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Blogger Identity: Be Careful What You Say… It Defines You

Steven 9 responses Blogging

An inferiority complex is an unrealistic feeling of general inadequacy caused by actual or supposed inferiority in one sphere that often results in timidity or self-diminishment. I know, that’s a lot to take in, so let me give you the condensed version: What you say is what you are, and it shows up like a big, flashing neon sign on your blog.

Every day I see comments and emails that say things like:

  • I know I don’t have anywhere near the traffic you have…
  • I’m never going to be one of those A-list bloggers…
  • I can’t write as well as those other bloggers…
  • I’m just a small blogger, but I was wondering…
  • I don’t know anything about html…
  • I don’t know much about blogging but…

The one thing all of these statements have in common is that they focus on something the questioner is lacking, something negative. More to the point, they focus on something the questioner thinks is a negative and that’s what really matters. Instead of focusing on the skills they do have, they’re focusing on things they don’t have.

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Many of these bloggers are also comparing themselves to other bloggers and casting themselves in an even more negative light.

It’s understandable that when these bloggers come to me with questions they’re going to express the problem in terms of something they feel they’re lacking. But I have to wonder if these negative expressions are symptoms of an underlying inferiority complex and, if so, what affect is it having on their blogs?

The affect on you

Always focusing on the negative will eventually cause you to forget you have any positive attributes and all, and there’s something positive about all of us. You may not be the best writer, but you don’t have to be better than someone else, you just have to be good enough for your readers.

Having a low self-opinion tends to make bloggers timid and that’s the worst thing you can be in the blogging world. You become one of those bloggers who only repeats what everyone else is saying because you’re too afraid to take a stand on the issues.

The affect on your blog

Your readers can sense when you lack self-confidence. You’ll be that blogger who never expresses an opinion, the blogger who only defines the problem but never really tells them how to solve it. There are millions of timid bloggers in the world and none of them have followers. If you want people to follow your blog then you have to show them you’re willing and able to lead.

Other bloggers aren’t going to link out to you either. They want to send their readers to confident bloggers who have strong opinions and unique viewpoints, not someone who’s afraid of his own shadow.

How do you get rid of your blogger inferiority complex? I’m glad you asked because I’m going to cover that in another post tomorrow. But for now, it’s important to understand that your readers have no idea what you don’t know or what you don’t have. All they see is what you’re putting on the page. And if they like it, that’s all that really matters.

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9 Comments

  1. Desiree

    You make a great point- I haven’t even started to blog yet, but already feel some of this inferiority complex you mention!

    (Also, the word you want to use in your subheading is “effect” not affect. But still a good article!)

    1. Are you really sure about that?

    2. Desiree

      About effect versus affect? Yes, I really am sure. Look up the difference- even native English speakers get them mixed up and confused.

      About the inferiority complex? Yep, sure about that, too!

    3. Lia

      It’s a little embarrassing you’re questioning Desiree’s accuracy. Affect is a verb. Effect is a noun. “The effect on you” makes a lot more sense. If you were to say “How it affects you,” then you’d be correct.

    4. Thanks for your comment Lia.

      Let me start by pointing out that English is not my first language so I’m happy to always learn new things about this language.

      Secondly, I invite you to check an English dictionary because Affect is also a noun which means: “Emotion or desire, esp. as influencing behavior or action.

    5. Lia

      No problem. I also do not mean to offend. Though you’re right that “affect” can be used as a noun, I would also like to further correct you on that point. “Affect” as a noun is obsolete at best and is better used when speaking in medical (psychiatry in particular) terms. Dictionaries don’t often explain that part of a word’s definition.

      Since you said yourself English isn’t your first language, using a word in the right context can be confusing. That said in the context of your article’s subheading, “effect” would be correct.

    6. Ahmad Khoirul Azmi

      I agree with Lia. Not trying to be offensive though, but the word ‘effect’ in general is more acceptable and recognizable. As a noun, ‘affect’ may refer to an emotion or to a psychological/psychiatric state. You can clearly get different senses when using both as adjectives: ‘effective’ means ‘producing results’ while ‘affective’ is an adjective used predominately in psychology, which means ‘coming from emotions’.

      However, beyond the vocabulary discourse; great article, as usual, Steven!

  2. As a professional writer with a degree in English, I cannot help but laugh that this so quickly turned into an exercise in grammar. (Steven, Google is your friend. But never be afraid to question anyone; even writing professors have been known to goof. I spent an entire semester in the lounge of the law school with one, arguing about 80% of the red marks and winning about 90% of the time. It made a difference in my final grade, and though we started off on a rocky footing – my pointing out in class that no, “skiing, walking, and king” were NOT, in fact, parallel just because they all ended in -ing, we became friends.) I once questioned another writing teacher who claimed that any verb coupled with a form of “to be” or “to have” was “passive.” Her example? “The detectives had moved to the city.” That is PAST, not passive. Her response, after about 10 minutes of heated debate, was “F*** YOU!!!” (without the asterisks). Some people get so emotional over these things! If you want to be the life of the party at a literary gathering, just innocently ask people if there’s really any need for serial commas. Or – conversely – ask a bunch of journalists “What’s so wrong with serial commas?”

    Your readers are correct, though. You should change “affect” to “effect” in those headings: “The Effect on You” and “The Effect on Your Blog”

    You wrote, “You may not be the best writer, but you don’t have to be better than someone else, you just have to be good enough for your readers.” This is so true. And maybe an even more important point to remember – thinking that you have to be THE BEST is probably what results in never having published anything – or in being that one-hit literary wonder who cannot surpass the perfectionist expectations they’ve set up for themselves with an acclaimed first book. Imagine if J.K. Rowling had been hindered by such self doubt?

    The way I avoid it? I keep writing for the readers who keep showing up. Anyone can say “great post,” and wander off, never to be seen again. But the people who keep coming back? Those are the ones you write for. And for yourself. It’s not an either-or proposition, this notion of writing to fulfill your own needs and amuse yourself vs. writing for readers. It’s communicating – mind to mind. Otherwise, it’s just an exhibitionist’s diary.

    1. I am always open to criticism. I am a mere human and I am far from perfect. We all make mistakes at one time or another.

      Thanks for sharing your experience here, Holly.