Why I Blog – A Mission Statement Of Sorts

Preamble: The recent flare up of dissent among bloggers concerning the question of quantity and quality in perfume blogging makes me want to republish a post I wrote shortly after starting my own blog. It is (sadly) still relevant and I wanted to post this again to make my stance clear and also hopefully leave that topic behind again, since it makes me sad and uncomfortable. Blogging is one of my sources of joy and contentment and I won’t let that be taken away from me.

In the last few days my personal state of bliss of recently having started my own perfume blog, gaining a few readers and forging cyberfriendships through Twitter and other blogs, was a little bruised by discussions flaring up around the perfume community about the proliferation of blogs and other venues where discourse over fragrance and perfume takes place. Apparently, there is a feeling that some venerable older bloggers may perceive that too great a variety of new blogs with too little value on credentials is taking hold.

Getting on the soapbox

This made me a little sad and I felt almost discouraged, but then I picked myself up and started to think about why I blogged and what this site means to me, not considering anything else for the moment.

I am no perfume critic, no perfume expert, no perfumer, no chemist, no journalist, no writer, in fact I have no ties to the industry whatsoever.

I love perfume. I love fragrance of any kind and I have a nose of my own, as well as a brain and a heart and I tend to strive to utilize all three of them to the best of their capacities. That I also like to write down what I smell, think and feel about perfume is another thing. The writing part is new, the other three I’ve been practicing for some time. And you know what? I love the writing part. I enjoy putting my humble ideas out there and I absolutely adore getting feedback from like minded people. Until starting the blog, perfume was something of a semi-secret obsession, I did not talk about it, I did not discuss it, I just smelled really good ;)

So what if there are many fragrance blogs (and millions of other blogs on pretty much any theme conceivable) out there?

A professor of mine always said “Everybody finds his audience” and that I find to be true, also in this case.

The people who read my blog are not under the impression that I am an expert, I think they can see that I am just a regular person with a passion for perfume and a love for writing about it. I am not pretending to have unique insights into anything, but what I provide is my personal, reflected view, for anybody to take or leave as they see fit.

And isn’t that okay?

Of course the world of blogging is large and one can’t read everything, everywhere. One is bound to make decisions. Decisions based on personal preferences, nothing more, nothing less. That fact surely has changed over the last decade. But that is not something exclusive to perfume blogging, it is a fact having to do with the change in media and the increasing accessibility of the internet for many. But that is nothing new, and everyone knows this.

I don’t see a reason for anyone to feel threatened or encroached upon his/her territory. Cyberspace is limitless after all!

I don’t want to be involved in any kind of fight or dispute over anything. I hope nobody feels attacked by this post, since that is not at all my intention.

What is my intention here is stating clearly, that I blog because I love to do it, I will keep on doing it and I appreciate each and every reader that takes it upon her/himself to come visit, because what I have to say maybe just a little interesting or informative or helpful or funny in some way.

Blogging about perfume and interacting with people who like it just as much as I do, gives me an enormous sense of satisfaction, energy and joy.

That is why I blog.

And that is why I keep on smelling terrific.

Picture source: sodahead.com, fragrantica.com some rights reserved, thank you!
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About Olfactoria

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89 Responses to Why I Blog – A Mission Statement Of Sorts

  1. lady jane grey says:

    Freedom of opinions is the principle of blogging – freedom of personal opinions.
    You won’t necessarily agree with the opinion, as in normal non-cyber life as well. But still, everybody is free to blog, whatever (s)he feels the need to talk about. If I don’t like a blog then I don’t read it. That again is my freedom !

  2. Portia says:

    Hi,
    I hope your joy continues.
    Thank you for writing,
    Portia

  3. Ines says:

    True down to the very last word. :)

    I think (well, I’d like to think it’s that) that as I grow older (or more wise) ;) I understand that people are people in all spheres of life, including blogging. As in life, you cannot be friend with everyone, or agree with everyone, and people won’t understand you, won’t like you, and will sometimes attack you for no reason but to be mean, so I try and keep those away from me and not let them influence my state of mind.
    There are many more people out there (in the blogging world and outside of it) who will prove to be wonderful friends and welcoming bloggers. :)

  4. Philipp says:

    Great post Birgit!

    The internet is sufficiently large for anyone and we as users/consumers can freely decide where to go and which voice to listen to. Besides, most of us follow more than one fragrance blog anyway.

  5. Undina says:

    I understand (in a way) the frustration of some people who built and maintain their blogs to make money one way or another – either through clicks, affiliated links or PR-provided products: they’ve done a lot to get where they are, made a lot of efforts – and suddenly their “clicks”, their followship, etc. is diluted by dozens of newcomers, some with half-baked blogs/reviews/video channels. Well, that’s life. If readers find what they need in a post written in 10 minutes by an amateur who loves perfumes with floral note iris (;) ) – then maybe that’s all that is actually needed. So mass click-oriented blogs just have to adjust as all other online services did and fight for clicks. Those who want to be an authority on any topic just have to keep doing what they were doing well – and those few who actually can appreciate their knowledge will do that. And for everybody else, those who do that for themselves – to get materials for a book, to find friends, to express themselves or any other possible reasons – I agree, Cyberspace is limitless.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I understand this as well, but as you say: That’s life. Things change, and people hate change. But adapting is necessary for survival. That one thing hasn’t changed. ;)

    • susan says:

      Maybe I’m totally naive, but I am at a total loss for who the “mass click-oriented” bloggers are… I do find that some of the older blogs seem to have lost their passion for fragrance and veer widely off topic. What I love about the newer crop of fragrance bloggers is that rather than focusing on critical reviews with the voice of the fragrance authority, they often write about how the fragrance speaks to them in their daily lives… that’s very relatable to me, where as being a Serious Fragrance Critic is not.

    • unseencenser says:

      Undina, you know, I am so naive, it never even occurred to me that bloggers who were trying to garner as many clicks as possible for advertisers would be annoyed by the proliferation of perfume blogs. You make perfect sense.

      I think the blogs I like are the ones where people are simply sharing what they think, and that is their primary motivator. I’m surprised it took me so long to find so many of the blogs I now like and follow, actually. In fact, can there be “too many” perfume blogs when it still takes a while to find so many of them?

  6. And we get so much joy from the fact that you do blog :D !

    I believe, like others, that everyone has their own little corner of the internet. There is enough room for everyone and more blogs means more diversity and more importantly – more choice!

  7. Alexandra says:

    Dear Birgit,
    Thank you so much for blogging! Please, keep up the good work for us, your audience! x

  8. dw says:

    I love the proliferation of blogs. It’s hardly difficult to figure out which ones are worth me reading. I like to read different opinions, and I love that there’s enough out there for me to find posts to read every day. So thank you for doing this, and please keep ‘em coming.

  9. masha7 says:

    Wow, I have a knack for missing out on the controversies! I didn’t know the “for pay”/”not for pay” blogs were sparring. I guess it’s cuz’ my brain is getting too mellow here on the beach. I think there’s plenty of room for both, it’s never been a problem for me, but then, I make no money from writing about perfume, and probably never will! Just too dumb, I guess. ;-)

    • Olfactoria says:

      As far as I know it is not directly pay vs non-pay, more like competent vs. perceived incompetent. ;) I would be in the latter category, I guess. ;)

      I wish I did miss this latest flare-up, but with this post I hope to get my nonchalance back and just keep on keeping on.

      • masha7 says:

        Ah, the expert vs. non-expert controversy, that’s been raging for years. I remember getting slammed when I started out years ago. Just ignore it. You are completely competent in your blogging, my dear, and the fact that your blog has become so popular in such a short period of time shows that. Some of the “experts” with lots of ties to the business itself (the noses, companies, fashion houses) mostly do their own PR, and I generally don’t trust their reviews. Your writing has a lot of heart, and people respond to that, even if you’re not an “industry insider”- I’m glad you are not an industry insider, by the way! And I’m glad that if you don’t like something, you say so! I really think the blogs have become too “polite” recently, it’s hard to tell what bloggers really think anymore.

  10. Alexandra says:

    I also think the grumbling is as insulting to readers as it is to bloggers. I found your blog because I was suddenly obsessed with perfume and wanted to read anything I could find on the subject; in the last year I have looked at a lot of blogs! However I keep returning to your blog because I love both what you say and the way you say it and I respect your opinion. This is my choice as a discerning (!) reader – so thank you for writing a blog I love. It really is that simple x

    • Alexandra says:

      P.s. Thank you for suggesting Mohur, it really is the Rose I have been looking for. I think it is the beautiful deep sweetness in the dry down that I have been missing. 

      Trayee & BB aren’t bad either – what an incredibly impressive launch!

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is true, Alexandra! Readers can make up their own minds about what they want to read, they do not need a pre-selection.
      Thank you very much for your kind words about my blog! I enjoy our conversations very much!

      So glad you like Mohur (I’m wearing it right now btw)!!! I hope everyone is buying Neela Vermeire Creations, this line so deserves to be a success.

  11. Parfumista says:

    Great post!
    I have running my perfumeblog since 2006 and have no plans to stop even if I sometimes considering whether it is reasonable to continue. The reasons for perfumeblogging are the same as yours: 1) I love perfume since as long as I can remember and the more I get in to the subject, the more my interest deepens. 2) I also love to write and even if I’m writing a lot in my job, writing about perfume in my spare time is an entirely different matter as I write about my true interest.

    What sometimes makes me a bit tired and frustrated is the fact that I’m spending a lot of time and money (as I’m buying almost every sample or get enclosed with when I buy perfumes) making free publicity (or more exactly pays for making free publicity) to commercial brands. This while newly started, clearly affiliated or commercial blogs, (just like beautyeditors for magazines), even get full bottles (not tiny samples) sent to them for a possible review… Of course I partly have myself to blame: As I have a limited time (working full-time in a quite demanding position, having family etc) my efforts somehow stops at writing reviews and entries. Sending requests for samples and making contacts with brands and distributors I have a very little time left over to. Probably I have to reprioritise, more begging for samples and less writing : – )

    • Olfactoria says:

      I have never once begged anyone for anything and I wouldn’t. I get sent some samples on occasion, but that is usually from indie perfumers relying on bloggers to spread the word, since they put all their money into the juice and none towards marketing and I love to support that (if I like the perfume that is!).

      Blogging is a labor of love and if it is not, it shows, I believe.
      I’m sure your readers love your style and your way of doing things, even if or even because you have to pay for all your samples yourself. :)

  12. arline says:

    I read you, because I love the way you write, and you are genuine and expressive. I appreciate that. Your blog and a few others, have been helping me in interesting way. I am glad you speak from your heart and refuse to let your joy be squelched.

    Thank you, and I look forward to reading more and more and more.

  13. Birgit, I think your blog is what a fragrance blog should be, you’re doing a great job. Olfactoria’s Travels is the BEST new fragrance blog in my opinion.

    I’m amazed by your pace, by the quality of your writing, by the pictures.

    Just beware of the overload, take your time, we want you to stay a long time. Enjoy the ride first and foremost!

  14. Tara says:

    Well, I certainly felt like giving up because my writing on perfume wasn’t good enough to be “published” but luckily I have someone who supports me no end :) Really, does it matter if there’s lots of blogs of varying quality? I agree with other above about freedom of choice and greater diversity. You’re right that everyone has an audience. I never felt that confident commenting on the bigger, well established blogs but felt like I’d come home when I found OT. That changed my life and I wouldn’t want anyone else to be deprived of that opportunity becuase they feel intimated. Of course, as Vanessa’s post on NST pointed out, if you are ambitious about your blog you probably should think of an USP, but that’s not everyone’s agenda.

    I often feel rather guilty that I can’t read or comment on that many of the blogs out there but that’s my problem. There is so much to gain from blogging as you’ve outlined, who’s to stand in the way of others? I think for some there’s a tendancy to want to bolt the door behind them, if you know what I mean. One of the things I’ve always liked about our fumiverse is that’s it’s so inclusive and non-competitve and (hopefuly!) I don’t think that’s going to change.

    • deeHowe says:

      Tara, I’m certainly glad that you are writing with B.; your voices create the perfect duet!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m so glad to have you with me on this ride, Tara! It feels very good being able to give my blog into your capable hands ever so often and know it is well cared for.

      Just to be clear, I didn’t mean Vanessa’s post on NST (although it has sparked the flames) but I rather felt bad about a post about “crappy” bloggers elsewhere…

      • Tara says:

        Oh I know you wouldn’t mean Vanessa’s post but it’s good to be clear as this is in the public domain. I didn’t realise some negativity followed it though which made you feel bad. I’ll email you.

        • Vanessa says:

          You are one of my favourite blogs because of your genuineness and expressive style as Arline said. The imagery you use to describe scents is vivid and original and OT is a tremendous resource for perfumistas because of the huge body of reviews you have compiled in a remarkably short time. I agree that Tara and you make a great team, and the other lovely touch about OT is its interactivity and warmth.

          I think I was trying to say two things in my post on NST – though I sense not as clearly as I could have done – namely that there are two approaches to blogging: “feel the void and do it anyway” ie write about what you like and let the readers fall where they may, OR “if you want to get ahead, get a hook”, meaning consider finding an angle of some kind (in the widest sense) to help you stand out in this growing community of bloggers, if that is your wish. Both approaches are perfectly valid and – in true flittersniffer fashion – I probably flit between the two! : – )

  15. Meg (olenska) says:

    Bravo! Long may you write, and always with the same true love for your subject that shines through every word you choose.

  16. Love your blog and your honesty. If bloggers are only allowed to blog about their expertise, I know my blog would end up being about contracts and corporate structures. Who would want to read that?? You have a large audience who loves you, but even if no one read a sentence, if blogging makes a person happy, then they should continue doing it! Keep up the good work.

  17. deeHowe says:

    Has this come up again? Jeepers! It’s days like this I’m glad to be behind in my reading!
    The are lots of perfume blogs, but compared to the number of blogs there are about other topics, we’re still a very small community. It’s hard to keep up daily on all my favorites, but you know what I LOVE? When I’m researching a perfume, and there are ten reviews out there, all with varying takes on it. That’s valuable, no matter the credentials of the writer.

    The interesting thing about perfume is that the “literature” of perfume is primarily online, on the blogs. Unlike food and wine, which have stacks and stacks of books at the dozens of bookstores in every city in the country (and the world), there is very little printed literature on fragrance. The industry glossies don’t count for most of us, and even the newly launched Perfume Magazine is created by industry people. Our literature is being created under our fingertips, and no doubt there are people who want to control the cannon, as it were. Well that’s not happening! I hope that new voices will continue to join the conversation, and that new blogs will continue to launch. Anyone who has been around a little long might ask themselves, “what can I learn from …?”

    I remember when I first found OT. I also remember one of our first email communications was me informing you that I was going to steal some ideas from your blog! Lol, well, my theft made my blog better, and hasn’t effected your popularity at all! :)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Ha, I remember that email. I was torn between incedulity and feeling hugely flattered. :D

      I love it too to find ten reviews when I want to read them, it is very helpful indeed.

    • Tara says:

      dee, that’s a good point about the majority of independent writing about perfume being online. It is a case for more rather than less.

      • unseencenser says:

        I agree completely. The internet is for cute cat pictures – and perfume blogs. I can’t imagine how I would have ever learned anything about perfume if it weren’t for blogs.

    • Ines says:

      Dee, you make a really good point. I never thought about it like that but now I read your comment, it’s so obviously true. :)

  18. dremybluz says:

    To me blogging is just an extension of the book trade. We all look for authors whose writing style and subject matter fulfills our needs and desires concerning literature. I do not have enough time in a day to read all the perfume blogs I want to follow, but I have a list that I faithfully read every day, and yours is at the top of the list. People frequent your blog because of the wonderful person that you are. I have never seen you be anything but kind, loving, and respectful to your followers.
    Some blogs I find to be like dictatorships. They spew their ideas and you had better well accept it as the unholy truth. I am sorry that there are so many insecure bloggers out there who can’t deal with any new competition that comes along, in the perfume review world. You offer us a secure home, where we know we can come and learn and share our ideas without judgement. None of the bloggers out there are perfect. It is our right to pick and choose which blogs we care to read and follow–not theirs. We have enough war and tragedy out there that we don’t need anyone bringing it into our perfumeland, Never forget that you are loved and respected for what you do and that we will always stand behind you.

    • Olfactoria says:

      dremybluz, what a wonderful comment! Thank you, I will keep it as “motivational literature”. The interaction with readers like you make this venture so satisfying. :)

  19. Birgit, love your stlye! Thanks for reposting this. Candyboy is correct We do get much Joy from your blog <3

  20. Alexis says:

    Sometimes I question myself, repeatedly actually, should I keep my blog going? There are so many beauty blogs out there so why I should do this? Is anyone even going to read it? Will anyone care? But like your professor says, “Everybody finds his audience” and that’s true. If I can just reach five readers, then my job is done!

    I am so happy I have found your blog. You encourage me (indirectly) to keep going. I am reminded, by you and my other writer friends, that blogs are for yourself. You provide material that is true to your heart. And if other like-minded folks find and comment along the way, then that’s just a bonus, right?

    I blog because I adore beauty products and it releases the beauty editor in me!

  21. judith DM says:

    I think we readers gravitate to the blogs that we most associate with it, the topics chosen, the discourse of the readers and more. Some combine fragrance with beauty, some are pure fragrance all the way. I follow several, and some I just pass over these days as I don’t want to unsubscribe, but right now at this time, I just have too much in my mailbox, and am trying to get off mailing lists I have no idea how I got on them in the first place. When you sign up for one, you don’t realize you will get from so many more!!!! However, yes, some bloggers have deep connections to the industry which is fine and some simply are people who are passionate about what they love. I don’t see much of a distinction, honestly. If I see a headline that says, say, Amber Oud is being reviewed, I am interested, count me in. If I see a headline about a rose scent (as an example) good chance I will pass it over. Although years ago I did wear a Broussard that was in a gorgeous black bottle and was rose all the way. I don’t recall the name. Brigit, I do follow you as much as anyone, enjoy your writing, your choice of subjects, have saved many! Thank you for doing what you do! It is a great source of pleasure for me…and that is what the internet is for me. Knowledge and entertainment and pleasure.

  22. Eva S says:

    That complaint is ridiculous, it’s like saying I can’t spend my free time singing with likeminded people just because we’re not professionals. We might not hit every note perfectly ;-) but we sure love what we’re doing!
    Keep up the good work!

  23. Bee says:

    I think you don’t have to apologize for or justify your blogging! You write with passion about your discoveries and this is (sometimes) infectious, so keep on doing it as long as your heart is with it.

  24. civava says:

    No worries. I really enoy reading your blog because it is so nicely and honestly written. As I started searching and reading perfume blogs I could find a lot of differncies between them and every one has something that other doesn’t have. Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to read them all and especially I don’t have time to comment evererywhere. I know what to find where. Some are more competent than others, some are just fun to read and some are very hard to read. I know some bloggers sacrifice a lot of time doing some research and so but that doesn’t mean that they are better if doing so. I guess there are thousands of fashion blogs and cooking blogs… Everyone can have one. It just like writing a diary only that it is public. And it supposed to be fun. I don’t know how is writing a blog for living and I don’t even wanna know.
    Thank you for blogging Birgit. Yours is fun to read.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Civava! I truly appreciate you taking the time to regularly read and comment.
      It is so encouraging to get feedback and getting to know readers. It is the relationships that make blogging so special.

  25. I’m going to chime in here with some more praise for your blog. Your voice is clear, funny, kind, and very unpretentious, which is what I think the perfume world needs in a review. I feel like I might have stirred the kettle here with my own blog posts about disgruntled bloggers, but I guess I went through the same process as you did when you started by asking yourself why you want to blog and who you are doing it for. This brief moment of questioning might just be a rite of passage for us writers who believe in the power of the written word and do not want to see it denigrated or abused for someone else’s gain.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Katherine!
      I have read and admired your post and you have as much right to stir the kettle as every one else, just like I did with this post. As you say, it is important to declare your stance, in my case mostly to myself.

  26. HoneyDawn says:

    I read you because you are good and kind and smart. You take the time to respond to each post that you’ve actually read and you care about your readers. I’ve learned a lot from you, and you are one of the two blogs I subscribe to. I can’t abide mean and jealous people. I am a newbie and you have shown me patience and gentleness. I never feel intimidated coming here, I feel welcomed by you and your readers who all understand we all have our own starting points in life.

  27. Sandra says:

    I am so happy that you blog! You have a way and I would not want to lose your words and feelings. Thank you for writing.

  28. This is one of my favorite posts of yours, Birgit. Your blog is one of my favorite places on the internet. Fact. :)

  29. OperaFan says:

    Birgit – All experts were beginners at one time, and not all so-called “experts” can write as well as the so-called “amateurs.” I seek out and read both kinds for different reasons. I do feel that there are way too many blogs out there but it is up to my own discretion to choose which ones to read and which to bypass as long as the subject interests me. Just like within a newspaper, few ever bother to read every article.

    I choose to read your blog because you have fine writing style and thoughtful views on the subjects you write about. You don’t try to be more than what you are, and you “speak” as if to a friend, which makes me feel comfortable. So do keep it up, and I’ll keep coming back to read and occassionally comment. ;-)

  30. Andrea says:

    Complaining about too many perfume blogs around is something that flirts with complaining about freedom of expression.
    Sure, there’s a lot of rubbish on the internet, but if the content I produce (perfume reviews or anything else) is solid enough, all the “competition” of what I consider low quality sites should be the least of my problems.
    If a blogger is seeing his or her traffic driven away by new blogs in the same niche, is not because they simply exist, it’s because the audience started to find them interesting as well.

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