New Video: Why Blogging is like High School + How We Can Fix It

I have to confess something.

I didn’t really like high school. In fact, it’s a part of my life that I was very happy to say goodbye to. Maybe you can relate?

But now that I spend a large part of my day blogging, I have found that there are some correlations between the blog world and high school. With people going on rants about how much they hate someone or just simply using their blog to promote negativity (of course this isn’t true everywhere. there are TONS of bloggers doing amazing things everyday and I am lucky enough to know many of them), I can’t help but look back on those immature days that once seemed so long ago. I’ll explain it all in the video.

Final Thoughts: ALL of us bloggers need to come together and support one another. We need kindness, compassion, and togetherness in this crazy world. Not negativity.

Additional Note: Right after I put this video up on my YouTube channel, I received an email from Christina of Down and Out Chic and we discussed this topic a little more. It turns out that she actually had recently written a similar post on her blog about overcoming blogging insecurities.Β It’s a really thoughtful post, and it goes perfectly with what I discussed in the video. So, you should definitely check it out.

So, now its your turn to weigh in. Have you ever felt excluded in the blogging world? And what do you think we can all do to make things better for the future?

And if you like this video, please share it with your friends via facebook and twitter. Let’s spread the blogging love to anyone that will listen.

38 comments | Click here to reply

Great post. You’re right- it can be a lot like high school (I hated high school too), and it would serve us all well to do something to keep the positive vibes outweighing the negative/exclusive ones.

thanks for posting this! :]

Blythe

Hi Blythe. I love what you said here “…it would serve us all well to do something to keep the positive vibes outweighing the negative/exclusive ones.” So true! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
-Brittni

papernstitch

our universe is about inclusion, not exclusion. high school (and the blogger you talk about) tries to make everything exclusive. i think if we all stick to blogging (and focusing on) what we love, and the fabulous people we know, that is the only cure. refocus, away from the negative and onto the positive. and band together! thanks for this post. it made me grateful for all the wonderful positive people i’ve met through blogging. and you’re so cute in videos! you’re so dainty but your words have power. love it.

Bethany Susan

Aw, thank you for your compliments Bethany. So glad this video struck a cord with you.
-Brittni

papernstitch

Hi Brittni! This is a great topic for discussion. Thanks for addressing it.
I agree with you in that with this particular example the negative blogger has reverted to high school tendencies which is such a shame. I think people can definitely hide behind their blogs a bit and in this case, say something that they probably would never say to the person face-to-face. But that doesn’t justify the action. You shouldn’t be using your blog as a way to say nasty things about others. Just because it isn’t face-to-face, doesn’t mean it is any less hurtful.

I don’t mind when blogs offer a critic but not when they verbally abuse. There is a difference. It’s one thing to say, “I don’t agree with this person” but definitely another to say “This person is horrible, stupid, etc., etc.”

With my blog, I always try and remain positive and in my experience, that is what other bloggers are doing too. All of the people I have come into direct contact with are super positive and supportive and I’ve met some of the nicest, sweetest people after I started my blog and began connecting with people. Although there may be pockets of nastiness, I think that, overall, the community is positive. My only suggestion can be, read what makes you happy! Support bloggers that are positive and that try and make the community a better one. πŸ™‚

Lauren Elise

Hey Lauren. Great to see you here on the blog. Thank you for your very thoughtful comment. And your suggestion to support bloggers that are positive and that try and make the community better is a great one to follow! It’s something we can all do very easily to promote positivity.
-Brittni

papernstitch

OH MY GOSH Brit! Just thinking about this makes my fingers shiver, but that’s exactly why this topic is SO great for discussion. I’m relatively new to blogging, still feel like I’m still in diapers, constantly learning new things + growing, so obviously I’m constantly having to face my fears + insecurities. Is my English accent too funny? Is my writing to cute? Do I look unprofesional? What if I piss someone off for speaking my heart out? It’s hard, but the happiness I get in return from the relationships I build along the way, makes all the negativity worth it.

That being said, why the HELL do people have to be so mean? I really have no tolerance for cruelty. It’s plain evil + so uncool + unattractive.

And you know what I also hate? I hate labels + people who stereotype + judge. I’ve had people reject proposals because I was friends with X and Y bloggers. What the F***k? I mean seriously… it’s like high school but worse, because we’re supposedly all grown up.

Ok this rant needs to stop. I need to have some wine with you + talk about this further…! πŸ™‚

Mayi Carles @ Heartmade

The cattiness that you found on the blog you mentioned is not something that is limited to blogging or high school. There are a lot of people who are frankly insecure and feel compelled to tear other people down to make themselves look/feel better. You find it in the work place, the playing fields, parent organizations — everywhere.

That said I believe there are more genuinely good, generous, helpful, loving people in the world and they blog too. They share their stories to be of assistance to others, to inspire others, or to help themselves not feel lonely. All good reasons. Our job, as readers is to support those who fit our definition of good and decent people.

If I came across a blog post that was so negative I wouldn’t bother reading the rest of it. I don’t have time for that kind of thinking. If they were in my blog reader for another reason (like great tutorials or inspiring images) they may not last the day. Keep up the good work you do and support those you identify with, ignore the rest – life is too short to stress about other people.

katie

This is definitely interesting. I’m all for positive posts, but (and I know this isn’t really how you meant it) I also love when bloggers admit that something didn’t work out for them, or there’s a corner of their house that’s messy, or that they’re just having a bad day. I love to see people being real people, because it’s so easy to get lost in the adorable perfection that most blogs show you. So I don’t mind a little negativity if it’s in the context “I’m a person, not just an online product.”
But I think you’re right about it being like high school in the sense you explain it. It’s so incredibly easy to be negative online. It’s a snap to post an anonymous comment about someone’s work – and it’s easy because you forget that these are actual people. I’m personally working on remembering this myself! I’m not a huge negative commenter, but I do find myself wanting to go after people who leave snarky comments and tell them to go somewhere – which only escalates the snark. So I try to remember, maybe they’re having a bad day and didn’t think before posting this, and maybe I shouldn’t engage them.
That said, I do one completely fantastic blog that does satire of another, really-extremely-popular-somewhat-holier-than-thou blog, and it’s so well done that I can’t help but enjoy it. I think satire is a little different, though.

Nadine

er, I do *read* one completely fantastic blog…

Nadine

Thanks for sharing your experience Mayi, Nadine, and Katie. I really appreciate you adding to the conversation. And each of you have some really interesting points on this particular topic.
-Brittni

papernstitch

Hi Brittni, great video, it’s important that we discuss these things. I really feel for the person being attacked in the example of bitchiness that you came across, a blogger with over 20,000 readers really should be more responsible and I sincerely hope it doesn’t have too much of a negative impact on that poor person πŸ™

Like I mentioned on Twitter, just the thought of being back in school again makes my stomach churn. I had a terrible time throughout whole 6 years of school, and honestly though I have been through therapy (and have recently returned) I still find that it affects me to this day in terms of self confidence and uncertainty in social situations.

Thankfully so far my own experience of the blogging world has only been positive and I have met many wonderful people online. But I do believe that there can be a hint of high school about it.

I find for me the best thing to do is to stick to bloggers whom I know to be positive people and who are genuinely supportive of the blogging community. If I find someone to be much more negative than I feel is healthy it puts me right off vising their blog or Twitter stream.

In the long run I think negativity works less well in the blogosphere than it did in highschool. A lot of people are like you and me, we’re attracted to positivity and joy, mean bloggers shock and repel us, and as a result their attitude is more likely to have a negative effect on their readership. No one wants to be reminded of the way we felt in high school (and you know I think a lot of creative people had a hard time in school because they were a little big different!) and if someone recalls those bad memories for us we’re not really going to visit them again!

I guess the wonderful difference between blogging and highschool is that in the blogging world we have so much more choice and more support available to us.

Eadaoin

That’s a great post, I didn’t really love high school either and I absolutely understand what you mean however I have only found good stuff in the blogosphere, but I have heard about this topic a lot. Food for thought, we definitely need to keep negativity outside this world, you are so right, there is enough of that shit. way to go, really enjoyed it!

Helena- A Diary of Lovely

Eadaoin, Thank you for being so honest and open with your past here on the blog. I too disliked high school to the point where it actually still gets to me from time to time. And seeing the immaturity level of this particular blogger (at least in that moment) really made me think about it again.

I absolutely agree with you that is best to stick with people who are positive, warm, and all around friendly and including of others. Not just in the blogging community, but in real life as well.

And thank you Helena. So glad you enjoyed this video and post.

-Brittni

papernstitch

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by high_school, Home Confetti. Home Confetti said: @thepurplepug with ur mission to "play nice", I thought of u when I saw this http://bit.ly/g1Cy06 […]

Tweets that mention Why Blogging is like High School *video* | papernstitch -- Topsy.com

Hey Brittni + other commenters: I love this video; the question raised and comments above have resonated with me all afternoon. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in having insecurities and wanting everyone to be happy and encouraging and reinforcing; it’s not like we’re competing for the last spot on Varsity Soccer, we’re working in a medium that exceeds no maximum capacity, so why shouldn’t we all get along and help it be the best venue it can be, whether it be for professional reasons or for fun?

I’m insecure still. It took me a long while to admit to being interested in blogging, and starting up my own site has been a major a test in many ways. Do I want people looking at me? Do I want people knowing about my house? Do I want people thinking that I think I’m cool, because I’m not? Are people going to see me as a thought leader? Am I going to be fighting to stay ahead of a curve?

Even shortly after I began writing, I tried networking with some of the bloggers I was inspired by, only to feel by some that I was just another email in their inbox; I even saw one tweet about how annoyed they were to get emails/messages from “fans”. It seemed irresponsible for someone who is respected and looked up to to partake in a high school mentality. I felt like the “new girl” in the high school, which I think we can all agree, totally blows (or would blow).

Keep on keepin’ on. I love your position in the industry, Brittni, I think you really stand out in the mix.

Emily

Emily

Emily, you are definitely not alone on this. And I agree with you- it is nice to know that. Thanks for adding to the dialogue here. It’s been really great reading over everyones thought.
-Brittni

papernstitch

I hated high school too.

But to the meat of your topic here, I see what you mean about the blog world sometimes harboring some harsh mannerisms. I think it helps to stay as positive as you can yourself. It’s difficult for others to attack you if you don’t let negativity enter your blog. And, of course, never attack anyone else. Your blog is not a forum for your own personal vendettas. If you need to vent about another blogger, go talk to your best friend.

Of course, that being said, it’s impossible to ALWAYS be positive and if you want your readers to know the real you, sometimes you’ll have to let the negative side of you out. Just don’t make it a personal attack on someone.

To answer your question, the real issue I see with exclusion in the blog world is letting newbies in. Most established bloggers seem to ignore the little guys or feel that new bloggers have to “prove themselves” rather significantly before they’ll help them or befriend them. It becomes a world in which just a few blogs are considered “worthy” of mention, readership, and social interest. I wouldn’t expect an established blogger to go out of their way for a newbie. But I think being generally nice and compassionate to everyone, even the newest, is something this world needs to continue striving toward.

On the other hand, I don’t think newbies take quite enough initiative in seeking out blogger friends or help from the established.

Laura

Hi Laura,
Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate what you wrote here, “Of course, that being said, it’s impossible to ALWAYS be positive and if you want your readers to know the real you, sometimes you’ll have to let the negative side of you out. Just don’t make it a personal attack on someone.”

It gave me a lot to think about. You are right- we all have our moments of negativity (myself included) and that’s okay. As long as its not a personal attack on someone publicly. Great addition to this convo. Thanks again.

-Brittni

papernstitch

So true… I hated highschool! I really try not to read or post negative things. I want to go on a blog and learn something new, see something different and become better for it. Holli @ decor8 is the best. She always sets a great example for other bloggers. She is my mentor!

deneise bucko

I suppose that is the reality of life…negativity is around…some people seem to be even drawn to it. We all have to choose what we want to be a part of…more and more I think we have the power to do so. I have to agree that many things in life are silly and petty – like back in high school – and I want no part of it definitely!

linda

I agree and have been working through this myself, not only as a blogger but just as a late 20-something. It’s kinda like being a freshmen of life. As a child and teen I always preferred the company of my elders than my peers and now that I am an adult I realize that all of the adults I always looked up to are now my peers as well, professionally speaking, as an adult and especially as an entrepreneur.

It is sad to say that the same tendencies of ‘drama’ from high school run through every area of society and every age group.

It just insecurity. Its just how some people know how to deal, despite the terrible nature of it. The best thing to do is to not be like that yourself.

That’s all you can ever really do.

Jessica

Jessica, you are so right: “.. just as a late 20-something. ItÒ€ℒs kinda like being a freshmen of life.”

I am going to be 27 this year, so I am in my late 20s as well, and I hadn’t thought of life this way before. But its actually quite inspiring in a way. I feel like I’ve been able to do so much and learn so much in my “freshman life stage”, so I am looking forward to those next few phases. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your thoughts.
-Brittni

papernstitch

Hi Brittni ,

The analogy is really spot on. Lets be positive and focus on good things and spread the positive vibe . After all, we all know positive thinking and talking goes a long way .

Leave the negativity , catty drama to the high schoolers AND politicians !

lakshmi

Both in life and in the online community, I think bloggers and commenters alike need to keep in mind that individuality and imperfection is welcomed, but flat out negative criticism without a suggestion of improvement is not okay.

I enjoy when bloggers are real and down to earth – It’s okay to get into the nitty gritty of life. We can talk about politics and religion and whatever else pushes peoples’ buttons, it makes life interesting! We just need to be respectful of others’ views and ideas so we can really learn from one another.

Great post Brittni! Something important to keep in mind πŸ™‚

Sasha

That hits home with me, Sasha. It’s not just about bloggers posting negatively. It’s about the readers posting negative comments as well, oftentimes more!

Thanks for the food for thought…

Laura

Brittni, great topic. I loved what Nadine had to say about being real, but it’s easy for the negativity to seep in. Have your bad day, admit to being imperfect and move on. I’m far from prefect and I like being able to use my blog as a journal- good days and bad days alike; although I tend to stay on the positive side when composing a post.
I would hate to read any blog post that was negative towards a specific person or thing. It’s not worth it. Hopefully as we age we can learn to respect others for their differences and see the multitude of lessons we have learned by dealing with difficult people.
I love all the bloggers out there that are sharing their skills, art and insight with the rest of us. But at times it does feel a bit like high school all over again. Unless I have x amount of followers, or have been featured by so and so- well I’m not welcome or worth the time of a reply email. It’s hard to read respected bloggers write posts about responding to commenter but because of the high volume of emails they receive they can’t or won’t do as they say. What we need is a little patience in this instant gratification world we live in and a bit of trust between blogger and reader.
Thank you for bringing up this topic.

margaret

Thanks so much for this, Brittni. This has clearly struck a cord with many people, including me.

Emily, I’ve seen the same thing happen and it definitely draws out my insecurities. I’m much less apt to email another blogger that I admire if I think that I might be “annoying” them. It’s sad, really. With out the fans, their blog wouldn’t exist. It’s all very silly.

Thanks for stirring up this discussion. My wheels are turning about how to continue to create a positive community of bloggers.

Lauren | Stamp 48

Hi, Brittni. I think blogging is not so much like high school as it is like life: There majority out there are really pretty good and nice, but the handful of mean ones get more than their share of attention and spoil the joy for everyone else.

The difference with high school is that the proportion of meanies in high school is significantly higher, as far as I remember (yes, I really, REALLY hated high school), and they don’t just spoil the joy for everyone else, they lord it over the whole class and make even the nice people try to be mean, which is not the same with bloggers at all.

We bloggers are really a more adult group, and if there are a few of us that still do sound like they are one of those mean high schoolers, at least they don’t get the approval of the majority as they would in a real high school.

Andy

You bring up a very good point here Andy, “I think blogging is not so much like high school as it is like life”

Jessica, who previously commented said something similar and I agree with you both. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
-Brittni

papernstitch

Thank you for posting this! As a new blogger, I’ve often felt the sting of “high school”-type outcast-dom. I’ve always wondered if bloggers who have been around longer felt the same way. Thanks again!

Jess

Hey Brittany! I haven’t been around the blogging community long enough to make a good judgement on this topic, but I think the #1 think bloggers can do to prevent this is to make a decision here and now that they won’t be among the blogs that bash people {namelessly or not}. Each commitment is one less possible offense in the blogosphere. If you have a problem with someone, you need to put on your big girl panties/ big boy undies and go address it with that person in private. Your drama isn’t for the rest of the world to know about. We need to simplify life, not create chaos.

Meagan

Love your video & the comments! It is great to read through them & see so many familiar faces & know that we are all really on the same page.

I think life can be like high school if we let it-so much of our culture seeks to divide us from one another & put labels & boxes on who we are/what we do, to make us think we need status to be successful. I think there will always be people who make themselves feel more important by making someone else feel smaller. It’s sad, it sucks and is SO unnecessary but I have found the best defense is to meet crabbiness with cupcakes. If the sweetness doesn’t work then I’ll leave them to stew in their own misery-but I can choose to be welcoming, non-judgmental, kind & filled with love for our online community.

I think like calls to like, just like those cliques in high school-I think if you build a blog based on honesty, love & open arms then we can be havens from the bitter parts of life. I can’t control the world or the fact that people think the anonymity of the internet is cause to be mean but I can control my little corner of the net & fill it with light & happiness & all the good things in life we can never get enough of. I reach out & connect with other people whose writing/personality reflects that same genuine caring-hopefully eventually our anti-clique of acceptance & community will far outweigh the nasties & they can hang out in some dusty corner of the web until they get over themselves & their egos. We’re all in this together-we might as well make it great!!!

Jessika (Oh My Handmade)

Thank you all so much for the amazing comments and thoughtful responses. I have really enjoyed reading every single one of them.
-Brittni

papernstitch

I can tell that post REALLY upset you and today was my first visit to your blog. 1st off I send you a cyber hug. 2nd I totally agree that tearing someone down on your blog is NOT cool!

In my short time of reading blogs, I’ve not come across any blogs with an entry like you discuss in your video. But I can absolutley see how blogging could turn into nightmarish High School gossip and put downs. I will not read or support blogs like that either!

I started my blog to share my own positive attitude and approach to life. I agree with you that there is already way too much negativity in the world. Reading, working with, promoting, and supporting positive bloggers is the best way to send positive energy out into the world.

What you put out there will come back to you and I personally want as many good vibrations as I can get.

I think sharing your feelings about this issue is a great way to encourage us all to think about what we are saying, anywhere…

So I say, stay away from negative blogs, please don’t support what they spew! Let’s make our world a better place by be nicer bloggers!

Peace,
Donna

[email protected]

Hello, Brittni!

I must say that I ENJOY your blog everyday! I eagerly check it, wait for new posts, awe over the talent of so many, think of new ideas…. basically, becuase of YOUR WORK I get my creative fix each day!

Blogging has opened SO many doors! We can get recipies, unique gift ideas, tons of DIY tips… all at our finger tips. For that, I am grateful to YOU, the bloggers, for making my life better. Really, it’s true.

With all that said, I only post when I feel I have something to add or to offer praise. I didn’t realize all the negativity until recently reading comments on Design Spone. Seriously? Grown woman act this way?! What ever happened to “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

So, Brittni, and all the other crazy-talented bloggers out there… keep doing what you are doing! There are WAAYYYYYYYYYYY more people who love what you do, are grateful for what you do, and enjoy what you do. They are just too busy being inspired to write comments.

Hold your head high, keep that chin up!

Jessica

Aw, thank you so much Jessica. That is great to hear. I really appreciate you stopping by and leaving your thoughts.
-Brittni

papernstitch

Hey! I really am happy that someone is noticing this, I guess you could say, but not everyone is thinking about it. It happens. I am a freshman in high school, and just from half of the year, (my class is REALLY small and has only 3 girls including me) a click has been created among some girls at my school. Often it seems like they may be whispering behind your back, and I know they don’t mean to, but it happens. I do believe that this does happen in the blogging community, because people believe that maybe they can get away with it with out anyone really jumping down their backs.

I really liked how you said at the end how we need to come together and support one another because those that are just starting up (ex, me πŸ˜‰ get so excited to get a new comment, it’s like “Wow! They like my stuff!” And I feel this way when I get a comment, and when maybe a new follower, but what really struck me is that it is very easy to get carried away with your own blog, and tutorials, and keep posting. So far, this is one of the few blogs that I have read about where we should work on supporting others. I don’t say this to “get” more followers, but really it is something that I can work on!
Thank you for bringing up the topic!
~Hannah

Hannah S.
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