I know, it’s been a little while since I posted and I’m sorry for that. Initially I was going to just have Christmas away from blogging, but that changed. I ended up really poorly and on antibiotics at the start of the new year, which made my return to blogging delayed. I’m still not a hundred percent, but I’m better than I was.. if I look after myself, then hopefully I will get back to being a hundred percent. I just needed to come back, for my own sanity and to talk about the recent blogging controversy.
Before I go into all of that though, did you all have a good Christmas and New Year? I did. Christmas was spent with my fiance and our two cats, which was lovely. I also got to see my sister over the Christmas period, which was way overdue and amazing. We didn’t do anything for New Year, but we never do.. we were still recovering from Christmas.
I thought about doing a “What I got for Christmas” blog post, but decided against it. For one, it seems something younger people do.. and I also don’t like the idea of it seeming like I’m bragging. Or, on the other hand, I also didn’t want people to look down their nose at me and be all like, “she didn’t get a lot” It’s hard because everyone is different, with different budgets and what might seem like a lot for someone may seem like hardly anything to someone else. I figured it was best to just forgo that whole situation entirely.
You will probably end up seeing what I got over the course of the next month or so anyway, but it won’t be its own post. No shade to anyone that does do those posts, I actually find them enjoyable to read.. but it just didn’t seem like a good idea for myself.
The recent blogging controversy
This is going to be a bit of a rambly blog post. I have a lot of thoughts. A blogger recently got some media attention. This media attention was due to a business owner outing a blogger publicly for sending an e-mail to said business, in which they pitched to them in order to try to get their service for free in exchange for some exposure. I’m being very ambiguous about the business in question and the blogger for a reason.. I don’t want to give the business owner any more promotion than they’ve already had and I don’t want the blogger in question to get any more negativity sent their way.
Having said that, I have some thoughts about the whole situation and that’s what prompted this blog post. I had read about the situation on Twitter at first and didn’t think too much of it, “oh it’s just another unprofessional business shaming another blogger” (sadly it seems it’s not an uncommon thing lately). But, then I was looking at a news article about the situation.. and when I read the comments I was in complete shock. There were over a thousand comments all pretty much saying the same thing.. how bloggers are scum, scroungers, need to get real jobs, etc etc. I had no idea that people felt that way.
Letting comments get to me
I spent longer than what is considered healthy poring through the comments. Immediately it didn’t sit well with me and made me question everything about what I do here. I started to feel extremely anxious that everyone thinks that way about me too. The fact is, I’ve pitched to brands before too.. and I’ve got hardly any followers in comparison to the blogger in question. The commenters were calling her delusional for asking for something for free, when she has only 80k followers and saying who does she think she is etc etc. At the moment a thousand followers seems like a dream to me, so if she was delusional.. then what am I?
I’ve always been in the mind of if you don’t ask, you don’t get. It takes a lot to put yourself out there and ask for things. I have pitched to brands and it felt necessary to do so.
How are people going to know who I am if I don’t introduce myself and what I do? How will I build up a following if I don’t engage with brands and be involved in their releases? Of course, there are bloggers out there that do manage to get noticed without doing that.. but since I want to review items this seemed like a logical step.
It would be very expensive for me to purchase everything myself.. and as someone who is on disability this isn’t always an option. I try to buy as much as I can for my blog, because it isn’t a place for me to get freebies.. it’s a place for me to express myself, whether that be a ramble like this or a review. I currently don’t take money for my reviews, but a free product in exchange for an honest review seems more than fair to me.
I’ve been very fortunate thus far to have had the opportunity to work with a few brands, some of which I pitched to and others approached me. It’s lovely that these large brands want to work with me considering how small my following is. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me or any other blogger to introduce ourselves, say what you can offer a brand and hope to hear back.
Was it wrong?
Do I think this blogger did anything wrong in contacting the business for a free service? No, not at all. She was polite in her e-mail and if the business in question thought it was an unreasonable request or something that they couldn’t facilitate a simple no thank you would have sufficed. Although she wasn’t named in the blast, it was still in poor taste. You don’t need to shame people like that.. it’s just not very professional.
It was very passive aggressive. If that had been me, I would have known it was about me.. even if they didn’t say as much.. and that would have hurt. Although she didn’t need to come forward and say it was her, I’m glad she did.. to bring attention to the wrong that I believe they did. If they wanted to make it clear that they don’t condone that kind of thing, then they could put it on their website somewhere that they are unable to provide free service to bloggers.
I understand that they have to pay to employ other people and for the service in general.. but some brands find that paying for those things out of their own pocket in order for the blogger to get that service would be beneficial to them. There are people saying that the business has a bigger social media following than the blogger, so they should have done their homework etc. etc.. but they’re forgetting one key thing, the blogger may have a more diverse following than them, which could help make their reach even bigger.
You can only do so much self promotion.. that’s why brands put adverts on the TV, magazines etc.. and bloggers and vloggers are just the same. Like it or not, our lives are very digital these days and social media has a huge sway over people.
There’s also the whole “they are only 22, their following won’t be able to afford the service” that really angered me. Not all young people have money, true.. but there are plenty that could afford said service and would be looking for that. Granted the business didn’t say that, the comments I read did.. but still, it felt very ageist.
Apprehensive about returning
This whole situation made me very nervous to come back to blogging, fearing I may be judged harshly like that. But, after talking to my fiance, my sister and friends.. they made me feel a bit better about it. My fiance made the point of “what is a real job anyway?” and I have to agree. Surely if you get paid in items or money, that is a job.
Blogging is a service and it’s bloody hard work. You take on many roles being a blogger.. writer, researcher, editor, photographer, public relations, social media, etc. Becoming a blogger actually gave me more of an appreciation for what is involved.. on the surface, it looks super easy, but it’s not.
So.. to summarise, I don’t think the blogger did anything wrong. I think the business acted unprofessionally. The comments I read on the news article seemed very out of touch with the way things are going, bloggers and vloggers have more influence than people realise.. and to quote my sister, “they’re just jelly”.
Also, I’m not going to let those comments stop me from doing something I enjoy.. it might make me not want to pitch to brands any more though. My fiance was very adamant that I don’t let those narrow minded opinions get me down and I’m going to try not to let them.
If you read this far, thanks for reading and I hope it made sense.. I had a lot of thoughts and they were so disorganised! If you enjoy a ramble, then you might like my others, which you can read here.
What do you all think about this situation? Let me know in the comments below.
*If the blogger in question happens to stumble across this post, please know that I wrote this with good intentions and I side with you.