If you asked me ten years ago what I thought about bloggers, nothing positive would have come out of my mouth. I just assumed it was equivalent to one of those Facebook people you meet who can’t stop taking pictures of what they eat. A blogger is the same type of person who can’t stop looking at themselves in the mirror, taking selfies, or talking about themselves. Consequently, my old self equated blogging with narcissism or self-importance.
Fast forward ten years, and I’m one of “those” people. Although I don’t take selfies and generally believe food should be eaten instead of captured digitally, the title “blogger” still gets an eye roll from me. It’s like fingers across a chalk board. My mind can’t escape the image of someone so full of themselves they have to proselytize to the world that fullness.
As you write, you start to discover the average blogger is just that, a writer. While great writers are associated with books, the blogger does it a bit smaller. What’s more, they can offer a variety of writing larger than your local library. While you do have the collection which can’t stop taking pictures of themselves and their salads, the offerings stretch much deeper than this.
This is what I never saw from my original position. The variety of material and knowledge you can gather from the community is startling — on just about any topic. The world around you is filled with more collective knowledge than you can ever comprehend, and a good deal of this can be shared in that cringe inducing b-word of blogging.
We All Can’t Be Artists But All Can Be Creators
According to the National Endowment of the Arts, 1.55% of the U.S. population were professional artists in 2017. Obviously, that’s a small segment but the amount of people who practice art as a hobby is staggering. The data site Statista reports the Association for Creative Industries (AFCI) found nearly 2/3 of the population had practiced a craft or artistic hobby in 2016 within that past year.
Statista also shows that these hobbyists may not be professional artists, but are making income off their art. The crowdsourced crafts site Etsy has a collection of 1.7 million active sellers and generated nearly $3 billion in revenue in 2016 as well. Now, this group may not be considered “professional” artists but they’re generating a lot of money on a side hustle.
Let’s get back to our cringe-worthy b-word of blogging. This is just another leg of the hobbyist-artist phenomenon. According to the Huffington Post in 2013, 80% of Americans wanted to write a book, however, only about 333,000 were published that year. With some quick mental math, I’ve come up with a guess of about 200 million people who missed their mark on the whole book thing.
This is where blogging comes in. While the Etsy army may not be able to be called “professional” artists, they can create and earn some kind of compensation for it. Blogging is much the same. Hundreds of millions may miss their opportunity to write a book, but blogging is much easier. We can’t all be artists, although the ability to create is being totally democratized. Wonderful isn’t it?
What’s more, this small step into content creation can lead into much larger ventures. The awful mental vision of the self-absorbed blogger may become the next author who populates your bookshelf. Obviously, the topics they write about can also be much more mentally stimulating than sneakers, televisions shows, or their favorite potato chip as well. It’s not hard to find history, philosophy, do-it-yourself tech, and personal finance blogs circulating around the internet.
A World Of Content That Needs To Be Populated
The tech revolution isn’t going away any time soon. Between YouTube, Apple TV, Netflix, and Peacock, endless opportunities to consume content are everywhere. As I mentioned earlier, there are only so many professional artists, authors, and writers to keep up with this. So, it’s never been a better time to be a creator. Those sites need ideas, scripts, and topics; this doesn’t even include traditional writing opportunities
In the times of the Renaissance, great artists needed patrons to get by — otherwise they couldn’t eat. We don’t have that problem nowadays. It’s never been easier to be a content creator and keep a day job. Blogger isn’t a dirty word, they’re just content creators. They serve a purpose in our modern world where our fast-moving tech is outpacing our ability to fill the space with entertaining material.
A good portion of us may never get a chance to write that elusive book. However, we can all write. Moreover, collections of these small pieces may eventually turn into that book most of us never get around to. These are just some of the revelations that occurred to me only by entering into the “eye roll” worthy world of blogging.
Michelangelo may have had to deal with the bloodthirsty Borgia family as patrons, but we don’t — just the annoying term of “blogger”. The expression itself is just a modern term for writer or creator; it’s by no means a loathsome four-letter word.