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Occupy Blog Street

This post is for the 99% of the blogosphere.

Every year around this time, sites trot out their top 100 lists (yes, I’m looking at you, Babble).  They open up their blog awards as click-bait, slapping advertisements down the side of the page while they encourage nominees to encourage their readers to vote for them.  They do calls for the best of… the best of the food bloggers and the best of the tech bloggers and the best photography.  They create clickable lists of people to follow on Twitter — declaring certain accounts the accounts you need in your feed if you’re going to have your finger even touching someone who is touching the zeitgeist, making us believe that we’re not part of the zeitgeist anymore since there is a 1% living it for us.

Because then there are the rest of us.

The 99% of bloggers who write the content that doesn’t get recognized in any enormous way.  The daily posts about both the remarkable and mundane elements of life.  The people we actually connect with and love and would cry if they left the blogosphere.  The 1% are the bloggers we’re dying to meet just to see what they’re like in the face-to-face world.  The 99% are the bloggers we’re dying to spend time with because we just know it would be a fantastic conversation with a likeminded individual.

Blogging was — at one time — about leveling the playing field.  About taking away the gatekeepers of publishing and allowing every voice to have the potential to be heard.  And that is still what it is, though it’s almost as if people are too scared to allow ourselves equality, so we create these “best of” and “top blogger” lists in order to remind ourselves of some old time that doesn’t actually need to exist.

And for anyone who makes the argument that these lists tune out the cacophony of the blogosphere, allowing voices to be heard, I’d accept that argument if the lists changed yearly.  But they don’t.  And we all know that.

Five years ago, I started the Creme de la Creme as a response to this idea of separating out some bloggers from others; giving 1% attention while ignoring the 99%.  Because we all have amazing posts — not just once a year, but actually quite frequently.  And I can prove it with the evidence of the Friday Blog Roundup, which has been happening for 5 1/2 years.  Every week, for 5 1/2 years, I have been able to find at least 4 posts from various bloggers which are remarkable; noteworthy.  And the point is that it’s not the same bloggers weekly.  Almost 100% of the time, there is at least one blogger on the list who has never been featured prior to that point and the other three bloggers vary, bringing in all areas of the blogroll.  So if you take 286 Roundups (yes, the Roundups are misnumbered as we discovered last year though kept due to laziness) and multiply that by an average of four posts, that comes out to 1144 posts that I found remarkable, written by an average of 500 or so unique bloggers.  And if we add in the posts that you bring to the mix each week, we add in several thousand more.  Which — in my not-so-scientific opinion — proves the point that there are more than one or two infertility bloggers who deserve recognition.  There are actually 100% of us who do.

Movements have a manifesto; a clear vision for what they hope to accomplish and change.

This is mine, the one I’ve been repeating in various ways over the years.

Occupy Blog Street.  Sit down on your blog and write something today.  Hit publish.  Read everyone equally — mixing the 1% and 99% together to create a single entity.  Ignore “best of” lists.  Declare 2012 as the year of telling YOUR story and then tell it. (Though you may only get to December 21st because that’s when the world will officially end.  We’ll all understand if you miss blogging those last few days of the year since none of us will be around to read those posts.)

Check your stats once a day, and then wean yourself to once a week, and then wean yourself to once a month. (I would tell you not to check at all, but how else will you know the amusing Google searches that bring people to your blog?)  Do not judge the worth of a post by how many comments it gets, but instead judge the worth of a post by how it made you feel to write it.

Choose a blog to read just because you like the look of the header and layout and not because you found it on a top blogger list.  Use StumbleUpon and find posts you would have never found otherwise.  Stumble other people’s posts that you like.  Make sure you let your favourite bloggers know how much they are appreciated.  Everyone needs encouragement from time to time.

And most important, don’t feel badly if you’re not included on a top blogging list; if no one bestows an award on your blog this winter.  You’re in good company with the 99% of us who never make those lists either (nope, I’m not on them).  Other people’s opinions do not matter as much as your own.  And you know, in your heart of hearts, that your blog is not only worth writing but it is worth reading.  So re-read your own blog, make a day of it to curl up on the sofa and re-read your own thoughts.  And marvel over them.  Give yourself your own reward; make it out of paper cups and duct tape and gold foil.  Put all of your blog posts in a Word file because your words are important and worth protecting (you’ve done this, right?).

Every voice matters.

Photo Credit: modified with permission from SludgeGulper.


1 Hope { 12.20.11 at 12:02 pm }

Okay, I know this isn’t what you were getting at, but that link about Dec. 21st 2012 has me really depressed, because unless we get an unexpected miracle, we won’t be cleared to start TTCAL again until it’s too late for me to have a living, in my arms, full term baby before the end of the world. Damn. I don’t want to have to worry about never being a visible mother before the end of the world on top of everything else. Especially when I refuse to believe that the world will actually end, but there’s so much hype that I can’t help wondering.

Okay, hyjack over. Back to blogging. I’ve tried moving my posts into a word processing document. But when I move them in groups, I get tones of link gobolty-gook. So your magic method looks like hours and hours of work to me, either moving Every. Single. Post. By. Hand. Or, moving them in groups and then cleaning up the gobotly-gook by hand. Please tell me I’m missing something and that there is an easier way!

2 slowmamma { 12.20.11 at 12:05 pm }

Brava Mel! Thanks to you this little corner of the blogosphere truly retains its cred. I’m pretty sure that none of my favorite bloggers, many of whom are AMAZING writers, are on any top 100 lists, although I would be thrilled to see any of them there. Still, this format and the people that I have connected with through it have changed my life.

I am the 99%!

3 Megan {{Millions of Miles}} { 12.20.11 at 12:12 pm }

Amen and amen.

4 marilyn { 12.20.11 at 12:20 pm }

I love this post and I love your blog! So true..I started in this infertility community trying to conceive…and you helped me find a community, a voice, and support. Now that I am pregnant..the comments have drizzled to just a couple. It was hard at first..but now I have learned to write for me..and I am okay with the few comments..because i get more joy from writing my own, feelings down, so I can go back and curl up one day and read my blog…and I like to blog and comment sometimes more than write. Overall…I think you should def win an award..but it is great that you are so down to earth.

5 Eggs In A Row { 12.20.11 at 12:58 pm }

You know how much I love you. So, at least I’m doing well on that point.

I love being in the 99%. I’m ok with not being on any lists. xoxo

6 Stimey { 12.20.11 at 1:04 pm }

Hear, hear!

7 Mic @ IFCrossroads { 12.20.11 at 1:22 pm }

Love this!!!!! I’ve stopped checking my stats as of this year. I no longer write for the public, rather, I write for ME. It’s liberating.

8 magpie { 12.20.11 at 1:46 pm }

This is a nice manifesto.

9 Casey { 12.20.11 at 1:47 pm }

Fantastic post- shared it on StumbleUpon so that the world knows about it. 🙂

10 a { 12.20.11 at 2:04 pm }

I think you should be at the top of some list. Some of the stuff that ends up on the list is utter crap, and has nothing to do with calling your spouse from the other room so you can dance wildly to your ringtone.

11 a { 12.20.11 at 2:35 pm }

I have to figure out the StumbleUpon thing too

12 RelaxedNoMore { 12.20.11 at 3:41 pm }

So true – thank you for that post. I’m definitely one of the 99% – and to be honest, I’d never even checked out one of those top-100-blog-lists, since I’m far but new to the Internet but pretty new to blogging (both writing and reading)… You got me curious now 😉

13 Queenie { 12.20.11 at 4:00 pm }


14 meghan { 12.20.11 at 4:01 pm }

Great, great post! One of my resolutions is to blog more and blog better.

And I’ve never cared about those lists. The few times I’ve followed any of the ‘big’ bloggers I stop after a month or so, they don’t feel real to me. I like knowing that the person behind the blog is real and I don’t find that in the 1% blogs.

15 Kathy { 12.20.11 at 4:45 pm }

Thank you! I was feeling sorry for myself that no one linked up to my Time Warp Tuesday blog hop/writing exercise yet today and appreciate your perspective that the most important thing is how writing our blog entries make us feel. Not that comments don’t matter, but that more than anything I blog because I love to write. I love the reasons you created the Creme and look forward to reading what/who’s on the list this year! 🙂

16 jjiraffe { 12.20.11 at 5:12 pm }

Go MEL!! Fricking WORD on this whole post. There are so so many amazing bloggers that just don’t get the exposure they should. That’s why your blog round-up is so great (and Creme de la Creme too). The Best of lists just seem to be about the same few people every year, and don’t get me wrong: The Pioneer Woman responded to one of my tweets last night and I nearly lost my $!&& cause she’s amazing. There are superstars, as you said, who we would all love to hang out with. But there are crazy good bloggers everywhere who get little recognition and that’s a shame.

Thank you for writing this 🙂

17 Lori Lavender Luz { 12.20.11 at 5:32 pm }

I love this post. Love love LOVE it. And I love you for all you do for the 99%.

Now to Stumble.

18 Jessica { 12.20.11 at 6:03 pm }

It is really hard to type this comment while giving you a standing ovation.

I love everything you said and honestly needed to hear it. Because, like many in the 99% there have been times I wonder WHY NOT ME?

Thank you.

19 Dr Spouse { 12.20.11 at 6:17 pm }

I cannot say anything more eloquent than has already been said.

I was privileged to be on the Roundup a few Christmases ago and said something about thinking that perhaps the child we would go on to adopt had already been born. But as things turned out, that was not the case.

20 Elena { 12.20.11 at 6:29 pm }

A-freaking-men to you for this post. Seriously. This is me clapping in a comment.

21 April { 12.20.11 at 6:44 pm }

Love this, Mel!! Thank you so much for everything you do!!

22 Michele { 12.20.11 at 7:10 pm }

Love, LOVE this. It comes just as I’ve been wondering where my blog should go, if anywhere. I started it as a way to keep family and friends updated on my medical stuff, but now that it’s turned more into my every-so-often musings, fewer and fewer of them are reading, and I’ve been feeling self-conscious about whether I should even keep blogging. But you know what? I like blogging. I like having a record of what at least some of the year has been like. So I’m going to finish one of the many draft entries I’ve had bopping around for a while in my drafts folder, traffic be damned, and then I’m going to go read some other blogs that I’ve never visited. Thanks, Mel!

23 Esperanza { 12.20.11 at 8:31 pm }

Such a fabulous post. And so exactly what I needed to hear this year. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

24 Tigger { 12.20.11 at 9:48 pm }

It IS a fabulous post, but I still feel the need to say this: Your blogroll is huge, and I love it. I don’t often find new blogs because of some top-10 list, but because of something in the roundup or the second helpings. There are still those of us who NEVER make it onto those lists. Those of us who have been blogging for 5+ years, who have maybe 3 readers and rarely get a comment…or get a comment from the same person over and over, just so they know you’re there. What do we do about these people? How are THEY supposed to feel when they belong to a community such as ours and they are still ignored?

Yes, I feel bitter and crazy. I’m fairly certain I am not alone, however.

25 molly { 12.20.11 at 10:03 pm }

I really needed to hear this right now. I am having a really hard time. I just went off a couple weeks ago about how I’m not as “popular” as some other blogs and how I just don’t understand it. I’ve been blogging for 5 years. But it used to be fun. It used to be about me and the stupid stuff I had running through my brain. It used to be about my swelling pregnant belly and my kiddos. Now? I don’t know what I’m trying to do or who I’m trying to be.

Honestly? I get upset. Because I think my blog is a good little space here on the internet. But you’re right – it is HARD to get noticed. I was a BlogHer Voice of the Year and I bawled my eyes out. THAT contest recognized a single post of mine that was extremely difficult to write and to share with strangers. But I did it. I was so glad to be honored for that.

But I’m not in this to be honored. At least, I wasn’t until a couple years ago. I guess maybe I just want to feel validated. Maybe that’s what we all want. We all go to our spaces and write our hearts out.

I’m happy for my favorite bloggers when something amazing happens to them. But then I always get a little sad for myself.

I am having a pity party if you couldn’t already tell. But I need to take your advice.

I’m taking a blog-vacation until the New Year starting on Friday. I just need to release myself from all of this pressure. I just don’t feel good enough to be here anymore.

26 Katy { 12.20.11 at 10:08 pm }

Hooray! Those lists always sting a little, but I remind myself that I write for my community and most of my community isn’t sitting around making top ten lists. They’re feeding their children, making doctors appointments, doing vigil in a hospital, or pursuing an alternative treatment that gives them hope. Things that, in my opinion, are far more important than top ten lists. So no, I don’t expect to end up on a list any time soon, and I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s supposed to be.

27 Justine { 12.20.11 at 11:57 pm }

*cheering* … it’s hard to remember sometimes that we blog for ourselves and to be genuinely connected. But you’re right; the people I love to read are not the cool kids. They’re people like me. And that’s why I can’t wait to go to BlogHer: not to meet the cool kids, but the people like me. 🙂

28 Tireegal { 12.21.11 at 1:11 am }

I am living on another planet here, but because nearly all the blogs I read are ALI blogs and I don’t go more mainstream I don’t even know about these lists! I’m kind of glad I am ignorant in that department. I love this post, all that you do for the ALI world! The 1% are an entitled bunch of nincompoops in my general experience!

29 Kate { 12.21.11 at 8:24 am }

What a great manifesto, thank you!

30 Emily { 12.21.11 at 8:31 am }

I am glad I don’t care or don’t even know about those awards and stuff. I had to ask someone why I kept seeing comments on how bloggers who started after 2005 were screwed. LOL! The ALI community has been my saving grace. Every post I have read has touched me each in a different way and made me better. That I feel is a reward all its own.

31 Kimberly { 12.21.11 at 9:49 am }


I found my place in my current blog. I began writing for me and me alone, to get out my feelings that I was holding in and hurting myself with. But in my writing, I felt comfortable. Then I found this amazing group of bloggers who understand how I feel and it gave me confidence in my writing. So much so, that I stopped lurking, which is a huge deal for me, and started commenting. This month is my first shot at IComLeavWe and I entered the Creme de la Creme for the first time. This group helped me. No top lists, just you guys and the other 99%. Thank you Mel, for standing up and supporting the other 99%.

32 Dana { 12.21.11 at 9:53 am }

You’re awesome!

33 Julie { 12.21.11 at 10:33 am }

Aw, Molly. It kind of breaks my heart to see that what I love(d) about blogging — that there are no barriers to entry, that we’re all on an equal footing, that we all have equal access to the means for telling stories and building community — might have eroded to the point where someone might feel not good enough to do it.

We are all good enough. To me, that’s the whole point of blogging.

At the only BlogHer conference I’ve attended, I was at some get-together and I saw a woman walk up to a probably-considered-A-list blogger and introduce herself. “I love your blog,” the woman said, and mentioned a couple of things the A-lister had written about.

The A-lister smiled and thanked her nicely enough, I suppose, but what I hoped would happen never did: the A-lister never asked her, “Tell me about your blog. What do you write about?”

I still get grouchy remembering that. We are all good enough.

34 JustHeather { 12.21.11 at 10:37 am }

Hope (first response), don’t be so sad about the “end of the world”. The way I see it, the world has been around for quite some time, it might end, it might not. But more likely, if the world does end, it will end as we know it, today. Just a change, something different. But I don’t believe the world itself will just go *poof* and be gone.

Thanks, Mel. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Because of your blog, I have found this amazing ALI community and kept my sanity. Plus, I love finding the small blogs.

35 FireMom { 12.21.11 at 10:47 am }

Ah, this is lovely, Mel. Thank you.

36 Stephanie { 12.21.11 at 12:39 pm }

I love this post! It’s obvious that you make an effort to “spread the wealth” and share the posts that you read. I try to do the same – through twitter and reader grab bag posts on my blog – but I don’t have anywhere the same reach that you do. I think that all bloggers should make an effort to share their colleagues’ work!

37 Superexhausted { 12.21.11 at 12:57 pm }

Great post I am the 99% ..I stopped looking at stats.

38 geochick { 12.21.11 at 4:00 pm }

Yes! Sometimes I need your encouragement to keep blogging. Since we brought home Baby X, while I haven’t lost many followers, I’ve noticed there’s not as many comments. OR I just feel that way, because of some of the other blogs I follow….here’s to the 99%!

39 Kathy { 12.21.11 at 4:31 pm }

I’m back to reiterate what an important and validating post I feel this is (THANK YOU MEL!) and to echo Lori’s sentiment about how grateful I am to you for all that you do for those of us in the 99%! So true… xoxo

I hope BlogHer decides to syndicate/cross-post this one! 🙂

P.S. I saw on jjraffe’s blog entry today that you have never seen It’s a Wonderful Life! It is my all time favorite movie and if we lived closer I would be on my way to your place right now with my copy so we could watch it together! Since that isn’t going to happen, at least not today, I really do hope that her post has caused you to reconsider… If and when you decide to finally watch it, I would love to know your thoughts. Maybe you can even write a blog entry about it?! 😉

40 Lynn { 12.21.11 at 10:36 pm }

I much prefer the Creme to the same ole’, same ole’ best-of lists each year. About a decade ago they were more of the “let’s get a little heard voice out there” but in the years since, it’s really changed. Long live the Creme!

41 Jessie { 12.22.11 at 2:01 am }

I really like this post, thank you! I’m starting to wonder if I’m weird, though, for not having ever seen any of these top blogger lists. No, I’m not going to go looking for them, because I’m probably happier this way.


42 Trinity { 12.22.11 at 9:29 am }

I think it’s pretty telling that the posts of the 99% in my reader are the ones I gobble up first, and those of the 1% are the ones I nibble on after the big meal, typically out of boredom, and usually much less satisfying. You’re so spot on about the 99% being those bloggers you’d want to share a long walk and a cup of coffee with…

43 Orodemniades { 12.22.11 at 9:59 am }

I’m too intimidated by the big name bloggers to actually read them, with a couple of exceptions. Speaking of BNB’s, y’all know that Pioneer Woman has a book out, right? I do believe there’s even a movie in the works – how’s that for BN! Not that I read her, just sayin’. Most of the blogs I read are in the 99%…I don’t always comment, and sometimes I can’t comment (y’know when you have the choice of signing in to Google or doing that ID thing? Yeah, that never works for me) and occasionally there are no email addresses to send comments to, either.

I don’t think I have many readers apart from the old timers (rockin’ on the porch being all crabby)(you know who you are) and with a special needs child, well, that cuts down the readership even more. And lets face it, I’m not exactly a prolific poster any more. The thoughts are there! As is the exhaustion, and like so much, posting falls by the way side as I attempt to recoup some semblance of my self at the end of a day.

44 Sarah { 12.22.11 at 2:38 pm }

Let me tell you how much I loved this post. Because honestly, as much as I don’t want to care, I do care just a little when year after year my blog maintains to same audience. I saw this list was up for Babble again and thought, “man…it would be cool to someday be on that list.”

But honest to god, I went to look at it and noticed you were on it. I actually looked for you, and then I decided if the list missed you it was total bull shit. The list is ALWAYS the same. I dont know that they even read other blogs.

So whatever. I am happy with my writing. I like for people to read it, I like for them to comment, but it isn’t why I do it. I do it for me. I love to go back and read it. I want Henry to someday see that I wrote about us. To read how much I have always loved him. Because sometimes you hear your mom say it, but you don’t understand. I think my blog makes it much more believable.

45 Sarah { 12.22.11 at 2:39 pm }

PS. typo in that. I meant to say that I saw you were NOT on the Babble list. And that it was crap. Because you totally should be.


46 Laura { 12.22.11 at 2:47 pm }

Thank you. I write mostly for myself and kind of as a record keeping, that hopefully my children and grandchildren, etc, will like to read in the future. But I’ve written a few posts that weren’t for me, and I was disappointed at the lack of enthusiasm they received–and how they were marginalized. Not sure if its worth it to continue those type of posts or not.

47 Rex { 12.22.11 at 4:53 pm }

The true value of your wonderful message is that it applies not only to blog writting but to all of life. The way we should be expressing ourselves and not looking for awards and the best of the best scenarios. Wouldn’t be good if schools worked more this way. About the individual, unique talent of children. To let each child shine. To stop the madness of the trophy world of schools. And then in the adult world of awards.

I love how you say to read back over you blog posts. I do and there are a couple of posts I just love, and some of those of from deep in my heart and they don’t have any comments at all. But they mean the most to me.

48 stephanie { 12.22.11 at 6:42 pm }

I came to blogging under very specific auspices. I wanted a platform to share stories with my mother, father and a few key relatives. That others stop by and enjoy what I write is nice. I appreciate that. But I don’t delude myself that I cannot put in the time, energy or passion into making my blog anything more than it is. In a sea of little fish hoping to be large, I find that I am happy hanging out with the other little fishes. I can write or not write. I can put something out there without really thinking about “entertainment value.” It’s pressure-free and pleasant. I think I would miss that if the blog started to get a lot of attention. I would feel like I had to deliver something as opposed to feeling like I wanted to write whatever little thing farted out of my mind. I don’t begrudge people for wanting to make blogging their promotional, moneymaking thing. But I never consider a blog less worthy of my attention because it has 5 dedicated readers versus 500,000 readers.

49 Bea { 12.30.11 at 5:56 am }

Hear, hear.


50 dspence { 01.01.12 at 5:54 pm }

I had considered blogging for quite a while before I finally decided to open shop with Donating Hope. Why did I wait so long? Becuase I wanted to write about SIF along with egg donation but was not, technically, infertile. Thank you for welcoming me into this community – it has meant the world to me.

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