You may or may not have read the recent article in Cosmopolitan magazine, written by Sarah Ashcroft, in which she speaks about her blogging beginnings and how she’s made it. She also comments that there’s no room for other bloggers, and that it’s ridiculous how many people have a blog now. You might not have read the follow up piece, in which a Cosmo writer defends the piece and scolds the blogging world. I’ve wanted to write this open letter for a while, to calmly put the point of the real blogging community across.
First off the bat, I’ve loved your magazine since Cosmo Girl was a thing. I’ve always thought it was the magazine for the working woman. It opened my eyes to the importance of feminism at the earliest point of the debate and encouraged me to make decisions I never thought I could make. It uplifted me in times of doubt and gave advice I didn’t know I needed. But that was years before I decided to start blogging, and now, several years later, I’m disappointed in you.
You article by Sarah Ashcroft was a good idea, great even, but you clearly don’t know what a blogger is or what the blogging community is. The backlash came from the idea that there is no room for other bloggers, which Ashcroft did state before the article was tactfully changed to say it’s fine, but the community is over saturated. It’s still not okay. Whilst the majority of bloggers will argue that blogging isn’t about making money or getting free stuff, but having fun and expressing yourself, there is a crowd of people out there that would dream the dream of blogging for money. If Beyonce came out and insisted that no one else should try and be a singer because the industry was over-saturated, other singers would come out and openly oppose such a view. And that’s what the blogging industry did. But not understanding that, and unwilling to admit to a community you barely support that you were wrong, you defended yourself by knocking us back and claiming we were the ones who were wrong.
The follow up piece, written by Dusty Baxter-Wright, claimed the backlash against Sarah Ashcroft was “hypocritical”. It wasn’t. Dusty scolded the blogging community in defense of something she doesn’t understand (admitting in the first paragraph she isn’t a blogger and doesn’t understand the process). In particular, she defended the idea that the blogging community is over-saturated. The blogging community is vast, and not everyone is positive. But no blogger gets a start without the community. It’s a group of self made people, following and boosting each other up, reading each other’s posts, giving each other advice and eventually forming friendships. The idea that we are all in competition with each other is laughable. When I post about a particular product, I’m not trying to outdo anyone who’s posted about it before me or will post about it afterwards. I’m putting out my views on it. No two blogs are the same. Sure, we’d all like to “make it”, give up our day jobs and spend the rest of our lives happily blogging like Zoella. But the ones that stick it out long enough to become part of the community got into blogging for a multitude of reasons, and mostly, we just have fun with it. We did not turn on one of our own, because Ashcroft herself stated she had no blogging friends as she believed all others were competition. We did not oust one of our own; by her choice, Ashcroft is not one of us.
The final thing that really rattled bloggers is that Ashcroft claimed everyone was the same as her and wouldn’t get anywhere. You do need to be different to stand out in a large crowd. But Ashcroft wasn’t the first social media influencer, and she won’t be the last. Everyone follows a pattern, they just put their own spin on it. I notice that these are all the comments you cut out of the article before publishing your response to the backlash. Telling people not to copy her and that there is no room for others because she got there first is demoralizing – even Dusty admits in her response piece it had cause for offense.
So, perhaps next time you want to insult the blogging community, an influential community that has the internet at their disposal and knows exactly how to use it, you should do your research. Speak to real bloggers, not one with a large following that refuses to be involved in a community that then responds poorly to her. You claim the negativity towards Ashcroft was damaging to our community, but the most damaging thing is the attitude you, and other media outlets, have towards us. Think about this and maybe ponder why we, the blogging community, can be so negative in light of these stories. Is it the response of a jealous, bitchy community, or is it us showing you the exact same negative attitude you show us all the time?
On behalf of the blogging community: There is room for everyone in blogging. And you can quote me on that.