I recently attended a blogging conference in Sydney, during which I learned many things, mostly that I seem to be breaking a lot of the unbreakable rules of blogging*.
But over the three days, as I spoke with different people, with a range of blogs and diverse stories, the main thing that crystallised was that there seemed to be two distinct groups.
The distinction was not one I had put on them. It seemed to be self-assigned, with no discomfiture nor judgement. And I’m not saying that people could not fit into both categories, it’s just that people seemed to want to choose to be one or the other.
People were either bloggers or writers.
People who referred to themselves as bloggers often said they were not writers, although they obviously possessed the necessary skills to run a blog. Bloggers tended to be more professional, had bigger numbers of followers, were more likely to monetise their blogs and make money from sponsored posts, advertising or selling products.
Their blogs were pretty phenomenal. Bloggers seem to treat their blogs as a virtual workplace. They’re organised. They utilise multiple social media platforms. They schedule posts. They know cool stuff about blogs and how they work.
Then there were the writers. All the writers I met had blogs obviously, because this was a blogging conference. But the writers also did other writerly things, in addition to their blogs: they wrote children’s stories, or eBooks, or feature articles, or poems. They published on multiple platforms, including good old fashioned print. Their blogs were merely one of many mediums to get their words out to the wider world.
Writers seemed eager to make sure they said they were writers.
I am a writer. It’s on my business card, so I must be. In fact, in every single bio that I have ever sent out attached to a blog post, review, article or story pitch, I always write ‘Shannon Meyerkort is a writer…’. Sometimes I am also a blogger and sometimes an author, but I always say I am a writer.
Until I heard others do it too, I hadn’t really realised I was doing it.
Are the two mutually exclusive? Or are bloggers a subset of writers? Are writers (me included) claiming to be better than bloggers because we seek to share our words on more platforms, or does that just make us greedy and unfocussed? Are bloggers suggesting that by not being a writer they are more resolute and professional?
I’m not suggesting that bloggers don’t have superb writing skills, nor am I suggesting that writers lack professionalism, but there must be a line in the sand that writers and bloggers draw, and then choose a side. Go and visit your favourite blogs now: look at the ‘about me’ page and the tagline: are they calling themselves a writer or a blogger?
What side are you on? And why?
*But that’s okay, because I’m a writer, not a blogger, right?