When I first became a sex blogger I felt like I’d joined a real community. I had blogged previously in other genres and ended up walking away because of the rivalry, back-stabbing and bitchiness that seemed to be rife. I didn’t feel like the sex blogger community was like that, everyone seemed so welcoming and friendly. I was so happy to be a part of it, I felt like I’d found home. Sometimes I still feel like that.
My realisation started at an event I attended. I’d been really excited about going, about getting to meet people in person that I’d been talking to online for months. There were two or three people there who I had met in person before so I was hopeful that I would at least have someone to talk to. I was wrong. If it hadn’t been for two people who I hadn’t met before I would have been completely miserable. As it was I left the event feeling like I wanted to give up, and walk away from sex blogging. I was talked down by a few people, and I’m glad because I love what I do. I just wish we all had the same experience of the community because it is very clear to me we do not.
There are divisions in the community, and in many cases they are to be expected. There is the divide between what people write on their sites; such as reviews, or erotica, or articles. You would think they’d all be the same but you can see a definite difference in the way they are perceived, and how they interact. I think that is just the difference in personality, and there are people who straddle those different worlds. There is also a UK/US division, which I feel is more down to culture and attitude than it is any real divide. There are many US sex bloggers who I look up to, the people who to me are at the top of the game.
I think it is important to also address the issue of friendships. People might say that there aren’t cliques, there are just groups who are friends. While I acknowledge that there are those types of groups, which is to be expected when people live nearer, and are able to meet up regularly. Or who chat to each other in places other than twitter, so they are able to form true friendships. I don’t feel those groups are cliques, they are just groups of friends who support each other. Sometimes I think this support could be given with more thought to others but I understand how it happens, it is also why for some bloggers it can feel like they are being “jumped on”. I’ve felt it myself. You make a throwaway comment and suddenly five people in a friendship group are yelling at you about how wrong you are, all they’re trying to do is get across a point they feel strongly about. However, if you’re on the receiving end it can feel like you’re being shouted down. But again I see no negative intention in that, so I don’t feel that is cliquiness.
DangerousLilly recently shared a post about ‘The Blog Squad”, and until I read that post I hadn’t realised that some people felt like it was a clique. For me the blog squad was just a group of bloggers who had met in person at an event, and it was a group I hoped one day to be part of. Yes, they were friends but they also did a lot for the community and to promote bloggers. In my eyes they were championing inclusivity, and sex positivity. I didn’t realise people thought they were cliquey.
I think there is occasionally some cliquiness that occurs in the community. I have experienced it. I have joined in a conversation only for my answer to be ignored while someone else repeats what I said and is hailed for it. I’ve spoken up and been shouted down. Sometimes I deal with this better than others. There is a fear in the community, I’ve had more than one person DM me to ask if I think it’s okay to tweet xxx because it differs from most people’s opinion and they’re afraid they will get “jumped on”. When this happens I encourage them to tweet, and then watch ready to defend them if necessary. Maybe that makes me part of the problem. I think even when the intention isn’t to make people feel that way, the fact that is has happened multiple times means that feeling does exist. People do feel like there are cliques. The poll above clearly shows they do.
Maybe instead of denying the experiences some people have that make them feel cliques exist within the community we could start being kinder to each other. Many of us have some form of anxiety and/or other mental health problems, and I think we are our own worst critics, so we have a natural inclination to assume the worst. I think we all need to start assuming the best of each other, and if we’re not sure we need to ask……quietly without fuss via a DM. If they don’t follow you and you can’t send a DM, just a quick tweet asking them to follow so you CAN follow them. Echo from EchoExplores talked about Blogger love in her recent post; how despite the fact that we have our differences we all want the same thing. And how we need to unite to educate the companies we work with, to help them improve and be more receptive to what we can offer.