When I was a little girl, the Dr. Seuss story The Sneetches was one of my favorites. I actually had both the book and the video tape, which fairly quickly was destroyed because I watched it so often.
True story: When I was a child and liked a video, I could sit and watch it seven times in a row. It drove my mom nuts. Nuts!
In case you aren’t aware of The Sneetches, let me summarize the story. In the book, there is a breed of bird-like creatures called sneetches who are yellow bird-like creatures either born with a star on their bellow or born starless. The sneetches with stars consider themselves cooler than the sneetches without stars and discriminate against them. One day, a con-man rolls into town and presents a machine that can pop a star on the bellies of sneetches that don’t already have them for a few dollars. The sneetches who already have stars are outraged, and so they pay to go through a second machine that removes the star so they can distinguish themselves as the truly cool sneetches.
Of course, the con man allows any sneetch to go through the removal process, which causes mayhem. Soon sneetches are running between machines as fast as possible, trying to either preserve the status quo or become cooler. When the dust clears, the con man has taken all the money in town, and the sneetches don’t have a clue who was originally born with stars and who was originally born without them. They learn to live together without discrimination anymore. Hey, it’s a kid’s book, there has to be a moral to the story!
Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of blog sneetches out there, and it has be a bit concerned. I may even be a sneetch sometimes myself.
No, I don’t think there’s all sorts of discrimination going on. I mean, I’m sure it happens, but in general, I’ve found that bloggers from all niches with traffic numbers ranging from a few hundred a month to a few hundred a minute are approachable and interested in talking to you, no matter what your niche or traffic numbers may be. Cliques don’t really seem to in the blogging world at the same rate they do in other industries.
But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t all running around trying to decide if we’re supposed to have stars on our bellies or not.
Trends come and go, and it is up to us as bloggers to resist jumping on a bandwagon just because it seems like the cool thing to do. I was listening to a podcast the other day with Benny Lewis (@irishpolyglot) and he said something rather interesting – in many cases, he’s done the exact opposite of what respected blog experts have told him to do, and he’s successful anyway. He’s doing what he thinks is right for his community, plain and simple. That doesn’t always align with the popular or trendy thing to do.
I can give you blogging advice here at the BlogWorld blog until I’m blue in the face, but I don’t know your audience. Your community may not respond well to anything I tell you to do. Do I give bad advice? I certainly hope you don’t think so! But every blog is different. Even experts much smarter than me aren’t going to give you the best advice for your blog every single time.
Don’t be a sneetch. Don’t run back and forth between ideas, trying to implement anything and everything a successful blogger says you should do because you think it means you’ll suddenly be in the cool kids’ club. Think about what makes you the coolest sneetch at your core – you. Experts in your niche can help you learn, but you need to critically make decisions about what is best for your blog.
I wrote a post a few years ago about the Sneeches, in fact think it turned out to be a two parter if I remember correctly. I’m such a big fan of the Sneech lesson that I keep a big yellow stuffed star-bellied sneech in my office- that is no joke, I swear!!
It’s easy to get sucked up into following trends, or the in-crowd, or “the big kids” as we hear about in blog-land. It’s harder to turn a blind eye to all of that and focus on really listening to the voice of our target market, our true fans, and our own company’s best needs.
But it’s critical. Doing what is right doesn’t always make us popular. Or, maybe more importantly, we have to decide who we want to be popular TO. Who do we really need to please?
Wendi – If you can find the link(s), feel free to share them! I know some blogs don’t like people linking to their blogs via comments, but I always encourage it if relevant to the conversation. I’d love to read your posts!
Here you go, Thanks for letting me post the link. It used to have a link to a video but it wasn’t working so I edited that out, but here is the post. Enjoy!
Love it! Such a good story about the Sneetches and how they really are real in life. I think we all feel it.