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.
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 what so ever.
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.
And that is why I keep on smelling terrific.
Sing it sister! That is absolutely exactly how I feel too. I’m just having fun, and I enjoy reaing kinded spirits like yourself.
Right! Thank you, kindred spirit! 🙂
I remember a while back Denyse hosted a conversation at Grain de musc on the topic, and I found it a little upsetting too—it felt almost like a personal attack. I’ve since gotten over it, and this recent round of similar chatter is nothing more than that.
There are a few smaller blogs that I like to follow (now including this one!) because the passion for the topic is so tangible, and I feel like I can make a more personal connection with people who share my profound love of perfume. The smaller blogs offer this in a way that, no matter how good the dialogue, feels a little inappropriate on Grain de musc (or even NST).
I feel like I’m getting to know People who love perfume, not just getting to know more about Perfume.
What I found particularly humorous was that not a week after this recent round of “how much is too much,” it seemed like EVERY big-gun perfume blog was covering the new museum curated by Chandler Burr. I read about it no less than five times, and laughed all the way. 😉
it is exactly because of people like you, that blogging is such an enriching experience for me. Like you say, “getting to know people who love perfume, not just more about perfume”.
I may be naive, but it was quite shocking for me to be brought down to a harsher reality, than what I imagined the fragrant community to be. But it is about the people we get to know, and the connections we make and I consider myself blessed with those. The spirit of kinship and generosity I have encountered (not least with you!) is so worth it. I am proud to be part of this community.
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My dear friend. Its sad that you even had to write this post but your response was amazing. Hundreds of blogs are started daily and most die just as quickly as they are created. You have so much passion and knowledge on your subject and you put all of this on paper beautifully. Olfactorias Travels will stand, grow and be an inspiration to many as soon as they are lucky enough to come across it.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Sara! You certainly are an inspiration to me! Xoxo, B
I don’t understand why people think “credentials” are necessary to write a blog. I guess once people starting making money from blogging, a line was drawn in the sand separating those with “credentials” (whatever that means) and without (see previous brackets…)
Like deeHowe , I enjoy reading blogs that offer personal perspectives. It really feels like something is being shared between blogger and writer. When readers comment, a dialogue begins, and the community grows. Hooray for us!
Hooray for us, indeed! 🙂 You are right, the best thing about blogging is the dialogue, it is not a static manifesto of a post, but the dynamic process of interaction that makes a blog great. Thanks for commenting, Joan Elaine!
Cringing at my typos….my comment should read “STARTED making money” and “between blogger and READER”…
I cannot count the errors I made trying to communicate last night… 🙂
Yep! I don’t understand the “credentials” thing either. We’re not setting ourselves up as doctors or lawyers or safety experts, for heaven’s sake; we’re talking about a hobby.
Do we need mandated reporting for fragrance offenses? If one of us, say, gets one of the nuances of the definition of a fougere wrong, will lives be lost? If someone spends a few minutes on one of our blogs and thereby misses an article one of the top “credentialed” blogs, will… will…. OK I can’t think of a consequence.
I summarize with: Sheesh.
Lol, the danger of misdefining a fougere is indeed grave! As I said, everybody finds his or her audience, especially if what one has to say is accompanied with passion and fun and also a bit of work. And let us not forget how many great perfumers are self-taught! I don’t think Maurice Roucel or Andy Tauer shouldn’t be allowed to create perfumes, because they did not attend ISIPCA.
Great post. I love reading your blog – and it’s great having a new cyber-perfume-friend. Funnily enough I’ve been toying with the idea of giving up my blog – but I haven’t quite decided yet. So it makes it all the more interesting to read about your motivation.
Thank you, Jess! It would be sad if you gave up your blog, but with four kids I understand how hard it must be to make the time. I struggle with two more often than not 🙂
I hate elitism more than anything. I love your blog and I enjoy writing mine which hardly anyone reads. I don’t only write about fragrance, because I am no nose, but about many things I like. I also really enjoy being the second member of my daughter’s crazy blog in which we are two comic characters who started life in my daughter’s imagination as a child. I told Brian that I had found enormous snobbery on knitting blogs and he knew what I meant ( that was a great comfort ). I knit a lot but the last year every penny has gone on fragrance .There is no end to those I want to try but I have started eyeing some rather nice silks .I often try to express myself on a very expert blog and have often thought I should shut up but I can’t stop. There are knitting clubs out there but I have yet to find a perfume one anywhere except the internet . If there was one I would be sure I wouldn’t fit in ,so at least only my mirror can see my red face when I think I have posted something stupid.
it seems to be everywhere where there are people there is also snobbery and elitism, be it the knitting community as you experienced or the perfumistas. But thankfully we can choose what to believe and what to let go (I know that is way easier in theory!) Thank you for reading my blog, I really appreciate it and I hope you keep on visiting. 🙂
You know, I wrote that blog snob post after sitting on my feelings for months. It really wasn’t an attack. It was in the spirit of parody. I didn’t make the emperor the emperor, so I’m perfectly free not to worship his or her new clothes. It was meant to affirm the underdog and freedom of expression. I sat on my bed on a Sunday morning and wrote it much like you wrote this post. And look–here we are connecting. That’s not something anyone can control or dictate, though they would probably like to try. I’m sure a few people we know would rather have me read them than you. The truth is, there will always be someone to tell you that what you have to say isn’t valid. Why? Who knows. Some people I know swear that this kind of elitism is mostly fear. It’s a fear of life, of choice, of diversity. How will the elite be regarded as elite with no one affirming their superiority? It’s pretty silly. So I made fun of it. The world’s a big place. There’s room for all of us. And I for one am ecstatic at all the choices available to me as someone who loves this subject and connecting with other people in general. I think the conversation’s a healthy one. And soap boxes have the added advantage of smelling good.
you know, I loved your post! It is entertaining, intelligent and above all, true. That´s what makes a good satire, that it tells the truth. I never felt that you were attacking anybody directly, but that you had a general trend, a feeling that goes through parts of the community, in mind as a “target”, rather than individuals. I wholeheartedly agree with all you said. I have been talked down to on some blogs, an experience I´d rather not repeat, so poor, undereducated me chose not to bother the “emperor” with my unenlightened presence any longer 😉
As I said in my post, I am thrilled by the fact, that I encounter so many wonderful people through blogging, that share my interest (obsession?) with perfume, that are funny and intelligent. I am glad you visited my blog and left some of your thoughts! As you say, here we are – connecting. 🙂
Oh, and by the way, part of what interested me and seemed valuable to discuss was the idea that because fragrance has always been a luxury item, something only certain people can afford and wear, it is also something only certain people have the authority to discuss with any kind of legitimacy. Kind of absurd. I think of all the blogs as people convening at the perfume counter to smell and ooh and aah, to congregate over these fragrances in the most amazing, communal way. But the “fragrance specialist” BEHIND the counter sometimes likes to make you feel like loving fragrance isn’t enough, that only he can truly appreciate and assess the value of any particular scent. She’d rather be leading the conversation than joining. Me, I’d rather have friends.
Exactly, it is the difference between being part of a community of equals united by their love for perfume and an expert, like a teacher or better yet, almost like a priest, who stands above all that, imparting his wisdom, rather than being part of an exchange.
Wherever I go, this scenario is present in some form or other, it seems to be a universal trait of humans. So, in more ways than one, the people “behind the counter” are not quite as special as they might think themselves to be 😉
I´ll join you on the friendship side, if that is all right…
More than all right! Thanks for responding. And blogging.