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I am not a box.

April 22, 2009

A few weeks ago, while walking home, Erik asked me if I would become a mommyblogger when I had children. At first, I was a little confused.

“I guess so…” I said.

I mean, if I have children, I am a mom, and if I blog, I am a blogger. Thus, mommyblogger. But that wouldn’t be an entirely accurate description of me. I probably wouldn’t just blog about being a mom, I said. I would still talk about diabetes and all that other stuff I like to do.

It seems that in the blogosphere, you have to be just one thing. I’m not sure where that came from. I know in social media public relations, we talk about targeting all the time. You have to know your audience, they say. So you end up parsing people into groups: mommybloggers, tech bloggers, twentysomethings, pet bloggers, travel bloggers, design bloggers, etc. There is an entire website devoted to niches. From what I’ve read, professional bloggers often recommend sticking to one topic. I can understand their reasons: one topic means one audience that is passionate about what you’re talking about. I think that works for many people when they are talking about a particular topic. But I think if you’re talking about yourself, there is just no way you can stay within a single frame, when you’re just trying to tell people about yourself and what you’re going through, hopefully making connections with people who are going through similar things or have gone through similar things (many of my readers are older than twenty-three, but I still appreciate your input and advice).

In high school, I nearly had an identity crisis because all of the teen fashion magazines chopped up our personalities into 4 categories: Preppy, Glam, Sporty and Vintage/Indie/Bohemian (whichever was in vogue that issue). I thought, well, I’m not really any of those! Or, maybe I’m a mix! I like the shoes from Glam, the sweatpants from Sporty, the sweaters from Preppy and jewelry from Vintage/Indie/Bohemian.

I literally had a panic attack reading those magazines and not being able to pick one!

Now, as a 23-year-old, I still have a bit of trouble identifying a style, but I know what I like to wear and I know what looks good on me. I have an Allison style, which is a crazy combination of cheap T-shirts from Target, dark wash jeans from Macy’s, cute flats from DSW and jewelry from street vendors.

Truth is, I’ve never fit into one mold with my blog. Even back when I first started Lemonade Life on Blogger, I wrote about friends, school, traveling and work. Most of the posts related to diabetes, but not all of them. That’s how I roll.

I have been to two BlogHer conferences, and both times, one of the first questions you’re asked is, “What do you blog about?” I always felt a little uncomfortable saying I wrote about a blog about type 1 diabetes, because even though I wrote about it a lot, I didn’t want people to skip my blog because they didn’t care. I felt they would miss out on the other things that I wrote about, but because I couldn’t present it in a nice and neat one word package, I was stuck.

Now, I want to point out that I think those one-word bloggers are just fine. Moms who write about parenting, travel junkies who write about the best restaurants in Portugal, and techies who write about the next great cell phone are awesome. I have no problem with diabetes bloggers who only feel like writing about diabetes. We need those kinds of bloggers. They are important and valuable for a lot of people.

What I don’t like is the pressure bloggers are under to pick one thing to write about. I don’t understand why we always have to be so niched, so targeted, so one-dimensional. If you have one thing you want to write about and are good at it, that’s great. But I don’t think that is or should be for everyone, and we as readers and/or as marketers need to understand that. This is is, of course, just my opinion. I’m sure there are a lot of people who have opinions different than mine. This is what I think about my own personal situation.

That’s why I have changed my subhead. I am a twentysomething, but I am not a twentysomething blogger. I am a diabetic, but I am not a diabetes blogger. I am a traveler, but I am not a travel blogger. I live in (well, close to) New York City, but I’m not a NYC blogger. I am Allison, blogging.

This is an Allison blog and I am an Allison blogger.

14 Comments
  1. April 22, 2009 12:11 PM

    YES!!! It gets annoying to constantly have your blog be pigeonholed into one niche or another. A term came up at the last BlissDom Conference…memoirists. It more accurately reflects those of us who blog about a multitude of topics. But still……to many I’m just another mommyblogger.

    • April 24, 2009 2:26 PM

      Niche is the new four-letter word methinks. Er, five letter word?

  2. Jillian permalink
    April 22, 2009 12:34 PM

    Amen. This post sums up why I started a new blog with the most ridiculously obvious title to explain this exact feeling. Also, Diabetes can just get so boring after a while.

  3. April 22, 2009 12:39 PM

    Love it! Exactly how I feel right now!

  4. April 22, 2009 1:56 PM

    No, you only have to be “just one thing” as a blogger if you want a book deal out of it.

    You just keep rockin’ on with your bad self.

  5. April 22, 2009 3:38 PM

    This is awesome. It’s a life-blog!

  6. April 22, 2009 8:54 PM

    I was just telling my two friends who are going to their first BlogHer this year about that horrible question of “what do you blog about?” and the first thing you think is “I blog about stationery and marshmallow peeps and ask for advice on my hair. Oh my GOD WHY AM I HERE?”.

    The first year I said, “oh I just have a personal blog” and they nodded politely. And the second year I said, “I talk about diabetes and technology and my family” and felt weird about it. And now I just say “I have a personal blog” and I stand proud.

    Niche blogging if for suckers. 🙂

    • April 24, 2009 2:25 PM

      “I blog about stationery and marshmallow peeps and ask for advice on my hair. Oh my GOD WHY AM I HERE?”

      Dude. I know… That’s a perfect way to describe what goes on inside my head. Scary, huh?

  7. April 24, 2009 2:23 PM

    I’m going to my first BlogHer conference this summer, and I’m wondering what I’ll say I blog about.

    Life? NYC? The boy I’m dating? Interesting observations? My small, empty uterus? I dunno.

    It’s nice to hear so many others don’t fit so neatly in one category.

    • April 24, 2009 2:24 PM

      “My small, empty uterus?”

      LOL!! OMG, you have to say that to at least one person and then tell me what they said/did. That’s awesome!

  8. April 24, 2009 4:39 PM

    Agreed and ditto! It seems like a lot of bloggers are echoing this particular sentiment right now. My blog started out as a New Year’s resolution and at the time the thing in the forefront of my mind was my career. . . which is a pretty little-known field of medicine and I knew would gather almost no interest. But it was mine little piece of the internet and that’s what I wanted to write about, the things on my mind and I needed a place to vent and ruminate. I found the DOC in November and thought, “WOW! I have a lot to say about THIS too!” But I worried that all the diabetes bloggers wouldn’t care to read about my frustrations, career, family, husband or little rat of a dog.

    But oh well! I made the decision to leave all that stuff in there. If whoever reads my stuff is interested in ME, then they’ll stay tuned to here about other parts of my life too. If not, who cares? The blog is for me more than anyone else. But I do like the company. 🙂 We always talk about how we are more than just our diabetes and I LIKE hearing about everyone’s lives outside of diabetes. So some days I’ll vent about work, others I’ll get excited about an endo appointment . . I have no idea how I’d sum up my blog into one word or phrase other than it’s about me. My thoughts, life, frustrations, diabetes, weird habits, etc. I think “life-blog” fits it perfectly.

  9. April 25, 2009 5:04 PM

    …i totally agree! i like that you branch out and like your life, encompasses so much more than type 1!

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