boux avenue

Meetups

Queens Avenue, Bristol

The reason why I created my bloggers map (over 700 people on there now!) was because I wanted to meet up with bloggers in my area and have a cup of tea, and I assumed that others did too. Since creating it, I’ve noticed a lot more meetups being organised, and that is awesome. Its great that other people agree that its actually quite nice to meetup with likeminded people and talk about stuff that perhaps your family and friends don’t really understand.

The thing that I am a little confused about though is the increasing amount of meetups where the organisers feel like they have to provide a goody bag, get some sponsorship, get a brand involved. It turns what could be quite a informal meetup into a giant event – which, while sometimes thats good, could intimidate some people from going.

So I’d like to propose an un-meetup. A small gathering after work one night in Bristol, where you wont get given anything. Well, besides a good gossip and perhaps some new blogs to read. Would anyone be up for that? (Seriously Laura, if you don’t say yes, I’ll cry ;))

If you’re not in Bristol, but you like the idea of knowing who is in your area, please drop me an email and I’ll let you know who your neighbours are! (And as ever, I would love it if you guys could promote the map again – the only way that it will get better is with more and more people signing up!)

Blogging Is Not A Competition

Todays post was originally going to be an entry into a competition by a company to win a ridiculous amount of shoes.

But obviously, its not. (I think I just heard Alex breathe a sigh of relief.)

Recently, there have been so many “competitions” and “awards” where the main objective for the company has seemed to be to get as many incoming links and mentions on Twitter, increasing their own visibility whilst masquerading as giving something to the blogging community. That may be a very cynical way of looking at things, but before this shoe company (I won’t put the name here, but I think most of you will know – and really, if you don’t, its irrelevant anyway) started their “ambassador scheme”, I doubt many people had even heard of them, and before their competition was announced, I hadn’t even been to the site. The competition is to write about a pair of shoes from their site – before I started this post, I was intending to enter and spent a few hours idly browsing their website and even contemplated a purchase. Job well done, shoe company.

Before Big Fashionista posted her post yesterday about the popularity contest side of things, the shoe company intended to narrow down the hundreds of entries down to 5, then “let the public decide”. My least favourite part of any competition. Y’see, companies have realized that instead of getting a small team together in house to pick a winner based on their actual entry for something, they can instead get the finalists themselves to hunt for votes, whoring themselves as much as possible. You may remember last year, I was one of the final four in a competition to write for a lingerie company website. I felt incredibly uncomfortable asking people to vote for me (I’ve blogged recently about how I dislike promoting myself) but I did as much as I felt comfortable with. I didn’t think I had the best entry, but I didn’t think that the eventual winner was the best out of the four. Does being able to ask for votes really qualify someone to write well?

Which kinda brings me on to blog awards. I’ve made comments on Twitter (of course, its where I get my bitchyness out!) but haven’t really had a chance to get things out properly. Cosmopolitan, Marie Clare, More, Company, Look, Glamour…the list of magazines starting to use bloggers as features is increasing. A number of these magazines have blog awards, and two of them are ongoing at the moment. While I am pleased for my friends who are nominated, it feels quite uncomfortable to me that the prizes in these awards is often the “chance” to write for the magazine. You win the chance to provide them with free content? It just doesn’t seem much of a prize for those of us that blogging and writing is a hobby rather than a career. However much I would love some recognition that non blogging friends would understand, the truth is in my industry, an award for blogging is about as useful as that 400m swimming badge I got when I was…um…15.

The worst part about these awards is when there is more than one person in the category that you like a lot. I ended up registering with a few different email addresses for the Cosmo awards recently so I could vote for each of the lovely ladies in the fashion blogger category – which seems rather pointless!

Blogging is not a competition. We shouldn’t be fighting (politely, of course, but still fighting) over something, but working together. Instead of being evasive over what you’ve said to a company or something, what is wrong with sharing the knowledge? (I’ve gone all evangelical, I do apologise – but I never know how to respond to emails about my blog and I would find it so useful to be able to get help from other people besides poor ol’ Sarah.)

I don’t know. I’ve spilled out my thoughts on this, but I don’t feel any better for it! Am I just burbling away crap to myself, or do you guys agree? Are awards and competitions actually beneficial to the blogger who wins in the end?

UK Blogger Map – FMM


You can buy this print from StacieSwift on Etsy

It’s been just a week since I announced (sounds a bit too grand really) my UK bloggers map. The response to it has been overwhelming in all senses of the word. I’m seriously pleased about the response to it, and have spotted so many people chatting to their new found neighbours on Twitter!

There’s a few things I’ve noticed or have been asked, so thought I’d collate them all together

Your blog address is the websites URL.
Its not the genre which you consider your blog to be. It’s not something to leave blank (which kinda defeats the point!) It is most definitely, not in a million years, not for the first line of your address – and its not just one person who did that. I only want to know your general area that you’re comfortable giving out.

You only need to submit once
After the map was featured on a super-popular bloggers site, I ended up with 300 new entries within just a few hours. Which is awesome, and completely blew me away. (By the way, I should mention here how impressed I am with my hosts 34SP.com* – I had a lot of people all hitting the blog at once, and not one complaint that the site was down. Seriously recommend them (and if you click this link*, you’ll also be earning me points towards paying for my hosting. Which would be nice.))
But because the map is manually updated by just me, and I can only update the map for a few hours in the evening, there were quite a few duplicate entries. You will appear, I promise!

You really do need to fill in that form
Tweets, emails and comments will be ignored – the form automatically populates a spreadsheet, and from there I update the map. Sounds fussy, but I want to make sure I get everyone on there, and with the right info!

Your information will not be sold
However, if a PR is organising an event in a city, and would like to know some local bloggers, I’ll happily provide a list from the spreadsheet. Its the same information on the map, its just in a neater format. If you are a PR wanting that sort of info – let me know!

Why isn’t there a map for food bloggers/photographers/people who own a Lady Gaga album?
Because theres not enough time in the day? I’d be quite happy to explain to someone who would like to make their own version for a different interest group how to have the same set up as I have – just email me!

My blog hasn’t appeared and I filled in the form ages ago
This map is for fashion and beauty blogs in the UK (and Ireland). So if your blog is about technology, or various news topics, or you’re based in Europe, then…well, its kinda obvious why you’re not on there. If I’ve gotten that wrong though, then email me.

I’m in the wrong place!
Mostly its down to Google. I’m pretty hopeless with some areas of the countrys geography, so I rely on Google Maps to tell me where somewhere is. If its totally, completely wrong, email me!

I’ve changed my details
Email me!

I don’t want to be on this anymore
Do I need to say it again? Email! EEEEEEEEEMAIL.

I think thats it for now. Have a question I’ve not covered here? Leave me a comment, or y’know, email me. Don’t think I’ve mentioned how emailing me is a good idea enough. Actually just email for a chat. I like emails.

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