Sunday, 10 February 2013

Well, this is awkward:

In a recent post, I mentioned that I had bought the January 'Superblogger' issue of Company magazine, and was looking forward to reading it.  I published that post in a hurry, so that anyone interested would have a better chance of finding it in shops before it was replaced with the February edition.  I also published that post before I had read more than a few pages of the magazine, and now I kind of regret featuring it at all.  That sounds unkind, but although I do really like Company's new look, I'm not entirely convinced about the quality of its content.  To me, a lot of their blogging advice came off as somewhat patronising, and I found the chosen success stories more disheartening than inspiring.

Bip Ling in Company, January 2013 - p. 49

The featured 'superbloggers' and cover stars of January's Company are extremely successful bloggers, Bip Ling and Susie Bubble.  They've both accomplished a great deal, and I don't begrudge them that whatsoever, but I also didn't find their interviews particularly relatable or uplifting.  I think the above quote from Ling illustrates my point pretty well.  Although I understand that the guys at Company are probably trying to encourage us to shoot for the moon, I think the majority of bloggers are lightyears away from contemplating a TV show.  Maybe I'm a pessimist, but both interviews made me feel far more depressed than motivated.

Susie Bubble in Company, January 2013 - p. 50

I want to make it clear that my problem with this Superblogger feature isn't with the bloggers themselves, but with the easily misconstrued tone of the whole article.  Take Susie Bubble's thoughts on the number of pageviews her blog gets each day (above), for example.  For a very new and small time blogger like myself, 30,000 hits a day seems like an impossibly large number, yet here Bubble seems to be passing it off as nothing.  Although I'm sure it wasn't her intention to come across as arrogant, I can't seem to see her answer any other way.

Bip Ling in Company, January 2013 - p. 49

Ling's answer to the same question (above) made me cringe even more.  Imagine having so many blog viewers that it scares you.  Just imagine!  Oh wait, I can't, because I am happy when even one person takes time out of their day to have a look at my blog.  To me, her response almost suggests that she would rather people didn't read her blog.  Again, I'm sure this wasn't her intention at all, but (as you might be able to tell) it really rubbed me up the wrong way.

'Do you speak blog?' feature in Company, January 2013 - pp. 102-103

To prove I'm not out to get Bip Ling and Susie Bubble, above is another blog related feature in the magazine that I have a problem with.  An A-Z of the blogosphere is a cute idea, but one that I think could have been executed a little better by Company.  Again, rather than being inspiring, the article comes across as contradictory, flippant and mostly seems to consist of product placement and weak insults.  Apple (and an abundance of their products) get a mention, as well as Canon, Nike, H&M, and Wah Nails.  Here are some of my favourite excerpts from the feature:

'D is for... daily.  If you're not posting every day, or more, then frankly, you're a part-timer.'  
Gee, thanks, Company!

'M is for... mum and dad, as in the Bank of.  Until the cashola rolls in, keeping up with the bloggers is pricey.  And that Celine tote won't buy itself.'
Wait, I'm confused.  Company, do you dislike bloggers?  I thought you were trying to appeal to bloggers in this issue?  Weren't you just trying to promote a peaceful and supportive blogging community, and now you're claiming that all bloggers are lazy, greedy freeloaders?

'O is for... OutfitOfTheDay.  Because getting dressed is a style bloggers' art form.  Cue comments: 'OMG I'm, like, totally loving your look right now.''
Hey, Company, remember a minute ago when you were trying to convince me that Bip Ling and Susie Bubble were the best thing since sliced bread?  Now you're implying that they (and their readers) are vapid airheads!  Good job.

I could probably go on about that one, but I feel I've let out a little too much of my inner cynicism.  Of course, the only thing more sarcastic than my comments is Company's article...  It's actually made me quite angry writing all of that down!

'' feature in Company, January 2013 - p. 105

The icing on the cake for me was this article entitled 'SHITBLOGZ.COM'.  Obviously, this is intended to be a witty mock up of a rubbish blog that nobody in their right mind would ever read - a 'don't's of blogging, if you will.  This article isn't witty at all, it's negative and hurtful.  Why run the risk of putting readers down by writing an article all about the 'don't's of blogging, when you could motivate them with the 'dos'?

'Say no to ugly fonts.'
Who's to say which fonts are 'ugly'?  Are the fonts I use ugly, Company?  I hope so.

'Boring content creates low traffic and minimal hits.  It's more about awesome than yawnsome.'
Again, apparently Company Magazine are the authority on what is boring and what isn't.  Luckily, one of life's great perks is that different people have different interests.  I say post whatever you want to on your own blog, because if you're interested enough to write it, then chances are someone else will be interested enough to read it.

'Sloppy writing + not making much sense + spelling/grammatical errors = not a riveting read.'
This coming from a publication who uses 'words' such as 'potench', 'cashola' and 'inspo' in their articles.  Also, the fact that there are mathematical symbols in a sentence about good grammar doesn't sit very well with me.


Apologies for this long rant, and thank you for hearing me out if you've made it this far.  I felt it was important to share my opinions, considering that all this issue of Company made me feel was angry and despondent.  As far as I have seen, in my limited experience of it, blogging is about connecting with people all over the world and learning from them.  There is a great deal of respect involved.  Bloggers with entirely different interests befriend and promote each other.  Why a well known and successful magazine like Company (with the power to reach an entire nation) would decide to insult half of their readers and alienate the rest completely baffles me.

The end of the magazine's 'Superblogger' interview suggests that we bloggers should always be positive.  'If you set out with a negative agenda [...] you'll already have failed,' the article warns.  Perhaps Company should think about taking their own advice, in this instance.

I'd love to hear your opinions on this, what do you think?  Have I been too harsh, or do these snippets make you as angry as they make me?  Let me know in the comments below!


  1. "Are the fonts I use ugly, Company? I hope so."

    Angry Alex!! Amazing! (or totes amaze balls?)

    I can completely see where you're coming from, the 'if you're not blogging every day' comment made me feel a bit, ugh, but really at the end of the day it's quality & not quantity, and I guess it depends what you want to get from your blog.

    If you're hoping for some sort of deal with Company then sure as hell follow all their 'rules' but if you're in it just for a bit of fun then do what you like.

    This is hands down my fave post ever. xxx

    1. Haha, I got VERY angry writing this! I can see what they were going for, it just totally missed the mark for me. And surely other readers must feel the same, if I do? Thank you, lovely :) xxx

  2. On the topic of daily posts. Obviously not quite the same thing, as my blog is art rather than writing, but another artist friend of mine who's been doing this sort of thing a lot longer and to substantially more success than I have told me that he once uploaded a picture every day for a month and his traffic increased exponentially as a result.

  3. My entire blog is based on negativity and cynicism, so I guess I'll never make it as a blogger. And I'm glad you talked about their word usage...I'd already clocked up "cashola" and "yawnsome" before I saw that you hated it too. OMG we are like, so totally on the same page here bbz!

    1. Everyone seems to have enjoyed the negativity and cynicism in this post, so there's hope for you yet, my dear... <3

  4. Hi there, just wanted to reply to your comment regarding my comment on pageviews. What I meant to say is that 30,000 hits a day is not a lot when compared to say the likes of Garance Dore or The Satorialist who get 100,000s of hits a day. That's why I said it's sizeable but not huge. It's all relative but I'm sorry if I came off as arrogant. That was not my intention.

    1. As I said above, I never believed it was your intention to come across as arrogant. My problem was really with the way Company presented your interview and the other blogging features in that particular issue. Sorry if I caused any offence, it really wasn't a dig at you personally! :)

  5. I love this post. Although I'm not a regular reader of Company, I do pick up an issue every now and again, I did not however, pick up this issue for some of the reasons you noted. I think like Margaret said above, with blogging you can follow the rules or you can do what you like, personally I like to do what I like - and I enjoy doing it!

    1. Thank you! :) I really wanted to love the magazine because it looks great, but this issue has completely put me off it... I'm definitely a fan of blogging for yourself and doing it the way you want to! Your blog looks great, by the way :)