Tuesday, September 11, 2012

To Tribe or Not to Tribe? My take on the next blogging 'trend'.

You may or may not have caught the latest trend in blogging (it may not even be that new – my blogdar which senses these shifts is about ten steps behind most people), but if you haven’t I certainly have.  And I’m confused.
 
In the last week I have been offered an e-book all about it and my blog reader has been jammed with more than just giveaways and link-ups.

Apparently, for my blog to grow and indeed for anyone’s blog to grow you need a TRIBE. This term seems to be used in a couple of different ways.
1.       A tribe is a group of 10 or so bloggers who have a mutual agreement of collaboration and promotion. It’s a conversation that has happened (outside of sponsorship) where you agree to comment on each other’s blogs, feature posts and shout all about each other in social media.
2.       A tribe is also a loyal group of readers and like-minded people who engage with your blog, visit regularly and do all of the above without the need for mutual compensation. The ideal number of people in this sort of tribe appears to be around the 1000 mark.
Once again I have been left feeling like I am about 8 steps behind the rest of blog land. I thought (maybe naively) that I would write about crafts, my life and what’s in my heart and people would either read along or not. When I first started blogging the idea of needing to be connected on Twitter and having a button was mind-blowing. Just when I think I have caught up it seems I am right back at zero again.

The thing is I don’t know if I want to have a tribe. To me a ‘tribe’ sounds elitist and strange.  It plays on our sense of ‘belonging’ to something and immediately excludes people. If you, like me, are a new blogger and are trying to make those steps to grow your readership, tweak your design and make friends with more established blogs  in the blogging community then a tribe sounds pretty intimidating. If you are part of a tribe, what is the etiquette? When these people reach out to you, can you promote them, help them? Do you have to have a tribe meeting to see if the new person will ‘fit-in’?
And what about the logistics of having 1000 adoring fans?  And here I’m not talking about the number of people in your Google reader or Blog Lovin’ account, I’m talking about people who read and engage with your blog. Have you noticed how the second definition of ‘tribe’ turns the definition of your readers into fans and you in return as some sort of super blogger?  Could you really engage with them all, respond to emails and make them feel wanted? I don’t feel like it's enough to give your tribe the gift of a well written blog. Surely, as loyal fans they deserve more.

I hope that my blog will continue to grow. I love meeting new people and properly engaging with them.  I consider those who comment on nearly every post or respond to my comments as friends and I love visiting them in return. I run schemes like Blog Angels to help people break down the barriers in blog land and build friendships. I am not weighing up the relative worth of my readers as networking contacts or by how my association with them will boost my ‘brand’….another word I struggle to use in association with my blog.
I suspect the ‘tribe’ movement will be popular in blog land as it focuses on blog growth and building those numbers. So  I am left with a conundrum. Do I jump on the bandwagon, reach out to you guys, my friends and say: “do you want to be in my gang?” or do I go it alone, risking isolation from people who choose to take this path?
My heart is pulling me towards remaining independent of groups. I like building friendships not fans. I like writing for a mixture of you and me. More than anything, I prefer the idea of community.  So while my blog is not a business and networking isn’t a ‘survival of the fittest’ requirement, then I might just continue as I have done. 
So what do you guys think? Have I missed the opportunities that being in a ‘tribe’ would bring me? Will you still talk to me if I am ‘tribeless’? Are you, like me, wondering what this is all about? What does this new movement herald for the blogosphere?
I literally cannot wait for the debate on this to open up!
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35 comments:

Jenn @ My Not So Glamorous Life said...

I agree 100%! I could have written this myself.
Wanna be in my "not a tribe" tribe? LOL!!

deanna@delirious-rhapsody said...

i've never heard of a 'tribe' before. maybe i'm not reading the popular blogs. hah! yeah, so totally clueless on this one.

i don't have a facebook account, and i rarely use my twitter account. i don't necessarily believe you have to use those social media sites to connect with your readers.

Bethany Lee said...

This is new to me! I mean, I have blogs that I comment on regularly, and there are bloggers who comment on my blog regularly. Those aren't always the same group, if that makes sense. I don't blog for money right now, and I don't know if I ever will--I don't have the time with everything else I do. And I want to write about what I love. Sometimes I do get a bit too absorbed with numbers and stuff, but I like the "organic" approach to blogging. It's supposed to be fun for me and not have so many rules attached that it's something I no longer enjoy! :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

Jessica.Anahi said...

I have honestly never heard of this term before, but then again I am also sorta new to the blogging world (I started back in May) I agree with you. I think I would rather make friends not fans, BUT by having a group of people help spread the word about your blog that will also create even MORE friends.

I don't know, now that I think about it I believe that every blogger has had this dilemma at some point.

Xoxo Jessica
girlbooklet.blogspot.com

Katlyn Larson said...

I have not yet heard of a 'tribe'. I mean I can totally see it being done among certain people but I truly don't think it's worth it.

I am with you on the friendship deal.. If you have a really good group of girls around you who truly want to help each other promote and engage as much as they can than I don't think it's that bad.

For me I try to do and learn things independently. And in that I make wonderful, true friends who I know are there for me! :)

Don't feel like your'e behind Rosie, because you're not! Love you.

Angela said...

This is very interesting! I've not specifically heard of tribes and am not quite sure how I feel about the idea either. Although my blog is meant to help promote my creative business, I have tried up to this point to grow my blog by seeking out like minded bloggers, and interacting honestly and with interest. I, like you, am a bit confused by the concept.

If you go it alone, I will still be a happy reader of your blog, and if you choose to participate in a tribe, well.....I might be quite open to that as well!! :-)

Dara said...

I'm definitely behind you! I don't even know if I have 10 loyal readers as most of my posts don't get any comments at all!

Angie Hales said...

Ditto, just this past week I struggled with the 'why's" of me blogging. I'm even farther behind you in the trends but this one almost completely discouraged me. It took a week to straighten my thoughts out... I want friends who want to read what I write, not just followers. I'm committing to being that for them too.

Linda Nortje said...

I fully agree with you - readers should WANT to read my blog, not be obligated even if they are a tribe. It's almost the same thing as where you can BUY Pinterest followers - I declined that "offer" immediately. Another thing, if your tribe must like and comment and whatever else, how on earth does one know whether they really, really like what you have dished up ...?? Would make me wonder...

Rosie said...

Wow guys this is encouraging! I am sorry if I haven't replied back to each of you, but lots of you are no reply commenters which makes it quite difficult! I hope you see this and know I appreciate your voice in the debate!

Rosie xx

Megan said...

Like the previous comments, I've never heard of this. I've been thinking a lot lately about why I'm blogging. For me, I want to have people who follow my blog because they like what I have to say and want to read my posts and interact with me. That's why I follow the blogs I follow. I try to remember that it's not about numbers. It's about making connections with people.

Lauren {at} Life.Love.Lauren said...

I had never heard of this! That is weird. If you want to follow a blog, you follow it...

Danni Baird @ Silo Hill Farm said...

I have heard of tribes...almost since I started blogging in January. I pretty much stay away from anything that is going to dictate how I run my blog, it's content, etc. Tribes kind of remind me of cliques in high school (which mostly were for the popular yet insecure girls) and I can't think of one person today who benefits from those cliques now...so, when it comes to tribes...I'm steering clear. You sure don't need me to be in your tribe to read and enjoy your blog Rosie!! I'd do it anyway!

Amanda said...

Good post!!!

Veronica and Daniel said...

Actually seeing the term and idea of "tribes" written out makes me realize that I have seen this in blog land...but didnt know it had a name! I go back and forth on this (and have to admit sometimes feels like I am back in high school!) I want my blog to reflect who I am - crafts, recipes, thoughts, prayers...and like everyone I LOVE getting comments and gaining new friends. It's hard when I put a lot into a post and get 0 feedback, comments, participants... and that makes me totally want to join a 'tribe' to have someone who will be reading and commenting - not so much the promoting since I dont have a shop or any ads on my blog...I dont know what the answer on this one is. I don't think these tribes are necessarily wrong, but I dont know that I am going to jump on the bandwagon...P.S. This may be the longest comment I have ever left :) AND I will keep reading your blog weather you join/make a tribe or not! :)

Carly said...

Where have I been? I haven't even heard of tribes!

Emily S said...

This seems to have been the trend this past summer. It has been interesting to watch to see how these blogs maintain such a presence, and if they can flourish with it...doesn't seem to be the case, I have followed a few of them, and have done a sponsor swap with one or two of them to see how their process is. Of those, only one do I continue to follow and enjoy reading. I have found that though I've gained followers by having twitter and participating in giveaways, I have a good group of blogger friends that visit regularly and enjoying coming to my slice of the web. I enjoy doing all the linkups I do, and can't imagine changing the way I do things.

Leslie @ Violet Imperfection said...

I feel like you are in my brain. I haven't heard of this tribe thing but sometimes I feel certain blog circles are very clicky. I just want to blog about things I love and have readers who like/love what I read. I am getting tired of these you follow these ten people blog link parties and such. I just don't know.

Brie said...

I haven't heard the term but I've seen many bloggers that team up together a lot so I guess I've seen some "tribes" but I agree it isn't for me. I want people to want to read what I write and I want to be able to read all different types of blogs out there and not have it feel like high school.

ramsaygrace said...

And....this is why I LOVE reading your posts, lol. It's literally like you heard my jumbled thoughts and put them to paper. I know EXACTLY what you mean, and in a few cases, probably some of WHO you mean. I thought I was the only one that noticed the grouping, and am so glad to not be alone. I am absolutely green when it comes to blogging so, in my naivety, innocently followed along, even reached out to one. I quickly learned and won't make that mistake twice. I had flashbacks to that movie, "Mean Girls." Thanks for this post. You made me feel like I'm not nuts. :-)

ramsaygrace said...

Sorry...in all my rambling, I forgot to add....Please don't change the way you blog! I, for one, am HAPPY you're tribless. Also, I'm wondering if they have secret blog strategy meetings. I wonder what would go on there? Hmmm....

Alyx said...

Uhhh what?!?!? What the eff is all this tribe talk? Whatever happened to blogging because YOU want to blog? I hadn't heard of this before, so you weren't alone. I'd rather be tribeless. Let's be loners together. :)

Breonna said...

I'm another who hasn't heard of a tribe. I recently found a group of bloggers in my city (thanks to Twitter and Facebook) so I do think that social networking servers a great purpose because we don't ONLY talk about blogging but it's great to have a group of people I can talk layouts or code with and not have them look at me crazy like some friends and family would.
So I'm all for that and building friendships and being connected, but a tribe? Seems scary.

Cocalores said...

I have read about the tribe idea (does that make me a trend-setter? ha ha!), but more the first definition kind of tribe. I think it clearly has its advantages.
Being in a clique in high school didn't mean that you couldn't hang out with other people - but you always knew where you would find someone to hang out with or support you. At least that's how I saw it.
How exactly does that translate to blogland? I guess you have some blog buddies that you are friends with and you support each other - in all the ways you have mentioned above. If you're in a rut, you'd ask them to guest post, I guess. This is your tribe, so to speak. Being friends first, and becoming a tribe later. (Yes, I do feel kind of weird using that word.)
Some of the bigger bloggers have written that the ideal tribe would be a group of bloggers consisting of some smaller ones, some medium ones, and some bigger ones - I can see the potential!
So, why not? But I agree, a very controversial topic!
xo Anja

April S. said...

I hadn't heard the term tribe but a guess "cahoots" is a term that comes to mind. ;) I want readers to visit and comment because they find something helpful or enjoyable - not because I worked a deal with them to leave me comments to trick others into thinking I'm a bigger deal than I really am...

Tonna @ Navy Wifey Peters said...

I never heard of a blog tribe before, but I feel the same way you do about it.

Jen @ frazzled 5 said...

I am not sure I have ever heard of tribes, other than early American History. I agree that I would rather have friendships than 1000 random fans just for numbers sake. However, I am a huge Rosie fan & if Tribe-ing is where you want to go, then I will gladly join you.
Hugs, Jen

Rosie said...

April, I love the word 'cohoots', it's not used enough. Thanks all of you for your comments, I couldn't believe my eyes when I checked my emails this morning!

Rosie xx

Evani Gatsby said...

I've never heard of a "tribe" before but personally I've noticed that in the past 2 months (where I've completely decided to let go of follower numbers and attempting to hard core publicize my blog) I've found a good group of bloggers who I feel CLOSE to. We happen to comment on each others blogs and talk on social media because we choose to without an "agreement". My views daily have decreased but the quality of interactions and friendships has definitely reached an all time high. I think at the end of the day, you should always make content you love and the people who love it too will find you. The other people shouldn't matter as much.

Evani

Breenah said...

This is the first time I'm hearing of it and it sounds weird.

Stephanie said...

I've never heard of these 'tribes' either, I guess I'm behind? lol but it doesn't sound like anything I'm interested in. Of course, whatever you choose to do, I'll still be reading your blog! :)

Samantha said...

I never heard of the name tribe, but about a year ago I stumbled onto the concept and it was put forth but several big bloggers. Sadly they had all seemed to have an impenetrable inner circle. Seriously it would have been easier to crack into the White House than into their group.
What I do like is having blogger friends who are interested in working together to help one another. I mean in real life I go to Etsy meetups where we all talk about ideas, advice, and help each other. What I don't like is being exclusive. Usually I stop following blogs in those linds of cliques. And 1,000 loyal followers? As much as I would love that I would rather they really like my blog and I could interact with them than have "fans".

Bonny Yokeley said...

Come on, Rosie, how are you going to build your tribe if you don't reply to our comments Stat! JUST KIDDING! I'm glad so few of us have heard about it. Maybe that means it won't take off. I know my blog is no where near big enough to those standards, and it just creates stress. I say focus on making friends who support each other online without focusing on forming cliques.

Shannon @ Polish and Sugar said...

I find bloggers can be clique without realizing it. Call it tribes or not, but it's not something I'm interested in. I just like to blog, if I have people read it even better! I have started sponsorship recently but I'm not relying on it to much. Just sort of a nice bonus :)

Steph Calvert said...

It's interesting as we grow as bloggers, and how the direction and focus can change from enjoying writing about your life to NUMBERS NUMBERS NUMBERS who's got the best numbers! I strive to have really great numbers on my site in terms of search engine optimization, because folks that find me on google will in turn find out about my graphic and web design business. I tweet, I'm in a Facebook group about blogging, I hustle my posts all over the place. But I walk that fine line - I understand the need to promote, but I can't make it all about that. If my blog turns into nothing but posts about this blog that blog, then I've lost what brought me to blogging in the first place. I just wanna have fun writing!

I got rambly. But yeah - tribes to a certain extent, just try not to lose your own wonderfully writey voice!

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