The End of Blog Niches as We Know It

Hi. Today is Wednesday, May 23, 2012. It is a sunny day in California. Today is also the day I have decided to end the personal writing blogosphere as we know it.

Sure, it will continue on in the same way for most of you — business as usual. But it will change for me, and once you see my paradigm shift, many of you will see the wisdom here.
Change is the future.

Blogging, once a radical act, has become pedestrian.  But I’m not going to take the obvious route, and rant about monetization.  Making money is good.  I want to discuss the concept of niche.

Bon Stewart recently wrote a brilliant post about niche from an academic point of view, and came down hard on the concept.

Every group within society has its markers, its distinctions. We think of them as our tastes, but they are – says Bourdieu – markers of our class identities, internalized and usually invisible to us. (Or they were until the hipsters started drinking Pabst, at least.)

Distinction says “I am not that. I am this.”

Unlike Bon, I’ve given up fighting against niches.  There will always be niches.  Even those who feel trapped in their niche are afraid to leave it.

In my view, the problem lies in one simple fact: we are not the master of our own niches. These categories have been created by others, usually marketers who want to sell us things.   We need to fit into a box to be acceptable.   Food bloggers. Craft bloggers. Mom bloggers. Dad bloggers.  Self-Help “You are Beautiful and Be Happy” Bloggers.

This does not work for me. There is a talent to writing for a niche, but it is not a universal one. It doesn’t mean that we are talentless. It means that we don’t have children. Or aren’t married. Or aren’t close to being experts in cooking or knitting or celebrity gossip.  Or we are just weird.

And frankly, a system which categorizes writers by personal lifestyles is extremely crude. Do you read Charles Dickens because of his parenthood?

The dominance of this rigid, superficial system of inclusion — created by the market — is something frequently discussed offline. Some of my friends have simply stopped blogging because of it, feeling as if they don’t belong in the market.  Others have become defiant, shouting to the world that they don’t need any niche; they can march to their own drummer.

I used to be the latter, wanting to go it alone.  But it is a lonely road.  A niche offers more than just monetization or categorization. It offers companionship in a group.  And having a “tribe” creates confidence and power.

I have decided to embrace the niche. Embrace the friendship and power in order to combat the pressures of this lonely and difficult profession.

The difference with my niche system is that I don’t want to follow what the market has decided is right for me.  That boots me to the back of the bus, because that is where the market thinks I belong.  I want to create a niche that works and empowers me.

There is historical precedents for creating your own niche.   There have been countless artistic and literary movements throughout the ages — Cubism, the Bloomsbury Group, the Beat Movement, Impressionism, Romanticism, Social Realism, Neo-realism, etc.  Many of our favorite artists and writers from the 17th to 20th Century were members of these niches. They were creative individuals — yes, but they also teamed with others to nurture their creativity. Was it exclusionary?  Yes.  Was it focusing on distinction?  Of course.   But it was a far less primitive system than separating the world by lifestyle, marital status, and gender.

I’m done trying to figure out whether I am a humor blogger, a memorist, or a diarist.  I would love to be a member — at least of a while — of a group of Humorous Surrealists. Many of my favorite posts involve hyper-realism where I talk to my dead father or get berated by my own penis. I would love to read more writers who write in this style.   What do our styles have in common?  What is different?  When does the surrealism overcome the artistic point of the piece? What are we both trying to say about the current world?

I presented this idea to Sarah Gilbert of Cafe Mama, a writer I greatly respect. She said that she wished she could be in a movement titled “Domestic Realism.”  I loved it!   How much more empowering to be in a movement titled “Domestic Realism” than being seen as a bland “mommyblogger.” A “Domestic Realism” movement would be committed to viewing the world of the parent, warts and all, showing the dirty dishes in the sink rather than the Architectural Digest view of things.  It would be a distinction based on artistic temperament rather than social status.

I believe that drama is good for the creative spirit, so I can imagine having fun artistic conflicts, like in Paris of the 1920’s.  I would write a post accusing Sarah and her “domestic realism” friends of missing the point of the spiritual in art. She would strike back, accusing “the surrealists” as being immature frat boys, going for cheap bathroom humor.  Of course, when we met up at some conference, we would all laugh together, knowing that our arguments were part of necessary artistic growth, not personal nonsense over who breastfed and who used formula.  The Golden Age of Blogging would begin.

A bit crazy? Maybe. I love writing online, and it makes me sad to see so many of my friends give up.  When did the marketers, PR people, and sponsored posts start dominating the field and setting the agenda?  The current niche system only works for those who fit in.

My idea is simple: don’t quit. Let’s create our own artistic niches.  I’ll see you at the virtual Parisian cafe at night (uh, Twitter) where we can argue about writing.

(note:  this post was sitting in my draft file for a week until I read this post from Helen Jane: Know What You Want)

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98 Responses to The End of Blog Niches as We Know It

  1. kenju says:

    I think you are taking it all too seriously…..but maybe not.
    kenju posted I’m Mad….and I’m just about to the point….

  2. Neil says:

    Kenju. I take it all too seriously. Thank you for reminding me. This is the real me, when I sit by myself. Very serious.

    • My dearest Neil, I think you & I are a lot alike….except you can verbalize so damn well (good? well? good? see, I don’t even know the proper word to use right there) all that crazy, serious stuff in my head that I can’t seem to make sense of. Plus, you’re funny as hell, and I am only midly funny, with a propensity for overusing adverbs.

      But if I promise to start writing again, can I be in your niche? Puhleeeeeeze? PLEASE, Neil, just PLEASE! (also, that last PLEASE should be in italics, but I’m not that cool & I don’t know how to do italics)

      Anyway, that was me channeling my 4 year old’s begging tactics, so CLEARLY, I am all over this domestic realism business, which, ummm, couldn’t showing your warts & dirty dishes also be called “real life”? Obviously not the “real life” bloggers pretend is their “real life”, save for the rare, token, disheveled living room, “this is how I really live” photo, but still. I’m not getting the difference other than the much cooler niche name, which I of course love, and I am in no way shit-talking its brilliance.

      Oh, and if we’re being all “real”, how “real” do we get to be? How do we decide where to draw the line? Yeah, yeah, that’s a question only I can answer, but seriously. How much story to tell is a major factor in why I’ve not written for so long. If I can’t tell my story the way I want to tell my story, which would probably piss off, or hurt, or alienate certain individuals who happen to read my story, I just don’t tell it. I have so much admiration for bloggers who can put their truth out there because sometimes, there are just things that need to be said.

      And let me tell you, I’ve got some things to say….

      hugs, friend ~
      T
      tracy @mamacreates posted yesterday at grandma & grandpa’s

      • Neil says:

        I think we can be good friends, but I’m not sure we really belong in the same creative niche. You probably are more “real” than I am. Frankly I like to read realism the most, but don’t have the talent to write it.

  3. Erica M says:

    I was furiously scrolling through this post, praying it wasn’t your swan song. I’d miss your penis terribly. Wait, that came out all wrong. Oops, I did it again. Shutting up now. See you at the cafe!
    Erica M posted yeah write #58 challenge grid is open

  4. Neil says:

    But then I laugh at myself later. Which saves me. Thank god for my mother’s influence. All the serious stuff is from my father.

  5. I don’t believe in niches because it stunts my writing. My niche is whatever I feel passionate about. Sometimes I’ll write about being a father or sometimes I’ll write about how to tell a story.

    Or sometimes I’ll write about having sex with a nun and pulling on the rabbi’s beard. The sole criteria I have is based upon my interest in the topic. That is part of the joy of a personal blog, I write what I write.
    Jack@TheJackB posted 567 Ways To Tell A Better Story

    • Neil says:

      Jack, normally I would say the same thing as you. And I do write whatever I want. That said, this weird post came out of finally giving in to accepting the idea of niches. There IS a power to being connected to others online, being in a group, both spiritually and practically. And sometimes I miss it. It doesn’t matter if no one really joins me in some imagined literary movement. It is the idea that I am creating my own niche, not letting it control me.

  6. Miss Britt says:

    First, I have to comment on the Dickens thing. He wouldn’t have been labeled by his parenthood because he didn’t write about that. Your niche isn’t who you are, it’s what you choose to write about most often. No more, no less.

    Second, I think your description of your niche is genius, and there are already quite a few people writing that type of stuff. Good news for you. :)

  7. Neil says:

    Miss Britt, I don’t buy that. What do you consider my niche? And what do you consider your niche? I suppose we should take the Bloggess off of every mom blogging list, so the humorists can say that she is ours.

  8. Tongue-in-cheek, as always! Nothing wrong with being gloriously unboxable though… I still believe that being yourself is what readers come back for. How about Selfish Realism or something? Now excuse me, I’m off to see if my vagina wants to write a blog post…
    Hannah Joy Curious posted Jammy despatch from the other side of sleep

  9. Dickens wrote fiction. Actually he wrote serial fiction for a paper in order to sell the paper and make money. His serial fiction may even have sold cereal, or, rather, gruel.

    I’ve always considered myself a beat blogger of many beats so maybe at best I label myself Eclectic Blogger, although that always makes me think of the theme song from the Electric Co. So maybe I am a Gen X Blogger.

    I agree: Don’t worry about how others niche or tag you. I’ve been tagged as everything from mom blogger to political blogger and they are all accurate from some angle.

    I hear you about the tribe. But. Even us outliers manage to get one somehow.

    So once again I agree: Stay true to what you like to write about, even if it is outside the niche or left of center. I like what Jack said. He sounds like a good person to have on horseback next to you as you gallop the steppes.

    Good luck to the Humorous Surrealists. I hope they launch a board on Pinterest, too. ;)
    Julie Pippert posted What price an apology?

  10. KeAnne says:

    I love this! I’ve been thinking lately about how any supposed “radical” nature of blogging has been tamed by PR reasserting control over the conversation. It’s not anti-monetization per se, but I feel like traditional media has found a way to control the blogosphere.

    I would love to be part of the type of niche you describe. Please classify me by my thoughts and interests instead of you lifestyle. I’m in the Quirky niche.
    KeAnne posted You Oughta Know…About Me in High School

    • Hey, you know, PR and Marketing only hold the sway the bloggers let them have. We may dangle shiny objects and bloggers may understandably take them but I have never, ever asked anyone to create any content. I’m sort of prohibited by federal law from that lol. And even if I were not, I’m prohibited by my own ethics and morals. Long story short, I never think that I have any control over content or conversation. I stick to what I can control: what I do and how I do it and then I hand it over.

      As it happens, I’ve noticed a trend towards promo sites and away from content sites. That happens to not thrill me. FWIW
      Julie Pippert posted What price an apology?

    • Bon says:

      KeAnne, i think so too. if you have any research that actually would save me having to find a way to say that, send it my way? (bats eyelashes)

      and Neil, you are brilliant, as ever. especially in calling me brilliant before you dismiss me as a launching pad for your own straw man. ;)

      that said, yes, i think what you’re suggesting is great. let’s ditch the commercial terms for niches and come up with artistic ones instead. it changes the game, maybe?
      Bon posted what i wanted to write on Facebook

      • Neil says:

        The only problem is that I think I just aligned myself artistically with Black Hockey Jesus, and I’m not sure how our membership meetings would go.

  11. I blog and I’m a mom, yet I’m not a “mommyblogger”. I don’t blog about my kids and family life much, I don’t offer parenting tips or product reviews. I often feel like I’m in a limbo, suspended somewhere between what I should blog about and what I want to write about. I don’t fit a particular niche, or at least I haven’t figured out which one yet. I don’t blog for money, it’s just a venue of self-expression for me. Maybe that’s the problem.
    Joanna Ciolek posted And Then Dankness Descends

      • Teri H. says:

        I was JUST struggling with this very issue, and trying to write a blog post about it. And then I stopped. There are a lot of different niches I explore with my blog, and I struggle with peeling it down to one specific niche. I think I would get bored. My blog is a representation of me, rather than just a one-dimensional view of what interests me. Who wants to limit their ‘self’?

        I guess it comes down to our intentions: are we writing because we want an audience, or are we purely for ourselves?
        Teri H. posted The Plight of the Connected Teacher

        • Neil says:

          Both. I’m not saying you have to have a niche, but if you want one, you don’t have to go the traditional route of what is offered in blogland: moms, dads, knitters. Be more creative and obscure. And find others who think the same way.

  12. Neil says:

    Actually, this idea treats bloggers more like writers than the current system. Writers always talk about their styles and voice. Tom Wolfe created “New Journalism” and attacked other novelists for avoiding real life. Others have complained about the type of writers who come out of writing programs, and tend to focus on the mundane. The discussion is less about who the person IS, and how they express themselves.

  13. Damn typo in previous comment! I meant SELFIST realism, or something. Because SELFIST sounds cool. I may be somewhat under-caffeinated still.
    Hannah Joy Curious posted Jammy despatch from the other side of sleep

  14. Neil says:

    I am being a bit truthful about the surrealist/realistic thing. I find blogging a bit too “realist” and journalistic for my taste — or my skills. My writing, even when I was young, tended to go into fantasy, so I find it difficult to stay rooted in reality. I could berate myself for not fitting in to the manner of writing of the standard memorist, or being funny enough, or I could align myself with Borges and Kafka, which empowers me.

  15. Aaron says:

    I dig this idea. Lots… but I am far too self insecure to label my self. This is a problem. Maybe I can ask for input from the people that read me? Maybe letting the readers help define the writer (rather than the marketers) could work as well? Maybe I just need to sack up and name my self.
    Aaron posted Why do I blog: a list

    • Neil says:

      No one more insecure than I am. I have thought the same thing — ask your readership. A few people told me that this was a bad idea…. as if you have to always present yourself a a completely formed writer who knows himself and acts like an authority figure, and by asking shows weakness. While this may be true is some ways, it is also the same thinking that makes life so miserable… why men start wars rather than discussing things, or people fear asking for help. I bet your readers will know a lot better than you in how you portray yourself online — if you can get them to be honest. Then, you can adjust — give em a little what they want, or change thing around to what you want. The important thing is to empower yourself so you want to write more. I find the current way of looking at things makes everyone want to write LESS.

  16. Megan says:

    I don’t like boxes, mostly because I never fit into any of them. I want to write: Today about things in my past, tomorrow about my morning commute. And then I want to post a poem.

    Maybe this is why I have crap traffic.
    Megan posted On Running And Doing What I Never Thought I Could

    • Neil says:

      Again, I am all for being a generalist. I am like that. One day about marriage. One day crazy blogging post. But I do think there is something about creating a unifying niche that helps focus the writer. Being a “” doesn’t work for me. But I do think I have a certain voice that is consistent in whatever I write. You tend to be political aware — progressive — in what you write about and say, that becomes part of your “brand.” That doesn’t mean that you have to stick with it, it helps you understand your self better…. which ends up improving your writing and photography. Even in your photography, I notice an interest in nature. That becomes your niche, but it is not coming from without, but from within.

    • Tiff says:

      Me too, Megan. Though I’d wager your crap traffic would be my dream traffic!
      Tiff posted Oooh baby, baby!

  17. Tiff says:

    Bring on the surrealism, I say. This being stuck in a niche of reality is so very constricting. I say this merely because on my blog (that dark backwater of the internet) I write about…whatever. Sometimes fact, sometimes fiction, sometimes flights of fantasy and actual (to me, anyhow) writing. Keep the reader guessing, is the motto!

    Now, please someone design a blog badge so we can all stick it on our homepage, then work up a meme or something so we can write about how totally much we all fit into this new blogging scheme. Then we can tag our friends, just like the old days! It’ll be fun!!

  18. Mo says:

    Yes! I love this. I’ve stop caring about fitting in to a niche and marketing and monetizing. I just don’t have time for that anymore. I write what I want to write and if it resonates with someone, then it’s gravy on my mashed potatoes.

    But I suppose if I did have to squeeze into a niche it would be something like Midlife Realist.
    Mo posted The Accidental Yogi

    • Neil says:

      I don’t like that one. Midlife Realist is a bit of downer to me. Unless that is the way you want to go. I like the realist, but what does your age have to do with your writing? Have you seen the recent sexy covers of AARP magazine?

  19. Great post. Been feeling like giving up lately. But this was pretty inspiring.

  20. I’m just going to become a coupon blogger. I hear you can make a ton of money doing that.

    Also, how in the hell did I miss you getting berated by your penis? Because, man, that’s a post I could fully support.
    Redneck Mommy posted The Dirtiest Phone Conversation Ever

    • Neil says:

      Since your current post is “the Dirtiest phone conversation ever,” I think we both already know YOUR niche.

    • Neil says:

      You’re going to hate to hear this, but there is no one more stylistically similar as a blogger to me… writing, not always content, than you.

  21. William says:

    I am sorry but I do not think you get to controll the niche. The niche is where your audience places you. I am not a mommy blogger but the bulk of my readers are moms who read blog and so by definition I then become part of that niche. Sure, you could say I am Daddy blogger but that is only because I am a man and I write about my kids, but dad bloggers get lumped into a parenting niche. I place you in an intelectual niche of bloggers (not humor, not diarist etc) just good and smart.
    William posted Good and Bad

    • Neil says:

      Are you saying that your niche is mommybloggers because most of your readers are moms? I see no evidence that the system works that way. I have more blog followers who are moms than many mombloggers. If I advertise that fact, do you think Disney will invite me to go on one of their cruises so I can tell all my readers about how much fun it was to go? Why not? Do moms only trust other moms? They certainly trusted Oprah, didn’t they? According to you, I am a mommyblogger but without any of the benefits or opportunities of being a mommyblogger. Who needs it? Better I create my own niche, and train my audience to see me that way.

      As a side note, thank you for considering me as part of an intellectual niche, but again — according to your theory, I am who reads me — and you haven’t met some of my readers…. but they have been raised by wolves.

  22. Summer says:

    I mostly stopped blogging because of exactly the reasons you lay out here. I hope to see this Golden Age.
    Summer posted The Title Should Go Here.

  23. Susanna K. says:

    Love it. I need to think of a name for my niche. Cerebral Opinion Artists? Stream-of-consciousness-ism?
    Susanna K. posted I Don’t Have Time for Art

  24. Wow, lookit you with all your comments. Since I’m an RSS reader and infrequent commenter this may be typical. At any rate, nice post. Very thoughtful and reasoned.
    I have a small issue with you calling any writing pedestrian.
    It’s not. Neverever.
    Well done.

  25. Average Jane says:

    I pitched a BlogHer session on “blogging without a niche” but it didn’t get picked. Ah well.

    I’ve always refused on concentrate on one blogging topic or group of topics, which gives me a very schizophrenic (figuratively) readership. All along I’ve been blogging for my own amusement and I think readers are just a bonus. I think it’s a symptom of my middle-aged “take it or leave it” attitude toward everything about myself.
    Average Jane posted Average Jane Starts Walking…Again

    • Neil says:

      I think that session would have been a good one. It needed a sexier title.

    • gorillabuns says:

      I would have liked to see what you had to say about that niche or lack thereof. I for one think many like to pigeon hole most of us into a niche. Even if you don’t think you belong in it. I prefer to say “narcissistic blogging” is my niche.

      It’s all about me, damn it!
      gorillabuns posted day one of summer break

      • Neil says:

        I’m being somewhat serious in this post because I’m not only talking about how I perceive myself but how I am perceived by others, and read by others. By niche, I don’t just mean how you define yourself. There are plenty of people who will never see my writing, or interact with me in any meaningful way because I will never fit on a parenting list.

  26. Kyra says:

    I admit, part of the reason I quit was because I got knocked into a hard corner on fitness blogging, when really what I just wanted to do was write about whatever the heck I wanted to. I missed it after a bit and went back to it, but I’m probably not going to totally identify with any niche. It’s too much effort!
    Kyra posted Psycho-Cinema-Somatic-Hypochondria

  27. Jenn says:

    Quit, nah. I’m still here with you, buddy.

  28. chantel says:

    all I’ve wanted to do was write. After 2 years of writing block i could give a crap if anyone puts me in a niche, thinks I’m a niche writer or any such thing. A complete sentence out of my hands is the only thing I ask.

    But, Neil = good for you! Write as if the niche doesn’t exist.

  29. Julie says:

    I am undoubtedly a niche blogger…Asian American Mommy. And I am definitely a _blogger_ vs. a writer, so I am doomed. :)

    However, I’m not despairing. I’ve been niched all my life along the axes of race, gender, academic ability, religion, attractiveness, etc. The mommyblogging community, to me, is just a simplified model of reality: the networkers and the pretty white girls get the spotlight, and they keep their distance from people like me. Sure, that leaves me in their wake, but at least I’m having fun. Blogging is definitely not a job or a chore for me, and I’d like to keep it that way.

    I’ve been dipping my toe into the sponsored post cesspool, and I can take it or leave it. It’s nice that companies finally want to reach out to the Asian American demographic. I won’t ever get to the point where I won’t put my heads on the keyboard for less than $100 a post or something, lol!

    I’m rambling, sorry. :(
    Julie posted My Brain is Missing Pieces Too

    • Neil says:

      Other than when we write about our ethnicity or religion, do you think it still matters who we are? Do you think when someone reads you they think “Asian chick?”

      • Julie says:

        So sorry! I didn’t know you responded. I think people probably do ID me as “Asian chick,” mostly because my audience is almost exclusively Asian chicks. I actually can’t think of any non-Asian people who are regular commentors who weren’t friends with me already from pre-blogging days…that’s so niche!
        Julie posted Happy Anniversary to Us!

  30. Julie says:

    OMG hands, not heads!
    Julie posted My Brain is Missing Pieces Too

  31. I am surprised at how many naysayers there are (and how few have subscribed to domestic realism. but perhaps that is because I have yet to complete my manifesto). I think there are several things here appealing to me, beginning with:

    — inclusion. I think of you and grandmother bloggers and single childless women of many ages as part of my niche, though of course between the two of us, our writing styles are very different and we shall need to be of rival, overlapping in relationships only, niches (I’m thinking Bloomsbury here, where everyone had some familial or lusty relationship with other literary movements of the time). this is a way to claim those as my sisters and brothers in style, even though we are not all “special needs bloggers” or “radical homemakers” or whatever.
    — ownership. I detest “mommy blogging” because it is not a name I developed nor did I choose. and yet, I’m technically in that niche and I get all the Pampers promos. I do not want nor could I even use Pampers and my audience (I hope) doesn’t give a rats’ behind for Pampers. “Domestic realism” is mine, not because I came up with it but because I believe in it. I plant my flag.
    — the Golden Age. Paris. I want this! can we please please begin a Golden Age conference? if not we shall have a Blogher offsite, at Balthazar, of course.

    I respect you too, potty humor and all.
    sarah gilbert posted dream of myself . may 03 . 2012

  32. Stacey says:

    Somebody told me “You’re a life blogger. You write about your life.” That’ll make you feel like a standout.

    I kinda miss your talking penis posts.
    Stacey posted The Fortune Cookie

  33. Danny says:

    Love this discussion and the fact that you’re always searching for your “niche” which I think IS your niche. You know, neurotic-Jew-afraid-of-change-but-really-far-braver-than-he-thinks-self-questioning-self-torturing-intelligent-inquisitive-curious-childless-but-mommyblogger-loving-gifted-photographer-you-can-take-the-boy-out-of-Queens-incredibly-observant-self-deprecating-hopeful-realist-cultural-anthropologist-newly-bearded-provocateur! Or something like that.

    What was that great line that Carol Kane says in “Annie Hall” after Woody’s long-winded description of her? “I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype!” Fuck niches, you are you (cue “Free to Be, You and Me” music), and THAT is what people want (and from where I sit, you are one of the most “popular” bloggers walking the planet!).
    Danny posted The Judy Miller Show: 78 RPM

  34. Once again great big thoughts coming out of you, Neil. I have never been a “classic” niche writer either. And still have no idea what anyone would call me.

    I am certainly part of the “special needs parenting” community, but I don’t write about that every day. What do I write about? SN parenting. regular parenting. Autism in general. My autistic son in particular. Eldercare. Death and grieving. Sandwich Generation stuff. Memoir. Little domestic moments. Big thoughts. Humor. Photography. You’ll find all that there on my blog. I even have a lovely category called “Whiny Rants” and another called “Ruminating Rambles” and occasionally “Brain Fluff.”

    What all this makes me I have no idea, other than eclectic and likewise not that widely read. The main thing I think of myself as is: “writer.” Not terribly original, eh?
    Varda (SquashedMom) posted The Dress

    • Neil says:

      I think you’ve embraced being a mom blogger, which is great. I love to read your posts. Your style tends to the memoirist, no?

  35. Mrs. Wilson says:

    Yes. I agree with this SO MUCH. And also, can we turf the word “mommyblogger” yet? I loathe it so.

  36. Angella says:

    Thanks, Neil. I get tired of all the people telling you how to blog, that you need to find a niche, etc.

    I’m just me, writing about my life, which covers a broad spectrum of topics. So maybe my niche is ME.
    Angella posted I Have A Dog In This Fight

  37. Helen Jane says:

    I’m thick in the middle of the blog marketingnessland. And yet, I still care deeply about keeping the internet interesting. In fact, they tease me at work about being “defender of the internet.”

    And strangely enough, what I love is that marketers and PR people WANT bloggers to keep on being their weird, weird, original, exuberant, creative selves.

    They don’t like unoriginal blogs any more than you or I do.
    (They just want them to be pretty.)

    Thanks for the link. It’s high praise, coming from a writer I really admire.
    Helen Jane posted Know what you want.

  38. sweetney says:

    My niche is being awesome :)

    (heh. kidding. Sorta.)

    I don’t think a lot about this. I’ve been me for so long, and doing this writing online so long, it just doesn’t seem all that important how people pigeonhole me or don’t. People have always put me in the mommyblogger niche, but said they don’t think of me as a mommyblogger, too. So…. *shrug.* We’re all kind of freaks when it gets down to it, no? xo
    sweetney posted Footnotes – 5.24.12

    • Neil says:

      I mean absolutely no disrespect but the fact that you don’t think about your niche reminds me of when we tell minorities that there isn’t anything called white privilege. I bet you’ve given a lot of thought of where you fit in, even if it is a different way than I’m describing. Clearly you started out as a mom blogger, focusing on the unique vision of life that parenting brought. More recently you have tried to connect with other divorced parents. Now you seem to want to move on and be a more positive presence. You are changing and so is your niche. We all want to fit in, find our peers, and develop a like-minded community, and maybe make some money. My thesis was to say it is GOOD to have a community, but for some of us, that community might not be one that is easily defined by the marketplace or lifestyle, but by artistic sentiment.

  39. Pingback: The Beached Librarian » Blog Archive » To niche, or not to niche …

  40. MissingMolly says:

    I’m relatively new to blogging, and I’ve thought a lot about the subject of niches, pigeonholes, labels, etc. as it applies to my blog and the blogs I read.

    Since I mostly write about my dead baby, I suppose that is my niche. And I really do love the community of babylost parents that I’ve connected with since I started blogging. But I also enjoy reading about a whole range of things–sometimes I search for familiarity, sometimes novelty–and I don’t seem to have any requirements, other than I can’t stand bigotry and meanness. Aside from that, I’m starting to realize that I’m completely addicted to blogs….Except maybe fashion and celebrity blogs. (There’s an exception to every rule.)

    I love the blogosphere because I have access to an infinite library of ideas, stories, and pictures, and it’s a truer reflection of life than Facebook certainly, and indeed more than most existing media. Anyone can do it (anyone, that is, who has access to a computer and the internet), and regardless of how I’m labeled by others, I can write about anything I want. And I *will.* (Stamps foot)

    As far as the monetization of blogging, well, everything is monetized now. I can’t even lie on my back in the grass and lazily watch the puffy, white clouds drifting across the cerulean sky as I ponder the meaning of life without seeing an AD (at least I think it’s an ad…I’m pretty sure there aren’t actually any Geico-shaped clouds).

    I certainly have no issue with people making money from their art–which is cause for celebration–but rather, I have an issue with marketers dictating the direction and substance of said art. Dictators suck. Which is why I’ve written on my blog (well, actually I YELLED it while beating on my chest) that I don’t plan on ever advertising on my blog.

    I love your blog, by the way. (Thank you, Cathy in Missouri, for clueing me in.)
    MissingMolly posted Eclipse

    • Neil says:

      I know quite a few moms who started blogging because they lost a child — Redneck Mommy is the first one I think of — and I think the issue becomes, at what point do you want to move on? Can you still miss him, but be able to move on and write about humor and happiness? What identity do you have outside of the sadness?

      • MissingMolly says:

        It’s really not about that (moving on). Every life experience informs who I am, and that’s especially true of my daughter and her death. There will be moments of joy (there have been), future sorrows (guaranteed), boredom, etc, etc. But it’s not like I’m going to leave Grief station, board a train to Happiness, and live there forever more. All I can do is be true to what I’m thinking and feeling right now.

        And being without sponsors, I feel I’m more able to freely express myself. Which is not to say that I don’t read blogs that contain advertising–I do. I just skip over the advertisements because I already feel bombarded from all sides to buy more stuff. (If you’re interested, I wrote a blog post entitled “Bloggery Snobbery” where I address monetizing my blog, among other things.)

        Just started reading Redneck Mommy today and am intrigued.
        MissingMolly posted Calling card

  41. elle says:

    I’m not giving up!!! I have tried… believe me…

    I love it too… blogging that is…. And F-em. I like to think of myself as a niche-hopper. I am a great many things and I like to share my experiences, so I write from whatever niche-mindedness I find myself in at the moment. Niches restrict creativity. Our truths are as multifaceted as we are, and that’s how it should be. Sorry it took me so long to read and comment… but I was busy driving to various themed parties, where I served my homemade oatmeal cookies out of hand crafted, decoupaged, steam punk tins I made from an idea I saw on pintrest. ;) hee hee
    elle posted The New Age

  42. magpie says:

    i like having a community, but i don’t think i’ve much of a niche. would you disagree? i just write what i want to write.
    magpie posted Wedding Chicken

    • Neil says:

      You’re a tough one, but I bet if you and i sat down for an hour and went through your posts, we would discover your niche staring at us.

  43. Marie Nicole says:

    I found my niche. It’s the nicheless niche. The niche for the non-nichers. The last picked niche. The just leave us your ball and go home niche because we’d rather play without you. The girl next door niche. Ya get my drift? That’s my niche. Does such a think exist?
    Marie Nicole posted The 1st Time I got Hit By A Car Was Caused By A Paint Splatter

    • Neil says:

      Remind me to read over your last month of blog posts, and I WILL tell you what niche I think you are, even if you don’t realize it yet.

  44. My niche is called “Psychotic Foaming” (which is a category in NaBloPoMo). I love what you call Twitter.
    absence of alternatives posted Old Rules. They just need to be said again.

  45. Tracie says:

    I love your idea of new, self-defined niches. I will have to think what mine would be – it involves a creativity that is greater than a late Friday night will allow me.
    Tracie posted Full Of Thoughts – We Are Okay

  46. Your way of explaining the whole thing in this piece of writing is genuinely nice, all
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