Admiration and respect.

So, people. What do you think about the whole follow/unfollow debacle over at Tilly´s over the weekend? Every so often, someone have an opinion, and every so often another person have an opposing opinion. And of course, the bigger the blog, the bigger the fuss. And that´s fine. It´s natural, even. But this rises a question for me. Should a blogger, as their blog grows, automatically censor themselves more than before? Is this something that people can “demand” of them?

[Portrait of Mildred Bailey, Carnegie Hall(?), New York, N.Y., ca. Apr. 1947] (LOC)source

I have always been a quality before quantity kind of a gal. For heavens sake, I majored in jazz music, a musical style that´s been unattractive to the large-scale masses since the mid-forties.:-) My ambitions with this blog have never been to grow large. I love the small, but interesting community of friends that I have through this blog, as is how I choose to live my life offline as well. I can only imagine that if for some reason my blog should be hugely popular, I would hate it if I felt like I had to censor myself and my opinions. I mean, after all, these are personal blogs that we write! They should reflect the person behind them and what that person believes in, not try to accommodate the tastes of everyone. That would be impossible, or plain boring!

The bloggers I love to read have an interesting personality, they have strong opinions, they have a great sense of humor, and I love their style and touch. Some have gorgeous photos, some have insightful ideas on sustainability, some take the time and share with us their sewing expertise, some produce inspiring garments. But what seems to connect all is a passion for sewing in one way or another, and all, in their unique way, are intelligent, strong women whom I admire and respect.

I do not always agree with all the content on everyone´s blog, and I don´t always love everything everyone makes, but that is part of the charm! I don´t have to read something I´m not interested in. I don´t have to comment on things I don´t like.

As long as a blog is personal, and not representing a company, a political party or official authority, I believe that the author of that blog is entitled to write whatever is on their mind, no matter the size of the blog. Just as it is up to each individual what kind of music one wants to listen to,  to follow a blog is completely optional as is to unfollow it. Simple as that.

26 Responses to Admiration and respect.

  1. I think you’ve said this perfectly!
    Tilly’s post didn’t bother me at all, in fact there have been very few instances where a post has really gotten too me. And if that does happen, I just don’t comment.

  2. Great post. I’ve certainly found that in really large blogs some of the posts seem to be very cautious of offending anyone to the extent that their point of view gets lost.
    As its a global community I wonder if cultural differences in how people interpret whats written is the main cause of people taking offence.

    • I think you might be on to something here with the global community, Lizzie. I have a generally high tolerance for things like sarcasm for instance, but I understand that others might have a completely different take on things like that than I do, depending on where they are coming from, culturally. 🙂

  3. Solvi, yes, I hear you and agree to a point. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But when a blog is open to comments, there will be reactions to a post. I see a blog as a conversation, and sometimes things are said which incite a reaction. In that case, there is some back and forth talk until it is smoothed over or understood. I didn’t read all of the comments, but saw that there was some attempt by 2 people to talk about their thoughts and feelings. I will go see if the conversation continued.

    Great photo above-I am married to an amateur jazz musician and wish I understood some of the new stuff.

  4. I didn’t read the original post until after reading your response and think that your thoughts are balanced and the way I view things too.I don’t tend to look now very often at the “larger” blogs and much prefer the smaller more intimate ones.I like to read of peoples sewing endeavours and have been really encouraged by the nice comments that people have taken the time to leave regarding my paltry efforts.My daughter encouraged me to start a blog just as a record of all the things that I make regardless of whether or not anyone reads it and this is how I view it now.It might not be of interest to any one much as my writing style,use of grammar,poor photographic skills and subject matter might be dubious but if someone takes the time to comment I LOVE IT!!

  5. Completely agree! Tilly’s post didn’t bother me either, I’m constantly going through my blogroll and rooting out those that no longer post or inspire me, so I don’t see what the problem is. My blog will be what it will be, I don’t have a long term plan in place to build it up, if people like it that makes me happy but ultimately I blog for personal reasons with personal opinions.

  6. Beautifully said, Solvi! I had no idea that Tilly’s post had caused such (needless!) kerfuffle. After all, it’s her blog, her blog reader, and her time, so she can do as she pleases. Everyone has criteria the need to be met when they choose to read a blog, whether they admit to it or not.

    I think that once you start censoring yourself, you are blogging for others and not from yourself. You end up writing what you think others want to hear and not what is important or inspiring to you. 🙂

  7. Not sure what you are talking about –
    or where Tilly’s blog is.
    Can you provide a link, please?

  8. Love all your thoughtful comments, everyone!

    @chris: link to tilly´s original post is now added! 🙂

  9. I din’t really want to jump into this but, since you ask. . . .In general, I had no problem with her discussion of culling the blog roll. We all do it all the time, and I think it’s fine to ask for suggestions. But, I think some of the post was a bit thoughtless. I always tell my kids, that if you have to preface a statement with a phrase like, “this might sound harsh, but” and it has the potential to hurt feelings, then you should shut your mouth.

    If you don’t want to see peoples vacation snaps, don’t read them. But, it’s not really such a mature idea to broadcast your dislikes of others blogs in a public way, especially as they might very well be reading it and then see that she is no longer a follower.

    The thing is: there is a huge difference between being opinionated and not wanting to censor that and being thoughtless. Most of the post was opinion, but there were sentences mixed in there that seemed to lack good judgement. When we blog we are part of a circle of people self-publishing. We are all reading each others blogs, so I think it makes sense to remember that our readers are not some abstraction, it’s also the person whose pictures of their kids you just mocked.

    • As a mom who likes to (heaven forbid) sew for her child, the derisive comments about people who blog photos of their kids definitely rubbed me the wrong way. But personally, I love blogs that are full of life and personality. To each their own, I suppose. 🙂

    • Haha, Sigrid. Nice touch there! Not harsh to me, not at all! 🙂 I think you have a valid point. And I also know that I have seen the kind of criticism that Tilly got before on Norwegian blogs, where a blogger who have grown large constantly gets comments about how people wants her to write. And it is that kind of behavior I oppose against. I don´t mind that people have different views, and state them as well, I just don´t understand why larger personal blogs should be more careful than others. So my post isn´t as much about this specific post by Tilly than it is a general discussion about what we should and should not expect from our fellow bloggers as they grow more popular.

  10. I left a (somewhat critical) comment on Tilly’s post. Of course she’s entitled to her opinion. So are her readers. I don’t think popular bloggers should censor themselves, but I do think a popular blogger with lots of followers should be kind and respectful to her readers. And explaining why those 50-odd blogs, written by regular people, didn’t “make the cut” and “live up to expectations” just seemed unnecessarily harsh to me, especially since many of those bloggers are likely readers and followers of her blog. We don’t blog in a vacuum. We have an audience. So if you blog something that seems harsh or hurtful to your readers, you should expect to hear about it.

  11. I think my favorite part of the online sewing community is how nice and supportive everyone is. There is very much an attitude of “only say nice things, or move on to another page.” It’s not like many other parts of the internet where people only want to cause hurt/harm. A lot of those negative comments were overly dramatic, and she was speaking generally and not at any one person in particular!

  12. Tilly says: “I’m not interested in seeing people’s holiday snaps (sorry!) or read about what their little sprogs have been up to at school.”

    Personally, I agree with her. I just click right past the entries that don’t interest me. I have limited amounts of time that I can spend on the internet.

    Sometimes, I think bloggers use off-topic entries as fill. I follow a lot of blogs in Google Reader. Sometimes I see bloggers apologizing “Sorry, I haven’t posted for a few days.” I really don’t care if a blogger only posts once or twice a month. And, as far as sewing blogs go, I certainly don’t expect a blogger to sew an outfit a day and post about it.

  13. wow, i tend to read things in reader without clicking through to comments, had no idea such a kerfuffle had arisen until went back after seeing this post.
    a personal blog is a personal blog so no matter how popular it gets i would hope that the writer retains what it was that made them popular in the first place (what a circular self referencing sentence!)
    i’m not a big commenter because i’m often dipping in and out of reader to give myself a tiny brain break in work, or else reading on my phone which isn’t “smart” enough to let me comment, but also i tend to only comment on blogs where i feel i know the person a little, mostly through those flickr groups, like you or molly or sigrid above, because i think twice about how the comment could be read if its not someone that i’ve “talked” to before. kinda like whether you’d make a joke or throw a flippant comment into conversation with someone you don’t know. so in a way i censor my comments more than i censor what i blog

    rambling aside, i love the little group of blogs that i do follow and comment (irregularly) on 🙂

    • Louise, that is an excellent point, and I think I do the same as you. I might censor my comments more than my blog, especially if I comment on a blog where I don´t, as you say, know the author.

      • i think maybe thats a difference that disappears as the blog gets bigger/more popular – commenters may just shoot their mouth off withoutgiving as much thought to what they’re typing because they think less about the person more about the blog

  14. A great and thoughtful post Solvi. I went and read the original Tilly post after reading your blog. I don’t have a problem with what she wrote after all blogging is a very personal thing and she wasn’t really attacking anyone. Personally I am quite careful with what I put in comments as things can easily be misunderstood. I think maybe when you have such a big readership like Tilly that statistically you can offend someone without intending too. I quite like having a small blog, and I feel that the regular commentators to my blog whose blogs I, inturn, read make up a nice-sized group that I am happy to be a part of. Like you I like to read blogs with some humour in them and I also like to see items about sustainability, other peeks into peoples’ lives as well as sewing. But I am aware that is just my personal choice (I am a nosey person). I think we have all made decisions about which blogs to follow and which to stop reading, it is just not something I explicitly write about.
    PS: your major was Jazz? I think that is a new fascinating fact about you! x

  15. I felt bad for Tilly- I don’t think she thought that asking to see some new blogs would turn into this! Perhaps there is safety in being small- blogwise. If I get too much traffic I’m sure I’ve offended someone- ot they are just laughing at my butt!

  16. Well said, Sølvi! I do kind of understand Sigrid’s criticism that Tilly might have been a teensy bit more careful with her words, but she only expressed and opinion and her personal likes and that’s what a blog is for, isn’t it? 🙂 Personally, I’m as curious as Debbie and like having little personal tidbits interspersed with sewing…

  17. How interesting solvi. Like some of the others I had no idea Tilly had generated such drama! When I read it, it certainly made me pause to think. I’m with the others. We are all interested in different things in a blog, and choose to follow according to our own preferences, and i follow all sorts ( arguably too many to keep me productive! But there’s so much inspiration !!) I don’t have strict criteria, and if I did, I’d be very unlikely to share ( come on, I have a much smaller readership and wouldn’t expect anyone to be interested!) I enjoy the kinship through the little community of commenters I’m part of and love that aspect of blogging! Would hate to stir it up!

  18. Thanks, Solvi, for this thoughtful post. I’ll admit to being a little rebuffed a bit by the post but mostly by some of the comments. In fact, it’s usually the commenters that turn me off “big blogs” — either exhausting to root through so many comments or just a whole lotta negativity that will inevitably come with the mass. And sure, it stung a bit, but I’m with you: What I love in a blog is personality, that it’s a personal publishing platform. I’m terrible at commenting, but I love reading blogs. They’ve provided me so much inspiration and food for thought.

    And I also appreciate what you said about self-censorship and I’m approaching something similar. Since I’ve started my blog, I’ve changed, so does my blog change too? Or do I start a new one? Through my wardrobe I’ve become more passionate about sustainable practices, which means I want to make less (and thus, blog less), and am interested in applying these lessons to the rest of my non-sewing life.

    P.S. I started knitting, which means I’m also going to start stalking you on Ravelry. 🙂

  19. I suppose it comes down to why you blog and/or read blogs. Mine will never be “a sewing blog” or “a health blog” or “a knitting blog”. It is a “me blog” and I have an interest in all those things. I know that some people come to my blog only to catch up on my husband’s health, while others would probably prefer not to know – but that’s fine! My problem with T’s blog-post was her consumerist stance – it was all about what she would get out of a blog, as if it was a commodity she had paid for and wasn’t getting “value for money” if it didn’t tick all her boxes. I read the blogs of people who interest me, and I enjoy the insights into their lives that their holiday snaps or recipes provide. I might not read these posts with the same care as the ones about sewing, but I appreciate that it is that person’s chosen method of self-expression and that’s enough for me!

Leave a reply