Communities, cliques and a new meme

You're Welcome!

I was chatting online recently with a friend, someone who I’d consider to be a really popular, successful parent blogger. But this woman doesn’t feel part of the blogging community. “Oh I’m not in with them,” she said. “They just don’t like new people.”

I was a little taken aback.

But then I thought about it. Surveys consistently show that the reason most people blog is to connect – to reach out to like-minded people and become part of a community. Those same surveys also show that something like 95 percent of blogs are abandoned within a few months.

Could it be that it's actually really hard to become part of an online community? And how can a community be more welcoming to new members? Because a growing, thriving community with lots of new voices is a good thing, in my book.

I don't know if there are any cliques, but I would say as an observer that there are bloggers I’ve un-followed on Twitter because I can’t see any point in following them. Their entire Twitter stream is a series of in-jokes directed at five or six of their best mates, and they never bother to respond or reach out to anyone else. That’s not a bad thing of course, and how you use Twitter is entirely up to you – but it’s boring as all heck to read if you're not part of that particular close-knit group.

I also sometimes think online communities in general can be quite insular with memes and awards. The same people tagging the same people, week in, week out. You can almost predict who some people will tag before even reading to the bottom of a post. Again, this isn’t a bad thing by definition. But I do suspect it’s quite intimidating to new bloggers. How do you break into that sort of close-knit circle? Not everyone feels comfortable barging into a conversation that seems to have its own in-jokes, tags and lingo, after all.

So, rather than just wittering on pointlessly, I’m starting a new meme of my own. This meme is called the “You're Welcome Meme”.  I'm tagging three bloggers I really respect as great community builders with this meme: the fabulous Sleep is for the Weak, the Mummy Whisperer  and TheMadHouse. Also, I'd love for the tag to go to Beki at Beki's Bloggy Bits, Heather at Notes from Lapland and Peggy at Perfectly Happy Mum. I can't wait to read all about your favourite new discoveries!

Here are the rules: 

  • Visit the new blogs I've introduced you to. If you like them, subscribe!
  • Recommend three new blogs you've discovered and loved (if you link back to me, I'll share all the new blog links in a subsequent post)
  • Tag three other bloggers and ask them for three new blog reads. 

Here are my three favourite three recently-discovered blogs:

Daisy Darling: written by a teacher, this blog combines family insights, creative projects for kids, vintage fabrics, craft projects and lovely photos. Oh, and there are cats. I'm very keen on Internet cats, until Flea and I find the perfect kitten to add to our family. Daisy Darling is in fact a haberdashery house, which makes gorgeous hats for children and adults.

I love blogs, and great content always means more than great writing. But every so often you find a blog that is written by someone who was BORN to write, and that’s the case with Dad blogger Brit out of Water. His posts about living in New York with his daughters is beautifully written, and just really smart. Also, his Jude Law airport story cracks me up. I, too, am a master of the airport immigration slalom, friend. 

Everyone should read Lavender House. It's painfully honest, inspiring and one of the few blogs I've discovered that I think uses words and pictures together in a seamless way – each one equally important to the story being told. And she's in Brighton, my favourite place in the UK. Everything's more fun by the beach.


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 21st January 2010 / 9:29 pm

    Really interesting post! I tend to agree with the tags etc when I read posts. I try to look out for new blogs as it’s always interesting to read new stuff.

  2. 21st January 2010 / 9:30 pm

    This is a great idea Sally – I love it.
    And you’re right, it’s easy to stick with those blogs you know which makes it feel harder perhaps for people to ‘break’ into the community. Although, in everyone’s defence, sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up with everyone’s. I wish there was!
    Thanks for the tag – have found some great new blogs lately through the workshop and Judith’s Room so lots to share x

  3. 21st January 2010 / 9:30 pm

    Well as a very new blogger I think this is a lovely and welcoming idea. Personally I’ve felt amazingly welcomed to this community (blogging and on Twitter) and have really found something I love doing. I think you do need to be aware of the fact that someone might actually be reading what you write though, so you do have use some self censorship. I’ll definately be checking out these blogs you mention. I have become addicted to reading and writing blogs!

  4. 21st January 2010 / 9:36 pm

    As someone fairly new on the scene I’d suggest it can feel a little intimidating to newbies. It can be difficult to feel part of it and to build subscribers. Your meme is a lovely idea – inclusive and welcoming.

  5. 21st January 2010 / 9:46 pm

    Great post, as a new blogger myself I can completely connect with feeling out of my depth and intimidated.
    The tech side of things can drive me nuts and often I end up feeling like my blog is not good enough in comparision to other blogs.
    Sometime it can feel like there is a twitter/bloggy party and I’m waiting outside!!
    Some people really over stress the blog thing, stats/metrics/followers/comments etc.
    I have to remind myself why I started in the first place, to keep my memories of my babies and for fun!

  6. Liz (LivingwithKids)
    21st January 2010 / 9:46 pm

    Excellent post Sally – here’s to a more inclusive blogging community…

  7. 21st January 2010 / 10:16 pm

    Interesting post. I am not sure there are cliques as such – just people who get to know one another… I have been blogging for, aaagh, four or five years I think and so inevitably one gets to know certain people through their blogs and (sometimes, wonderfully) in real life too.
    Personally I use Twitter for two reasons – firstly to chat with friends and secondly to follow people I respect in the writing industry (ie for professional networking).
    As you say, it’s easy to unfollow people if you don’t like their chat…but I don’t think one can prescribe what people do and don’t say…
    New blood is always fabulous and I think enthusiastic fun bloggers will find a warm welcome. New people follow my blog all the time and it’s great to get to know them. But it does take time to build up a network, respect and friendships. Twitter is interesting and, while I always advocate people join it (as it’s a fabulous way to drive traffic to your blog, quite apart from anything else) it does take time to build a following. I think it’s like any situation – watch and learn, dip your toe in gently and I think most people will respond generously.

  8. 21st January 2010 / 10:35 pm

    I think you are always going to have groups of friends that are quite insular. Whether that be online or off. I personally feel a little more comfortable in situations like that (as long as I’m in the group obviously). I like to know the people I’m interacting with and my friendships have been built up over a number of years rather than over three comments on my blog. Some of them have developed into real life friendships – and you are obviously going to interact more with those people.
    The trick is to keep it non-bitchy though, and to be warm and polite to everyone.
    There are too many blogs out there to read them all. And not everyone’s blog is interesting to you as an individual. It doesn’t mean it’s bad, just not for you.
    Also some people are just a bit too pushy. It takes me a long time to get to know something. i like to circle round them and sniff out what they are like before engaging full on with the banter. Especially since some of my comments have the potential to be taken the wrong way.

  9. Sally
    21st January 2010 / 10:39 pm

    Thanks everyone for commenting. It’s good to know that my friend isn’t the only person to perhaps feel a little left out in a fast-growing community!
    Jane and Jo, that’s great advice, thanks. If I can respond to you both together – I’ve been blogging since 2004. I’ve built up a pretty solid online network, which gave me a head start when I launched this blog. It’s also given me a lot of confidence so I’m happy to barge into any conversation if the urge takes me.
    I think an important point to understand is that one person’s close group of friends is another person’s clique. It’s not about what you do or don’t do as a more established blogger – it’s about someone else’s perception of what might be going on. This definitely, definitely isn’t a post saying “You shouldn’t have special online friends” or “Don’t have Twitter in-jokes”.
    It most definitely *is* saying that, still, it’s kinda intimidating for a new blogger today to break into what is a fairly self-referential, contained community – and I’d certainly argue it’s way harder in 2010 than it was in 2004. Yes, I get the whole “comment, read, engage” philosophy, but sometimes just getting up the nerve to comment or respond to a Tweet might be a big deal for someone.
    I just thought, given the conversations I’ve had with new bloggers lately that this would be a nice way of proactively reaching out to new members of the community and saying Hi.

  10. Sally
    21st January 2010 / 10:49 pm

    @Dan – have you been sniffing me? Tsk.
    You’re right though, nobody expects anybody to read everything (except me, I seem to have signed up for having to read EVERYTHING) but it’s always nice to take a few minutes for a newbie. Maybe I’ve just got a case of the warm and fuzzies this week. I’m in love.

  11. 21st January 2010 / 11:04 pm

    Sally: Yes, I agree – however…
    (what, me, argue with you? How out of character)
    I have pretty high standards for the blogs I read. I need to like the writer as a person, find them interesting, and generally i need to find them amusing and not too far up their own arse.
    I do tend to have a trawl round the new blogs every now and again, and now and again I pick up another blog to add to the reader. But life is too short to read blogs you don’t feel like you engage with. And I feel it’s rather patronizing too. Either that or it’s cynical (if I throw them an odd comment then they will keep reading me).
    I’m certainly not advocating cliques here. Especially not bitchy ones. But people shouldn’t feel guilty for having special friends.
    For example I regularly go and stay with SingleParentDad and he’s very “special”.

  12. 21st January 2010 / 11:15 pm

    Actually I don’t even know what point i’m trying to make here. I don’t feel defensive about anything I do – in fact i think I’m pretty warm and friendly to new people. And I don’t really have any strong opinions on this topic or ever noticed a problem. So why am i setting myself up in a contrary positions to you?
    You bring out my argumentative side i think.

  13. 21st January 2010 / 11:16 pm

    Insightful post and interesting subsequent comments. I am also fairly new on the blogging scene. It can be overwhelming at times but I find the further I dabble the more I get to grips with how to share my own stories, discover the fantastic content of others and network in general. For me it’s a gradual process. I blog because I love writing and hope others can relate/connect to my posts. I sometimes need to remind myself that there is a balance to be had between gaining traffic and worrying about how to get noticed amongst the masses when I’d rather focus on actually writing. Memes like this help create that balance – thank you.

  14. Sally
    21st January 2010 / 11:34 pm

    @Dan – I think we’re actually in violent agreement, you just like arguing with me. That’s okay, I like you for it. That’s “like you” in a Northern, friendly punch on the shoulder way, not “like you” in a “I’m lookng through your window with heat-detecting binoculars right now” way.
    No issues with having friendships, no issues with not reading all the blogs. Just perhaps raising the issue that it’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice. As I’m sure all our Mums used to tell us, back in the day.
    @Tanya – It’s great that you’re finding your feet and focusing on writing over traffic. Sounds the sane way to do it to me! Also glad you approve of the meme – perhaps it’ll make its way around to you at some point!
    @Natalie – It’s interesting you don’t comment on blogs that feel like they’re reserved for mates. I do the same actually – there are blogs I think, “Oh, I don’t think they’re that fussed if I comment or not”. Which is odd because generally I’m pleased anytime anyone comments on my blog. Perhaps I’m just too needy, though 😉

  15. Sally
    22nd January 2010 / 9:30 am

    I’m just not sure what your argument *is* exactly.
    Nobody here has said anything about “them” or “us” and I wouldn’t be sure which colour vest I was putting on if it came down to it. Am I a them or an us? It’s certainly not the way I see anything.
    Judging from the comments on this post, it’s clear that some new bloggers feel intimidated by or excluded from the community. You can’t argue with how someone feels.
    Taking that as read, yes, we could say, “Oh, well that’s because it takes time, you have to earn respect, read, comment…” yada yada. Yes, that’s all true and I don’t disagree with you, or Dan, or Jane in that respect.
    But, maybe we could also say, “Sure, it’s up to you to build a role in the community, but perhaps we can make it a little easier and a little more welcoming by actively promoting and celebrating some of our new community members.”
    What’s controversial about that?
    Like I said, maybe I’ve just got a case of the warm and fuzzies.

  16. 22nd January 2010 / 10:00 am

    Just to point out … British Mummy Bloggers does highlight new bloggers! (and has done for a while). In the left hand side bar I highlight 10 new member blogs. There are some good ones there now — take a look.
    As far as cliques, etc. I think everyone should chill out. No one gets along or likes everyone or has the same interests. Use a community to find your “tribe” and then develop those relationships.

  17. 22nd January 2010 / 10:03 am

    Blogging is what each individual wants it to be. There are tons of groups, are you saying these are cliques? Is BMB a clique? of course not, it’s a group formed by likeminded people.
    Twitter and blogging is great fun, I thoroughly enjoy it, sometimes I use it to make a point (like now) sometimes it’s to tease a friend, like Jo Beaufoix does with Rosie Scribble and you what, she really makes me laugh.
    New people and old people are lovely to see and converse with, it’s very friendly.

  18. Peggy
    22nd January 2010 / 10:07 am

    Sally, that’s a brilliant idea! I love the tag idea and I will very happily do it when it comes to me and if it doesn’t then I will steal it 🙂
    I always try to chat with new bloggers and make them feel welcome and I also try to do a mix tagging as a rule: a couple of the “old regular” and the rest new bloggers I have discovered.
    I agree that at times you feel out of the circle and it is sometime difficult to “gate crash” but I found that if you make the effort to put yourself out there the response is always very nice.
    It is also hard with so many bloggers now to get to know lots of new bloggers and it is time consuming that’s why I love it when bloggers point you in the direction of the blog they liked.
    That’s a great discussion, thank you ! And I hope you are still following me on twitter! 🙂

  19. 22nd January 2010 / 10:07 am

    Can I be a bit philosophical here and say that the blogging world is a microcosm of real life?
    What I mean by this is that there are some people who naturally form cliques, e.g. at school, at playgroup, in the office, in Big Brother. It’s just how things are.
    I found most bloggers welcoming and supportive when I was starting out. I love the blogging community and I love finding new blogs to read so I’ll be following this meme with interest. I hope new bloggers find me helpful and approachable. I’d hate for anyone to feel unable to comment on my blog because they thought I wouldn’t be interested in their opinion, or I already had my own group of friends.
    Some people are happy with to stick with the established blogs they already read and that’s fine too, but it can be intimidating if you haven’t realised this and try to engage with them. No one likes rejection or to feel excluded.
    When I joined BMB in June last year there were 300 members, now there are over 900. I bet there are some brilliant blogs to discover there, the problem is finding room in my over-stuffed Google Reader!

  20. 22nd January 2010 / 10:20 am

    i agree, it is hard as a new blogger, especially one unsure about whether there is an etiquette or not, whether one is ‘allowed’ to comment or tweet back, whether it would be welcomed or not or thought as rude or butting it. I think some people do struggl with it and it can take time to get the courage to do it. as a general rule if i see a new commenter on my blog i click through to see who they are and leave a comment on one of theirs, if it’s a blog i like the look of I subscribe.
    I love this idea of reaching out and pointing people to new blogs, i think i might sneakily join in and do one on my blog too. lets embrace a growing community and make new friends.

  21. 22nd January 2010 / 10:21 am

    interesting discussion; i think a community can feel like a clique depending on your perspective.
    Community building is part of the value to me of the online world, and i accept there are some communities i probably have no interest in. But if i felt i wanted to be part of a community, but for some reason didn’t feel confident enough to go in, or felt a tadge of wounded pride when i tried, i might then describe those communities as ‘cliques’.
    i do traipse around blogs in all areas, because i am a disloyal blog tart. I stay, lurk, return and comment if the discussions are relevant to more than a single interest group and touch on something in my world (and i feel that’s quite wide, smug git that i am).
    I’ll also come back if the writing is quality. Good writing is like a kiss, and i don’t care where it comes from. (…and i did say i was a disloyal blog tart.)

  22. 22nd January 2010 / 10:28 am

    Good post and I agree with lots of the points made by you and the other commenters. I’m not new to Twitter but since joining JR have started following lots of new people and have really enjoyed feeling part of something – albeit on the periphery. It’s given me the confidence to change and experiment with my blog and even though I have no subscribers and only a handful of comments I try to take that as less a personal slight and more a challenge to write in an engaging way and find the right ‘audience’ for my mutterings.
    I think it’s easy to feel paranoid and left out, and of course there are groups who seem to converse exclusively with one another but I agree with Sandy’s comments – we all do this naturally and not in any way maliciously – we just all have an innate need to belong. It would be arrogant to expect to immediately become an integral member of a community that is already well established so us newbies have two options:
    1) Invest the time and effort in getting to know everyone and gaining their confidence and trust
    2) Start your own community and build your own group of friends
    For me it’s a case of dipping in and out of different blogs, finding themes that resonate and commenting as and when I have the confidence and feel moved to do so. No agenda – just because!

  23. Sally
    22nd January 2010 / 10:32 am

    some great comments, everyone, thanks.
    @Susanna – great comment, yes, BMB does a FAB job of promoting new blogs. Chill out? Chill out?? That sort of calm, rational thinking has no place in the blogosphere, young lady. Tsk.
    @Peggy – I’ll update the post to tag you!
    @Sandy – wise words, indeed. Yes, I think clusters within a network are inevitable, just as you form friendship groups IRL. Nothing wrong with it!
    @Heather – I’ll tag you, too!
    @Grit – blog tart. Love it. I’m TOTALLY going to use that in conversation today. I’m exactly the same, flitting between various blogging communities, and commenting on them all!
    I also like Grit’s point that a clique isn’t necessarily something that IS – it’s something someone FEELS. So I’m not attributing any blame or criticising anyone’s conduct with this post – just trying to help address that feeling that some bloggers very definitely DO have.

  24. Stefanie Hopkins
    22nd January 2010 / 11:15 am

    As a non-blogger but a follower of many mummy bloggers on Twitter, I do get the impression that the world of mummy blogging is very cliquey. There seem to be different circles of bloggers who, like you say, seem to only tag the same group of people and don’t seem interested in widening their community – not that there’s anything wrong with that but why bother having a public blog if that’s the case.
    Sometimes I feel that I need a blog myself to be noticed or included – it’s almost like if you’re not a blogger you’re not worth talking to, which is a shame as it just alienates non-blogging readers. Having said that I have met some fabulous mummy bloggers on Twitter who have been happy to engage in conversation with me or get to know me and I look forward to meeting many more new people. Perhaps if people embrace your idea I will also find out about many other new blogs that are worth reading.

  25. angelsandurchinsblog
    22nd January 2010 / 11:28 am

    That is a great idea. I agree about the community thing. Like any group, it’s very easy to feel a newbie and think that everyone else is meeting up for coffees, virtual or otherwise, while not really knowing who you are. Or worse, knowing who you are and not caring! So for the record, I’ve loved becoming a blogger, and a rare day goes past without me laughing, raising an eyebrow or learning something from a new blog ‘friend’. Now to narrow down the choice to just three blogs…

  26. Liz (LivingwithKids)
    22nd January 2010 / 11:28 am

    Just wanted to come back and say like Grit, I’m a bit of a blog tart. I tend to stroll through the posts on BMB and go on to read the ones that take my fancy. There are certain bloggers I know will always deliver and I visit them regularly. The others I will visit as and when they post something on twitter to say they’ve written a new post. I don’t really look at my google reader (sorry!) so that’s how I roll.
    I choose blog posts that are funny, dramatic, inspirational, interesting, informative, rude (they know who they are) or move me in some way. I don’t care about grammar or spelling on blog posts overy much… which is weird for someone who has spent most of their career editing other people’s copy… it just has to be interesting.
    Although I’m an established journalist and had been blogging for a year, when I started ‘mummy blogging’ last April I actually had no idea BMB even existed. From the moment I joined I found the community incredibly welcoming and I would say I’ve made quite a few friends out of it so far… I hope to make more!
    However… there are some bloggers who I have never been able to connect with, even though I have tried. That’s their prerogative, as Bobby Brown (or Britney) would say. And being totally honest, if I know a blogger never even does me the courtesy of looking at anything I’ve written, well I’m afraid I stop reading their blogs. That’s not a tit for tat thing, it’s just that I feel blogging is about engaging with other people, and if someone doesn’t want to engage with your blog there ain’t a lot to be gained from doing the same.
    I dislike cliques of any sort intensely and have no truck with them… in fact I tend to switch off/back away (as reminds me too much of school and that’s not something I want to relive).
    S’all I gotta say ’bout that.

  27. Sally
    22nd January 2010 / 11:29 am

    Hi Stefanie
    Thanks for commenting – I follow you on Twitter, as a fellow Northerner.
    You make a great point that having such a close community isn’t just scary for new bloggers but perhaps also puts off non-bloggers from commenting – which is something I am positive bloggers would absolutely not want to happen, we’re generally very keen to have MORE comments from people who don’t blog.
    Really interesting. And glad you felt able to comment here!

  28. 22nd January 2010 / 12:47 pm

    Sometimes it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that “everybody else is already friends” in the blogging world. I know I feel this way, when I read some blogs and they have a tight-knit community. But that’s not to say those people are in any way exclusive or excluding. In fact, whenever I’ve jumped into a conversation people are really welcoming.
    Sometimes I discover a group of bloggers who seem close-knit but they’re not really – it’s just my impression. But sometimes joining in and meeting folks can be daunting!
    Great idea for giving a shout-out to new bloggers!

  29. 22nd January 2010 / 1:34 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you for tagging me. I too am a blog Tart, I don’t fit into any box really and I love reading all sorts of blogs and comment when I can.
    I think this is an excellent way to embrase new blogs and also to introduce blogs that you adore to new people.
    Now on Cliques, I have never been part of the “in” crowd, not at school, college or when I worked and you know what, nor would I want to be. I do not look to others for approval (well apart from the tots100!!). after going through what I went through last year, I have a lot more perspective and as long as I am happy, my family are happy then sod the rest!
    I would hope that anyone felt able to comment on my blog, I love comments and welcome them with open arms.
    So come on over and have a read and please, please, please get crafting with your children in 2010. Forget all the glitter phobia and stop projecting your perfection on them. I will be doing a valentines special over the next couple of weeks!!!t

  30. 22nd January 2010 / 1:54 pm

    Whoa! I read this post yesterday and thought it was a great post/idea. I must be totally out of the loop to not even see that people would be getting all crazy about it. LOL

  31. Sally
    22nd January 2010 / 2:05 pm

    @Jen – thanks!
    @MadHouse – we need a new badge for blog tarts. I see a job for Violet Posy…
    @Lindy – you and me both, friend, you and me both!
    @Brit – as ever, great comment. Yes, I think what’s perhaps upset certain people is my writing someone saw friendship groups as “cliques” – it’s an emotive word, I think, and certainly one that promotes strong reactions. Might add it to my *use with caution* pile from now on 😉

  32. 22nd January 2010 / 2:46 pm

    Great post and very thought provoking.
    I’ve been blogging for over a year but at times still feel slightly intimidated, almost like the girl at school who never quite fitted in.
    I’m feeling a bit the same way on twitter, as a newbie there i’m finding it quite hard to keep up and obviously friendships have already been formed, it doesn’t feel right to butt in even though I want to 😉
    Love your idea for a meme and hope that it gets to me at some point.
    Beki x

  33. Carly
    22nd January 2010 / 2:47 pm

    Fab post. I do agree it can all be a bit intimidating for some people.
    I do think that the online community is, just like Sandy said, very similar to real life. People will form cliques and therefore be more inclined to comment on each others etc. And there is no getting away from that, it is human nature. I know i have people I feel more comfortable communicating with than others etc. But as for the meme haha that is very true, I guess correctly half the time who has tagged who.
    I do sometimes feel like I simply haven’t got enough time to be on twitter everyday and communicate as much as some do and therefore don’t get as involved because of this. I log on and there is such a massive flow of mummy blogger tweets (every minute of every hour of every day) that I don’t stand a chance of catching up on what has been going on!
    Either way it is a great thing and I am enjoying it lots 🙂 Look forward to discovering some new blogs too
    Great post

  34. 22nd January 2010 / 3:29 pm

    Well I’ve been blogging for 6 months now and at the beginning when noone followed me and I had no idea of any blogging rules I honestly just jumped in with both my size 7s!
    It can be intimidating if you make it but I think to blog in the first place you have to have some kind of mad spot – I was going to say je ne sais quoi!
    But now I have 40 followers (don’t know how!!)

  35. 22nd January 2010 / 3:33 pm

    This is a really interesting post, and something I’d been thinking about writing myself (but chickened out of!).
    I had been thinking that there seemed a lot of ‘cliques’ on Twitter – bloggers, mumpreneurs, friends etc. Cliques in themselves aren’t bad – they are just likeminded people gravitating toward each other and enjoying each other’s company. Cliques are only ‘bad’ if you feel on the outside and want to be included but don’t feel you can.
    I have always felt on the periphery of the BMB community because our blog is a bit too ‘businessy’ to be a mummy blog, but too ‘mumsy’ to be a business blog. However for the niche market we are aimed at, it seems OK, so I’m not too concerned.
    I suppose I am aware of a certain hierarchy within the the blogging community, based on time served and contribution – but that is fine, and as it should be.
    If you are blogging to connect and make friends then the community may seem a tough nut to crack, but if you are writing for a purpose, or just for the joy of it, that acceptance and recognition will come with time.
    The meme is a great idea though, and a fab way to discover some of the new talent that is out there 🙂

  36. 22nd January 2010 / 6:32 pm

    Thank you so much for your very kind words…they really are truly appreciated. I think I may well be blushing!

  37. 22nd January 2010 / 7:23 pm

    That’s the one thing that has put me off my blogging on occasions, the cliqueness of it.
    I also think that if other bloggers within a group find out there has been a bit of aggro between a you and a blogger they regularly “connect with” in this way , then the rest of this group then freeze you out, either via Twitter or via the blog you write.
    I like being tagged- and generally the next time I get tagged in something else I will pass it on to that person, along with others who have taken the time to comment or visit.
    We do have to remember though that its not always the case that people will leave comments- I personally read quite a few posts and you’d never know it.
    I also think its unfair that when someone posts a query on Twitter or forums in general, and you innocently give your answer to the query, it’s not very nice to have that person turn on you and be bloody rude about what you’ve written as a reply. Why ask in the first place? That’s the top way in my view of me not bothering to look at anything else you write ever again!
    I think we all have to remember (and I learnt this the hard way myself) that people we connect with online may not be all they seem, and may end up stabbing you in the back-just like in any situation.
    I have to say that Ed the Elder says that the problem lies with too many women in a group.Apparently he and some of his fellow males think that if more than two women are in a group, bitchiness and in fighting is inevitable.

  38. 22nd January 2010 / 7:57 pm

    I know I’m late to the party, but I wanted to add my two pennies anyway… I think that what has to be remembered is that every blogger has been a newbie once upon a time and so knows how it feels to be a small fish in a big pond. I remember leaving my first few comments and feeling like they probably hadn’t even been read, but I kept reading and commenting because I enjoyed it and bit by bit I started to build up a community and connect with certain bloggers more than others. I have to say though, the more established you become, the more comments you get and the harder it is to keep up without it becoming a full-time job. So far I have responded to every comment I’ve ever got (apart from the last couple of posts which I am playing catch up with) and I hope that replying to comments makes people feel included and welcomed (I know it does when people reply to the comments I make). However, I don’t always have time to go and read new blogs. As a word of advice for any newbie bloggers feeling a bit left out, I would always suggest reading blogs that maybe aren’t so ‘mainstream’ and established. Then they can create their own circle of blogging buddies and grow together. Probably lots more to say but I think I will stop there…Oh yes – one last thing – good meme – and I had a quick perusal of Lavender House (how could I not once you had mentioned Brighton?) and you’re right – it’s fab and all the photos are beautiful.

  39. 22nd January 2010 / 8:35 pm

    This is a great and quite timely (for me) subject as I was just bemoaning to myself that noone had #FF me today, how many people did I #FF – ah yeah that’ll be none!
    On the face of it it does seem that there is a core of about 20 or so bloggers who have all become firm friends, either in real life or just on line, they do seem to retweet each other posts, comment on each others blogs and tag each other a lot.
    However, this is completely normal and to be expected. I fully expect that each and every one of these bloggers has put in a lot of effort to forge these friendships by reading and commenting on peoples blogs, tweeting a lot etc.
    Whilst it is harder for newer bloggers to get in on the act so to speak it’s also hard for the originals to welcome in what must be a huge intake of new bloggers every month.
    To get in with everyone you need to work at it. This means regular interesting blog posts, reading and commenting on other peoples blogs and following other peoples blogs, especially if they are new because its a huge confidence boost to log into your blog and see you have a new follower.
    Likewise with twitter, it takes dedication, if you don’t have the time for it then fair enough but you can’t really complain if you aren’t getting included that much.
    You have to put yourselves out there and it will take a bit of time!
    Great idea for a meme though, somebody had better put my blog down….. grrr

  40. 22nd January 2010 / 9:59 pm

    A really interesting post, and the following conversation makes for a great debate! I am a blogging newbie and had no idea what I was doing, or how to find other blogs until I joined British Mummy Bloggers. I’ve discovered so many great blogs and have thrown myself into commenting on all posts that interest me. As a result I’ve started getting comments myself, which feels great.
    I think initially it did feel a bit intimidating but that’s because I was uch a novice and didn’t understand anything (all the abbreviations eg. ‘dh’ baffled me completely! It’s a bit like moving to another country where you don’t speak the language, but the more you make the effort to chat to people and connect, the more you get back and the more you learn.
    Thanks for giving me three fab new blogs to read (oh, and yours of course!)

  41. 22nd January 2010 / 10:41 pm

    Just to jump in with my tuppence worth. I’m a new blogger and have found everyone really nice. I do only get tagged or mentioned by the same (very) few bloggers but that’s fine. I’ve found that I do have more in common with them than other. Saying that I comment on so many people’s blogs and get a few comments on mine that I never feel left out at all.
    I know it helped enormously that I followed my real life friend Josie into the blogging world (bless her, I’ve been riding her coat tails for months). She introduced me to blogs she thought I’d like, I commented, they commented, we tweeted etc etc.
    I’ve never felt left out as such, but I do feel there is a hierarchy in the blogging world. Mainly due to the quality of the blogs, their popularity, their content and their publicity. This isn’t a bad thing, some are better than others and I think they automatically gravitate to each other because of their similarities. I may be the only one to think like this & I’m not naming any blogs/names but I have to say that those I class as at the ‘top’ have been nothing but lovely to me and I have enjoyed my 1st months in the blogging world.
    I do hope this makes some sense, it’s late & I’m shattered!

  42. 22nd January 2010 / 11:37 pm

    Wow… these comments are essays! Love all the chat… for me blogging is all about fun, having a giggle, maybe the odd tear at someone’s wonderful and heartfelt writing, and getting the warm and fuzzies. I have some really fun blogger friends. have even met one. And every time I post something, I get something back through the comments. Every time. I HATE it when I lose a follower! But hey, then I get another one.
    Also not fond of blogs that never respond to comments, except to the same old people. But if that happens, which it has, I just clear off and visit another blog where the welcome is warm and genuine.

  43. Sally
    23rd January 2010 / 1:11 am

    Just a big thanks everyone for the great advice to new bloggers on how they can get more involved with other blogs and make blog friends. Really helpful.
    I’m also so, so pleased that we’re able to have a reasonable debate where we might not all agree, but everyone can remain friends afterwards! It’s not the case on certain blogs I’ve visited and won’t be rushing back to!
    @VeryBored – Oops. I totally forgot to FF anyone today, either! I’m sure someone will put your blog down, I’ve added it to my Reader today, thanks for commenting, too.
    @YoungMummy – welcome, and thanks for reading! really hope you enjoy reading my recommendations, too, they’re GREAT!
    @Emma – yes, that’s an interesting point. Perhaps the people who tag you are just a better fit for your blog? Hmm.
    @Ladybird – Thanks for stopping by. We’re all about the warm and fuzzies here, you know. Well, that and pirates. And we’re pleased to have you join us.

  44. 23rd January 2010 / 1:27 am

    I came back to look at the comments as they have grown exponentially, and thought that I’d add my twopenneth as somebody who has never been part of – or sought to be part of – a blogging clique.
    All I can say is that I started blogging as a way to keep in touch with friends and family when I moved from London to New York. The fact that anyone beyond my immediate circle reads it at all is a bonus to me. I write because I love writing, and I would write if I had one person reading or if I had nobody reading. It’s so easy to get caught up in our stats (that I know we all read). But the fact is that I could have 700 people come to my site one day, and 20 the next, and yet the 20 people might read in depth and truly appreciate and interact with the content. The 700 might just have been looking for a (non-existent) picture of Jude Law. The fact is that given none of us are making substantial (or indeed, in my case, any) money from our blogs, we should concentrate on writing what we want to write. The day we lose the love of that is the day that we should disappear off into the internet sunset, and let the credits roll as we fade over the horizon.

  45. Sally
    23rd January 2010 / 1:44 am

    Great comment, and thanks for coming back!
    Bad news on the Jude Law picture, though. Perhaps that’s something to think about next time…
    More seriously though, I think you submitted your blog for the Tots100 a few months back and I checked you out and was really just blown away by your writing – I think it’s just such a great, great blog, and I wanted to tell people about this great new blog I’d found. That’s what this post is about. There are so many blogs I see that are samey, and when you find someone who really writes in a way you can connect with, it’s such a joy – that’s why I blog, I guess – and why I read far, far too many blogs every day.
    Having said that, I have a shortcut on my Firefox toolbar to my blog stats. What can Ic say? I am a shallow, shallow person.

  46. 23rd January 2010 / 2:17 pm

    I love this idea for a meme, hope that lots of people pick up and run with it, although I am not sure that my google reader will take the strain!

  47. 23rd January 2010 / 8:11 pm

    Really interesting. Thanks for making me have a good hard think. I have been blogging since last March but my site was only readable by about 10 ten people that I gave the URL to. Only in the last week or 2 have I opened my site up and joined BMB. Then since then I have been obsessed with why I have less followers than every other newbie blog! I do not want to make money or a career from blogging, I think I just want to ‘fit in’ and ‘be liked’. How sad is that? Especially as I have loads of RL and on-line friends already and tbh do not have enough time for them all. I think it is like everything with me – i want it all! I will continue pondering and this may well end up as stand alone post after much debating with myself. Thanks Mich x

  48. 25th January 2010 / 7:28 pm

    Not sure if anyone ever thinks of me as a mummy blogger, but I am a mummy and a blogger,so here’s my tuppenyworth.
    I love finding new blogs and I love comments but I know that my blog can be viewed 80 times a day and I don’t get 80 comments so maybe people do feel a bit awkward commenting.
    Please don’t, you’ll always be welcomed at your aunties xxx

  49. MrShev
    26th January 2010 / 12:52 pm

    How do I tag you then? Is it just a link?
    I am game to get involved in the scheme. So, I write a blog post saying I like these three blogs that I have found (linking back to you saying that was where I got the idea) and that’s it?
    Sorry to sound so gormless…

  50. 26th January 2010 / 11:14 pm

    To be honest I’ve been blogging a while but I still get it wrong re the etiquette. I love “meeting people” and hearing their stories and marvel that people take the time to read my posts and comment. Like a lot of real life scenarios you just have the bite the bullet and jump on in, sometimes it aint going to work well sometimes you’;ll stumble about and then you’ll meet great people and start ot connect. Forums alike BMB and Purplecoo are great for things like that and are wonderful supports. As for twitter well I don’t tweet as I can’t seem to get connected at present but actually I am not sure what to do if I did get a twitter account – I have an awful feeling me and twitter will be like me and my mobile – comrades of necessity 🙂