As the title says, I want us to delve into us, social media users and the blogging community, the people that love and loathe social media in equal measure. Like many of you that write a blog, its my absolute passion, so I want us to have a look at the possibility that the “problems’ that we moan about in social media and blogging, could actually be our fault. I have realised that I perhaps have been at fault occasionally. Grab your brew people, its cuppa and a chat time. I warn you, its a bit of a long one……..
There has been a lot of discontent in the blogosphere lately. Lots of weird vibes. Iv even seen people say that social media is affecting their mental health, and stopping them blogging, Its crazy! I myself recently felt pressured by social media, something that shocked me, and felt I needed to take a break from it, to analyse and make sense of what I felt.
A couple of things and conversations inspired this post. Firstly, I read an excellent post from Chloe at Lady Writes, about how social media had really brought her mental well being down, and that she felt although things like algorithms cause a lot of problems, the jealousy and competitiveness that is rife in her world (full time “working” bloggers) is actually causing some of them too. I found myself agreeing with it totally, and also questioning whether perhaps, I had unintentionally, been guilty of some of what she spoke about. It made me want to pull apart my own behaviour, and see what I could do differently to support this industry I love, and to basically, be a better person! I wanted to expand on the thoughts that Chloe’s post had made pop in my brain, and delve a little deeper. Im not a full time blogger, I have no desire to be, but I do want what I write to be read. Its why all writers write isn’t it? Im not pretending to understand the pressure that girls like Chloe feel as blogging is their livelihood, and Id NEVER get into any twitter drama’s etc, but I certainly understand and recognise a lot of what she said.
Like any industry, as soon as there is money involved, things change. Whether we admit it or not, some bloggers with bigger followings DO have a sense of entitlement so, that view of bloggers some people have, can be justified at times. The blogging industry has evolved, and become a platform and tool that people can earn a full time wage on, which I think is great. A lot of people actually set out to make this their career or for the free stuff they are sure will get thrown at them. Im not saying its wrong, not in any sense, but I am saying don’t assume that this is what everyone wants. Personally, I don’t. I write purely because I love to write, and Im happy to finance my own beauty habit! Any little perks are a bonus for me, not the main event.
Blogging is also seen by many as an incredibly “easy” way to earn money, and the impression is that bloggers get sent loads of stuff, swan around to posh events, take a few pics and earn a living. No wonder so many people want a piece of the apparent easy-peasy-profitable-pie! Now, Im not here to get into the realities of writing a blog, but we all know its not all roses and I have full admiration for those earning a living from it! I have read blogs for about 10 years, and I have noticed massive changes as a reader. Im not saying the changes are bad, Im happy to roll with change, but the way people write blogs now is different, and if their content no longer does it for me, I just don’t read anymore. No drama! I don’t take to twitter to subtweet that they are un-relatable, too high end, too #spon #ad #gift or whatever it is Im not digging. I just stop reading. Simple! Its a bit like if a shop or company gives you bad service, you just don’t shop with them anymore. Blogging is the same, you have a choice what you read! Blogging is a business for some. So, like all businesses, you get competitiveness and rivalry.
Think about your own behaviour online for a moment. I personally, always say I am a “lazy scroller”. If Im looking through Instagram, its almost mechanical and detached and unless a photo really inspires me, or they are one of my “online friends”, I keep scrolling. I will “like” along the way, but to engage me the photo has to inspire me. Now, this is where I am going to be brutally honest, and you need to know this was a very temporary glitch in my behaviour. I have once or twice, not “liked” a photo on Instagram before because I was envious of that persons growth or I just couldn’t be bothered. I know. Shock that Kerry isn’t actually a Disney character and has a bad side…. It was a little while ago, when I was having a weird month of letting social media get inside my head, and it shocked me when I realised I had done that. I was for the first time, taking notice of figures etc. I have NEVER been like that. I literally look at my figures once a month when I do my google analytics, yet in that dark month, I was looking at them 3/4 times a week! This then manifested into me becoming aware of strangers accounts that had bigger followings, yet didn’t really seem to put much effort into their pictures. I was frustrated and comparing myself. Horrible traits that in my normal life, I never feel. (This was where I took a social media step back, and had a word with myself, I really didn’t like that I was feeling this way). Oh and I did go back and “like” that photo a week later, guilt made me feel rubbish!
Be really honest, has anyone else experienced a bit of envy or frustration? Why do you think people are not always supportive? What do you think is going on? I do think that a lot of those negative feelings are around, and hope its just a weird phase thats hit. Algorithms do play a part, Im sure of it, as does lazy scrollers like me! I even have a blogger friend that I really like that very rarely likes anything I put on Instagram, but ‘Im sure she dosen’t hate me, she just cant be arsed! I do also agree with some of what Chloe said, and maybe in career bloggers, sometimes people are afraid of what you might become, and by withholding that like or comment, its like their protest at your apparent success/popularity/achievements etc. Its absolute fact that Instagram “Ad’s” get a lot less engagement than normal photos. Why is that? Why are we not supporting people that make a living from this gig? The ole green eyed monster and competitiveness 100% has a part to play.
I think also, there can be a bit of a divide within the community. A bit big blogger, little blogger, which I personally had never felt, but the following is a 100% true story. I was at an event a little while back, and a blogger that I was chatting too had been at a previous event that I was also at. I asked her how she had found the last event, and she said “Oh it was a waste of my time as I was in a different league to the other people attending. Im a full time blogger, they are just hobbyists” I initially felt embarrassed. I then felt like shit. I was gobsmacked. I couldn’t believe that someone had the idea that she was some how superior because she had a few thousand social media followers. My rubbish feeling very quickly turned to anger, I was angry on behalf of every blooming blogger, whatever their follower size! On top of this attitude, we also have things like only someone with 10k followers on Instagram can have a swipe up facility, only someone on YouTube with over 1k followers can monetise. All little things that create divide, so its never great when people within the community itself feels they are somehow elitist!
Another thing that is rife is the “whats in it for me” attitude. The social climber and the people that only show support if they think they can get something back from it. (do you remember the Are You A Trophy Friend post? We spoke a bit about that there) A twitter thread from the queen that is Vix Meldrew was started recently, and from the responses, it was very apparent that a lot of people have seen this attitude, and feel it is rife. Comment pods, follow trains, follow begs, follow/unfollow, all contribute and encourage this problem. Its like sincerity has been dimmed.
When I found myself briefly being ole green eyes in my attitude, I stopped it. Simple as that. It shocked me. I try to be a supportive person, (and I think I am most of the time), Iv always commented on posts I love, I always use someones affiliate link if Im buying what they review etc. I am a huge advocate of women supporting women, yet here I was being a complete dick! I needed to understand why, to make sure I understood where it came from, so I could change my behaviour. I realised that I had let myself get caught up in it all. But why? If my main priority is just to have an outlet to write, and I don’t want to earn a full time living from it, why did it matter? I do use some affiliate links on my site, and Im not saying that the odd brand collaboration isnt for me. I like to do occassional ones and trust me, if some of my favourite make up and skincare brands were popping into my inbox Id be on it like a car bonnet, but its not my priority. Remembering why I started my blog put my attitude firmly back in its place. I have a much more relaxed attitude to it all now, Im back being mellow Kerry thank gawd! I wasn’t keen on that old cow that raised her head for a week……