Speaking with a friend earlier today, I’m realizing that blogging is not what it used to be. There are those who have been in the blogging world far longer than I have who know exactly what I mean, but all in all, blogging has become a career path that once excited me, but today, makes me feel inferior and imperfect. Perfection has become a part of blogging that almost breeds the sense of dishonesty that we feel when we see another influencer’s latest collaboration.
“Does she really love that brand?”
“I wonder if those new (Insert Brand Name) shoes that (Insert Blogger) just promoted actually fit or if they give him pains by the end of the night?”
“Gosh…all he posts are sponsored posts…where’s his content?”
“How can she represent this brand when they don’t really represent her or her community?”
“Oh, there we go again, just another token POC on a campaign when they don’t make shades darker than the palm of my hand.”
These are all questions that I myself have wondered as I scroll through the endless swarm of sponsored posts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and beyond.
What happened to the time when people didn’t just take a collaboration to take a collaboration? I’ve turned down many opportunities this year because they aren’t with a company who represents my values or myself and I couldn’t work with them knowing that I couldn’t be passionate about the content that I am about to create. Content is much much more than just sitting behind a screen and typing words onto a Pages document, it’s pouring your heart and soul into a campaign and making sure that your words come across honestly and purely. In the constant striving for perfection, people have lost themselves in the swarm of busy bees who want to get their name out on the scene. In this process, blogging has lost the authenticity which it was once heralded for. The bigger bloggers all were once praised for being able to be the person that every girl turned to get advice for dating, what to wear on that first night out with your new man, or just how to survive college finals.
Today, authenticity takes a back seat to making sure that brands are happy with your review and a bad review or one that shares both the good and bad of a product possibly meaning that a blogger is blacklisted by any brands. This reprehension and reactionary system from brands has promoted a system where EVERY review has to be positive, even though 90% of the time a blogger hasn’t even tried the product. Now I’m not going to pretend that I’m not guilty of this. There have been times in the past where I have had 3 exams and a paper due in one week and I just didn’t have time do a thorough review of products. Whenever this happens, I make it my mission to try it out in the future and I will always email brands and tell them what I did or didn’t like about their product because that’s honesty on my part. It is sparing that I do not enjoy a product, but bloggers aren’t meant to make everyone happy. We’re here to guide and provide a voice for consumers who want an honest opinion about the products that they are considering.
Being a blogger isn’t easy. We’re stuck in a constant struggle of wanting to be honest to make readers happy and being perfect to make a brand happy. We’re struggling to be masters of SEO, Hootsuite, WordPress, and Instagram all at once, while still pumping out content on a regular basis. For those who have it as a full-time job, they have to worry about making ends meet month to month because campaigns don’t just pay you next day, sometimes it can take weeks or even months. The stress of having the new Instagram algorithm that doesn’t benefit our industry and constantly making comparisons about yourself with other bloggers who just seem to be doing better because they are, for lack of a better word: perfect.
No one is truly perfect, I know that I am not. The characteristics that humanized blogger are gone and have been sanitized into fake, happy, perfect lifestyles with perfect boyfriends and perfect Instagram feeds. Social media and blogs are just one moment, a screenshot, a window and snapshot into the lives of these people, but just know, they’re just as imperfect as you are. The honesty and personality that once ruled the blogging world is no longer there, but has anyone stopped to think why? It’s due to the internal and external pressures put upon bloggers to make them believe that they have to be the best or they’re a failure. People believe that making a blog post where everything is absolutely perfect will grow their following and make great content. Great content does not equal perfection. It’s about creating content and ideas that truly matter and that you are passionate and exciting about. Before you sit down and write a blog post, ask yourself….are you honestly happy with this post? Do you really love it and are you excited to work with this brand? If you are, more power to you and make sure it shows in your collaboration, but if not, figure out why and see what you can change to make this collaboration more enjoyable and true to you.
To the blogger out there or the person wanting to join the industry, be yourself. People say be authentic, but be yourself and be honest. If you don’t like that shampoo, tell us why. If you have a bad hair day or your bra strap is showing on your newest IG photo, make a funny caption. Learn to laugh at your mistakes and move on with life because life isn’t a sanitized white-walled atmosphere 24/7, so learn to make the best of your current situation and don’t change yourself to fit a mold that wasn’t created for you. Break the mold and be the best, most honest version of yourself in your content.