10 Sep Blogging and influencers: the ugly side
I’ve been watching the influencer industry deteriorate over the last couple of years. All I want is for it go back to what it used to be, without the lies, infighting and fakeness.
I’ve been writing since I was a child, it’s always been in my blood. I started by writing short stories with my mom’s typewriter at the dining room table. I don’t think that it was particularly good, but I enjoyed writing them. In my early teen years, I started writing poetry filled with teenage angst. I would print it out and paste it into my school diaries. Remember the days when we would pimp out our diaries with stickers, pictures ripped out of magazines and inspiring quotes? Some of my poetry got featured in the school magazine – I was so proud of that. Then, in my 20s I started blogging. Back then it was simple. Blogging was basically an online diary; it wasn’t about catching a brand’s eye and there was zero pressure, the word ‘influencer’ didn’t exist as we know it today. Most of us early bloggers didn’t even tell people about our blogs, it was an outlet and we would read other blogs with similar content. I made quite a few friends that way. My first blog was about dating, relationships and a lot of heartache and seemed to resonate with other people my age. I loved writing that blog.
It’s safe to say that the world of blogging has changed…a lot. With the rise and evolution of social media and influencers, everything changed, and in the beginning, it was a good change. Everyone seems to be competing now and I don’t understand it. There’s space for everyone and as a community, we need to change our attitudes.
A toxic community
The blogging community has become increasingly toxic in recent years. I don’t like what I see half the time. The in-fighting, the lies and deception are just not my thing.
I miss the days when we all had a blog because we loved to write about things we loved or to get things off our chests, these days it’s all about getting free stuff, follower counts, click bait and securing the most deals with brands. The same goes for social media accounts.
Engagement pods, bloggers and so-called influencers lying about their stats; those refusing to mark their posts with #ad, #sponsored or #gifted; and people buying REAL and bot followers make me angry and sick to my stomach; not to mention all the brands that are getting hoodwinked and losing faith in influencers because of this.
Some people take ‘fake it ’till you make it’ a bit far. They are slowly ruining the industry, it’s turning into something fake and they are putting their own reputations at risk. It’s also turning brands against the industry. In the UK, they’re trying to push for influencer fraud to be viewed as just that – fraud – and a crime because ultimately influencers are lying about their stats in return for hard cash or expensive trade exchanges. It’s becoming pretty serious, and I support this 100%.
Aspiring bloggers and influencers need to understand that it takes years to build up a following and to get the right followers. Nothing is built overnight and even if you have a small following, as long as it’s the right audience, you can do amazing things.
I implore you, the readers and fellow bloggers and influencers, call out those who are besmirching our beloved industry and restore it to what it was and supposed to be: authentic experiences and sharing things we love.
And I beg everyone to please be authentic, ethical and transparent on social media. Mark those posts, if your adding value to your audience, they don’t mind, the research is there. Brands also don’t mind using smaller influencers – it’s actually preferred these days – the research is there too – as long as you’re speaking to their target market, so why lie about your stats?
Thanks for attending my TEDtalk.