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Are bloggers role models?

Fri, Aug 20, 2010

Featured, Giveaways, MizFit Muzings

(My fave non-role model’y tee & boyfriend)

It feels like a lifetime ago I sat on this panel** (I blew-off missed BlogHer this year. If you went & blogged about it please link your posts in the comments!).

During the session, panel members & the audience chatted about blogs, bloggers, readers & responsibility.

I clearly recall being left with the question of what, if any, responsibility do we bear when blogging?

If one’s blog is created as an outlet to bitch, moan & vent about life (with health/fitness/weight-loss etc being a facet of that) should we feel compelled to watch the negative self talk?

Or should readers be responsible for recognizing it’s our place & our blog and what we say about OURSELVES is OK?

Is it the readers’ responsibility not to take anything we write about ‘personally’/carry away after clicking away any self-loathing thoughts we may have shared on a given day?

Must we keep in mind, every time we hit PUBLISH, that there may be impressionable readers in the blogworld to whom we might be serving as role models (whether we asked for this position or not)?

And, as role models, should we censor what we say about ourselves/our feelings in an effort not to spread the malaise?

I have to admit I was torn.

Im a firm believer in blogging as a pivotal tool for healing & healthy living.

In my opinion it’s a step forward from journaling as it allows one to receive both supportive feedback and encouragement.

The former sometimes not being what we want to hear—-but what we need at the time & what will help us grow.

And the latter? Invaluable.

I can not count the times an email or comment has turned around my mood or my day.

From that position I dont believe self-censorship is a good thing as it would either encourage less blogging or more ‘pretending’ everything is ok.

Blogging with an eye to the reader the way I kept my diary when I was younger (what will they think of me? I need to convey Ive got it all!going!on! & nothing phases me!) & not from the heart.

Lately this notion has been brought to mind again for a few reasons.

There’s been an explosion of self-love thanks to the release of the Operation Beautiful book yet, at the same time, I’ve noticed a ‘splosion of Im less than chatter on the ‘net as well.

It’s all brought me back to questioning, as I did that day on the Blogs & Body Image panel, are bloggers role models?

It makes me sad to read negative self talk/fat talk on blogs (though I respect it’s how the blogger felt on a given day) & I wonder, at times, about the young & impressionable (hell, the old & impressionable) & what messages they take away from certain posts.

Are we obligated to blog/reread/EDIT before we publish and cleanse our posts of negative musings in case our thoughts might be “triggering” to a nameless faceless reader.

Or, may we freely write about loathing a certain aspect of self, without giving a thought to our readers as it’s our blog & their choice to skip a post which may hit too close to the proverbial home?

Are bloggers, by virtue of the fact we choose to step up & publicly share what’s rattling around in our collective craniums, role models?

If you’ve swung by my ‘net of the net more than once (or even just taken a glance at my tagline) Im sure you can guess my stance on all this.

I’m Honesty McGee.  Lucy Lametsalot.

If I feel it—I share it.

From the compliments to the whining.

And, while I attempt to convey my feelings in a clear, concise this is all about me, Sister! Dont even think Im alluding to anything about you! fashion, I know-by virtue of my in-box-there have been times my blog muzings have been misunderstood.

Role model?

Schmole Schmodel.

As I once had written on a tee-shirt by way of reminding others Im a poster child for nothing.


You make it all the way to the end of my rambling rantage?  There’s a small treat in store.

For the lowlow price of a(n honest) comment you can be entered to win any item from my online store.

(Since Im a potty mouth not a role model you know I’m partial to the tees about the fitness bloggers)

What do YOU think: are bloggers role models?

Please to hit us all up below.

Winner announced 8.23.10

Entire universe eligible

Edited to say: there is a brief lag between comment post & when comment appears. This was to handle traffic increase on Tuesday.

**This link is to a transcript of the session. a very loose transcription.

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135 Responses to “Are bloggers role models?”

  1. Mary (A Merry Life) says:

    I think bloggers can be role models - if that’s what they set out to be. I think if someone is blogging about there journey in trying to be healthy instead of claiming to have all the answers then its fine if they are bitching or having negative days. Their blog is their outlet and if that’s what they need to talk about they should go for it and try to work through it. If their blog is about the BLOGGER, not the READER, then their is no need to consider whether or not they are a role model. But if someone is blogging to teach others, to set an example, to explain the best way to do something, to show others how to live, then YES by all means they are an example and need to watch it. It’s really about what the bloggers intentions are for the blog and whether or not those intentions set them up to be a role model or not.

  2. Gemfit says:

    I think there’s a balance and it’s also gotta be clear what sort of blog it is - if it’s your personal space, make it that. Make it about you and then your readers can relate to a person and not just a page online.

    That said, there are a couple of blogs I’ve had to stop reading because they’re entirely negative or overly motivational without the person coming out and being “relateable”. I love the bloggers themselves but their space is too negative for me.

    I think if your blog is your own space then it’s almost your duty to be real - show the positive along with the negative - it makes people know you and relate to you.

  3. Lucas says:

    Holy Crap! People might think I’m a ROLE MODEL? Eww! Thank Goodness my blog is private so that I can lead only a few people down the wrong path! :)

    As someone, uh, mature-ish (at 41) I get that what you lay down is yours and what rattles around in my head is mine. I love to read different blogs and take what I choose from them, little nuggets I can use here and there or even just finding someone I relate to. While other bloggers can motivate me with their actions, words, progress, positivity, etc. it’s pretty rare when I take someone’s negative stuff with me. In fact, I can’t think of a time when I have, but it’s the middle of the night and I can’t sleep so I’m pretty tired and that might have a teensy little something to do with it.

    This Flower’s thoughts? Read at your own risk, Missy.

    Oh, and keep cranking out the goodness Miz!

  4. Jess says:

    I think bloggers ARE role models but there’s a difference between writing about down time/bad days and simply whining. There’s a difference between going through a slump, having a hard time coming out, and just complaining and moaning. There’s a difference between accepting “fate” and doing something about it.

    I try to stay on the positive side. That’s just the kind of person I am. Negativity led me to obesity and positivity has helped me recover and grow. “I can’t do it” has gotten me nowhere, so I’m trying the “I can do it” approach. And I honestly feel like by being a positive role model, I feel better about myself.

    I only write things I truly believe. If I am having a hard time (cue intuitive eating), I write about it, but I continue to work towards bettering myself and creating success.

    A big part of the reason why I’m doing #dropdeadgorgeousbydecember is to remind myself that being gorgeous isn’t just about a damn number. It is about feeling proud of who I am, what I’ve done, what I’ve accomplished, day in and day out.

    So yep, bloggers are definitely role models. They help people. They inspire them. But they also make people realize that they’re not alone on this journey.

  5. Cynthia (It All Changes) says:

    I think bloggers can totally be role models. But I also think that role models have ups and downs just like the rest of us. I’m turned off by a blogger who only show the happy peppy side. I don’t think I measure up. But if a blogger is honest when they struggle as well they are an even greater role model because I can rejoice in their celebrations even that much more.

    There is a definite difference between sharing hard times and fat talk/self-hatred. I am cautious to be honest with my emotions but careful with my words.

  6. Fallon says:

    There’s no doubt that bloggers are role models. I admire so many ladies out there who blog, and aspire to become more like them in many ways. That’s a role model, right?


    I really don’t think it’s the responsibility of the blogger to censor him/herself for the safety of the masses. Ultimately, no matter what you say, something will be misread by someone. Period. There is no way to make every thing you say “safe” for everyone else’s delicate state of mind.

    I think being yourself, and writing for yourself, is the best way to go.

  7. Pamela says:

    I tend to agree with Mary that if someone sets out to be a role model or teacher with their blog then it’s a bit different. For me, I drift more towards reading the more personal blogs and also agree with the others who said that if I see only happy peppy all the time, it turns me off. I don’t believe that anyone can be cheerful all the time, so I look for those that are real. Personal blogs - those who write to share their experiences - are just that. Personal about the blogger themselves. Not the audience. Of course, if I see someone much thinner than I complaining that they’re “so fat” it bothers me a bit, but I’ve grown to realize that we all have our demons. We’re all self-conscious at times. And I had those moments when I was at my lowest weight, too.

  8. Arlene @ Adventures in Weight Loss says:

    I think bloggers can be role models, whether they want to be or not. Then again, we probably wouldn’t be putting our thoughts out there if we didn’t hope that, at least in some small way, what we have to say is having an impact on someone else.

    That said, if you blog solely to change someone else’s (life, viewpoint, mind), you run the risk of losing yourself. I think it’s best to write for yourself … share what you need to talk about on any given day. Then if it helps someone else, great.If not, there’s always tomorrow.

  9. Julie @ pickley pear says:

    The blogs I read are role models to me. I’m so inspired by some of the stories I read, the recipes I find and the motivation ppl have. My blog is not meant to be a model to someone else because we all have our own goals in life. It’s a motivational tool for me. If I can impact at least one reader, that makes me happy :)

  10. Kathy says:

    Great post.

    I do think that like it or not people who blog in a certain way (I am not sure what that would be called. People who position themsevles as authorities in a genre) are role models and should think about what they say before they post.

  11. Nan says:

    I do not blog and I think it depends on the blog.

    I read some people to just see what is happening with them and their family and other place to learn (is that the right word?).

    I do come here to see how you are and Ren and and the Tornado but I also expect to be taught something for my time :)

    I would say yes.

  12. Shelley B says:

    Although I get uncomfortable when people leave me comments using the “inspiration” word, I certainly looked to several weight-loss bloggers for MY inspiration as I began my journey. I try not to hold anybody up to pedestal-heights, though, because we are all human and have our own set of failings (god knows I sure do!).

    That said, there are a couple of bloggers I stopped reading because it felt like all they were doing was trying to impart some sort of “lesson” or “wisdom” with every single post and that not only got boring, but felt too much like school for me. There are also some who I read, but give myself permission to skip if they are continually too self-negative. We all have those days, and sometimes it helps to post about them, but yeah. Some people seem to never get past it. I don’t mean for this to be blogger-bashing, because I have gained so much from reading blogs and being a part of this community, and I know for a fact that my successful weight loss is due in great part to it. But some days, I just want to say “maybe think twice before you hit publish” on that, sister…

  13. Helen says:

    Love this.
    I think some writers and bloggers try and position themselves as pros or role models.

    Sometimes it works :)

    Other times it doesnt.

  14. rebekah (clarity in creation.) says:

    i don’t think bloggers are role models, but i do think we need to remember that our words effect people - what we do with that knowledge is to our descretion.

    awesome post!

  15. Ron says:

    Yes I think bloggers can be role models, even if they whine…. don’t we all to a certian degree ?
    If they whine less than I do, then they can be a role model that I should be more like so I don’t whine as much :)

  16. MrsFatass says:

    Soooo interesting to read this after our talk yesterday! In publicly responding to a not-so-positive comment, I alienated (at least one) reader. Made me start to wonder about self-censorship, holding back, not saying EVERYTHING that enters my mind. But I suppose this question must be answered individually; everybody creates their own tone, and has their own comfort level. And being a role model? BIG responsibility. Everybody’s human. Nobody’s perfect.

    • Katdoesdiets says:

      We read your blog and hang on your every word because you DON’T self-sensor. It’s what we love about you.

  17. Reader Gurl says:

    I find that I can no longer read the food blogs where people post their food photos.

    I used to just look at them and think how amazing the photographs were and now I tend to look at them and think I eat too much.

  18. Tammy says:

    This is why I do not blog.
    I’m no role model.

    I want to lose weight first and be fit.

  19. karen says:

    There was a day not so long ago (within the past 18 months) that I debated at least temporarily calling it quits in the blogiverse. I felt like pack up my toys and going home. I was in a slump and didn’t want to drag my readers down (the few I figured I had). Said something about it on facebook and friends from years gone by and family came crawling out of the woodwork begging me not to because I had inspired them. Huh. I was auto-publishing there with Networked Blogs but rarely had any feedback … but that didn’t mean that what I was saying (good or bad) wasn’t reaching any body. In fact, it was reaching & helping folks that I never even would have guessed NEEDED to be reached. You know, the girls who were the envy of everyone in school because they were the perfect specimens of teenage goddessness? They were now looking to ME to get them through the tough times. I even had one thank me for writing it out when life was particularly sucky and all I wanted to do was down ice cream by the gallon … because it made them not feel so bad when they felt the same and they always knew I would snap out of it.
    Like Shelley, there are those that I’ve read and followed who seem to take the idea of “role model” a little too far with their “listen to me - I know what I’m talking about” shtick and also those who seem so down all the time it’s like a toxin.
    Are bloggers role models? We can be … but I prefer to think of them/us as people who may happen to have a little more insight some days than the rest …

  20. Skinny Sushi says:

    I think it’s a fine line. I do try to stay positive on my blog, but sometimes I just can’t… and don’t. In then end, I think your blog is YOUR space and you should do with it what feels right to you. If readers respond, that’s great, but even if it just ends up being a place to vent/rant, I think that has worth too.

    I love this giveaway. I NEED an I <3 Myself tee.

  21. Lori says:

    I agree with everyone who has already mention that blogs are different.

    I know I come here to glean information first and to see how you are second (sorry!).

    I also think that you write that way for us, too?

    More informative and instructional.


  22. Erica says:

    Interesting topic. I think for most of the healthy living type bloggers, the blog isn’t just about food or health or exercise, but a combination of all of the above along with bits and pieces of their lives. I think we’re all real people and we do have days where we feel off. If we’re too careful about trying to put forward a positive image/positive thoughts 100% of the time, the posts won’t be as real and believable to the readers.

  23. Lori says:

    Oh, and interesting post Miz.

    See? That is why I come back and back.

  24. Shelley says:

    I really liked Cynthia’s response.

    My first gut reaction was to shout NO! Bloggers are NOT role models - or need not put that added pressure on themselves.

    But, like everything else, I think it depends. On the purpose of the blog. On the intended audience. Perhaps on the actual audience.

    And I think a blogger’s role can evolve over time.

    But I think authenticity is soso important, and I’m a believer in the marketplace of ideas - and that just like TV, there’s no reason someone can’t change the channel/visit another site.

    What I love about this post is that you took the time to evaluate this question and give a really thoughtful response. That’s the hallmark of a great blog.

  25. Joy says:

    Great post!!!!
    I *do* think bloggers are role models, but not if they aren’t “unapologetically themselves” I think that by sharing their failures as well as their successes they/you make it easier for the readership to relate. I read a few blogs where by all appearances the blogger has the perfect life — not helpful andhonestly rather boring but ones where I can offer a comforting word at times mdraw me in and keep me reading

    • Christine says:

      I completely agree. If you are true to who you are it shines through your blog. If you are trying to emulate somebody or portray some crazy perfect life it also comes across - but not in the way intended.

      I have dropped a few blogs too where I felt they were just too unreal and Pollyanna-perfect. While I love and appreciate positivity - I can’t relate to an unnatural amount. :)

  26. Cathy says:

    I don’t blog and I am NO ROLE MODEL either.

    I do look to weight loss success bloggers for inspiration and I guess as role models?

    What does it say on taht shirt in picture?

    LOL @ Ronald.

    • Miz says:

      the front reads Don’t f*ck with the fitness bloggers…
      the back: we’ll make you drop and give us 20.

      Yes (I made it)
      Yes (I wear it)
      Yes (I sell it)

      Yes ;)

  27. Carly says:

    Hmmmm interesting question. I do not consider myself a role model unless it is for something on what NOT to do. When I write a blog post, I dump everything I am thinking….then I go back and edit. I do not edit for my readers, I do it for myself. I don’t want to be the “debbie downer” so I tweak it a bit and it helps me find my own silver lining on my down days.

  28. heather says:

    A) this is SUCH a great post. A discussion which I have had with SEVERAL bloggers at meet-ups, conferences, and during gchats.

    B)it is a difficult line to draw - I def look to other bloggers for inspiration and motivation - there are even some who I would say I “look up to” in one way or another, or even sometimes more than one way (cough. You, supermom. Cough.)

    C) I’ve been thinking about “self-editing”and i think for me personally, its not about erasing what I think others will judge me for (we all know I’m a bit of an oversharer, and that I don’t believe in keeping secrets about my faults) its more about changing my perception. When I reread a post before publishing and feel it seems a bit harsh/whiny/rude/ridiculous, I take a step back and do some self evaluation - what is making me feel this way? Why do I feel so negetive? What is the root of the issue? If you read through my history, you’ll see that the posts that start out confused/whiney/sad usually end up on a high note. A self-revelation, a “what was I thinking?”, an “I know better than those last seven paragraphs.”

    I don’t EVER want to be ashamed of anything I do/say - I refuse to be ashamed of what I’ve done, what has happened to me, my past mistakes or events I wish would have never happened- because they have made me who I am today. THAT is why I share those things. All things.

    And as I said on the panel at HLS last weekend, we all just want someone to relate to- as readers, and honestly, as humans. I don’t feel pressure to be “perfect” on THS because besides the fact that perfect doesn’t exist, societies definition of perfect is pretty damn boring. Instead, I want to be real. I want to be honest when I feel cruddy about myself, but at the same time, remind myself that I am awesome and stop hounding myself and do something about it. I want to admit that I think certain things and do certain things, because other people think them and do them do - and That’s what is so great about this community. So often I read something and say “ME TOO!” (See: the first part of this comment) and that feels so good- to be so connected to a group of AWESOME likeminded people as ourselves.

  29. Allie says:

    Interesting question and comments.

    I think it is a choice.

    Many bloggers want to be role models I think since they view their blogs as a stepping stone to bigger things.

    I choose to skip these blogs.

  30. moonduster (Becky) says:

    I think we are role models even when it is not what we intend. I think we need to be honest but temper it a bit sometimes when that honesty might harm someone else in their quest. Scratch that - I think we should just be honest, and do our best to BE a good role model by working on ourselves. It’s such a fine line, because no one will bother reading what we have to say if we are not authentic, if we are not ourselves. And sometimes, when we want to moan and whinge, others will be able to say, “See! I’m not the only one!” and that can be a good thing too.

  31. Fab Kate says:

    There’s a huge difference between being a role model and being god. It occurs to me that there are a lot of people out there who think that to be a role model you have to be perfect. Hint: no one is.

    I believe that part of being a good role model is being human, and that how we deal with adversity, despair, pain, or any of the other negatives is just as important as how we lose weight, get fit, and what our exercise routines are.

    No one should ever hold another individual to the status of “ideal” and emulate every little bit about that person anyway, and bloggers shouldn’t (IMHO) have to edit their blogs supposing that their readers do.

    And what can readers learn, anyway, from someone who never has blogged about the feelings and experiences they’ve had? If everyone is always Little Mary Sunshine, who’s modeling “bouncing back”, “taking control of your life” and “dealing with overwhelming sadness”?

    Again, it’s not our responsibility to lead others in the paths we’ve taken. It’s our responsibility to be ourselves. But if there’s something in that being that others can learn from, that’s great, too.

  32. debby says:

    Some bloggers ARE role models (waves at Miz.) I think a lot of bloggers want to inspire/motivate others. In the weight loss arena, (well, for me anyway) you are so happy that you have been able to lose this weight, and the benefits are so great, you want to ‘help’ everyone you see who is overweight to know that they can do it too. Only a lot of people don’t want your ‘help.’ A blog gives you the opportunity to help those who are looking for help.

    self-sensoring? I try not to write stuff that would hurt another person, even if I THINK that other person will never read my blog. THE WHOLE WORLD CAN READ YOUR BLOG. And, just a personal decision, I decided to NOT show pictures of extremely high calorie and/or non-nutritious foods on my blog as some of us (me) are highly visual people and tend to be influenced by pictures.

  33. heather says:

    Also, I just want to add, that I DO sensor myself on twitter. I do try REALLY hard not to let twitter become a place for my constant complaining and here’s why-

    A) truthfully, when other people are CONSTANTLY being negetive on twitter, it does bring me down, which is semi-annoying. I’m not talking about the occasional venting or turning to twitter for encouragement when feeling “blech”. I’m talking more about judgemental comments about others and theirselves. It breaks my heart and at the same time gives me an emense desire to wack them in the head. Ahem.

    B) I’ve found that it HELPS my attitude. There have been several times I’ve typed out a tweet, only to realize its not v nice or way too whiney, delete it and think of something more positive to say. Instead of saying “I hate my job. Get me out of here.” I may step back, think, no I don’t. I don’t hate my job. I’m just upset things aren’t going my way. These thoughts can lead to a simple “hooray for my job” or something a bit more introspective, such as the recent, “the world does not revolve around me. The world does not revolve around me.”

    I want to be an encouragement for others, but even more so, as selfish as it is, I want to be a voice of encouragement for myself.

  34. Meredith says:

    I don’t have time right now to read the comments so excuse me if this has been said already.

    I have decided not to blog until I can be an inspiration for someone else.

    I guess that makes my answer a yes?

    My question is did you want to be a role model, MizFit?

  35. Joanna Sutter says:

    I have a personal code of ethics I follow as a healthy-living blogger.

    I have plenty of bad days and yes I talk about them because I am human.


    I don’t write about anything I wouldn’t use/do/think/eat myself or recommend to my niece, my mom, or my girlfriends. And I don’t slam a company for the sake of venting. If I have a problem with a company, I take it up with them, and not air the dirty laundry on my blog.

    No body is perfect and who would want to be? BUT I hold healthy-living bloggers on a pedestal because I am one of them. If you call yourself a Healthy-Living blogger and you blog about your drunken behavior, your endless love of processed food, and you have a negative attitude 24/7…I’m sorry. I’ll support you, cheer you on, but if you’re leading a lifestyle that is not healthy, please call yourself something else.

    End rant.

  36. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman says:

    I think it depends on the blog. And, honestly, we all feel disappointed or down sometimes. To pretend that doesn’t happen by censoring ourselves blog may make someone else who’s struggling feel like they’re the only non-positive person out there. Sometimes it’s nice to see a blogger who’s real, even if that means that today she’s not cheery and upbeat about herself.

  37. Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul says:

    Interesting discussion. On my own blog, I take myself seriously as a potential role model. This is in part due to my profession as a psychologist - and thus being subject to more stringent professional and ethical standards. However, I feel that all bloggers should consider themselves role models to some extent. I know that some might argue that one didn’t ask to be a role model, but role models don’t always choose to be in that position. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t however. Hundreds to thousands of readers a day are taking our messages and internalizing them, so I think it’s our duty to take a long pause before hitting “publish.” I don’t think that this should be to the exclusion of transparency - because we all can certainly learn and grow from hearing about struggles and mistakes. But there is a responsible way to discuss things we are not particularly proud of. My thought is that if you truly just want to vent, either start a journal or make your blog set to private for only those close to you.

  38. Karen@WaistingTime says:

    Like you, I am very torn. There are so many ways to look at this. My initial reaction is that the answer may depend on the blog - its purpose, audience/readership, blogger. I am but a little cog in the blog world and I blog to help myself, most of all, so I would hate to feel the need to censor that because of how I might possibly negatively impact someone with my own struggles. But, I also am very careful on my blog and in my comments to be tactful and kind and supportive of others, even when I sometimes try to give a little tough love or kick in the butt.

    And I have always thought that anyone who did not like what I wrote would just stop reading. BUT I did not think that I might negatively impact someone. Hmmm. Maybe some of the biggest bloggers out there do have more of an impact but does that translate to “obligation?” What if they are giving out incorrect information about how to do a certain exercise that could actually result in injury? Or inspiring someone to eat unsafely?

    I just don’t know what I think. My mind is now all twisted up Carla!

  39. Erica @ Fashion meets Food says:

    I think some bloggers “think” they are role models, but they arent really. There is a fine line and I think some people can be and others cannot


  40. Cassandra says:

    Can bloggers be role models? Yes, of course!

    Should they censor/filter/water-down their words in an attempt to be a role model? No, certainly not.

    A role model should be someone we look up to because they are real - not because they never see themselves as fat, but because they are able to rebound from those fat days.If we were to filter out all the negative and leave only the positives on our blogs, then you wouldn’t be a role model, you would be some unattainable model of perfection.

    A role model isn’t someone who never falls. It’s the person who gets back up. For me, my role models are those people who keep getting up time and time again, because they tell me no mater how hard I’ve fallen, I can get back up too, and I hope when people come to my blog, they find the same message.

  41. Miz says:

    Thanks so much for all your thoughts…I’m working (so far successfully ;) ) to resist chiming back in…

  42. Tricia says:

    This is a tough one! Being a really new blogger and also a blog reader (more seasoned in this regard), my honest opinion is that it depends on what you blog about. If you purport to be a professional, expert or pundit in any subject, then you owe your readers a certain standard of performance and a specific level of care. People who read professional blogs are expecting a higher level of information that is factually based.

    Someone who blogs to express their personal thoughts and experiences who is not labeling themselves any type of professional, etc. as above, does not and should not be expected to owe anyone anything. These are opinions and internal ideas expressed openly as an outlet, but to also connect with others of like mind or who could use someone else’s opinion.

    Should there be a disclaimer on the homepage of every blog stating one way or the other what each blogger is offering? Now, we get into the whole policing part of the internet and that is a dangerous thing!

    So, in conclusion, I say it depends on what you are blogging about and what you are trying to convey.

    I hope this makes sense!

  43. Christie {Honoring Health} says:

    Awesome post and comments.

    Honestly, I am a bit on the fence about this depending on the blog itself. My blog started as a personal space and 3.5 years later, I am coaching people in making the very same changes I blogged about for so long. Now, I write my blog from the perspective of teaching others though I still do it from the perspective of what has worked for me, what hasn’t and my personal insights about whatever. I remember meeting my first in person client and she threw her arms around me and said “OMG, I am so giddy to meet you, you are a celebrity in my world” and I was completely taken aback. What? I am a celebrity?!?! And in that moment I realized that I am making a huge impact in the world and that I am a role model, struggles and all. And honestly, I think, that like you Miz, that it is the struggles that people relate to and learn from.

    So, because of this change that has taken place for my life and my blog, I am more of an editer now that I was when I started or even 1.5 years ago. Back then, I hit publish and never even read what I wrote because at the time, my blog was my outlet because I didn’t have one in my in personl ife. At least not one that allowed me to be SO unedited.

    Because I have been on both sides of it, I can appreciate both points of view. But, I do value the fact that I am a role model though I didn’t intend that when I started.

    What bothers me are the blogs that have enough readers each month that they make a living at it and don’t place any value on their readership and the impact they are making in the world. But I mean that from the opposite side of the coin, the ones that go about blogging from this chipper, life is perfect kind of place and have millions of readers comparing themselves and trying to live up to this perception of perfection. When behind closed doors, they struggle just like everyone else. It just bothers me to no end and I have blogged about it in the past and was astounded my the amount of comments from people who felt the same way.

    OK. That was a blog post itself.


  44. angela says:

    I do think some bloggers are role models. I think the ones that are didn’t set out to be. I think they’re the ones who are honest but positive and more into self love than self loathing. I think the bloggers that embrace the self loathing I’ll say whatever I want to no matter how bad it sounds to the readers are not seen as role models, and tend to not have as many readers to begin with. Wait… is this why I don’t have readers? I maybe need to go read my own blog and see how much self loathing is in there. ;)

  45. Jana says:

    I know as a reader I am attracted to bloggers who seem to be accidental role models and not ones who lecture and come across as if they think they should be.

  46. Lori (Finding Radiance) says:

    Well - I don’t really think there is a simple answer to this question. I think the real question is not whether a blogger is a good role model, but do they *want* to be a role model?

    If a blog is a diary, why should one watch the language or ideas or whatever for fear of offending someone. Even the act of trying not to offend will actually offend *somebody* LOL!

    Unless you pigeonhole every single reader and only allow that certain type of reader to view your blog (I guess by invite only), there is going to be someone who reads it that is set off by what you write. You cannot control someone else’s reaction to you, nor should you really try. Their actions/reactions are their responsibility.

    If someone has an eating disorder and views my blog and it sets something off in them, am I supposed to stop posting certain foods I eat or talking about this? No.

    I read a ton of blogs. Some I disagree with, but do get some thought from. Others I lost interest in. I find I gravitate towards like-minded bloggers (as in real life), and like others have said - it is the authenticity that comes through. If someone has a holier-than-though attitude about something, I rarely come back to visit. I want sharing, not lecturing.

  47. Tonia says:

    Yes, I think bloggers are role models. Do I think they should be? Not always. Blogs are amazing things. And they are home to many, many fabulous ideas, thoughts, discussions. But, I don’t think that as a whole the blogging community is thoughtful enough about their readers to be true role models. For many people, blogging is an outlet of both good and bad, positive and negative and at times that PUBLISH button is hit before it should be.

  48. Brooke says:

    My blog concentrates on sewing, so I never thought about the role model responsibility before-not a whole lot of people freaking out over my theories on hemming. :-)

    But as a reader of many many fitness blogs, I have to say that I just glean bits and pieces of each one to make my own model, not basing my thoughts or theories on any one person. It is kinda scary to think about though….

  49. Miz says:

    Sharing not lecturing.

    I like that way of framing it Lori!

  50. marie says:

    I do think bloggers are role models, but I don’t think that means they need to be perfect. I get a lot more out of reading someone’s day-to-day battles to be healthy (let’s face it, someday it feels like a war!) than I do reading the adventures of someone who seems to never have a setback. I also appreciate the brutal honesty so many bloggers have. It takes a lot more courage to admit that you binged or skipped exercise for a month than it does to post your PR’s.

  51. @AmyLBurford says:

    Great discussion on the comments. I don’t think many bloggers set out to be a role model just like most athletes, politicians, etc. You start to do something that you love and are passion about and sometimes it happens. I think the role model title can come when you are an example of possibility anywhere in life.

    To me the role model designation is more about the person you are a role model to vs. you needing to accept a responsibility to be a role model. Wait does that make sense? Example: To me a role model is someone I admire for being real. To others, it might need to be someone they put on a pedestal or want to become….

  52. Destination:Athlete says:

    What an interesting question you post, Miz!

    Hmm. I have to admit than in my ignorance-is-bliss belief, I’ve never even contemplated myself as a role model, and as such, never thought about editing/changing/altering my content.

    So if one perceives themselves as a role model - should we change ourselves?

    I’m going to go with a big-ol’ NO. As you put it yourself - you are unapologetically yourself. That means, good, bad, indifferent, opinionated, whatnot. You are yourself, and I am of the firm belief that you should not change yourself for anyone or anything.

  53. Janice - the Fitness Cheerleader says:

    Great post, and definitely some food for thought!

    With my mommy blog, I’m definitely not a role-model nor do I set mself up to be an expert about being a mommy or blogging. It was the first blog I set up, and the amount of negativity I exuded in my posts has actually caused me to step back and really think about how my Inner Mean Girl affects me. I don’t blog over there very often anymore.

    However, my healthy lifestyle blog “Fitness Cheerleader” does set me up to be an expert in the field of health and nutrition, and I honestly believe in that role I’m a role model, and I try to keep it positive and encouraging, which therfore changes the way I think about myself. I do occasionally admit to having self doubts and struggles with being healthy all the time - perhaps that makes me more credible? I’m real and I try to keep it real.

    Love your blog!

  54. Jules - Big Girl Bombshell says:

    Role Model Bloggers? Depends on the role the reader wants to model. If you are not being honest and authentic then they may be modeling what they believe you to be…that is when you should look at the whole.

    Do they walk the talk in ALL areas of their life…Personally, I have a hard time with social media..facebook, twitter…but I love to blog…Social media is just that…social in a media forum. For example, I am not a social creature by nature so it is HARD to be social in 140 characters. I am social AFTER the relationship has been established. After I see if they are TRUE to what they share about healthy living…and after I trust that they walk their talk..

    Okay off my soapbox…but you asked for honest and honestly…I want to go shopping!

  55. Natalia says:

    Great post Carla! I read it and had to go think about it for a while.

    I think that as a blogger I don’t see myself as a role model and I don’t think I want to be a role model. I think that we have to learn to look within ourselves to find the best role model there is. I think that it’s ok to look at someone else and admire that person’s strengths and maybe even say to ourselves I want to achieve what they’ve achieved, but I think it’s important for us to find our own way that is uniquely ours to get there. We need to realize that the power is within us!

    Sometimes our society tends to idolize role models and then we’re terribly disappointed when we realize, just like us, they are fallible.

    My blog is my blog and if I’m having a bad day I want to be able to vent about it and hope that the person reading will not take offense. If what I’m writing bothers someone else hopefully they’ll click the reader to delete that post and maybe come back on a different day. Or better yet offer some support if they have it.

    I’m not sure that what I’m saying makes sense to anyone but me. I know what I want to say, but I’m having a hard time saying it. I think I’m talking on a bigger scale. But I think that anytime we look to others and think I want to be like that, it can be a slippery slope. Depending on who you are.

    So I guess what I’m saying is No, I don’t think bloggers are role models, and I don’t think they’re supposed to be. I think they’re people like me, some I relate to some I don’t. Some, I admire their success and some I support in their failure’s as I have failed so many times. Some I admire the heck out of! Which is the category you fall into!! :)

    I think I’ve written a book and I’d better stop here as I could go on, and on, and on….about this subject!

  56. Abbie says:

    I think bloggers are role models, but, like everything life spits out at us, must be used as not a die-hard command center but rather an instruction manual or tips on people who have paved the way.

    And, of course, any good blogger has said at least once (if not multiple times) that the importance of the blogs and exercise tips is to take what works for you and cut out the rest that doesn’t.

    Side note - Still catching up on y’all’s podcasts. You helped me get through my 3.5 mile run this morning! On episode 8 :o )

  57. Hannah says:

    The responsibility falls to the reader in my opinion- if you choose to see someone as a role model, and then they somehow tarnish that vision with a post- it’s not the bloggers fault. They are just sharing their story.

    Part of the beauty of blogging are the archives- its all out there for new reader or old to soak it up and decide if they want to idolize that blogger. I personally enjoy reading blogs that have the good/the bad/the ugly of their experience and put it all out there.

  58. Ren Man says:

    Does it say anything about my perspective that I so love Charles Barkely, the original “I am not a role model,” that we named our first dog “Barkley?”

  59. the Bag Lady says:

    OH dear Lord, I hope no-one sees me as a role model! (How to live your life in a constant state of chaos, never accomplishing anything…)

  60. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    I’ve worked on this. I balance it. Mostly, NO.

    Why only mostly? Because I am a person that cares all too much what others think. My blog has been an outlet to express that which I’d made impossible to express in my every day life. Because I too had to have it all together!

    I think I’m a private person when met in person. So private that I don’t want to not have it all together because I don’t want to be asked/talked/thought about. Now…a hundred trainwrecks later…I’m forced to have all my crap displayed on a tray.

    My blog is a place where I can digest what is happening, and do something healthy about it. Without having to edit. [too much]

  61. Lorrie says:

    Sometimes my biggest frustration with blogging is when I get the occasional comment from a reader expecting me to be a role model. And I want to say “hey, don’t do what what I do, I’m figuring this out too” I don’t think many people seek being role models as much as they seek to be inspiring which is something I get from a lot of other bloggers, yourself included.

  62. Diana the Scale Junkie says:

    I believe that positive is as contagious as negative and I keep that in mind when I blog. I would rather spin my story that may be negative into the positive lesson it has taught me or share the challenge I face and how I plan to deal with it head on in hopes that by teaching myself, others might share their positive input or share they are facing the same challenges and I’ve encouraged them to challenge themselves. Once in a while a few people respond that they get it and I take that as my cue to continue sharing.

    But then again, I’m the one who won’t visit diet blogs when the author posts tempting food in their headers. I just don’t need the food porn.

  63. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    Great question! I think bloggers can be role models and be seen as role models by others (and as it was mentioned before, they don’t necessarily have a choice in it if others see them as a role model or not).

    I think how much censoring to do before hitting publish is a very tricky question. I used to blog every day for almost a year but have cut back a lot (for so many reasons) in the last few months. When I was blogging every day, there were quite a few instances when I didn’t address a topic the way I felt at the moment because I didn’t want to be too negative and whiny. Yet, at the same time I wanted to keep it real. Life isn’t easy and nice and neat and living a healthy life certainly isn’t easy. So I think it’s important not to portray a “perfect picture.” That just isn’t reality. I tried to find a way to share my challenges without beating myself up. But I think it is always tricky…

  64. marzipan says:

    Yep. I’m fairly certain that I ought to think of myself as a role model on the internetz. However, I have two little sisters, so I have been role model-ing since I was very small, tending to do it frequently and naturally. I often say on MM that I don’t demand perfection of myself, but I do demand honesty. It’s not that I don’t have bad awful princess thundercloud days, because I do - often, it’s just that I make an effort not to lie about it/sugar coat it/pretend it doesn’t exist. I think that our flaws are what make us good role models. That said - not a huge fan of negative self talk. Thoughts become things. It’s important to choose the words you use to describe yourself very carefully. xoxox

  65. SoHelpMeKath says:

    I think bloggers CAN be role models, even as they whine or record their “less-than” feelings online for all the world to see. I know that my favorite healthy living blogs are ones where the person behind the blog is REAL: whining included! The trick is that hopefully we’ll get to follow this blogger from bad day to better day, and hopefully to an eventual victory! It’s much more inspiring to read about someone who started out JUST LIKE ME on my worst day, and then follow along as they learn and grow.

    That said, it’s also helpful when you read the blog of someone who has had considerable success on a day where they can’t get it together. It helps reinforce that it is a lifestyle, not a race to be won. Chances are, when you check back a day or two later, they’ll be in a better place.

  66. Tami says:

    This was a wonderful thought provoking post. I think that being a role model or not is actually held in the eyes of the reader.

    I am blogging to share my story, being honest and accountable to myself because I am putting it in print.

    My hope is that someone who reads my story and follows my blog will garner some inspiration and helpful information that will be useful with their healthy life style journey.I am finally having success and I want to share what is working for me because I am so excited that I am finally getting a handle on my weight issues!

    I share my recipes and photos of my food because I love to cook and when I find an awesome recipe it gives me great pleasure to share it with others.

    I can only be “me” and my blog reflects who I am. Some will like me and others will not. Honesty is what I strive for in my life and on my blog. I am a positive person and that is how my blog reads! I pretty much avoid blogs that are mostly negative posts. Everyone has a choice and we tend to gravitate towards people we can feel a kinship with.

  67. mousearoo says:

    RenMan stole my Charles Barkley quote :)

    No one has asked me to be a role model but I know that because of my weight loss success there are one or two people out there who have chosen to see me in a positive light. Does that mean I have to edit myself in my blog because of others? No. Writing is just my way to share with others and get feedback on what’s bothering me, my struggles or just empty the contents of my brain. It’s my personal battle and I want to know that I’m not alone more than lead people out of trenches.

    I work really hard at avoiding the negative self-talk but sometimes it crops up. I won’t censor myself, though. Ever.

    Well, except for cussing. I do work for a Church…

  68. juliejulie says:

    I think good bloggers are good story tellers. If whining is part of your story that day, and it works in the literary sense to move the story forward, good. If you just need to vent, call your best friend. Honest blogging is good blogging, because we get to see a real person and how they’re dealing with life, and that’s interesting if they tell the truth and are mature enough to tie it all back into something meaningful, that we recognize in ourselves. Those are the people who become role models - not because they’re doing everything right, but because they’re helping us learn the truth about ourselves.

  69. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    Like you, I’m torn. Since I’ve been successful at losing weight and (so far) keeping it off, I think I do attract some folks who are looking for help or answers. I try to be crystal clear that I’m not a food-purist or healthy-living guru of any sort (I refer to myself as the anti-role model), so that people don’t think I’m trying to pass myself off as an expert or leader in the field. The one thing I want people to take away from my blog is that it IS possible to make positive changes at any age and that you don’t have to be perfect to make progress.
    And that I can’t count, because that’s two things. :)

    I do catch some flak from time to time about my perkiness. I’m not sure why those people want me to be miserable, but I certainly don’t intend to accommodate them in it. I’m happy to be at a place in my life where I’m…well, happy 99.9% of the time. Sue me. (But remember that I’m unemployed and don’t have much in the way of liquid assets.)

  70. Susan says:

    I do think a lot of bloggers are role models and have a lot of influence over people. But I personally never “self censor” myself with this in mind. I’ve been very open about this journey of self discovery that I’m on, and I like to think my readers are along for the ride. I don’t always get it right, but hopefully they are learning along with me :)

    It also depends on who you’re blogging FOR. Some people blog for themselves, and readers are just a nice bonus to that. I try to blog with others in mind, satisfying their interests before mine. Sure, my blog is a chronicle of my life, but I always try to choose information to share that will be valuable to others, or at least entertaining!

  71. Ruth says:

    I think it’s up to readers to choose their own role models. Some readers will pick you, and some won’t. It’s also the readers’ responsibility to decide which parts of a post apply to their lives and which parts are insights into yours. So bloggers CAN be role models, but being a paragon of health and virtue at all times is not part of the job description.

    Doesn’t it make sense to be a role model who, like all readers, is imperfect and vulernable to bad days? What readers can model on bad blogging days is the way that you wake up the next morning (or some morning shortly thereafter) and go back to your usual positive, healthy life.

  72. Elisabeth says:

    I think that in putting ourselves out there for the rest of the universe to “see”, we do in turn put ourselves in the position of being a role model. Even if we don’t want to be. However, I don’t see that as a reason to be anything less than brutally honest about ourselves and our struggles. People appreciate honesty, and they appreciate that the blogger behind the blog is human like they are.

    If I happen upon a blog post that touches me in a place that I’m not comfortable with, I move on. My life is not any less enriched because one persons’ blog post touched me the wrong way. I just take everyone (and their blogs) for exactly what they are, and personally, I appreciate honesty a million times more than fakers. It’s very easy to tell when a blogger is just “putting on a happy face.”

  73. kathy says:

    Girl I LOVE the picture of you.

    It says it all.

    You are my role model-like it or not.



  74. workout mommy says:

    i remember that picture! (good times, good times!)

    I think bloggers can be role models but only if they are being true. Its ok throw happy go lucky content up all the time but only if that is who you really are as a person.

    Me? I have a lot of down days and I’m starting to include them on my blog. I’m human and sometimes my life sucks. Blogging is my therapy to get it all out. :)

  75. Katie says:

    Wow, great post, as always, Miz.

    I think that bloggers are just bloggers, and that it comes down to personal responsibility. As readers (of blogs or any media) we are bombarded with information, and we have to use out own judgement in deciding what to do with that information, what to take from that information, and whether we agree with it or not. As a blogger, the personal responsibility comes in being HONEST at all times. I think that is the only way to blog. A false sense of “happy go lucky” all the time is a disservice to readers and self.

  76. Yum Yucky says:

    This whole thing makes me think of someone I used to follow on Twitter. She is a recovering eating disorderist (can I call it that), and every.single.tweet was negative, self-loathing and full of no hope. I had to unfollow, but not at first. I really gave it chance, because I wanted to be supportive, but the negativity was too much of a dark cloud.

    I don’t think ill of this Twitterer for anything she ever said, I just chose to remove MYSELF from being in the path of that negativity. Same is true with bloggers. If it’s all about “woe is me”, I must move on. But there is never an eyeroll or me thinking I’m better than them, I just can’t handle negative like that.

    Unfortunately, some people may be swayed to join in on the “woe” party, and that is how the self unlove spreads in the blogosphere.

  77. Julia says:

    I don’t know if I would say that bloggers are “role models.” There is something I just don’t like about assigning a label as to what someone is or is not. I would like to think of bloggers as “inspirational” (both positively and negatively.)

    I’d like to think that my triumphs and happy days lift others up and give them hope. Similarly, I hope my moody, self-loathing, bitchy posts help them understand that I am “real.” I am not some mythical weight-loss machine that is always positive. I hope people see the manic and unpredictable that is me, perhaps they will be inspired to be more positive after seeing how horrible I feel/look/think/act.

    Like it or not, I won’t edit myself on my blog. Like Popeye, “I am, what I am.” Take it or leave it!

  78. Tina says:

    What a great post! I do think bloggers are role models because people do look up to certain individuals and turn to them for advice. However, that does not mean bloggers should have to censure themselves and walk on eggshells in THEIR space. They need to be respectful in their posts, but still convey what they desire.

  79. Corey - The Runner's Cookie says:

    I think bloggers are role models in that readers likely often admire them or look to them for inspiration. I personally believe bloggers are allowed to rant/self-loathe/whatever from time to time, but those words should be balanced out in some way with the reader’s perspective in mind. I view it as, unless you have a private blog, you are writing for other people in addition to yourself and you are responsible for at least being mindful of your readers and what message they are going to get from your post.

  80. RunToTheFinish says:

    gosh this is a really hard one.. I do take into consideration my readers to an extent, but I also use it as my own form of self expression and don’t want to feel like I can’t just be me.

    i feel like most people are very authentic and what I’ve seen more of lately is this desire to be like other bloggers or only a good blogger if they have a big following, which isn’t really what it’s all about

  81. Happy Fun Pants says:

    Great question!

    I think bloggers ARE role models…and as such they owe it to themselves and their readers to be 100% honest…to say “I struggle with this too” has been cathartic not only for me but for some of my readers as well.

    Remember when society told us that being a mother was wonderful, amazing, and easy? And that if you didn’t think that all the time, SHAME ON YOU!?

    Well, bloggers helped crack that theory wide open by putting a voice to the sleep deprived mom that is at her wits end. Somehow hearing someone say, “I’m like that too but it passes” is helpful.

    So yeah, I blog about some negative self talk on my blog. It helps me to get it out there, it helps me to read the positive comments. And when my self talk is more positive, they rejoice along side me - because they have read just how hard it’s been.

    When I’ve read peoples’ blogs who have stuggled and persevered, I feel like if they could do it, I could do it too.

  82. Tara says:



    I say no.

  83. Colleenzo says:

    No, I don’t think of bloggers as role models. I think of them (you) as people, just like anyone else. I read the posts and might feel a lot of emotion for you, but I don’t necessarily then reflect anything back on myself from it. It’s more like entertainment, but that I actually care enough about to empathize for.

  84. Gennie says:

    I think bloggers are indirectly role models. They are because the readers can relate to them since what they write about is real. Being real (and writing about it) involves the good and the ugly. And this is exactly why bloggers can be inspiring role models. The readers don’t expect them to be perfect, but simply inspiring (and entertaining). I find that being real is not the opposite of being a role model. The readers are smart enough to use what applies to them and to leave what doesn’t.

  85. Fat Daddy says:

    My blog is the one place where I can really be all out there. Funny or sad, or mad, or curious. It’s a refuge in many ways. Sometimes I am very critical of myself. And sometimes I am rough on those of us who have struggled. I think this would not work for me if I could not speak from the heart.

    My one cardinal rule though is that I do not tear down other bloggers in my blog or in my comments. I never want to be a destructive force to someone who is already searching for solutions.

    Role model? I’m not comfortable with that. Helpful to others. I’d like to think that I have been and still can be.

  86. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Carla, yes, this is a hard one. Some people are more impressionable than others & can fall into the trap of if it was OK for her to do that than I can too, & i mean in terms of not so great habits. BUT on the other hand, it is their blog & you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to.. it is like a TV show, don’t watch it or turn the channel.

    For me, I try to be as honest as I can BUT I do want to focus more on pushing people in a positive direction. Yes, I do talk about my own issues here & there & things I still struggle with BUT I always make not that I continue to try to do better & that is all I can do.

    I really just want to help people be better by learning from my & others experiences but I do want to help them move in a positive direction… I try at least.

    So, like you, I think they have the right to do as they want if it is their blog & like you, I just try to be me. I don’t share every little crazy thing but I just put out there things I hope will help people.

    On a side note though, I wish the very dangerous things could be stopped like sites pushing anorexia & things like that..meaning sites that say it is a good thing….

  87. Quix says:

    I’m torn. I mean, I’m not going to stop being honest on my blog because, well, it’s my blog and as long as it passes the “will I possibly get fired from my day job for this” test, it goes up. But I can see how me being negative/whiny/obsessive/whatever the flavor is that day might influence someone else (one of the dozen people that actually read my blog, hehe). If I’m “feeling fat” at 160 (which I openly acknowledge is NOT FAT AT ALL but you know, you just have those DAYS sometimes…), how much of a downer is that to someone who (like me, 3 years ago) has DREAMS about being under 200 and feels like life would JUST BE OK if I weighed in at 199.

    A lot to think on. But yeah, don’t see it changing. Cig in one hand, margarita in the other, munching on chips and salsa, cussing up a storm at a bar on a Saturday night (to be fair, that’s usually after about 2 hours of riding/running/swimming), I’m the FIRST to admit I’m not signed up to be a role model. :)

  88. cna training says:

    nice post. thanks.

  89. Nicole says:

    Hmm. Good question. I don’t think it has to be an either-or question. Yes- bloggers are role models. Some people just read blogs for fun, but every blog has people who also read for inspiration. But-guess what- real people are inspiring too! Sure, it can be great to read positive “I love myself, I am awesome, and I ran 16 miles today” blogs, but it’s just as inspiring to read a post where someone who you admire, and know to be a fit and wonderful person admits that they feel fat that day, or they had cake that day, or they are just downright grumpy. It makes you more relatable.

    Just make sure you keep other people’s feelings in mind. Honesty is one thing. Cruelty is another.

  90. Bella says:

    This question reminds me of two things. Firstly, that thorny old question that pops up semi regularly about famous peeps - should celebrities censor what they do and say because they are role models? Particularly for younger celebrities who are supposedly role models and have a strong influence on children or adolescents.

    Secondly, this also reminds me of an discussion I used to have with friends when I was at school and university. We would often be reading a text, and it could be interpreted in a literal, straightforward way, or in an obscure, symbolic, *trying-too-hard-intellectual* way. Teachers, of course, want you to look for the symbolic interpretation. But was that really the author’s intent when writing the text? Were they really trying to convey that message, or were they just writing, and not at all concerned about deep, complex, symbolic, social/political/religious messages?

    I don’t think a clear answer has been found to either of these questions, and that’s the way it is with blogging as well. If you choose to write in a public forum, such as a blog, you have to expect that people will read what you write. Some people might find you are a role model to them, but unless your intent was to be a role model, you can’t be entirely sure about that, and it’s not fair to expect you to tailor your content specifically for that purpose.

    Personally, I think honesty is the important thing. With health blogs in particular, there can be a tendency for people to talk themselves down sometimes. These times are where writing a blog can actually be a chance for everyone to learn and grow. If the author comes to realise the reasons for their negative self-talk, they can share that with their blog, and not only deepen their understanding of themselves, but give others a bit of insight as well. Blog readers can (and often do) help this process along with their messages of support and empathy, and also by sharing their own stories.

    In short (cause gee this is long!!), blogs are community sites. Every member of a community should be respected for who they are, and none should be held on a pedestal above the others to be worshipped as a perfect idol. Wise community members may find other community members coming to them for advice, and that’s quite natural. An imperfect human can still inspire and encourage others, especially when they have the help and support of the community behind them.

  91. Katdoesdiets says:

    Well, whether you intend to be or not I think you are a role model, and a good one. I don’t know if all bloggers are role models, but I definitely think some are to me and many others. It just happens that way.
    I don’t think that we should self-sensor, but I also know that the negative posts are the ones I tend to click out of and not finish reading.

  92. Jasmine @ Eat Move Write says:

    Really good question. I have no idea. It’s so sticky. I think YOU are. I think others are, but if I go to ask myself if I am, I’m stumped. Am I? I don’t know. Do I want to be? Still don’t know.

    In some ways, I think, trying to be a good role model makes a person better. For example, I’m an older sister, so I was a role model growing up. The responsibility made me better. I do feel a responsibility for the things I say, to be as positive as I can on my blog. Does that then make me a role model? Again, no clue.

    Wonderful thought to ponder.

  93. Pubsgal says:

    Maybe we need an “I am my own Role Model” t-shirt? ;-)

    I enjoy a lot of blogs (and consider the healthy living blogosphere my “reference group”), and definitely have bloggers that I view as role models. But more from a read-and-picks-what-works-for-me way. I don’t hold them responsible for any of my actions…except for maybe crazy ideas like going to Las Vegas to do a race. ;-) I think one of the cool differences in the healthy living blogosphere, as opposed to other forms of media (or even people I know “in person”), is that we have more (and I think better) choices of role models. For example, when I was starting out, I didn’t know anyone who had accomplished what I needed to do: get fit and lose a bunch of body fat that was impacting my health. I only knew two people (in person) who had overcome morbid obesity, and both had done so surgically…and the idea of going through all that scared the crap out of me! I know it’s a powerful option for many people, and had I not been reading blogs about other possibilities, I may have seen that as my only option, based on what I’d observed in person.

    As for how I view myself and my blog, I do write differently than I would in a private journal…but not much. I write/edit with an eye toward protecting the feelings and privacy of my family and friends, and toward fostering a culture of courtesy in general. This community has shown me that it’s possible to be honest and yet keep an overall positive vibe, both on their own blogs and when commenting on others’.

  94. messymimi says:

    In the greater sense, every human being is a role model for every other human being. When we are being real and honest, in blogging or life, we are modeling how to be a real human, warts and all.

  95. Alicia at Poise in Parma says:

    I’ve been struggling with this lately, so I’m excited for your post today. After losing over 120 pounds, I feel such immense pressure to maintain the weight of 130 pounds. I’ve gained about ten to fifteen pounds since that low weight point back in October 2009.

    Because of this, I have to admit I feel like such a sham. Here I am trying my best to practice what I preach to my readers, and I’m slowly letting the weight creep back on. Yes I know at my height of 5’8″, 130 pounds on my frame was too little. Now between 140 and 145, I’m healthier, which is more important than thinness… but part of me dies when I’m having a “fat day” and have a post planned about maintaining. If I can’t do it, how can I expect others to listen to me?

  96. SeattleRunnerGirl says:

    I hate catching up on posts/commenting - but this is a GREAT discussion! I think each one of us is different. And for me, my blog is a place for me to be HONEST - both with myself and those who happen to read. HONESTY is something that has been missing from my previous attempts to lose weight and get healthy.

    If we have to censor ourselves on our blogs, do we also in our conversations? In our way of living in the world? For me, censoring my thoughts on my blog because they *might* now or in the future possibly be read by someone who takes them the wrong way? Well, here’s what I got for ya: that’s not very “unapolagetically myself,” is it?

    P.S. I want the black superhero tank in women’s xl. FINGERSCROSSEDOVERHERE

  97. Tori @ FIToriBLOG.com says:

    I love this. It’s a great reminder to have a focus for our blog posts and the general direction of our blog w/ what we want it to say and who will be reading it!

  98. Liz says:

    I need to chime in but don’t have time to read all the comments (how do you get so many comments???) so pardon me if I am repeating what has been said.

    To me role models happen and are not presented to you.

    You are my fitness role model because you’ve become that in my life.

    Other bloggers in my opnion have tried to tell me they are my role model :)
    that doesn’t work.

  99. Heather says:

    Just about everyone is a role model to someone, whether you know it or not.

    The danger, I think, is not when there is negativity coming from a role model (though in context, it might be bad), but when there is none. There is already immense pressure from The World to be perfect, and when a person with a large following appears (online) to *be* perfect, it just ups the pressure … and the feeling of failure when the impossible perfect ideal isn’t met.

    And, regardless of whether others are trying to be like us or not, being positive most of the time is a good idea.

  100. jen (@jeninRL) says:

    I am totally torn. And I need more time and space to formulate a proper response…I feel a bloggy blog rolling through my head.

    In a nutshell…we have to be true to who we are and what we stand for but we also have to be responsible and thoughtful because we do influence people whether we want to or not.

  101. Jayna @ Healthy Living Bites says:

    Wow, what a great post, and I could spend hours here reading each and every comment! Are bloggers role models? Well it depends on your definition of role model but in my definition YES they are. . . Should they then censor themselves because of that? Absolutely NOT. Part of the attraction of reading blogs is the honesty and realism that goes into it. Blogs are a reflection of someone’s life (or just someone) and nobody is perfect, so why should you be perfect in a blog. I’d much rather hear about how someone handled over indulging in sweets or the ups and downs of quitting smoking or a failure in the kitchen- then “la la la, I’m perfect, everything’s wonderful”. I’m sorry, but I can’t hold myself to perfect!

  102. Aimee says:

    Are bloggers role models?
    Can we make that evaluation based on sheer number of comments?!


  103. Kate D says:

    I think bloggers are role models, but that doesn’t mean they should sugar coat posts. I find I relate more when I read about the good AND bad. I feel better when I have a bad day, and realize that even if today is bad that doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be awesome.

  104. Greg says:

    I don’t think bloggers actually qualify as role models. Perhaps something more akin to role-models in progress. Most of us are blogging about something we ourselves are either passionate about, or have struggled with, in the past. We share our experiences as we (hopefully) become stronger and learn more about ourselves.

  105. Sana says:

    Blogging is story telling and we all have something to share!

  106. jord says:

    I don’t see bloggers as role models, but I understand that’s a personal view. I read a lot of blogs because the honesty of the writer speaks to me (especially if they can do it with humor). I find inspiration in the ability of others to share their ups and downs in a semi-public way. I don’t look at other bloggers and think “I want to live/write like her”, but more along the lines that it gives me a sense of community that doesn’t exist (in this specific area) in my life. In real life, I get a lot of the “you’re crazy!” or “I could never do that!” comments, which I never here in Blogland.

  107. Cynthia says:

    I think bloggers can be role models. There are a lot of people who read healthy living blogs and they want to be able to relate to people. The fact is that people aren’t happy and peppy all the time. But if someone is down on themselves all the time and if it gets very negative, then they have to understand, that can influence the readers. If you are having negative thoughts, then it is good to talk about them but also talk about how to overcome them and how to become a more positive person.

  108. Lori K. says:

    Heavens no! I have a blog and it is about the cards and scrapbook pages that I make and personal family pictures or adventures etc. I post my opinions and views and such but never to influence people. When I read blogs I take everything with a “grain of salt” and verify or check details on other web-sites if I am interested in an idea or something. No one person can embody everything for me, we are all human and have natural flaws. I may like someone’s style but in the end, is it mine? Maybe if I was younger I would have a different opinion :)

  109. Jen, a priorfatgirl says:

    The comments are so interesting! I’m w/ the majority of commentors in that I think the author of the blog sets the stage. Role models are great but I think it the intent of a role model has become slightly skewed. Role models should be studied because of their values and dedication to their passion; we should question their actions to get to the root of their morals and how they make their decisions. Instead, it seems that a lot of us (me not excluded) try to mimic what they do without understanding why they do what they do.

    I wonder what would happen if we tried to understand their passion instead of just trying to copy them?

  110. Gretchen says:

    Most of the blogs I read are by amazing women, almost all of whom are older then me. I look up to you all :) But I look up to you (plural) because you’re honest about how life is, both good and bad. That said, if someone I respect beats themselves up in a post, it makes me feel bad, both for them and for myself. But I don’t read bloggers who do that much. The ones I read tend to share the negative feelings, but in a “here’s what I’m learning” or “can you help me” context, not just a “I’m so terrible” way.

    I hope that all makes sense :)

  111. Bonnie says:

    I think if people wish to be like we are then we are role models.
    Blogger and beyond.

  112. krissie says:

    Wow. I’m really late to this party.

    I prefer to think of us as a big group of friends. Who learn from each other. Who support each other. Who understand that each of us go through phases…where we inspire sometimes and need picked up at other times. I think “role model” is a big responsibility to put on anybody. Sure, I recognize qualities in other people (bloggers and in real life) that I would like to better cultivate in myself. But I think I learn equally from struggles, and that’s where we have the chance as a community to encourage and challenge. Because we are friends.

  113. Sagan says:

    I think that anyone placed in the public sphere automatically is in a position to impact others and be a role model, whether positive or negative. When faced with a large audience, when relaying thoughts, opinions, and ideas,
    people are going to be changed by it. I think that we all bear a certain responsibility in all that we do. Every one of us has a responsibility to promote a positive lifestyle, and our responsibility is to live and BE it. So… if we, as bloggers, are constantly negative, then that will in turn have a negative effect. However, I don’t think that it should all be rainbows and unicorns. That’s not realistic. What we need is a balance of the real with the positive. And that is the exact reason why I write my blog: I can’t think of any other way to demonstrate it than by Living Healthy in the Real World :)

  114. addy says:

    Your giveaway posts seem to generate a large number of responses. I think bloggers are role models only for themselves. The blog - web log - is written for the blogger to share thoughts, feelings, attitudes, etc. It is meant for the reader to take what they will. No promises, no illusions.

  115. Vee says:

    I don’t blog to be a role model. I blog about my day, my food choices, my exercising and moving to get healthy, but as I still struggle EVERY DAY, I don’t see myself as being anyone to emulate. BUT… if someday a reader sees something of value in my words, I’m glad.

    As a sidenote: I have troubles looking at pix some bloggers post of their delicious treats because like I said above, I’m still struggling. I try to skim, but I’ll admit sometimes I post my own pix.

    Go figure! Vee at http://veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

  116. mbt says:

    if bloggers were role models

  117. dana says:

    Just like in real life the people I want to be like my role models. People that make me a better person. That have the same ideals and basic values as me. I have to want what they have. That’s why I read the blogs I read.

    Just like in real life, people aren’t perfect. I know that. Life is hard. I just try to give people the benefit of doubt. It makes me feel better to realize that others are going thru the same things as I am.

    Very thoughtful post. One of most faves.

  118. Dynamics says:

    I think bloggers have a responsibility to be true to themselves. You can be a role model to some but not all. There will always be that person or two who will disagree with what you write. Take it with a grain of salt and move on. If a blogger bitches and complains too much, it will be my choice to not read that blog and find a blog more compatible to what I would enjoy reading. Life is tough and complaining is a part of that life. Overly complaining is not something I want to read. I have seen some bloggers get snippity and uppity with their readers in an uncalled for way. They truly are not a role model and truly this is not a blog I will continue to read. I love reading your blog because I feel you are truly comfortable and REAL. I feel you do not play games, lie or embellish. Plus, how can one not read this blog with such a cute helper! Thanks for doing a great job!

  119. AFG says:

    Great post Miz. I go back and forth on this. One hand I want to be sunshine and icecream cones but on the other hand I have to be me. It’s such a fine line because you never know how someone will take what you write, whether it is the right way or wrong way implied.

  120. ??? says:

    I see the 2concern,I am very l glad to hear that you got your Supra fixed, I remember reading about some of your problem4x !.

  121. Lyn says:

    Wow… what a GREAT set of comments here. Much to consider from the collective input.

  122. Enoch Ziems says:

    tremendous logbook you’ve procure

  123. esmemerrie says:

    absolutely they are! Whether inadvertently or not, anyone can become a role model for good or bad!


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