Tag Archives: power

The power of the blogger

Picture by Mike Licht

Picture by Mike Licht

As still a relative newbie to the blogging world, it is easy to underestimate your worth and your power as a writer. When your blogging is merely a hobby and not a career or money-making venture, it can be easy to forget that others are reading the words your produce and sometimes placing great importance on them. It is important for all bloggers to remember that every word they type and publish is something that will be read by people across the globe, whether it is something that is a private diary, or a huge site that you aim to share. Either way, as writers we must take care.

With great power comes great responsibility. Voltaire

I have not noticed many bloggers out there who forget this, in fact, most seem to be very careful about what they post, but I did spot one not too long ago who appeared to be endorsing the use of juice-only diets as a good way to lose weight – this is ludicrous and terribly unhealthy. This is such a good example of the responsibility that comes with publishing your own work – there is no-one there to proofread or copy check it so the responsibility falls upon the writer. Every time you publish, it is important to remember that anyone could be reading your blog – even an impressionable teen who hates their body and is desperate to lose weight. The blogger mentioned previously could have contributed to someone’s eating disorder by backing a product that could be used to dangerously limit weight. This is obviously just one example of the power of publishing.

As a full-time journalist, this is something I have learnt all too well after having a couple of early slip-ups that caused readers to complain where simple mistakes had been make – it was a lack of training and unfortunately hadn’t been picked up by my editors before they went to print. Luckily nothing that caused any huge problems, but it makes you very aware of how careful you must be in terms of the law when speaking about products, companies or individuals. It would be good for any blogger out there to look into the laws surrounding defamation and libel to help protect themselves.

This is not just a warning to bloggers of the care they must take when constructing a post, it actually started out as a celebration of the power we wield in our fingers when we sit down to type. Bloggers, as a steadily growing community, now hold immense power when it comes to brands, advertising and the sale of products. Just look at those bloggers whose YouTube videos advertising products cost advertisers thousands and reach out to audiences of thousands. And what about those bloggers who have hundreds of thousands visiting their sites every day to pick up fashion and beauty tips, or find out the latest book review? All of these bloggers are reaching out to massive audiences on a daily basis and this is what makes the words that they publish so important. The size of their audience determines the value of their posts to advertisers and merchandisers.

When you add in the hundreds following your own blog, plus all your Facebook friends and Twitter followers, without even going further afield to other social media, you could be reaching thousands instantly with your review of the latest beauty product/fashion item/book/theatre show/gig whatever you write about. This is positive or negative advertising that the advertisers cannot control which gives the bloggers the power.

I saw the power of this recently when I was struggling with my mobile phone company and found that despite phone calls explaining what I was after (reducing my contract) that they kept trying to sell me on to a more expensive one – they refused to listen to me. Despite multiple conversations that all went the same way, them failing to come back to me with a solution and complaints expressing this, I got nowhere. I then went to another company and was instantly given a better option. When I tweeted and posted on my blog about the incident, I instantly had a response and several grovelling tweets asking how they could help me or fix my situation. It just shows you that certain companies are not bothered about customers service or bad treatment until it goes public and the fact that this was going out to hundreds of people scared them.

So, there you go. You’re more powerful than you think. Whether you’ve got one follower or 300,000, your voice is reaching someone and that person will be taking something away from what you write – you just have to remember that when lowering your fingers to the keyboard. Use this power responsibly and be sure to protect yourself.

Picture by Mike Licht

Picture by Mike Licht

Falling in love with putting pen to paper

rob browning


I turned on the TV the other evening and found myself watching a bit of Dear John, not hard I know, that bloody film is always on the TV. I have to be honest, it isn’t a great film, Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried couldn’t possibly have any less chemistry. But it’s the story that get’s me. Not so much the war stuff, but the way in which the couple fall in love and face each struggle through their letters. It reinforces everything I have always believed and studied, and proves the power and beauty of the written word. It saddens me how the written word is seemingly less and less important to youngsters of today, when I recollect how I would spend hours perfecting my calligraphy and writing out stories to make sure they were just right. It makes me shudder to think how so many kids struggle to write now because they are so used to typing and auto-correct.

I just love the idea of all these old-fashioned ways of keeping in contact and expressing love and emotion on the page. It is just so much more raw and real than hiding behind a screen (which as a blogger, I am as guilty of as the next person!). I love to look at people’s handwriting, to see where the emotion caught in their hand as they tell you they love you, or how the letters seem to bounce off the page when someone is expressing good news. Even a tear-stained and ink-smudged page is beautiful in the sadness it conveys – so much  better than a blank white screen with Times New Roman dotted across it. It just makes me so sad to think that the next generation will  barely even use their hands to write, they will type everything from emails to birthday cards. There is nothing more lovely than receiving a card from a long-lost friend or lover, if unexpected it is even lovelier. To see the handwriting on the page and know that thought went into this, it was not merely rapped on on a computer in seconds and sent without a second thought.

I used to work in a card shop, and as a result of spending so much time around greetings cards, I really have found it has made me put so much effort into finding the perfect card for someone and writing a really heartfelt message to someone for whatever the occasion. I remember when I first went to university and my best friend had taken the time to write me, not only a good luck card, but she had written a loooong letter for me to open when I felt homesick. I opened it as soon as I arrived and ended up in tears because everything she had written was so thoughtful and amazing – it was just the boost I needed and a text or Facebook message would not have had the same effect. Likewise, my boyfriend really understands how much I love a special card and message and he spends ages choosing the perfect one to make me laugh or smile. He writes beautiful messages, always short but very sweet, in his terrible scrawl across the card, but I love it so much because it is so personal, and I have kept every one since he started giving them to me.

It is so important to remember the power of the written word, particularly in telling the ones we love how we feel. A handwritten note hidden in someone’s lunch, jacket pocket or bed can really make their day when they find it. Writing a letter to your best friend or sister in their birthday card can make them smile a million times brighter than some silly present. It’s the things that don’t cost anything at all that always have the greatest value, and it’s these things that we keep with us throughout our lives to remind us of beautiful friends and moments.


Life of a journalist and its varied tales…

The Buddy Holly Story at Lynn's Corn Exchange starring Glen Joseph.

This week has been a particularly extreme example of how very varied a career in journalism can be. Of course, for those who choose a speciality such as sport, law or feature work, the writing can seem repetitive over time, but the bonus of being thrown in the deep end without formal training and working in a short-staffed office is that you really get a chance to experience as many different writing styles as there are out there.

I am a great example of such a case and despite working on a paper that covers a relatively small part of Norfolk, there is a remarkable amount of very exciting news that needs covering! This week alone I have interviewed the star of West End musical – Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story ahead of its showing at the local theatre as part of the 25th anniversary tour and was given a backstage tour by Glen Joseph himself. I then wrote a piece about drug and alcohol abuse figures which involved me talking to action teams, the hospital, police, support groups and Norfolk County Council. I also interviewed a woman about her father’s Jobseeker’s Allowance being cut off and spoke to the Department of Work and Pensions and spoke to a woman who was celebrating her 103rd birthday.

I interviewed a published writer about his book, the tale of his father’s travels and the secret life he led during World War II followed by his work spying on the Russians during the Cold War.I also wrote about Bus Awards, flood alerts, power cuts, schools, charity work and local bands and theatre productions.

All that and more is what I have been working on in the space of one week – just think of all the amazing stories you could be working on at a national paper! If that doesn’t interest more people in journalism then perhaps the fact that in my second job, as editor of This Festival Feeling, I had the opportunity to interview Charlie Hedges, the youngest breakfast DJ in the UK, from KISS FM will interest people in the potential for a writing career and where it might take you.