Every year when I sit down around this time to write my blog anniversary post, I find I usually have something to talk about. A revelation perhaps, about how things are going, or just a look back at how far I’ve come. This year was different.
This year, the words wouldn’t come. I’m not sure why. I thought a milestone year like 10 YEARS writ in 10 feet high neon letters, would be an easy one to address. It turned out it wasn’t.
I’d looked forward to this year, 2017, with some anticipation in the past few months, knowing I’d be hitting one of the most major milestones for almost any blogger. But, 10 years of blogging and writing, in my case almost exclusively about beauty, has culminated in my being at a loss for words. I couldn’t seem to find the words to convey the enormity of the situation, and how much I truly appreciate that there are people who read, have been reading and are still reading My Women Stuff after all these years.
So, I’ve resorted to just a quick ramble here, just to say what I want to say, and hit the Publish button before words and courage fail me.
10 years sounds like a long time, and it is. It’s a full decade. It means that I’ve spent the better part of my 30’s into my 40’s researching, writing, and sharing my thoughts on various aspects of beauty, from an amateur, consumer standpoint. And I don’t even do it full time! :D Sometimes I get it right, and sometimes I get it wrong. Sometimes people agree with me, sometimes they don’t. That’s what happens when you set your thoughts and opinions down on paper (figuratively). Everyone will have an opinion and not everyone will have the same one as yours, which is fine by me.
But it’s that aspect of blogging that I’ve enjoyed, along with the opportunity to see how the backend of beauty is run, and discovering new products and brands. I love talking to the people behind the brands, to learn the science and technology behind a product, and to see makeup artists at work. I’ve been privileged to have met and spoken to some amazing makeup artists, cosmetics brand owners and experts in the field, and I try wherever possible to impart some of that information or knowledge to you through my blog, so that you may share in it too. I’ve read comments that say my blog’s “more serious” than others – I take that as a compliment because if I want to be trusted and taken seriously, wouldn’t I have to be a little “more serious”? Besides, it’s just who I am. I’m a serious person :)
What I’ve enjoyed most about blogging in the 10 years that I’ve been doing it, is the interaction with all of you reading this. It’s opened up my world in so many ways, allowing me to meet so many different people near and far, from different areas of life. I’ve met some of you over the years be it at events or just over coffee or lunch, and it’s always a pleasure. Some of the best friends I have now, I met through blogging, and they come from diverse backgrounds and even different age groups. They’re people I’d probably never have met, had I not fatefully hit publish on a blog post, sending it out in to the ether, back in 2007. Funny how life works out eh? :)
A reader recently contacted me and in the course of conversation, ?told me that she’d been reading my blog since she was in secondary school (high school) which I hazard would put her in her late teens at the time. She’s now 25 and a young lady embarking on her own adventure in the world. When I mentioned it on Twitter, I received some feedback that some had been reading MWS from the time they were in their late teens till now in their mid-late 20’s. 2 things struck me at this point. One, I’m almost old enough to be their mother! :P Two, I had been talking to these young women, who were at a very impressionable age when they ventured upon my blog and ramblings. I can only hope I didn’t lead them too far astray (except into the wild ways of luxury for which I’m somewhat notorious :P )
And this is why I say, and have said often, that bloggers have to be responsible people, and we owe a duty to our readers to be honest and critical. We just don’t know who are reading our blogs, and how much we can influence the way they think or approach life in general. Merely blogging or putting pretty pictures up, just for the sake of staying on the good side of the brands, or to be paid, without believing in what you write or tell people you really use, is irresponsible. Many people turn to social media these days in the belief that the blogger or Instagrammer or whatever new social media tool comes next, knows what they’re talking about and vouch for the product or service. But if you’ve never tried it or you’re just shilling it as a must-have because you’re getting paid, or so you can cement your relationship to get future freebies, that’s irresponsible behaviour.
As much as I encourage everyone to read beyond what I say, or what anyone else says, to form their own opinions, there will always be people who place their trust implicitly in you. Don’t abuse that trust. If you aren’t sure, just say you aren’t sure. If you don’t believe in something, don’t pretend that you do. What my time in blogging has taught me is that people from different age groups will read your blog and some will be more impressionable than others. If you’re going to call yourself an “influencer” (a title I abhor) use that influence for good.
You’re 10 today, have some cake! :)
As I watch the blogging landscape change in the 10 years I’ve been doing this since 2007, I have to confess a slight nostalgia for the way things were and used to be. When people wrote blogs because they wanted to share a new find, or information or tips. Today, I’ve learned that not only are blogs not in demand anymore, there are popular “influencers” and “content creators” who don’t even take their own photos, who move around with a personal photographer, and who get by copy and pasting press releases or writing obscure one-word captions on Instagram in a vague fulfilment of their duty as “influencers”. The blogging world has changed and while I’m disappointed in it, and I used to rail against this change, I no longer want to care. Yep, you read that right. I don’t want to care about what others are doing to get where they want to be.
What I realised in recent years, is that fame and popularity trumps everything and people who are on the up-and-up have no scruples. If I allowed it to bother me, that people out there are buying followers and likes to inflate their social media profile counts, or are promoting dubious products and services or that despite this fakery they are feted at events and showered with free stuff, I’d give up and retire. I almost did.
But I thought it was dumb of me to let what’s happening out there affect how I feel about doing what I enjoy i.e. beauty and writing and blogging in general. So, I stuck to my beliefs, turning down products and services I had no confidence nor interest in, and I was fine. I blogged in my own time, to my own schedule, about what I wanted, and I was fine. I spoke with blunt honesty, and called out bullshit and I was fine. I still work and blogging still isn’t a full time venture for me, and yes. I was fine. Better than fine, I thrived in my independence, away from the maddening crowd.
You see, a large part of why I’m still here 10 years down the road, is thanks to all of you who are reading this, and who are reading and keeping up with my blog and who tell me you appreciate what I do. You may not agree with what I say, or you may find it helpful. But you talk to me about it, you share your views or tips or you ask questions, and I appreciate that you do. The comments section is so important to me, because that’s how I know if I’m doing something right, and it’s also where I’ve seen people interact with one another, to help out when I don’t know the answers. In a major way, MWS has always been a positive place, and I try to extend that to the comments where you reside.
I’ve also noticed that MWS readers are a little, dare I say, more mature in your outlook on life. Many of you think, and ask me really hard questions that I sometimes cannot answer. Many of you are sensible, smart consumers and when I post a discussion topic, you weigh in with calculated, thought out views. Many of you are beauty buffs just like me, and introduce me to brands and products I might never have thought about trying. I enjoy that interaction and I thank you for taking your time to share those thoughts with me because it matters to me. If there’s one thing that 10 years in the blogging world has taught me, it’s that you can’t buy that kind of genuine interaction and engagement :)
So, THANK YOU everyone. It’s been quite a decade – thank you for being there all these years, and better yet, being right here with me right now :) As I say on my Instagram profile, ‘I write, if you read’ – thank you for reading? My Women Stuff, and now I better stop writing LOL! :D