Sunday 7 September 2014

5 Things I'm Not Allowed To Say - 30 Days #7


It's what the blogging world thrives on right?

This is my honest opinion of this, check my blog for an honest review of so-and-so, this is what I honestly wear and do and how my life honestly is.


Why is it we are so over-zealous to be honest about positive things, yet are decidedly more hesitant when it comes to the negatives?

There are some things I have noticed for a while, things which have frustrated, upset and baffled me as a fellow blogger, and for just one post, I think I'm going to let that slip.

These are five things I'm not allowed to say as a blogger, but I can as a human being.

I hate the way we, as bloggers, are forced to result ourselves down to a series of aligned pixels and sacrifice our humanity for the sake of online reputation, not worth risking our 'shot at success' by accidentally letting slip some truths that are boiling just beneath the surface.

Things that we can rant endlessly to our non-blogger friends about, whilst retaining our perfect fence-sitting diplomacy online, too afraid to voice an opinion too far one way or the other for fear of backlash.

Of course, no-one wants to spread hate or create a negative atmosphere, but real honesty is admitting that things aren't always perfect. We are obsessed with controlling every little thing to create this unobtainable illusion of perfection. So what happens when all negativity in hastily swept under the carpet and all that's left is 'oh my god I love it's and 'yeah this is just so great, isn't everything just so good's?

Authenticity becomes irrelevant.

Everything becomes false.

I hate the fact that I've been to events where people are standing at the sidelines, eyeing each other up and slagging off their outfits in giggly little groups, whispers of poison floating like acid vapors in the air, stinging anyone who go too close.

Schmoozing up to their 'sworn enemies' to get a good selfie for instagram so they can share their pool of influence and create a bigger surge of audience for themselves, a business opportunity, when as soon as that afterlight filter is applied and it's cropped, tinted and posted, they part like two opposing magnetic poles repelled by the laws of nature.

But that's what we're encouraged to do isn't it?

It's not what you know, it's who you know, and adding to that, how much you can do for one another.

Because these days, everyone's an internet entrepreneur - it seems anyone who's half decent at eyeliner is now a make-up artist, every person with a Canon DSLR and a tripod is now a youtuber, every girl who just wears clothes is now a fashion blogger. 

Gone is the idea of the social network, it's social media. Family and friends are now an 'audience', your input now 'content'. The likelihood of you getting recognition or appreciation is now 'influence', and your overall general likability swiftly becomes your 'marketability'.

A hobby is no longer just a hobby with the internet involved, now we can broadcast it to the world, and by doing that, it creates this almost deluded sense of self-entitlement.

Err, I just posted my third on point selfie of the day and there's not a suitcase full of complimentary Mac lipsticks and invite to LFW outside my door????

What kind of online culture are young girls going to grow up entering into where we treat each other and ourselves like that?

I hate the way we are encouraged to 'think of ourselves as a brand'. 

It's all well and good to get that business mind ticking to seek new opportunities, but what happens when the lines between you work and your life are blurred? When you simply being you becomes your full-time job? When every word you breath and every sentence you type is an advert? When you have no choice but to speak well of anything and everything because you are contractually obliged to not say a bad word about anything? How do you even know what being you means anymore? 

Of course everybody has to make a living, and genuinely hats off to those who are able to make a sustainable living and career out of their blog - it's undeniably something many of us aim to achieve. But I guess the line is drawn when you're peddling stuff you don't even like or would never use in reality, just to chase a paycheck. 

Personally I don't want to think of myself as a brand, I want to think of myself as a writer with the means to share a greater, positive, empowering message to others. And if that's not a very good business model then so be it. Because there is nothing that gives me greater pleasure, greater happiness and greater clarity than writing.

I hate the fact that if you want to get anywhere... you're forced to be a hypocrite.

'You love writing!' - 'You want it to be your career!' - '...You have no money.'

"I'll pay you to write, but only if you write what I tell you to write."

Which not only provides a moral dilemma for those whose overall goal is not the fame and fortune, but also gives birth to an even more convoluted type of creator - those who do it not for the love, but for the sole purpose of generating an audience which they can then monetise to make a quick buck.

Blogging has evolved at a rapid and almost unmanageable rate and I don't think many of us know how to deal with it. And in my eyes, we are all treading a very delicate like between art, entertainment and business. There are things that I feel many are not entirely comfortable with, things which feel as though they demean artistic integrities as creators, but, little sacrifices that must be made in order to bring our little form of expressive art into the eyeline of those who can deem it of worth, and henceforth get our voices heard. 

But I guess we all gotta start somewhere.

And so finally, 

I hate the way there are these made up rules and commandments, the surefire tricks and ways you can ensure your optimum blogging success and have adoring people worshipping your feet, begging you to let them send you free stuff and making your dreams come true as if they were doing you a favour.  That there are all these underhanded tricks and tips people use to get followers, to get exposure and get likes - that we've all apparently become so obsessed with stats and figures that we've completely lost heart.

Yes there are long-established bloggers with a wealth of industry experience that hold workshops and can provide invaluable information about how to maximise your blogging success, but I can tell you one thing for sure, these are NOT the people you'll find bitching about others at press events or thinking they deserve to be showered with gifts and attention. These are hard-working people who have earned their success, and they are not the kinds of people that are likely to forget that.


And so... yeah.

 This is not my advice for new bloggers, this is not my guidelines on 'how to be successful', these are just my own little virtues I remind myself to work by whilst on this mad adventure through this frankly baffling world:

Detach yourself from the hype.

Never do something  you feel like you have to do.

Blog what you love, for you.

Build a world that you are proud to own. 

Blog with integrity and heart.

Treat readers as a bonus, not a right or target.

Be grateful for any benefit/opportunity/experience that should come as a result.

Overall, I would say that the two years I have spent entirely immersed in this industry, (which I know is not a lot) I have encountered a lot of different cyber social spheres and witnessed a lot of changes, growth and evolution, and the staggeringly overwhelming feeling is one of radiating positivity, love, passion and admiration. I love blogging, I love bloggers and have made some of the best friends a girl could have through the blogosphere.

But these little niggling things, things which I've always just bit my tongue about in the hopes they'd remain a minority, or I was too scared to voice my opinion about before, they seem to be a growing trend, and as the blogosphere grows, these negative traits and competitiveness seems to be growing ever bigger too.

I hope it's just a blip, and the small pockets where these things seem to be rife soon burn themselves out, and we start to remember we are friends, we are women, we are 'cyber-colleagues' if you will. Not competitors or enemies.