Bloggers: Why Do We Get a Bad Rap?


This is a random picture I took of the moon and some palm trees in a parking lot in Florida.( I just booked my tickets for the Fall yay!.) It didn't go on the blog because I didn't think it was blog worthy, because a blog is not just a random, thoughtless happenstance, contrary to popular opinion! ;-0)

So I have noticed something weird lately. Sometimes if I'm signed out of Blogger, I Google the word "Blogger", as you do, to get here...and at the top of the "News" section are inevitably several stories about bloggers. And I don't know about you, but it's rare that one pops up that is remotely positive.

Blame the Daily Mail's obsession with bloggers faking stuff (admittedly a problem) if you will, but after awhile it does become flipping annoying. Occasionally there will be a "Omg this blogger lost half her body weight/made a face mask out of beetles!" or some other news grabby type thing. Which I guess makes sense. But more often than not, bloggers make the news for bad reasons.

Fashion magazines in particular have taken to publishing pot shot pieces at the blogosphere...I get that they are threatened as, let's be honest, blogs are slowly putting them out of business, along with the fact that less people buy print anything these days. What irks me with most of their critiques, though, is they are criticizing bloggers for many of the behaviours they themselves embraced for years.

How many actual honest beauty reviews are to be found in the pages of a fashion magazine? Traditionally, magazines have been in thrall to advertisers, most of their featured beauty products of the month are merely the newest thing on the market, which they seem to automatically recommend - is that new £40 highligher/magic skin perfector really SO life changing?

They get free stuff sent to them, just like bloggers, except unlike bloggers they rarely acknowledge to their readers that is the case. And yes, most savvy readers know this to be a fact, but I do believe it makes a difference when you are informed of said fact in how persuadable you are to the recommendation. I am old enough to remember life before blogs, to a time when my only source of beauty and fashion information was print media or friend's recommendations.

I also remember when Grazia and Look magazines entered the scene and started the revolutionary thing of showcasing high street fashion more than designer brands - to anyone who doesn't remember this, trust me, it was pretty bold and exciting, and is also something that has I believe made fashion blogs so successful.

Of course high end designer fashion is fun to look at, and inspires most high street fashion on some level, but it is an elitist game, a stargazing hobby for most people, who eventually would like to participate in fashion without feeling so excluded. I do believe that women today largely want to see clothes they can afford, on bodies they can relate to, and blogging has given us that, for the first time ever.

I am, as an older blogger, eternally grateful for the style inspiration and unbiased opinions of the thousands of awesome bloggers playing by the rules and being up front about sponsored posts - as I believe the majority of us are. My inner beauty addict can read ten different detailed reviews of the same product and form an opinion that feels far more substantiated than a blase few words on a beauty editorial page full of a dozen other things they are selling me.

The smarter publications have recognized the need for an authentic and trustworthy voice in fashion and beauty - the Sunday Times, for one, has India Knight and Marian Keyes write some pretty spiffing and in depth pieces on their favourite beauty finds, and Claudia Winkelman writes a rather gleefully self deprecating, hilarious fashion piece every week.

What I think print media gets wrong about bloggers is that very thing - the voice. What makes a blog successful is so often a memorable voice, with a fun or refreshing take on things. The media tends to lump all bloggers together, as if we are all the same, wanting the same things, writing the same things, etc. Which....yes there are definitely trends in blogging, just as in fashion. It's easy to hone in on the similiarities and paint us all as the same. It makes us less human to their readership.

Except they are forgetting their readership is ageing, and by alienating their younger readers, many of whom are bloggers, they are only being left further behind. How many bloggers have had stories about having negative experiences with print media either purposefully misrepresenting them, failing to honor payments or other agreed upon terms, etc? I know I've read quite a few, by bloggers I trust and believe.

When we do see bloggers represented in a positive guise in magazines, I will be honest, unless it is someone I am familiar with I find it hard to relate or be interested. That's nice the blogger put together an outfit, but they could be anyone, and the magazines tend to rotate them every month, a sort of gallery of blogging "It Girls", which I'm sure gives a temporary boost to the bloggers' stats but...rarely captures what it is about their blog that is so special.

I wish that fashion media could delve a bit deeper beyond pot shot exposes and limited fashion features when it comes to what has made blogging such a staggering industry in so short a space of time. They could talk about why people like blogs, they could incorporate things that people enjoy about them into their own pages, even. I do see some of them trying this, with mixed results - it is the fusing of two entirely different things, however, and as they are prone to calling bloggers on, you can't fake it. Until they get serious about it and stop treating bloggers as disposable accessories to be occasionally pilloried I think the relationship between the two will continue to be a strained one.

The p.r./blogger relationship is also one that has come under repeated scrutiny lately, I have read countless stories of bloggers being treated unbelievably rudely by p.r.'s expecting them to work for nothing, or to turn their blog into a voiceless ad, the presumption that we as bloggers are just empty mouthpieces is frustratingly common.

I am a little fish but even I am beginning to see I need to draw a line. No, I won't write and cross promote free press for your multi million dollar company for a very cheap gift. Not anymore anyway! I may not be in a position to charge for posts, but I do wish to value my content and my blog as something more than the nothing that most people presume is acceptable.

I do want to say I think it's important that the big bloggers in particular set the best example possible for the industry. There can be an element of once a blogger gets a Superdrug beauty line or a book deal they begin to seem like another cog in the mainstream beauty and fashion industry. It is important for them to stand up for the very thing that got them where they are more often in my opinion.

I like to be able to say I am a blogger with some pride and no shame or embarassment about it. If we as bloggers continually allow ourselves to be painted a certain way it will become a stereotype (I fear it already has a bit), that undermines just how many smart and amazing bloggers there are out there. We (some of us...not necessarily me! ;-)) work hard at what we do, put far more thought and research into it than we are given credit for at times. As Morrissey put it best, "That joke isn't funny anymore."


Recent Posts Widget