It’s FitBloggin’ not CliqBloggin’!

Please welcome our next guest poster Katy Widrick. Katy is a fitness blogger extraordinaire and Executive Producer for The Bolder Media Group.

Connecting with people who share our viewpoints, can support us through challenges and cheer us on — well, that’s the reason we all blog, right? And that’s certainly what events like Fitbloggin’ are all about.

But there’s a a fine line between community and clique, and recently it seems more and more bloggers are finding themselves left out and feeling vulnerable. Take a look at some of the comments made during a recent Fitblog Chat on Twitter:

wearingmascara: I’ve felt this since day 1 of blogging 2-years ago. It’s hard to not get sucked in and feel left out. Almost like high school.

yourinnerskinny: I feel left out because of the fact I’m a guy in a girls world

leavingfatville: As a newbie, I’m so far behind everyone. I feel like trying to break in is akin to eavesdropping/butting in on private convos.

MissyRayn: I don’t feel I fit in a lot because my blog isn’t a food blog or isn’t a huge blog. But just being willing to read things helps.

Nobody got into blogging as a way to shut anyone out — so I’m not playing the blame game…I’m simply asking that we all take a step back and make sure we’re not contributing to the problem.

Here’s one thing I’ve noticed recently, and I fear it may be contributing to the growing sense of isolation for some bloggers…

There’s been a lot of describing what we’re not:

  • I’m not (enter age/lifestage here)
  • I’m not (enter dietary choice here)
  • I don’t (enter exercise regimen here)
  • I don’t (do giveaways/accept freebies/wear purple/have long hair/etc.)

instead of what we are. I get it — one of the best ways to identify yourself and your blogging style is to describe what sets you apart from the crowd. But the second you focus on what you aren’t, even when you aren’t trying to be judgmental, you isolate people that are those things.

It’s hard to feel like you can connect with someone who is different than you when they’ve laid down a definitive bullet point list of specific lifestyle choices they have eschewed. And it’s easy to wonder if you, yourself, are wrong for being any of those things.

I’m not asking you to give up even a small part of your personality. I’m not telling you to censor yourself or you viewpoints. I’m simply asking that you take a step back and remember that you are blogging for two big reasons: yourself and your community. In defining yourself, don’t shut out your community.

Here’s my challenge — come up with a mission statement for your blog. Focus on what you are rather than what you’re not:

  • I blog because
  • I am proud of
  • I choose to
  • I feel good when

And if you ever feel yourself focusing on the things you’re not — go back and rewrite your mission statement.

Finally, take the advice from some of the big brains doled out during that same Fitblog Chat on Twitter:

LowFatKat: I think being open to reading, considering thoughts from others who aren’t your “blends” is super-important

VoiceinRecovery: You all have a voice. We don’t have to always agree. There is much to learn from respectful dialogues where we disagree

RonisWeigh: I hate when people feel left out. blogging is about finding your voice not trying to fit in with others. Do your own thing!

workoutmommy: There will always be cliques. Just hold your head high and find your tribe. (and screw those who don’t like you, lol!) :)

Nicci_NiftyEats: I try to not be in a clique and love all bloggies equally!

AndSoIRan: I don’t do cliques, I think it’s silly and we should all support each other and learn from each other

If you’re feeling left out, here’s one tweet that really stuck with me…if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em:

burp_excuzme: The blog world is like high school. There’ll always be labels and cliques. But there is always a group to fit in.

And if you want to connect with bloggers from all across the healthy living world, check out our weekly Twitter chat. Everyone that comes does so to engage and communicate — no cliques allowed!

Have a post idea? FitBloggin’ is now accepting guest posts on all Fit Blogging topics! From monetizing to marathon training tips. We want to cover it all for the FitBlogger. If you’d like to submit a guest post simply shoot us an email at posts@fitbloggin.com

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/henniemavis henniemavis

    Wow, great post! Timely lessons for me as a blog reader, actually. Case in point: been trying to connect with runners lately. Been scanning links from FitBloggin's attendee list since March, in search of my own "wolf pack" to "follow"… ie. women over 40 who are relatively new to running/fitness, but on an "anything-goes" diet, like myself.

    My search went like this: "she's 24" (hit rejection buzzer), "she's vegan" (buzzer), "she's already doing marathons" (nix), "hey, this blogger's male!" (out) It's no surprise that my search was mostly unproductive, eh?

    Your post here spurs me to revisit some fit-sites with fresh eyes, if I truly want to be open to changes in my body… and my mindset! Someone shouldn't have to be "an exact match" for me to learn something. LowFatCat's quote above is dead-on, for blogs & beyond. I should sticky-note it to my forehead :-)

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/henniemavis henniemavis

    Wow, great post! Timely lessons for me as a blog reader, actually. Case in point: been trying to connect with runners lately. Been scanning links from FitBloggin's attendee list since March, in search of my own "wolf pack" to "follow"… ie. women over 40 who are relatively new to running/fitness, but on an "anything-goes" diet, like myself.

    My search went like this: "she's 24" (hit rejection buzzer), "she's vegan" (buzzer), "she's already doing marathons" (nix), "hey, this blogger's male!" (out) It's no surprise that my search was mostly unproductive, eh?

    Your post here spurs me to revisit some fit-sites with fresh eyes, if I truly want to be open to changes in my body… and my mindset! Someone shouldn't have to be "an exact match" for me to learn something. LowFatCat's quote above is dead-on, for blogs & beyond. I should sticky-note it to my forehead :-)

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/chasingthenow chasingthenow

    Great post! I do think their is some cliquishness in the health blogging world, but i've realized that it's just life and there's no reason to dwell on it. Instead find your niche, what you love, and do that! Don't worry about being popular. Be true to you, reach out to others, and write good posts… readers will find you.

  • http://www.loserforlife.com Marisa

    Cliques are everywhere, unfortunately. My Gram is in a retirement village and even has cliques there! Ridiculous!

    I try not to get caught up in it all or fit in with a certain group. I really read a variety of blogs and enjoy hearing what goes on in their lives whether it be through food, exercise, being a mom (or dad) or a single livin' the life! It's all interesting to me :)

  • http://www.yourinnerskinny.ca YourInnerSkinny

    Blogging in general (especially fitness and nutrition blogging) is predominantly a woman's world. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing! In fact, I believe it's a very good thing! Us "dudes" who blog about fitness and health have it harder in the blog-o-sphere based on the fact that we are dudes, but we have it much easier in the gym and probably don't need the support that most women do. BUT we DO need support!

    So when you see male tweeters and bloggers out there, say hi, throw them some support and maybe give them a hug, we appreciate that kind of stuff too!

    Scott from YourInnerSkinny

  • http://stuffingmyfeelings.blogspot.com Rosa

    Interesting post. I am new to fit blogging (or wellness blogging), so I don't feel the clique. I am sure there are some, but that is inevitable. I gave up my craft blogging because I felt I couldn't measure up to the leaders in the craft blogging world, with their book contracts and their new sale business. I just wanted to share my observations and creations, and teach. I got into blogging my dedication to good health and fitness, but I also wanted support with my inability to curb my mindless eating. I've gotten that support as a reader, and hope that I've supported others who read my blog.

  • http://www.thehealthywalker.blogspot.com Patty

    I'm a long time lurker, some time commenter, and a relatively newbie blogger. I first started a blog wanting to have it take off/hoping for loads of comments/connections with others etc. when that didn't happen I regrouped and now the blog I started is for me, if nobody ever reads it that's okay, it's my thing. I think that's a better approach for me. Life is like high school, and just like then I'm content observing (lurking), adding my 2 cents now and then (comments), and doing my own thing.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/kyree90 kyree90

    The world is like high school? How I wish that wasn't true! But it is … When I got my first job out of college, I was surprised that there were cliques in the newsroom (these two hated this one, and you practically had to take sides).

    I'm lucky to have found a home at Blog to Lose. Trying to expand into my own blog hasn't been easy, but I think that's in part because I've been struggling with my diet lately, too. So I haven't been posting regularly, and that doesn't help me build readership or anything else.

  • http://www.workingoutwellness.com Rachel @ WOW

    I really love this post! You're right, blogging (especially, it seems, health blogging) can often times feel like we're back in high school. Trying to be "popular" or "liked" or just trying to be seen. I think part of what I've learned through this whole blogging thing is that I need to find my voice and keep using it regardless of if it makes me popular/liked/cool. I started reading health blogs through some of the more popular bloggers, but since reading other less well-known bloggers I have realized that a lot of the "popular" bloggers are really… kind of boring. How many posts per day can you write up about what you ate? Because while that's interesting, I don't have enough time in my life to read 5 separate posts about what you ate every hour of the day. That's not worth it to me. I've also noticed just how much reading those kinds of blogs makes me unhappy with myself, haha. I know that's not the intention, and the popular blogs have their positives (they're popular for a reason), but they aren't where the juicy stuff is at. And I'm more interested in the juicy.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/hundredtenpounds hundredtenpounds

    This is a great post. As a newbie it's hard not to feel left out, or like we're not included in a private chat. It seems like a lot of fitbloggers are friends in real life as well…I wish I had that in my city.

  • http://www.medicinalmarzipan.com marzipan

    This post is so great Katy! And totally exactly what I needed to read today. Even though we are all blogging and here to build community with one another – it IS hard not to look around the blogosphere and feel like everything has already been done, or written and that we are so far behind if we're new. And in some regards it does feel a little like being new or unpopular in highschool. I feel like no matter what I just have to bite the bullet and plunge in the conversation head first, expect the best, and have thick skin. Thank you always for all of your amazing insight.

  • http://www.lowfatkatherine.com Kat

    Thanks for including my quote! I think it's interesting/funny/sad how the health and wellness blogosphere is getting more and more fleshed out and interconnected, but I've heard a lot of admissions of "I feel like an outsider" lately. I don't know if we all started out feeling this way and have subsequently each paved our own way, or if we've really just been plugging along, pretending we fit in and finally admitting none of us do. But I think the great thing about blogging (and each and everyone of us as humans, if I may be so sappy) is that none of us fit in. Especially with blogging, we all try to find a niche or at least identify ourselves by qualities that others share. The great thing is, no two bloggers' interests and traits overlap in the exact same areas. It would be so boring and would get us nowhere if all our blogs were just alike and we just kept feeding into cliques. Also something I've taken away from blogging is that it allows me to create my own standard of normalcy. If I want to push myself to be a runner, I read more running blogs so that running begins to seem like a normative behavior. In the past, I've caught myself reading a few blogs just because they had a greater following, but I realized they didn't offer me what I was looking for. Since then, I've changed my readership to follow people who share the same interests, goals, and nerdy sense of humor that I have, because it makes me feel more engaged and gives me a greater sense of belonging instead of just feeling marginalized because I "don't do X, Y, and Z." Based on what I've accomplished, what I'm trying to accomplish, and things I'm curious about, I try to find new people to connect with.

  • http://www.idratherbecrafting.blogspot.com @LastMinuteMandy

    It's funny, because as far as blogging communities go, I feel like I have found the most cliquish bloggers there, but also the most open and accepting bloggers as well. I wish the cliquish ones would be more aware that we are all here for support and to give support. But I would just say that if you come across those types, keep looking – I can guarantee that you will eventually find and open and accepting group. I have a few suggestions if you need any. 😉

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  • http://somegingersomesnap.blogspot.com Gingersnapper

    I've been blogging about fitness and WL since 2003, and I see one big difference in the blogs now– the lack of reciprocal commenting. Obviously one isn't required to leave a comment on the blog of anyone who has ever visited your own blog, but I see a lot of bloggers who are creating a magazine-type experience and not involving themselves with others. They are publishers, not part of a community. There's room for everyone, but for me that's not what I look for in a blog.

    • RonisWeigh

      Great point!

      Also inter blog linking. No one links to each other anymore!

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