Stereotypes about bloggers have begun to formalize as blogging has taken its place in society. As usual, not all stereotypes are rooted in fact. It's time to address the following 11 myths before they are perpetuated any further.
- Bloggers live and work in their parents' basements. This one is used when people are offended by bloggers or feel the need to make fun of them in some way. Most bloggers have jobs that pay the rent or mortgage for their own home - the blog is a hobby. A minute number of bloggers do make enough to live off of, and they usually end up showing off pictures of their big homes on their blogs.
- The bloggers in the niche I'm interested in are so smart, I can't add anything of value to the conversation. Don't be intimidated by established niches. It's much easier to blog about what you're interested in. If you select a topic that's not interesting just to become the next big A-lister, you're dooming yourself to a life of boredom and self-hatred. Here's my advice: I once attended an improvisational acting seminar where the great Jill Bernard told us to copy other improvisers that inspire us. The reason is that nothing is truly original - and that the character would look different on us anyway. She's right and the same applies to blogging.
- Bloggers work in their pajamas. Some do. Some don't. Others mix it up.
- Bloggers write because they cannot do. The idea behind this myth is that bloggers aren't knowledgeable about their niche. Nonsense. Most bloggers write about niches or industries that they are passionate about and actively participate in.
- Bloggers are hecklers. In the documentary Heckler, bloggers are portrayed as harsh critics who spew a never-ending stream of vicious hatred. While certainly there are bad apples out there, many write about things they love, not topics they hate.
- All bloggers use Macs. There are millions of bloggers, and Apple still has a minority PC marketshare. Also, contrary to popular belief, Mac OS isn't intuitive for everyone.
- Bloggers will endorse anything for money. A Pew internet study in 2006 showed that only 7 percent of bloggers do it to make money.
- Bloggers influence the media. Actually, most blog to express themselves creatively. Only about 200 bloggers (out of millions) influence the media.
- Bloggers consider themselves online journalists. Most do not. Most are giving their opinion or, again, expressing themselves creatively.
- Bloggers are nerds with thick glasses. This stereotype was portrayed on SNL over the weekend. But most of the bloggers I've met have more of a preppy look going on. Almost yuppie-ish.
- It's easy to become a successful blogger. Not even close. Blogging requires good communication skills that can be transferred through writing, video, or photography. You also need perserverance for those days that are mind numbing. Even when you're getting paid, there are days when you don't know how you're going to write about your topic - yet again! It's much easier to get a gig writing for an established blog than it is to start one and keep with it until it pays. In the beginning, without pay, the temptation to bail on work that doesn't (yet) pay is great - and consumes most bloggers.
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