Adventures in Co-Blogging is a monthly feature where we discuss what it’s like to blog with a group of people. We talk about tips and tricks, what we’ve learned, how we accomplished things, challenges, benefits, and more! To see all of the posts we have so far for this series, check out our Adventures in Co-Blogging tag.
Sharing a Blog is Scary
It’s true. If it weren’t scary, I think there would be a whole lot more group blogs in the blogosphere. But there’s something about blogging that is so personal, so individual in a way, that the thought of having someone else involved can be quite intimidating and nerve-wrecking.
As a result, I thought it would be interesting to talk about some of the fears associated with group blogs or co-blogging and my thoughts and experiences with them. Of course, my situation won’t necessarily reflect anyone else’s and I cannot guarantee that if you decide to follow in my footsteps you’ll end up as lucky as I did, but I’m hoping this may be helpful to some of you who have struggled with this idea again and again.
What if Susie doesn’t want to co-blog with me? What if NO ONE wants to co-blog with me? What if my readers stop visiting me because they don’t approve of my co-blogger? Waah!
Been there, done that. One of the first things I did when getting ready to study abroad was ask my readers about their opinions on a co-blogger, and their response? Well, for the most part they were happy with things just being me. And that freaked me out! While they were happy with just me posting whenever, I wasn’t sure if I was happy with that.
Even when I did make up my mind to do the co-blogging thing, I ran into trouble. Kelley kept thwarting my intimate advances (really, who could she resist?!) and when I asked for applications only one person applied (a lovely person at that, but I was just so deflated by the small response I decided it must not be right for me).
So yes, rejection can definitely be a problem. I think the key is to be understanding and realistic. Just as you are nervous to open up your blog, others will be nervous about joining it. You can ask others if you have someone in mind, but be aware that they have their own thing going on and it may not be right for them. If you open up applications to the public and no one applies, make sure you’re giving them enough time or take it as a sign that it’s not meant to be. And your readers? Don’t worry about them rejecting you because of a co-blogger. It may not be what they want, but if they love and accept you they’ll keep coming back.
Can’t Make it Personal
But I can’t be personal if I’m sharing my blog with others, right? What about all those posts I wanted to do about my life and my hair and my glasses-cleaning routine??
I do get the concern that having a group blog automatically makes everything less personal. When people hear your blog name, they’re no longer going to be thinking of just you. Instead, they’re going to think of you and that other person and maybe that other person. That’s right, you’re now a three-headed beast. (I think Kelley, Leanne, and I would look quite cool as a three-headed beast. We would have twelve eyes! Because we wear glasses… Get it?)
But really, I don’t think this is an issue. It’s something you’ll want to discuss with your co-bloggers, but I think group blogs can be personal if you let them. We are quite flexible with our content here. While we prefer to have a set schedule to know who is posting when, what that personal actually posts is generally up to them. If Leanne wants to post non-book related entries from her art journal and Kelley and I want to talk about our experiences with depression, we can. And even our book-related posts can give you personal insight into our lives (I’m personally a fan of Kelley’s Synesthete post).
Letting Co-Bloggers Down
But what if I let my co-bloggers down? What if I promise to do all this stuff but I can’t?
(Ren @ Fearless Facade provided this fear for me. Thanks Ren!) I definitely think this can be an issue. You come into co-blogging thinking suddenly everything will be better, that maybe you’ll be able to do more now that someone else is around to help you. But it’s not always that easy. Things come up. Life happens. It is what it is.
I think the thing you have to remember is that we’re all human. Your co-blogger won’t have unreasonable expectations for you, and you shouldn’t have unreasonable ones for them. The best thing to do is have open communication. If things are happening in your life, give your co-blogger a heads up. You don’t have to tell them the details, but let them know things are a little bumpy for you. I do this with Leanne and Kelley all the time. I let them know what’s going on in advance, so if/when it does become a problem they aren’t completely caught off-guard and feel let down. It also helps to have a plan for what to do if this happens. (You can check out what we did with Leanne when she decided to let us down, slacker. 😉 )
But it’s my blog! It’s all mine! I like to have everything JUST RIGHT! What if someone comes in and wants to change everything? What if they try to take over? NOOOOOOOOOO!
(Thank you Cait @ Notebook Sisters for reminding me of this little fear!) Control issues can definitely be an issue, and I have to admit, we’ve even had to deal with this here at Oh, the Books! Whether you start to worry about someone taking over your features or feel out of the loop when decisions are made without you, it can be hard maintaining a sense of control.
For me, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re going to be in a group blog, decisions should be made as a group. Even if you have someone like Leanne, who pretty much agrees with everything and is the most laid-back person ever, it’s good to run things by him/her. It will ensure that they feel like part of the team, and can provide input if they have any. If that bothers you? Then maybe you shouldn’t co-blog. Having guest bloggers/reviewers might be a better option for you so you can remain Mr. Boss Man.
Disagreements and Drama
What happens if we don’t get along? What if they get into disagreements with other bloggers and drag me in it? What if they stink and leave their socks everywhere and don’t flush the toilet?
No one wants drama, right? And with something as personal as a blog, something you’re used to do alone but suddenly have to share, some issues can pop up. Your co-blogger may be stepping on your toe, or getting involved in things you don’t approve of, or just being an overall pain… (I think I’m the closest one to fitting that role in our group. Whoops!)
I think, if possible, it’s good to be familiar with co-bloggers as friends before you share a blog for this reason. You will already know if you get along and how they deal with drama. And I think for us at Oh, the Books!, a lot of it has to do with talking about a problem before it becomes a problem. If something is rubbing you the wrong way, talk about it. Let your co-bloggers know. It’s better to work it out preemptively than have to deal with it when emotions are at a high.
What if it doesn’t work out? What if we can’t get over our disagreements? What if they keep letting me down? What if I want to do my own thing again? Will this ruin our relationship?
Breaking up is hard, no matter what the situation! I’ve helped one blogger go through this situation, before I joined a group blog myself. It was rough on her because she didn’t want to hurt her co-blogger’s feelings, and yet she felt like she needed to break away in order to re-spark her love of blogging.
Again, honesty is key. If your co-blogger is your friend, they’ll love and accept you no matter what you decide. It may hurt. It may take a little bit of time to get over. But it will work out. I think the thing is, if you’re open and honest about how you’re feeling while blogging together, it won’t be a surprise when this kind of thing happens. You might even find that the other person feels the same way.
My Final Advice
I definitely don’t deny that all of these fears are valid, and in no way can I ever guarantee you that you won’t have to struggle with these. But I feel like if co-blogging is something you can’t stop thinking about, if it’s something you feel might make you happier as a blogger, then you should go for it. You don’t know unless you try. The worst thing that could happen is that it doesn’t work out for you, and you have to go back to being an individual blogger. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll get lucky like me and you’ll get two amazing co-bloggers who you would do anything for. (Seriously, these girls inspire and motivate me, and I don’t think I would still be blogging if it weren’t for them.)