Are We Human, or Are We Blogger?

I am not a journalist, I am a blogger.

In 2013, the two can be quite similar. There’s bloggers who have regular writing jobs with newspapers and magazines. Award-winning journalists maintain personal blogs. Some blogs have a team of writers and editors. Some publications crank out content so quickly they don’t get the attention and editing they really need.

I started blogging in 2005, and though I have updated Wardrobe Oxygen over the years, I still see myself as an old-school blogger. I write what comes to mind while I condition my hair or drive home from work. I often write frantically during a lunch hour, publish, and then later edit out the glaring typos or the errors my readers note. I write for a message, not a Pulitzer. I don’t want anyone to confuse Wardrobe Oxygen for a magazine or a newspaper or a glossy online publication. The content may have a few rough edges, but it’s original, it’s mine, and it’s from my heart.

I don’t have an editor. Sure, sometimes I send posts I think may seem controversial to my sister or closest friends for a sanity check, but 99.9% of the posts that go up here are reviewed only by moi.

I don’t have a copy writer. I do the research myself, create my own graphics, try to write in a manner that isn’t robotic or redundant, is infused with my personality without being too casual.

One of my most popular posts has a mega typo in the hyperlink because throughout the entire post I misused a word a dozen times. I was inspired by a moment,  came home and wrote furiously on my husband’s laptop and hit PUBLISH. The next day, I realized I wrote about self-depreciating comments when I meant self-deprecating. A reader kindly informed me of my error, I thanked her, updated the post.

I’m not offended when you let me know I make an error. Let me know when I used depreciating instead of deprecating, or when I said an image was of Mia Farrow when it was actually Jean Seberg. Giving me the heads up educates me, and improves the blog experience for fellow readers. We bloggers will make mistakes, we’re not perfect, and we rarely have someone to edit and provide feedback on our content.

I must say, I have never confused depreciating for deprecating since that comment. Thanks to you readers, I will never again confuse median and average, will always know the difference between Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, and of course Mia Farrow and Jean Seberg.

However, when you call me stupid for misusing a word or phrase, having a grammatical error, or mis-labeling a celebrity’s photo, you’re not helping anyone. You look like an asshole, and you end up having me focus on your asshole-ness instead of learning from you. This is not the New York Times, this is a blog written by a woman who has a family and a full-time non-blog job. A woman who feels as though she writes relatively well, but with her limited time would rather write freely than obsess over whether every paragraph is structurally perfect.

Now, if you find issue with the grammar on a professional site, by all means call them out. But if you choose to read blogs, love them for their occasional human imperfection.

Sincerely,
Alison

P.S. I wrote this in fewer than ten minutes, so I KNOW there will be errors (including two in this P.S. that I have already fixed post-publishing!).  Bring it on people, bring it on!

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33 Comments

  1. April 21, 2015 / 6:48 am

    woo hoo! good for you! Keep doing exactly what you are doing, Alison. I know you are putting a very important (life saving for some) message out there and it is truly awesome!
    XO,Gina
    http://www.classyeverafterblog.com

  2. October 27, 2013 / 10:34 am

    I am a journalist and have previously worked as a sub-editor, correcting other people’s mistakes… I still make my own mistakes! No one is immune to typos, brain farts and/or misunderstandings. In addition, I think it’s important to remember that different people have different strengths. One of the worst spelling/grammar users I worked with was also one of the best journos. He could sniff out a story a mile away and was a self taught expert in a highly technical field. Idiot? I I think not!

  3. Susan H arris
    October 23, 2013 / 3:24 pm

    Just this week a commenter had to tell me I was wrong to write that someone had a “flare” for something. That’s a mistake I probably won’t make again but really, it’s no biggie, right? When people are really assholes in comments we sometimes tell them we’ll refund their subscription money. Hahaha..

    • October 23, 2013 / 3:27 pm

      I love it when readers tip me to things like that, but again it’s all in the delivery. We obviously didn’t do it on purpose so there’s no need to be an asshole about it. Now if we delete your comment over and over when you’re pointing it out and then you come back as an asshole… totally different story! 🙂

  4. Patti
    October 23, 2013 / 9:38 am

    Oh my gosh, please don’t change the way you write, it’s one of the reasons I keep coming back! I love how clearly and precisely you write about how to wear something, care for it (and yourself!), why it works, what to pair it with, etc. I learn so much from this blog.

  5. Versatilestylebytracey
    October 23, 2013 / 2:33 am

    Well said! i have typos sometimes as a busy homeschooling mother with ADD and sometimes miss them when going back over it or at times don’t have the time to double check. It is what it is and I don’t worry too much about it. I did have someone point out to me that my repeated reference of Skinnys was incorrect and should be Skinnies… I love that she took the opportunity to tell me that in a kind way. Personal blogging is just that and is more casual.

  6. October 22, 2013 / 12:20 pm

    I’ve always read blogs because they provide a respite from the perfect polish of glossy magazines. I’ve been blogging (albeit on a small scale) since 2008 and I agree with you whole-heartedly. I gravitate toward the blogger voices who are human and who remain relate-able by maintaining professional selves (and careers) apart from their blogs.

    I too have benefited from readers correcting my errors in (mostly) kind comments (or my mom sending me a heads up via text) but the people who slam someone for honest mistakes when they know that said someone has a full time job apart from their blog seem to have bigger issues that are being projected and misguided. It makes me wonder how they don’t have bigger life fish to fry.

  7. October 22, 2013 / 9:42 am

    Definitely food for thought, there. I feel like there’s been this push for bloggers to be seen as “legitimate” writers, but the nature of blogging itself kind of undermines that, I think? Because a lifestyle blog, in the end, is essentially a diary/journal, and those are by their nature not particularly seamless, glossy, or overly professional. The blogs that end up that way look like magazine advertisements, and I think lose followers once everyone begins to realize they’re being sold an image, rather than experiencing life alongside someone.

    On the other hand, I do expect bloggers to put effort into posts if they are making a living or money off of it. A few typos here and there? Pfft, we all do that. Words dropped out of sentences? That’s just a sign your brain was zipping through thoughts faster than your fingers could follow! I find typos in the newspaper or even in books here and there, that’s not an issue. But I feel like there are also bloggers who write in a sloppy way because they just don’t particularly care about whether or not it’s easy for their readers to read their posts, or don’t really respect the readers whose pageviews/purchases are helping them make their living. That can be really frustrating for me, and I tend to drop those blogs very quickly. I respect my readers enough to proofread or, in the case of those entries we dash off as light speed :), at least go back and edit if I realize something’s off; I expect the same respect from the bloggers I read, you know?

    I don’t make any money on my blog; I just write it for fun, as kind of a hobby. I feel like if I have time to go back and fix something, bloggers who I KNOW stay home and blog professionally should be able to give me the same thoughtfulness I give them.

    We all have typos, definitely, in our posts. I’ve never seen a blogger who didn’t occasionally have that problem! Especially if it’s the kind that your spell-check doesn’t catch, you know? I’ve definitely not noticed a typo until four or five days after the fact more than once. Or mislabeled something.

    All this was essentially just me thinking out loud, I guess. I know what you mean; bloggers aren’t journalists, but it isn’t exactly just a diary you write for yourself, either, after a while. There has to be this balance employed between the way we might write in a diary only we ourselves will ever see and the overly-polished, perfectly shined empty lifeless writing we see in so many magazines, where everything is perfectly and carefully worded to never offend or cause someone to think too deeply.

    Although, I agree with you wholeheartedly; when you are called stupid, or someone writes an email about how useless you are, or whatever (what? No, I’ve NEVER received such an email, why do you ask?) or anything like that, you don’t owe those people a dime, a moment, a thought. You can’t expect respect from a blogger you don’t try to give respect TO.

    I do sympathize with people who get very frustrated by being polite, trying to help, etc and being shut down by bloggers, having comments deleted, things like that. I sympathize and totally think it’ their right to vent about that blogger. But venting stops where abusive language begins, I think.

    • October 22, 2013 / 9:53 am

      I fully and wholeheartedly agree with everything that you wrote here. I was tempted to call out those lazy bloggers who consistently have typos, sentences that don’t make sense, and just do not write with any care or thought. I think it’s thoughtless to not do a quick review of your work before posting, not caring at all about what you write I think shows you’re not caring at all about your readers. I also think that if you’re making money off your blog, you need to be especially aware of your writing.

      However, i decided to focus on the jerks who at 3am on a Saturday decide to fill my inbox with comments nastily pointing out grammatical errors from posts I wrote in 2006 or 2008. The comments I see on other blogs where authors are attacked for being “idiots” for having two tenses in one paragraph, and you look through the rest of the blog and see it’s not a common occurrence. And yes, I think the big difference is the abusive language. Calling someone a twat or stupid isn’t going to help in any manner.

      As for those bloggers who ignore polite suggestions or corrections… I think they need to put on their big girl pants and realize often their readers are more educated and informed than they, and they can learn a great deal and improve as a blogger and professional if they accept and thank them for the feedback. I know my blog is WORLDS better thanks to the feedback from my readers.

      • October 22, 2013 / 10:06 am

        Exactly! Not everyone has a graduate degree in English, we’re not all perfect with grammar, and there’s a lot that is cultural in nature that comes out too; slang, sentence structures, and other things that might be utilized by a blogger writing in the Midwest, or southern Texas, or the South that maybe readers in other parts of the country aren’t familiar with and may see as “incorrect”.
        And really, unless those typos in old entries are in posts that are liable to go viral or become widely read again… let it go, guys.
        I think that might be a sign you’re writing really well, if they have to dig that far back to find something to call you names over 🙂

        • Patty
          October 22, 2013 / 5:29 pm

          I had to laugh because I DO have a graduate degree in English and I feel extrapressure to make sure my online writing (even a FB post) is always correct–not just because I want it to be correct, but b/c friends and family know I have a PhD in English. And sometimes I have a typo or something, too. We’re all human. Allie–you are one of the few blogs I read and I focus on content, not a syntax error or typo, etc. Keep on being authentic you!

    • Rachel
      October 24, 2013 / 2:16 pm

      Katie, I completely agree with everything you wrote! As a reader, I can ignore the occasional typo or misuse of a word. But I find it hard to read something directed to a wide audience when there are continual mistakes, particularly of the kind that are fairly easily caught just by reading over what was written a couple of times. I’ve definitely dropped some blogs that regularly read like they were written on a phone (dropped words, autocorrect-style mistakes). I don’t want to have to interpret what I’m reading. 🙂

  8. Kris
    October 22, 2013 / 7:55 am

    I recently read comments from another beloved blogger who was skewered by some readers and I was incensed. I look at my favorite blogs as dialogues between people with some similar interests. I don’t correct my friends if they use a word incorrectly and I am sure that I make mistakes all the time. Where people get the “cojones” (and correct me if I spelled that wrong) to make rude, unnecessary comments is always a mystery to me. You are very gracious and a delight to read. Rude posters, be damned.

  9. October 22, 2013 / 11:30 am

    Just gotta say, I AM a journalist and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog. I understand and appreciate where you’re coming from and know it’s from the heart. You write very well and I love the way you express yourself, so give yourself a huge pat on the back because I think you’re terrific. Thanks for all that you do. Truly! (And please keep on doing it…don’t let the haters get your down)

  10. Diplospice
    October 22, 2013 / 6:16 am

    I read your blog for great fashion advice for real world women – never ever ever for grammar! Know that your fans love you!

  11. Happinessatmidlife
    October 22, 2013 / 12:47 am

    Amen Alison! It’s sad that people sometimes forget there’s a person behind the blog and making attacks instead of the individual.

    Alice
    http://www.happinessatmidlfie.com

  12. fashionforgiants
    October 21, 2013 / 9:55 pm

    I wrote commiserate instead of commensurate once and received a nice email from a reader who kindly corrected me on it. I thanked her profusely and fixed it right away. But, I guarantee that if anyone calls me stupid, idiotic, etc, I will throw down. And less politely than you’ve done here. Good for you!

  13. Courtney
    October 21, 2013 / 9:29 pm

    I made the same mistake re: deprecating and depreciating in a presentation in college. Nope, haven’t forgotten!

  14. Allison
    October 21, 2013 / 9:22 pm

    I love your blog because you are human and so real – things that are often hard to find in fashion blogs.

  15. Issyme
    October 21, 2013 / 9:09 pm

    I have one word for you : BRAVO !!!! ( or is it Brava ? ) ; )

  16. Marsi
    October 21, 2013 / 6:49 pm

    Better self-deprecating than self-defecating … !

  17. Spoils of Wear
    October 21, 2013 / 6:39 pm

    You had me at the title. I’m a sucker for The Killers. The content of this post is right on. Way to be a real, human blogger. 🙂

  18. Vickie
    October 21, 2013 / 6:27 pm

    Alison – I’m a relatively new reader (stumbled across your blog last August) but I *LOVE* the heart and soul you put into it. The fashion is great, the ideas are insightful and you are an internet gem. Please don’t change that b/c a few people are complete jerks. The reality of your life, your thoughts and your fashion is what makes this blog so awesome. From one real woman to another (and a former DC girl myself!), thanks for all that you do. Keep it up – I would be VERY sad if I didn’t have your latest thoughts and inspiration to read every day or two.

  19. stacie
    October 21, 2013 / 5:17 pm

    Man, Alison, the stupid things people choose to focus on amidst all the other fantastic information you are providing! Sigh. Thanks for writing!

  20. Anna
    October 21, 2013 / 4:58 pm

    Alison, I have been a professional copy editor (card-carrying member of the grammar police) since you were about Emerson’s age. When I read your blog, I’m off duty. I read to enjoy your frank and realistic and sparkling outlook on clothes, bodies, children, music, and life—not to pick at occasional goofs. If I see something truly awful that no one else has noticed, I might call it to your attention. Otherwise, no. Life is too short to be spent carping about other people’s spelling and punctuation in a lofty superior manner (the blogosphere is full of such commenters, and they annoy me more than the errors do). Write on, Alison. Be you—it’s what your readers enjoy!

  21. Tiffany
    October 21, 2013 / 4:20 pm

    Alison, your blog is one of only a handful I always read, simply because I love the way you write, even though your life is quite different to mine. You write eloquently, from the heart. EVERYONE (and I used to be a legal book editor) makes spelling or grammatical mistakes sometimes, especially when writing under pressure, but you write better than 99.9% of the people writing on the internet AND in print. Don’t stop 🙂

  22. Emily
    October 21, 2013 / 4:20 pm

    Ironic error in the PS? 😉 “P.S. I wrote this in less than minutes, so I KNOW there will be errors.”
    … joking, love your blog! 🙂

    • October 21, 2013 / 4:32 pm

      It’s like easter eggs in video games! I didn’t mean that one, that’s pretty darn funny! And thank you <3

  23. bubu
    October 21, 2013 / 4:18 pm

    You are 100% correct – AMEN. Have to say: I actually love that deprecating-depreciating typo — because in a way, when we self-deprecate, aren’t we in fact depreciating ourselves?

    • akaflea
      October 21, 2013 / 7:28 pm

      Love this!

  24. Kara
    October 21, 2013 / 4:10 pm

    AMEN, girl. Love reading your blog!

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