Monday, February 13, 2012
Too Many Perfume Bloggers? A Response to Responders
There have been quite a few comments about my Friday post "Are There Too Many Perfume Bloggers?" Some have shown up as comments on other blogs, too, particularly FeminineThings.org. I guess there are quite a few annoyed new bloggers out there! Many more than I knew.
I think the question comes down to this: What Is A Blog?
I’ve been online since ’93, and a computer user since the late 70’s. I think back to things like Mainframes, Arapahoe, CERN, Archie/Veronica, Mosaic, Netscape, Mindspring, Earthlink, Real Player, Windows Media Player, Compuserve, Yahoo, and…well, the list goes on and on. But remember bulletin boards? I spent time on those but there was just too much strife on them. Flame wars, they were called. At one time it seemed as though the Internet was populated by a bunch of pissed off basement-boys who had appointed themselves authorities on this, that or the other thing — or everything. Of course, it’s not like that now. It’s an engaging world where we can have interesting dialog with each other. Right?
Here’s what set me off. Not too long ago, “Pere de Pierre” wrote: “Alright, I'm not turning 80 anytime soon...but lately, things have been annoying me. The perfume world has been overcome by crap new releases, crap niche brands, crap marketing, and worst of all, crap "bloggers". Fact is, it takes a long time to learn something as complex as the world of fragrance, and now it seems every Sally-come-lately is trying to teach lessons on something they know nothing of. I'd give examples, but I don't want to point fingers (I will say this - iris in perfume isn't "floral"). I'm not saying I'm a professor by any means, and I'm happy to share the Internet, but please do a bit of reading before you teach a lesson...and I'm not talking about The Guide.”
Well, anybody can have a bad day. I ignored this, for awhile. But it stuck around the back of my mind.
I suppose the writer considers himself to be an authority on perfume. So, what makes one an authority on perfume, someone who can "teach a lesson"?
Is it that you’ve smelled a lot of perfume? Is it that you know famous perfumers personally? Is it that your musings have been published on paper somewhere? Or that you live in one of the perfume capitals, Paris or New York? Or that your calls get returned? Or that your opinions have been around the blogosphere longer than somebody else’s?
To me, an expert on perfume is someone who is a perfumer, who has trained as a perfumer, who works as a perfumer or who used to work as a perfumer. The rest of us, however enthusiastic we may be, however much perfume we may have smelled, however seriously our writings are taken by the fragrance industry, are enthusiasts. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. After all, I’m one.
Ratings came to my party when a fellow blogger, Avery Gilbert, began keeping track of how the perfume blogs were doing on the Alexa scale a couple of years ago. Who was up, who was down. I began to wonder how pervasive these scales were, so I did what I always do: took a seminar. The facilitator of this one, a local media figure and blogger, was telling the attendants that we must optimize our SEO’s, otherwise why bother to write? She sounded like a carnival barker. Step right up! Only an idiot wouldn’t optimize! I thought, well, she’s a columnist, a single mother with a child to raise, who has tasted a little bit of fame and wants more and assumes that we all want book and movie deals and backstage passes and free stuff and that's why we're blogging.
If that’s you, it's probably best to try to optimize your own SEO’s, rather than complain about the competition. Take a workshop on SEO, it's complicated. Or find somebody to help you — you could barter something, uh…how about perfume? We have all those half-used bottles sitting around….
I originally came to this teeny corner of the internet because I was researching particular scents. Most of the blogs back then were of the informational type, and that was fine — I was looking for information. I think that anyone can tell pretty quickly who the authorities are. But there are now many other perfume blogs that delve into the emotional, the intellectual, the life-enhancing aspects of fragrance; these are the ones recently called “Sally-come-lately” — meaning that the writers aren’t authorities and therefore have no business writing about perfume.
Self-appointed authorities set my b.s. detector off, just as they did way back in the internet’s Paleolithic — 1993 or so. If your blog is, to you, a voice of authority, it’s really better not to call yourself that: wait for somebody else to do it. (Hey, that's just nice manners, y'all.) If you just love fragrance and want to write about how it affects you…go ahead. And never forget: question authority!
There’s room for everybody.
The image is a publicity still from the film "Young Frankstein."