Are we losing the integrity of blogging?

Honesty is the best policy when it comes to writing a blog. Being candid and revealing only what you want is great but what do you think when someone perhaps is untruthful by way of omission? Bloggers are entitled to a personal and private life and as one ,I keep my friendships , family and personal life primarily off the blog.That is pretty much a given. I want to start by saying I have no problem with anyone making money from blogging. It is a perfectly acceptable way of earning. I write for a paper that sells advertising so while I am writing my weekly piece I can’t accept payment in any form. I do a fair bit for Charity too. Good Karma and all that jazz.

My blog is about beauty and so because beauty is highly competitive I have to be honest about products and services that I receive. I am also a bit chunky so i tend to include fitness things because I find that they interest people,  as do some of the meals I cook.I am upfront and open about anything that I blog about. I tend to write less frequently at times because I am busy ( FYI I hate the glorification of busy) but I am rather fond of wine and hanging with my friends.Eating and socialising features on the blog a little too. Everything that you see is real. Sometimes I get invited somewhere but I like to think I get invites because I am a hoot rather than the fact that I am a blogger.That makes me kind of deluded I know. I think mostly I get invites because I engage and give full honest reviews. 

I had a chat with a friend recently who blogs and she was explaining that she had recently felt accosted by a brand to help them promote. She didn’t use their product so had told them politely to jog on, even after being offered money to help promote their brand on social media. I can honestly say that I have had offers of collaborations with brands that I don’t believe in, no amount of product or money is going to make me want to have my name, Mary-Jane associated with them. I don’t want to use my page to promote something that is substandard or indeed not relevant to my blog. I have a good relationship with all of the PR’s I deal with and I have told some that I just don’t want to try their product. A classic example of this is when Teatoxes were a thing. I have a lot of younger girls that follow my social media so in no way am i going to advocate these. Plus they give you the shits. Imagine that. I followed her and all I got were the shits. Nah.

Why do I blog? I blog because I enjoy writing, I find it therapeutic and enjoy sharing my thoughts. I am a total product junkie too. I don’t want to be famous or to earn a living from it. Nothing appeals to me less than  having my privacy taken from me and having my life scrutinised as well as my home and family life. I don’t wish to be abused online nor do I wish to have my looks or personality dissected. That kinda happens a lot to many of the bigger names in he blogging world and that is why I am happy to stay small and under the radar. It is also worth noting that I am not terribly interesting, funny yes but my life is so ordinary and mundane that it isn’t inspirational nor is it aspirational. I have a penchant for great holidays, great wine and spend a lot of my income on my home. I don’t live especially lavishly however I do like the finer things in life. I enjoy nice holidays and spending time away from the online, which is precisely why you’ll rarely see the really fun parts of my life although I have been known to do the odd shot for Sambuca on Snapchat.

Influencers are a completely different thing. They come in many forms, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Irish” Influencers” are I think a relatively new phenomenon , with some great men and women emerging and doing a great job of promoting themselves and the brands they associate with. I think Influencing and blogging are quite similar in many ways. But one of the ways they differ most is the approach in collaborating.  Obviously follower numbers dictate which you are too. I did welcome the recent legislation which showed that bloggers had to disclose when they were working with a brand.  Integrity is important in blogging , and believe it or not most bloggers and influencers have it in spades. The lines become blurred when something is paid for, a classic example is someone being under contract to a brand but secretly using another one, the most obvious choice of this would be a foundation or tan. Or someone claiming that their great and wrinkle free skin is down to a” great ” budget product. This is ” Kardashian “style behavior where the integrity gets blurred by dollar signs. If the photos are Instagram-ed or Photoshop-ed or taken by a professional then take a step back and use your cop on and the mute button. This applies more for beauty blogs,  fashion blogs, well you have to get someone else to take the pictures.  Advertisers and Marketing heavily impress upon the ‘millennial market’ and this isn’t going to change anytime soon.  I know if I see an ad in print on a billboard or a magazine, then I know what I’m getting, but at times these influencers feel like your friend giving you a recommendation and that’s where the lines get blurred, ethically so to speak . As I was born in ’79 I am fairly old school. The only things “I need in my life” are not material things , just wine. All of the wine.

I think that the amount of bitching about blogging having no integrity lately has been off the charts. It is disproportionate to what actually happens.  Trust your own opinion when it comes to products or services. All of the lovey dovey posts about products all at once indicates a drop of samples, it doesn’t mean however that it isn’t a great product. Find your blogger or two and just roll with them. For me I love The Beautiful Truth and John it’s Only make up. Cherry Sue has it going on too across the board. Caroline Hirons is a low BS level blogger too.  These are just a few I follow. Then there would be others that I follow on Instagram and Twitter for the banter.

I often get asked is there rivalry and or bitchy behavior in the blogging world? The answer is quite frankly yes. Do I get involved? Only if I feel attacked or undermined which to be fair rarely happens.But details on the numbers are my own intellectual property as are my contacts and what happens behind the scenes. Transparency is key, but I don’t have to disclose anything to anyone that I don’t want to. I am a part of the Irish Bloggers group and find it a great place to bounce ideas off others and generally have a bit of banter.The group is well run and it really is a great place if you are a start-up blog. There is no entitlement to samples either. Being pushy with PR’s won’t get you anywhere . There seems to be a culture lately of entitlement. Why is she getting invited here ? What can’t she come? This is unprofessional and childish. It should not be played out in any way shape or form on social media. It just make you look like a desperate brat. I prefer to have rapport with the people and brands I gel with. I would say my blog is probably 50/50 with samples and purchases. I have one PR that I’ve touched base with asking for press releases ( not samples) and she has never engaged with me at all, except to reply ask a few questions and that was it. 

I will try once to open the lines of communication and if they don’t reply then clearly I’m not a good fit for their brand. That’s absolutely fine. I would never publically ask for invites or samples. 
I will admit to being lazy at times with my blog,  don’t have a media kit but as my blog is at my pace then I don’t need constant motivation either. I am not forcing anyone to read it. It is my space, so I can pretty much do what I like when I  like. Putting yourself out there will always invite nastiness and drama. Staying a good healthy place mentally is really important. Move along and don’t undermine or hurt anyone. Blogs are a place for healthy vibrant discussion not drama and showmanship. Unless of course you are showing product. 

I actually started this piece months ago and didn’t finish it. Testament to my laziness.

 

Happy Friday xxxx

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