloggers?
- Are you willing to be ignored, rejected and even abused by other bloggers?
- Are you willing to be annoyed by other bloggers that you don’t want to connect with?
- What are your motives for building relationships with others?

These questions sound a pretty negative place to start a series on relationships – but I think its important not only to talk about the warm fuzzy stuff of blogging but the cold hard reality that sometimes it can be a cruel environment and a lot of hard work. Blogging has a ‘light side’ but it also has a ‘dark side’ (use the force Luke) and its worth considering both.

Let me tackle each question in turn

Do you have the time and energy to connect with other bloggers? – to make genuine connections with others takes time and energy. Whilst you might enjoy this interaction it is worth counting the cost of it. Every email you send, every comment you leave or answer, every instant message conversation you have takes time – and its time you could be using to do something else (blogging related or not). There are only 24 hours in a day and unless you’re willing to put time into getting to know other bloggers – it might not be worth starting the process. If you do you might find you’ve bitten off more than you can chew and you could do more harm than good.

Are you willing to be ignored, rejected and even abused by other bloggers? – as humans we have the ability to do good things, ‘evil’ things (sorry – I’m getting heavy here) and things all along the spectrum between. Most bloggers are humans (although not always) – and some of them will respond to you with warmth and others will completely ignore you (at best) and ridicule you (at worst). You might even find yourself with a troll who actively works against you at every turn. It’s a bleak picture – but this is the spectrum of reactions you’ll find and if you don’t have the energy to deal with it all then perhaps blogging is not for you.

Are you willing to be annoyed by other bloggers? – make yourself accessible to readers and you might just be creating a monster. It won’t only be the cool bloggers that you admire who get in touch – but sometimes every blogger and his dog wants a piece of you. Again this comes down to a time and energy issue – but it can also be about patience. Over the past couple of years of blogging there have been times when I’ve been close to tearing out what little hair I have left at the requests I’ve received from readers (I’m sure I’ve been on the other side of things too and have been quite annoying to some) – be willing to get frustrated but know that amidst the annoyance (and even through it) can come some very fruitful interactions.

What are your motives for building relationships with others? – this is a very important question to ask and it might even require a bit of soul searching. There are good and bad reasons for building relationships with other bloggers. You can do so because you have a genuine interest in them, want to be involved in a two way learning/sharing experience and would honestly like them to benefit from the relationship also – or you can do so purely for selfish reasons – they have/know/are something you want to have/know/be and you want to manipulate them into giving it to you.

Can I suggest that we all probably have a mix of both of these motivations in our relationships to different degrees – but that if you’re going to connect with other bloggers purely for selfish reasons that you should expect that the relationship will never be as fruitful as it could be. People have a way of seeing through others to their real motivations and they don’t like to be used. Be willing to give as much, if not more, than you get.

Apologies for the negative start to this series – but I thought after my last idealistic one that a bit of balance might have been helpful. Stay tuned for posts (of a more positive nature) more on building relationships with other bloggers over the coming week and feel free to add your own suggestions in comments.

Read the full series on Building Blogging Relationships

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. dannyFoo says:

    I’m right now pondering about it myself. But if I were to answer it now, I suppose I’d be gunning for a closer relation with my readers so it keeps me always aiming high in offering them something valuable in return. :)

  2. Lyndon says:

    Reminds me of something, “Heat always migrates to the cooler object.” I’m sure that is misquoted. Great article, I relate to detailing the negative aspects like attracting Trolls. I have attracted a few in my time, the worse ones are the unemployed, slightly unhinged, technically proficient ones.

    Being new to Blogging but not new to Website Publishing ( 6 years in the trenches) I feel there is too much upbeat, positive, marshmellow type talk around Blogging – this site being the exception and it leads me to believe that too many people have an unreal expectation of how hard things probably are. Having built websites that get 20,000 people a day and earning enough to give up my day job I know that it is really hard, and I figure a blog is just as hard, after all, a blog is a website, albeit with a few new rules – to be broken.

    Anyway, I could ramble on but I wont. But cool Blog Problogger, I look forward to more of your insights.

  3. Ryan Latham says:

    To myself the answers are simple.

    I do not have the time, but somehow I manage to make it. From the person who wrote about managing time I am fairly poor at it. Not with my blogs, and my personal life. Then what you ask? Sleep. I have created a monster here, my only time to catch up is on the weekend which often times I fail at anyway.

    Yeah, rejection is easy. Go into a club; trial and error. Eventually if you set your sights low enough your bound to score. Just kidding. I have no emotion when it comes to been rejected and abused on the web, it’s not the most crushing form of rejection.

    Be annoyed? Hell I would like to find someone with the ability to annoy me. I think I have a better chance of annoying a blind mute than anyone annoying me. But if I were to be annoyed, it wouldn’t be hard to deal with. Drink socially, or until you are friendly enough to stomach even the most disgustingly unlikable people.

    My motives? Retirement by the time I’m 25. If I can mooch a grand a year off every “pro blogger” out there for the next 4 years, I might be able to do that. Once again, sarcasm. My motives are sound. I am not looking for a great buddy, initially; I look at building relationships with others as an opportunity to both learn and teach. Everyone no matter how long they have been doing it has something they can bring to the table, and has things they still need to learn.

    I am an aggressive pacifist. What does that make me you ask? Neutral for the most part. I am aggressive with my goals, and desires but passive in the ways I go about achieving them. All of these things I do aggressively and passive at the same time; I know it doesn’t make one iota of sense, but then again, for the most part nor do I.

  4. Ryan Latham says:

    To myself the answers are simple.

    I do not have the time, but somehow I manage to make it. From the person who wrote about managing time I am fairly poor at it. Not with my blogs, and my personal life. Then what you ask? Sleep. I have created a monster here, my only time to catch up is on the weekend which often times I fail at anyway.

    Yeah, rejection is easy. Go into a club; trial and error. Eventually if you set your sights low enough your bound to score. Just kidding. I have no emotion when it comes to been rejected and abused on the web, it’s not the most crushing form of rejection.

    Be annoyed? Hell I would like to find someone with the ability to annoy me. I think I have a better chance of annoying a blind mute than anyone annoying me. But if I were to be annoyed, it wouldn’t be hard to deal with. Drink socially, or until you are friendly enough to stomach even the most disgustingly unlikable people.

    My motives? Retirement by the time I’m 25. If I can mooch a grand a year off every “pro blogger” out there for the next 4 years, I might be able to do that. Once again, sarcasm. My motives are sound. I am not looking for a great buddy, initially; I look at building relationships with others as an opportunity to both learn and teach. Everyone no matter how long they have been doing it has something they can bring to the table, and has things they still need to learn.

    I am an aggressive pacifist. What does that make me you ask? Neutral for the most part. I am aggressive with my goals, and desires but passive in the ways I go about achieving them. All of these things I do aggressively and passive at the same time; I know it doesn’t make one iota of sense, but then again, for the most part nor do I.

  5. Allen Heat says:

    In a e-mail i wrote, where a appreciated your attitude towards new blogger, i somewhat confessed that maybe if i was as busy and as “big” as you…i wouldn’t have the will…I’m currently pondering about it….but one thing is sure, it does help you when you have the patient to do it :)

    Heat

  6. I’m on very few blogrolls, which obviously hurts my traffic. OTOH, I don’t think I’ve ever asked to be on someone’s blogroll because a) I prefer to be independent, and b) I consider most other political bloggers to be partisan hacks. For just one example, the behavior of the political bloggers who went to the Dem and Repub conventions strongly underscores ‘b’.

    For a non-politics blog I’d imagine it’s quite different, and would involve the less controversial subject of dinero.

  7. Vix says:

    ” it can be a cruel environment and a lot of hard work”

    Blogging relationships, like most other relationships, require an investment of yourself, of your time and effort and even after developing a relationship it is something you have to nurture.

    After going on a semi-hiatus for 6 months I return to my blog and previous “friends” to find that a lot of the relationships I had developed are now a thing of the past.

Trackbacks

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