On Blogging


Yuin: hahah maybe soon you’ll be a full-time blogger
Gim Han: hopefully la
although i try to not tell ppl i m blogger
part of the reaason why i drop the “blog” from the new brand
i think the blogging era is over la
bloggers write crap
Yuin: bloggers are writers, essentially
Gim: yups
but the name kinda got spoiled
bloggers give the impression of teenagers

Gim Han recently had his blog layout overhauled (professionally), with the intent of slowly going “pro” perhaps? He could, I think, since his blog always had this ultra sharp focus on the automotive industry, which is his passion. We were chatting about it and he said he doesn’t want to be called a “blogger” because the term carries rather juvenile connotations with it. I realised that that is sadly quite true – at least in this region.

If you really think about it, around here when someone says, “I’m a blogger,” and especially if that someone is female, it unfortunately tends to conjure up one or more of the following impressions: (a) a bimbo, (b) someone with a slightly inflated opinion of her own blog, (c) a fashionista type, and/or (d) probably a “camwhore.” Not knowing exact statistics for all blogs, I can only presume that this stems from the fact that apart from political news blogs, food blogs and tech blogs, the next most well-known type of blog in Malaysia is the lifestyle/fashion blog. A good many if not most of the bloggers in that category (I think) are female and specialise in… well, that sort of rather “frivolous” blog. (Somehow, that food blogs are so common in the Malaysian blogosphere is completely unsurprising.) And female bloggers seem to specialise in this type.

There isn’t anything wrong about that kind of blog, really. I may not like the tendency towards kawaii (“cutesy”) blogging behaviour and the whole taking-and-posting-lots-of-pics-of-myself thing, but it evidently works for them. I’m sure that most of the more prominent bloggers of this sort – who seem to be about my age – are not as “bimbo”-like as they seem on their blogs. They’re not unemployed layabouts who do nothing all day. They have university degrees, they have jobs. They put a great deal of effort into their blog posts – making sure there are lots of pictures, and for the most part don’t just “reblog” stuff, which is something I approve of even if the content may not always be to my liking. (Tumblr users are especially prone to this “reblogging” thing, which in a way isn’t even blogging, I think. It’s scrapbooking.) One might even say that’s a very smart type of blogging because they’ve built up their own fanbase, which allows them to get some revenue from blogging. Some get products to try and review , like cameras and cosmetics, or they get invited to special events – movie premieres, product launches – so they can promote it by writing about the experience (and the product) on their blogs. Occasionally they might even get sponsored to travel abroad. For blogs where writing is not the strong point nor are the photographs of particular artistic merit, you have to admit: that’s pretty darn good.

(I would have to say that those blogs – whatever “deficiencies” they may have in linguistic flair or photography – can be amusing to read. Well, I skip product reviews for the most part but when it comes to travel logs, ah, that’s interesting.)

I’ve never referred to myself as a “blogger.” I say that “I have a blog” or that “I blog”, but never that “I’m a blogger.” Why? Because of that particular not-so-very-nice impression it carries. (Perhaps I’ve fallen into the trap of stereotyping there?) I think it’s also largely because I’ve come to think of the word as referring to someone whose blog is really popular and/or who can make money from blogging (in that sense, a “pro” blogger), and my blog and I certainly don’t fall into that class. So to call myself a “blogger” always felt a little presumptuous.

Until recent years I think my blog was mainly just a daily life sort of blog. I started blogging on Tabulas when in MMU mainly as a way to update my friends back home and abroad about my life. Then the need for a proper portfolio site came up when I was going to start interning for one sem and that led to getting my own web domain and moving my blogging there and shifting to the WordPress system. But even then my blog didn’t have any particular focus besides me and my life or random thoughts. Only in the past 2 or 3 years has it begun to morph into a more of an arty thing, with an inclination towards art, photography and movies. I still keep away from posting many pictures of myself because I like some measure of privacy and I’d like to stay out of the “camwhore” category. I’m also not exactly photogenic so most photos of myself make me cringe. haha

But perhaps the bloggers with the more frivolous blogging style and propensity to post loads of photos of themselves – and of anything else – have caught onto that which makes people return to their blogs. They blog frequently and more importantly, they let people into their lives – mainly through all those photos. We humans like to connect with others, and when a reader feels some sort of connection with the blogger (whether in real life or only online), that generates more interest and prompts the reader to return and to keep reading. So despite being perceived as somewhat juvenile, there is apparently something in that method that really works.

Of course, the popularity of that sort of blog could also be due to the reader base. I think it would be quite logical to say that the people who have the most time on their hands and who are the most eager to read blogs (and who perhaps have the most time to dedicate to blogging) are most likely teenagers and college students. If that happens to be true, it would further explain that stereotype of “bloggers” being”juvenile.” Even if the most prominent bloggers (of that type) are not actually in that age range, perhaps their readers are. If the bloggers just like putting out a playful and giddy image, and if their readers respond well to that… it would naturally follow that the style would remain the same, or become more pronounced in that direction.

Ultimately it would depend on the blogger – or author – to determine the style and direction of his/her own blog. Blogs can change direction, definitely. They don’t even need to have a direction if gaining readers or entertaining others is not the purpose of the blog. I do wonder sometimes what the purpose of my own blog is and whether I should change or have changed it already. It started out as a way to keep my friends updated but now a mere handful of friends still read it; the others have mostly quit reading (personal) blogs. “I don’t read blogs anymore” or “I don’t have time to read blogs” are the general reasons given. Since my friends won’t give my blog the time of day, maybe I should start thinking of writing for a wider set of readers, eh? haha

Regardless of whatever direction this blog eventually wanders off in, I highly doubt I’m going to start posting dozens of photos of myself online. (Perhaps that is something to be thankful for. :P )



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