I cheat on my blog with a full-time job. And other commitments.
I have professional standards, I treat my blog like anything else I do, I want it to be as good as I can make it.
My blog is an extension of me.
I’m also having an affair with a Professional Doctorate.
Oddly, nay controversially to me, I am considered to have a profession in the workplace.
But just because I have a profession doesn’t mean I can turn my hand to anything. A solicitor wouldn’t necessarily make a great surgeon. ‘Profession’ isn’t a transferable term.
Factually, (think the professions listed on passport forms for counter-signatories) blogging isn’t a profession.
So yes, it absolutely hurts my head to see anyone promoting themselves as a Professional Blogger.
(And before anyone mentions sport, there’s a whole long history behind the use of the word ‘amateur’ and ‘professional’, I’ve had the absolute joy of reading it).
Professions aren’t easy. They don’t come easily and they can’t be maintained without sanction.
A blog might come easy, it might be maintained easily. Probably not the maintain. It takes time and commitment.
But time and commitment doesn’t equate to quality, it doesn’t mean it’s transparent.
Bloggers might not declare sponsored posts, they might have a strong opinion on ‘follow’ and ‘no-follow’ links, they might misrepresent earnings, they might include the cost of review products in their earnings, they might not get involved with any financial transactions.
Bloggers have no code, no-one is going to stop you blogging. There are no repercussions to what a blogger does compared to what might happen to any other member of the public (tax, libel, etc.).
So, what is being achieved by the bloggers using the term ‘professional blogger’.
Well, you know how much everyone appreciates a label, a category.
It seems professional blogger might mean that you do it full-time. It might mean that you earn enough money to support your family financially.
I wish becoming a member of a profession was so easy.
It would mean blogging would be the first profession which required no formal training/ education; no accountability to an organisation which ensured you upheld common values.
What an absolute joy.
But maybe no-one’s actually saying that blogging is a profession after all?
Or maybe someone’s working on creating a professional institution as I speak.
The good news for me is that no professional institution mandates you have to earn money from your profession. In fact one of the key attributes is a responsibility to public good.
So, the good news is, in this scenario, I could count blogger as my profession with another profession running in tandem, and I don’t have to earn anything to become a member of a blogger professional body, as long as I can demonstrate I put my hours in.
Or maybe a professional blogger is someone who does have a commitment to fairness and transparency, and always conducts themselves in a manner which is considered small ‘p’ professional.
But that doesn’t really need saying does it? You can open any blog, meet any blogger to make this assessment.
Doesn’t emblazoning everything you do with ‘professional blogger’ actually suggest something might be amiss?
Because I struggle with thinking of occupations which feel the need to make this declaration. An individual’s role and conduct says everything you’ll need to know. Anyone who behaves professionally just does, without sticking the term in front of their role title.
So, is this actually a confidence thing?
Many bloggers and vloggers who evidently don’t have another occupation have no reference to ‘professional’ in any of their bio’s. You just know by the quality of their output they can’t possible be doing anything else.
It is about garnering appreciation?
Yes, anyone who has a blog knows how much work goes into it, knows how little it’s appreciated. And that probably goes someway to understanding why so many blogs disappear after a few months (probably in a similar pattern to small businesses folding in the first year), and anyone who’s blogged for a while has watched favourite bloggers posting less and less where work and family gets in the way.
But trying to get blogging more appreciated, more valued isn’t going to be achieved by sticking ‘professional’ in front of what we do. That’s just two words for people to disregard rather than one. People will return to your blog because they think you offer quality content. Brands, Companies, PR’s will want to work with you time and time again, not because you’ve stuck ‘professional’ on your bio, but because you produce quality content which engages their target audience.
I absolute love blogging. It keeps me sane. I have had the best opportunities because of my little place on the internet.
But what I find completely disconcerting is bloggers are trying to create their own segregation, with no basis of assurance or conversation. Which kind of proves the point for why it’s not a profession. Because it’s not a case of ‘what I say goes’. If there isn’t a collective, if ‘what I say goes’ is true, then we’re all just representing our own little space on the internet. With no accountability and no responsibility to anyone other than ourselves.
Be proud of your blog, the opportunities and reward will be there because of the effort invested.
Just like any other role; whether it be a profession, a vocation, or ‘just’ something you love to do.
Promote, advocate, support.
Collective power achieves so much more than individual promotion.
If bloggers are a collective term,
Agree values and behaviours,
Collectively, without label or segregation, be the change for good.