We all know that blogging creates a community, and, accordingly friendships (and in some cases, rivalries). And sure, as a blogger you may choose to reveal personal information that might spark readers to offer you advice/inspiration.

But sometimes you might find yourself feeling like your readers have more grandiose plans than you about your fitness performance/race time/wedding proposal/labor/ability to lose the baby weight, etc.

The blogger says she’s not in a rush to lose the baby weight. The readers leave 300 comments saying she’ll lose it in a month! She can do it!

Sound familiar?

We say? It’s totally acceptable to admit that while you are flattered that your readers have so much confidence in you, you are more comfortable at setting a lower bar for yourself.

Yes. You heard that correctly. We’re saying it’s OK to set the bar low. We actually think that maybe sometimes setting the bar too high in an effort to impress readers is what leads bloggers to push themselves way too hard. They run the risk of harming themselves and setting an unrealistic — and, again, potentially harmful — “normal” for all their other readers.

How To Let Your Readers Know You Have Lower Expectations Than They Do

You could politely ask if they have body-switching abilities and that, if so, you would be happy for them to spend several hours in your skin to run that marathon or pop out that baby for you. That way, when they are telling you “You can do it!” you can respond, “No…you can do it! For me!”

Another viable option is to remind your readers that regrettably your name is not Siri and a verbal command isn’t enough to ensure completion. (If that were the case, Henry Cavill would be my live-in pool boy.)

There’s also nothing wrong with waiting until after the big milestone happens to discuss it in detail — specifically how well the outcome did or didn’t dovetail with the expectations you had for yourself. Take our blog buddy Dori for example. She candidly discusses her emotions after she did not finish her first marathon, only to surprise her readers by secretly completing a marathon the following weekend. By choosing to wait until after that race ended to enlighten her readers about this feat, she didn’t have to feel bound by others’ expectations or worried about letting people down.

The thing is, readers typically mean well. But sometimes their well-meaning encouragement can push a blogger to commit to a goal she knows deep down isn’t right for her. If we want bloggers to blog responsibly, we also must examine how bloggers can encourage people to read and comment responsibly too.

Have you noticed that readers can be extremely, uh, optimistic when telling a blogger she can hit a goal? We’d love to hear more suggestions for how bloggers can say to readers, “No. Really. I can’t do that. It would be harmful for me to try.”

Do you admire when a blogger admits that her individual standards are lower than what her readers expect of her? Or do you think bloggers should push themselves?

Let’s discuss!

How to Blog Like a Grown-Up

by Ashley on December 5, 2011 · 11 comments

Because my claim to blog fame is that I once weighed 300 pounds, it should come as no surprise that I spent the majority of my teen years making friends online. ICQ, AIM, LiveJournal, Xanga, MySpace, personal websites on envy.nu…and remember Friendster? What the hell was that, anyway? I don’t know, but I believe I had a profile.

Now that I’m 27 and have a full-time job, my Internet presence is slightly more grown up, and the blogs and websites I read are too. Or at least, they used to be. More and more I am disturbed by the posts I see on healthy living blogs that are reminiscent of the teen angst-filled Internet of yesteryear.

I get it: blogging is an outlet. Bloggers are, at their best, a supportive community. It’s cathartic to share your experience and emotions and have other people respond. But if you are spewing words into your keyboard and onto your screen and hitting publish without a second thought, well… first, it’s obvious to everyone who reads it that you don’t care, and that’s rude to your readers, and and second, it makes your blog appear to be written by a teenager. I’ve been shocked a few times to click on an “About Me” tab to find that a blogger I pictured to be about 17 is actually a 20- or 30-something adult with a job and responsibilities.

A few tips to ensure your blog reads like a blog and not, well, a MySpace profile:

  1. We’ve been over this before, but it’s worth repeating: Is your post worth the space on your blog? Is your post — whether it’s an emotional rant or a mundane almost-more-of-a-status-update-than-a-post post — something you want on your blog? Photos of you and your BFFs goofing around at Walmart/Denny’s/wherever …that is a MySpace post. That is not something for your blog.
  2. For the love of God, put some thought into whatever you’re posting. This means everything from proper grammar and spelling to the actual content. If you have just vomited 500 emotion-filled words onto WordPress, use the “Save Draft” option, take a step back, and think about it. The raw emotions that might’ve been OK as a MySpace update when you were 16 are probably not OK as a blog post. It’s not that you can’t blog about emotional topics, but it needs to be done in such a way that you sound like a sane adult, not an angst-ridden teenager.
  3. No irrelevant photos of yourself or bikini crotch shots, no matter cute/hilarious/thin/awesome you think you look. Throw it on Facebook, play with it on Instagram, but don’t pass it off as blog content. No secret Internet fatty photos, either. I’m all for posting flattering photos, but there is a difference between “flattering” and “a complete and utter lie.” Being a grown-up means being OK with your grown-up body.
  4. Knock it off with the emoticons and cutesy words.

A good blog is one that’s written maturely, and if you are an adult who lacks a firm grasp on that, you probably shouldn’t be putting information on the Internet.

How to Use Pinterest to Draw Traffic To Your Blog

November 8, 2011

A month or so ago, I heard about Pinterest from one of my clients. She was telling me how she found a healthy recipe on the site. It sounded a lot like a recipe I had blogged about. I found this curious, so I decided to check out this Pinterest site. Pinterest is like an […]

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Never Say Never: The One Tip To Remember When Your Blog (And Life) Starts To Change

October 26, 2011
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We’ve all seen it happen. Your favorite running blog starts to feature a few wedding-related posts. A blog that is usually devoted to donuts now features the occasional reference to diapers. A health blogger that lived in yoga pants and Old Navy t-shirts all of a sudden has a few outfit posts — complete with […]

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Four Reasons Your Penchant for Irrelevant Self-Portraits is Ruining Your Blog

October 19, 2011

A few years ago, when making the transition from Xanga to MySpace, I discovered the sexy-bathroom-mirror-self-portrait trend. Like any painfully unique and angsty almost-20 year old, I immediately donned a low-cut wife-beater, flashed a sultry peace sign, and snapped a picture of my reflection on my Motorola Razr camera phone. Around the time that people […]

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Please Blog Responsibly: How Real Should You Be on Your Blog?

October 11, 2011
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Anyone who reads my blog knows that I don’t share a lot of personal information (especially recently — when I first started Your Nutritionista, I shared a lot more). In fact, people don’t really seem to like when I lifecast. But lately, I’ve been wondering if it’s dishonest not to share more of myself with […]

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Hollaback’s Greatest Hits

October 8, 2011
top posts

I’m very proud of all we’ve done so far on Hollaback Health and two days before our new “season” kicked off, I got some very exciting news — Hollaback was nominated for a Best Blogger Award from Shape Magazine! If you’re feeling generous today, you can vote for us. I’m so proud of all the posts […]

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What I Learned on My Summer Vacation: Five Things GOMI Taught Me About Blogging

October 4, 2011
omg we're back again

How do we start blogging after four months without blogging about blogging? I think it’s time for a good, old-fashioned “What I Learned on My Summer Vacation” essay! If there’s one topic on a lot of bloggers’ minds right now, it’s Get Off My Internets, a site that isn’t new, but is new to many […]

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Don’t Call it a Comeback!

September 10, 2011

From reading blogs this week, I’ve learned that there’s a chill in the air (it’s like 70 degrees, but it’s not 90, so whatever) and bloggers are running to Starbucks every few hours for pumpkin lattes (just one pump of pumpkin, ’cause, ya know…WEIGHT) so….it must be fall! And that means it’s time to get […]

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Don’t Feel Guilty If…You Need Some Time Off

May 29, 2011
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Here at Hollaback, we firmly believe in quality over quantity when it comes to blogging. We encourage bloggers to write one fabulous post per week as opposed to three mediocre posts per day. We also believe that blogging shouldn’t be a chore or something that gets in the way of living your life. If you’re […]

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