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!