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A Non-Influential Post About Being Influential

Before you start reading this post, I have to give a disclaimer. I’m not on the list. I’m not on any list. Wait, I take that back. Last week I found out that I was named one of the 127 Best Black Websites. That was cool. But, I’m not on any “blogger to be treated and pampered” list (except, maybe my man’s…heh.), so I want to thank you for taking the time for reading my powerless, non-influential thoughts. That, to me, is truly a treat. And I feel really pampered. Thank you.

Okay, so there’s a new list out. It’s the list of “World’s Most Powerful Media Influencers to Treat and Pamper.” No, this is not a joke. There’s an article and a list of 100 “Mommy Bloggers” (Ha.) that companies are being advised to connect with and “come bearing gifts.” Here is the issue that I have with lists of the “mommy blogger” kind. They often end up celebrating some at the expense of the esteem of most others. Instead of being proud of our own original voices, we start to compare ourselves to the writers who made the list. Don’t we have enough to feel inadequate about? I mean, seriously. There’s the pressure to be a good mom. The pressure to be a good mate, and a good provider. Now, on top of all of that, after all of the work that I do on this blog, I have to prove to you that I deserve to be treated and pampered? You’ve got to be kidding me.

If that wasn’t bad enough, lists also create a division in the blogging community. It separates us into “tiers”, the haves and the have-nots. Those that influence and those that don’t. If you’re a “top” blogger, then what does that make me…a bottom blogger? I think not. Bloggers, don’t fall into the trap. See, when a site decides that they want to single out folks that are better than others, what they’re essentially doing is baiting the wolves. Those of us who are not on the list are supposed to comment on the accused plagarists on the list, or the one with all the typos. We’re supposed to share, without naming names of course, that we’ve worked with at least one blogger from that list on a campaign and they were an absolute horror and never completed things on time. We’re supposed to visit their sites and make note of the number of grammatical errors, and huff and puff when we find another one because, “Gosh, they made the list and they don’t even know how to use a comma correctly!”

But look, I’m a realist. I know that these lists aren’t going anywhere (because, hey, we all need pageviews, right?). I just have one simple request from the brand side of things. Actually, this is from the blogger side, too. Can you at least help us understand what makes the bloggers on your list stand out (aside from Twitter and Facebook followers) from others. Let us know that you included Jennifer James because she is one of the most caring and generous bloggers out there. Tell us about how social media savvy Cecily and Jo-Lynne are, and how they have a gift for teaching it to others. Share how Shelby consistently creates honest and authentic video reviews, or how Courtney is an expert at managing large projects with brands, and coaching bloggers. Do that, please, because those are things that matter. And really, we want to celebrate with our blogging friends who are being recognized instead of watching them have to defend their position on some random list that they never even asked to be on in the first place.

Okay, now, for us “other” bloggers, those of us not on the list, what should we do? I’ll tell you what. We continue to tell our stories and share our views. We continue to uplift each other, read and comment on each other’s blogs, help one another get to the next level…whatever that means for us as individuals. Heck, we make our own lists…and put ourselves on it!

Now y’all know that when it comes to my writing and my blogging, I’m good. I mean, I’m confident about the content that I put out. I’m proud of it, and I don’t need a list to validate that. If you aren’t quite at that point, yet, and these types of things really do bother you, I want to leave you with something that  I said to my writer friend who was having a tiny self-doubt moment. I asked her, “Do you like your writing?” When she said yes, I reminded her that how she felt about what she was doing was the most important thing.

How about this. I’ve made my own list. Take note and go be influential.

Jennifer James

Sunday 17th of March 2013

I happened upon your post tonight and am speechless. Thank you for the kind words. I love your voice and your passion. Keep it up!