Sticking my neck out – What is the proper balance?

by Jen Lee Reeves on February 24, 2012 · 3 comments

in 2012, special needs

I love blogging. I love being able to write stories of my world and learn from others. I also think it’s challenging to be in the blog world with a positive focus and a desire to spread the word about advocacy and support… It’s tricky to balance it all by making sure I don’t come across as spammy.

You know, spammy? It’s when someone constantly assaults you with links and please to get you to click on stuff non-stop. If someone shares requests and links enough times, you start to get annoyed. Sometimes that spammer gets banned from spaces. Other times people call you out for the spam.

There is a challenge in this online sharing world. Since so many people talk on blogs and social media, what is the proper balance? I’ve struggled with this for years. I have been uneasy to seek advertising for this site because it doesn’t seem right to profit on my daughter or the challenges of others. At the same time, more funding would help me spend more time reaching out to special needs┬ácommunities, attend more conferences and upgrade my site so I could be even more able to connect and share with others.

I don’t have all of the answers. I wish I even had a few of the answers when it comes to a successful site. But spamming doesn’t feel right in the special needs world or really any genre of blogging. Real, organic growth makes more sense. But that’s not really how the world works, right? Those who get their links out more often are the ones who get more attention. Those who leave more comments and talk inside more communities get noticed.

As someone who loves Born Just Right and its community deeply, I wish I had more time to spread the word. But I work full time (and probably more than full time). I spend a lot of time with my kids and husband (and sometimes the dogs too).

So how do we manage this fine line? And how did we get to this challenging balance between spam and appropriate promoting? I’ve been watching a couple of things this week that has me wondering what is right and what is wrong. First, last month, there was an outpouring of rage/agreement when a few bloggers who are a part of the down syndrome world spoke out about how another blogger had pushed his site into the national spotlight. The concern was how he had spent a good amount of time in the past year spamming websites and asking for support but when he was asked to collaborate, he ignored those requests. Some bloggers had also wrote how he spoke in the media how there were no good resources for the Down Syndrome community when there are many. ┬áThat combination has a bunch of folks in the blog world angry. Maybe the message here is if you like to promote your work far and wide, be kind to others and share their work too.

Another situation that has people a bit riled up is how a Forbes Magazine blogger summarized a New York Times article using a really great headline. The summarized blog post ended up getting a lot more attention than the actual New York Times article. Seriously. The page has had 1.1 million views. It’s raised a question between what is and isn’t journalism… and is aggregation/summarizing good or bad. I’ve found times when I’ve summarized other people’s work and included the links so you can click and read even more details. Link sharing is a way to pat someone on the cyber back and let them know you think their word is great. The New York Times reporter wasn’t upset… but others felt the Forbes reporter had stolen his thunder. I love aggregation and sharing and I think the blog world grows and shares better when it is done well. Maybe the general journalism world is starting to see the power bloggers have long known about… and it’s scary. I’m just not sure.

What I do know is I haven’t figured the true equation for effective blogging as a busy full time working parent. I do know I love to share and support others when I can. I also know I appreciate the love and support my family is getting while my mother-in-law struggles in the hospital. I’m also honored to have my Facebook page nominated for this award. So for one moment, I will be spammy and ask you to consider voting each day until March 21st!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine February 24, 2012 at 8:19 am

Some good questions. I love blogging too, however I do not consider myself an “advocate” per se. I have mentioned limb difference on my blog a handful of times, because honestly, my son’s difference is our “normal” and i feel that not calling excessive attention to it is best for our family and his self-esteem. That said, i do like to read limb difference blogs and promote them via direct links on social networks when a story resonates with me. The power of those networks and sharing is so huge – it’s a chance to show the manners we were hopefully raised with and cite sources. I agree, I think people are starting to understand how big this power is, but not quite how to harness it.

Lisa Morguess February 24, 2012 at 10:39 am

This is a timely post for me. Some fellow bloggers and I in the Down syndrome community have been discussing this very issue – how to get our blogs noticed, how to spark meaningful discussions on them, without spamming everybody and their brother and pimping ourselves out like certain bloggers do. It is a difficult line to walk, at least for me. I don’t feel comfortable saying “Hey, look at me, look what I’ve written!” and yet, it seems that at least some measure of self promotion is what it takes.

Jen Lee Reeves February 24, 2012 at 11:29 am

It’s so dang tricky. When I figure it all out, I’ll let you know!

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