Right then. This is a hard post to write. It’s something I’ve had in my schedule for months. But keep pushing it back.
I’ve had the title done and the idea in my head for ages, not quite sure how to articulate my thoughts. Careful not to hurt anyone or offend, desperate not to cause conflict.
I’m generally a pretty neutral person, you see. In most things that happen online and offline, if it’s not something personal to me or a close friend, then I’ll most likely not have an option, or see both sides of an argument.
I’m not at all a fan of posting opinions on Twitter and hardly ever join in arguments. I’m the same in real life, too.
I’ve seen a lot of people lately, say they’re tired of people being all happy and positive online. That they should grow some balls and share their opinions. Um, if I want to be happy and positive on Twitter and avoid confrontation, then I will, thank you very much. How I use a social media site is up to me. I don’t criticise others for debating, arguing and sharing their opinions. I’m not going to change who I am because people with big voices are telling me I’m wrong. That’s not right. Nobody is wrong. We’re all just different. Anyway.
In my last review at work my manager said I’m very fair and direct. I know what to say and when to say it. I know where the line is and how far to go. I’ll get straight to the point, be honest in what I say but also be sure in what I’m saying. If I’m unsure or have any doubt I’m not being fair, or I’m being a dick, then I’ll keep quiet.
I believe that you should pick your battles. There are some situations that you should just let it go and other times where you should speak up.
One thing that has been bothering me lately. Actually, I don’t think it’s been bothering me. That’s the wrong word. Let me backtrack:
One thing I’ve noticed lately has made me think ‘hey, I don’t agree with that!’.
So I’m going to talk about it.
The blogging community isn’t what it used to be.
I hate what I’m seeing in the community lately, it’s making me want to quit blogging.
I don’t agree with these statements.
I’ve been blogging for a long time. I’ve been an onlooker for many arguments on Twitter and within blog posts. Every so often, something happens, many people get involved and then you see a tonne of passive, indirect tweets talking about the drama, about the negativity and about how awful the community is now.
Then it blows over.
So, let’s get to the title of this blogging post, shall we?
It’s not the community, it’s you.
I titled it this for one reason: I believe that your perception of the blogging community changes depending on how long you’ve been blogging and the things you learn and experience.
I would expect when most of us start blogging, we know jack shit about it. I didn’t have a clue. I would just take some shitty photos with my iPhone of my dress and post them. I’d comment on blogs, I’d get comments on mine and it was just a whole lot of fun.
After a few months, the * next to products I once overlooked intrigued me. Then I figured out that these were products that were being sent to bloggers. FOR FREE. NO WAY, LAD. FOR FREE? I didn’t know this was a thing.
It seemed like something reserved for full-time bloggers with a thousand followers on Twitter and Bloglovin. I’d look at my 14 Bloglovin followers and free things felt like a lifetime away, so I just carried on my merry way.
That’s me browsing Twitter. Look how chipped my nail polish is. I’m so relatable.
I started to notice this free product thing more, though. I noticed that some bloggers were reviewing weird things, not just clothes like they normally would. But there would be a random post in the middle of all their fashion posts about a fancy new plug for your kitchen sink that stopped food going down and made everything smell nice and washed up for you and then it did a little dance.
These were things I overlooked before, but the more time I spent reading blogs, the more I noticed it.
Some months later, I then learnt that some bloggers got paid to write about stuff. I learnt that some were making a full-time income off it, for others, it was just pocket money.
This was another revelation that changed my perception of the world of bloggers.
Then I learnt about link selling. Follow links. Google page rank. SEO. The ASA rules. Giveaway rules. Having to declare yourself as self-employed. Cookies. Blog events.
All this stuff I had no idea about before and it was scary.
Yet each time I learnt something new, it changed my perception of the blogging world. It was once this place where people shared their passions online with a very few, very popular people, benefiting from it. It turned it into something a bit harsher. Something flawed and dishonest in ways.
It’s kind of like when you’re a child, everything is fun, summer is really long and hot and Christmas is the best thing in the world. You dream of growing up and it’s exciting. But then you learn about death, murder, crime, having to pay bills and tax on a large chunk of your earnings. You learn that not all jobs are fun and that people can be really mean.
That’s what happens with me and that’s why I think a lot of people often say things like ‘blogging isn’t how it used to be’. Or ‘people blog for the wrong reason now’.
I disagree. I don’t think it’s much different compared to when I started 4 years ago.
The only difference is I know more about it.
Yeah, there are more opportunities and events for bloggers in 2016 than in 2012 – but that’s a great thing! We should celebrate this. Not snear that anyone can get sent free make-ups from the top brands now.
So it’s not blogging that has changed – it’s you. You’ve changed in the fact that you have more experience – you can spot paid posts and reviews, you get offered them yourself. You get the shitty e-mails about earning $5 from a Chinese dress site and you’re a hell of a lot more blog smart.
Let’s get to my second point around people saying the blogging community has changed into this awful beast.
It’s not the community – it’s life in general.
I’ve been a part of many online communities and there’s always been those that stand up for what they believe in, those that are quick to speak up and confront people. Which can be seen as both a good thing and a bad thing. There’s also always people that aren’t very nice. People that like to make others feel bad about themselves, people that like to gossip, laugh, joke, be passive aggressive and be a downright bitch. People are very quick to say things that will make them seem like their morals are better than yours.
It’s not exclusive to online communities. That’s what life is like in school, at university, at work and within families.
It’s human nature.
People are different. Some get on really well, some clash. Others are extroverted, others introverted. Some are shy, others just prefer to keep to themselves then you have those that are confident. Some people are stressed out a lot and others are chill. Then you have those that like to share personal details about themselves online or with friends, things about their sex lives or mental health problems. Then you have those that prefer to keep things to themselves. Some people like to be happy and jolly all the time, others want to share the sadder parts too.
That’s a lorra lorra (said in Cilla Black sassy voice) characteristics. Put them together and you’re going to get disagreements, debates and sometimes just plain nastiness.
Our differences are what make things dead interesting, though. Don’t you think?
My thoughts are that people, both online and offline, just need to learn to be a little nicer to one another. I’ve had many friends say things publically that have been controversial. It’s okay to disagree with someone but still like them as a person. It’s okay to have a conversation about it.
We just need to do without pulling each other down and getting personal.
So, just to summarise if you can’t be arsed to read it all:
- As you become more involved in the blogging community and aware of how things work, you see things different.
- Bloggers are humans. Human nature is complicated and in any situation where people are grouped together, there’s going to be drama.
I’ve seen a lot of people say they want to quit blogging because of how things are, lately. Nawww, don’t do that. The best thing to do is just ignore the bits you don’t like and carry on as you are.
You can only be responsible for your own actions, so keep on blogging, keep on interacting with those that uplift you and remember why you started in the first place.
I’m not a fan of negativity, arguments, and passive-aggressiveness. So I just don’t follow people who are. It’s nothing personal against them, we just want to use blogging and social media differently. I’d still happily chat to these people if we came up in a tagged conversation, or at an event or whatever. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, or even friends.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this one.