I feel like this post has been bubbling away under the surface for quite some time now, itching to come out, and yet, after finally writing it all down, I hesitated before hitting publish.
For some reason it feels totally taboo to be speaking out about something when it comes to the blogging world, as if by speaking up you risk being ostracised, forever excluded from the blogosphere for the rest of time. The thing is, I’ve had enough. Enough of unsupportive peers, enough of the bitchy undercurrent in this industry.
When I started my first blog, back at the start of 2011, the blogging community was totally different. It was tight knit, it was friendly, it was a totally fun group to be a part of.
Over time, due to huge life changes I went through, I lost touch with my original blogger friends and fell out of love with my blog. When I started this new blog up two years ago, things were very different to how I remembered them. The sense of community was still there, to an extent, but it didn’t feel as genuine.
Nine times out of ten, bloggers comment on other bloggers’ posts, and on their Instagrams, because they are obliged to. There’s a whole world of ‘comment pods’ and ‘Instagram instants’, which until the start of this year I had no idea even existed.
I’m not pretending I haven’t taken part in these groups, I have and probably will continue to. After all, it’s nice to see interaction on something you’ve worked hard on, even if the interaction is not entirely genuine. However, being a part of these groups, seeing how they work, has made me cynical. How many of the comments and likes on blogs and social media accounts are real? How many are down to obligations, a comment for a comment, a like for a like?
Back in 2011 bloggers would comment on other blogs because they were interested in them, and to show support to friends. Now it feels that everything comes at a price. A few years ago it was ok to simply write about what you wanted to, what you were passionate about. Nowadays it’s hard not to get caught up in the stats.
Being a part of blogger groups means that I’m constantly feeling competitive, worrying that my blog isn’t ‘good enough’. Good enough for what exactly? I was so much happier a year ago before I found out what a DA was, I mean seriously? Moz themselves have admitted that their algorithm which determines this measure is only currently 70% accurate at best. Why should this number make or break your confidence in your site?
The Instagram algorithm is messed up. Everybody knows this. It’s so difficult to get engagement on the platform. As someone with a fairly small following it can be very demotivating when your content isn’t even being seen. Of course it will be frustrating for those with tens of thousands too, but if those with smaller followings lose twenty followers, it makes a lot bigger a dent!
I’ve likened Instagram to a game of snakes and ladders. It really does feel like you take one step forward and three steps back all the time. It’s exhausting. As a result, people have resorted to tactics to beat the system, and as a result of this, Instagram’s shadowban has reached ridiculous levels with the hashtag #beautyblogger currently being banned entirely!
The follow, unfollow game has become so commonplace that it’s rare to find someone who hasn’t experienced it. What happened to genuinely liking somebody’s content enough to want to see more of it? Instead of enjoying the accounts you follow, this constant need to increase stats leads to these tactical moves to get ahead of the game.
I know for some people their blog is their sole income, after all, I’m hoping to get to this stage myself. It can make a difference in the way you look at things when getting ahead isn’t just to feel good but to ensure there’s food on your table. It’s amazing when your passion is also your job, but I totally get that it also makes it hard to just relax and enjoy things.
I read a brilliant post yesterday about ads and sponsored content. Like Lauren, I’ve noticed an opposition to those who are receiving money or payment in kind for a blog post. But what is most upsetting is when it’s other bloggers who are being less than supportive to those simply making a living from their writing.
I’ve also noticed an increase in backhanded insults over social media if a blogger takes on a campaign that isn’t to another’s liking, or if people are willing to accept less than what would be deemed appropriate for a campaign. With the risk of sounding like the rainbows and smiles girl in Mean Girls (she doesn’t even go here), can’t we just all get along? It’s difficult enough in an oversaturated industry to try and make it, to feel positive and proud of our little corners of the internet, without feeling like other bloggers are against you as well.
So next time you’re online, scrolling mindlessly through social media, why not like that Instagram photo, comment on that blog or share that last tweet? Not because you ‘have to’ but because it’s nice to be nice.