WellnessrunwaychefBusiness

A few of My Thoughts on the Current State of Blogging

WellnessrunwaychefBusiness
A few of My Thoughts on the Current State of Blogging

When I wrote Monday’s post,


I included quite a few of the reasons why my January blogging sabbatical lasted so long this year. But there was one big reason I left out. It was so big I felt it deserved its’ own post. So here we are.

The state of influencers. The state of social media. The state of blogging. Whatever state you want to call it, it’s a state that has been weighing pretty heavily on me over the past few months. What started as a hobby, involved into a passion project and then my career, has recently involved into a world I don’t always recognize, and one I often feel disconnected from and sorely out of place in the midst of.

Blogging, at one point, was an escape. It was an escape for readers who wanted something other than the overly-contrived, out-of-reach, often un-realistic content being put out by traditional media. Bloggers were average people doing average things that they shared in average, honest ways. People could feel like a blogger was your friend, a next door neighbor, someone you knew, someone you could trust, because they were “just like you”.

For bloggers, it was an escape from everyday life, a soul-sucking job, a broken relationship. You could share whatever was on your mind with a world that wasn't yours. You could connect with people across the globe on topics that no one in your immediate circle was interested in. You could be creative after a day job where you were anything but. You could be someone different than you were IRL.

But, as with everything, things grow, change and evolve. It’s just part of life. Sometimes they evolve for the better…and sometimes the worst. Which brings me to the current state of blogging. It certainly has evolved. But is it all for the better? Is it for the worst?

Bloggers were once unbiased sources of honest opinions. Now they’re mostly walking billboards with so many #sponsored things, they have to go out of their way to specify things that aren’t actually sponsored. And what about credibility? I get it. We all have bills to pay. But c’mon. We’ve never seen you using that #ad skin cream ever, and, post-campaign, mysteriously never seem to see you use it again. Are you staying in that hotel because you genuinely love it enough that you would actually pay for it, or is it the only one you could get to give you a free night? For a job built largely on credibility, there seems to be little of it left.

In many ways bloggers have become un-relatable and seemingly out-of-touch with reality, much like the traditional media they once shied away from. Give them a few thousand followers and they think they’re God’s gift to earth, making demands left and right, being unkind to others, with little transparency for what they do and how they do it, and having absolutely no proper code of conduct when it comes to doing their work. Take away a blogger’s readers and you take away their free products, press trips and income. Yet, I hardly see bloggers being aware of that simple fact and, in turn, being kind to those who helped get them there in the first place. Or, the fact that they now run around presenting a life that looks trust funded, when they, in the not so distant past, were being real, wearing Old Navy and flying in coach like the rest of us

And don’t even get me started on the content side of things. Everyone wearing the same thing (even if it doesn’t look good on them {I’m looking at you, #dadsneakers}), eating at the same restaurants (restaurants built purely for the ‘gram, not because the food is actually good or anything), taking the same pictures, traveling to the same places, and not even because they genuinely want to….

E124616F-2A22-4E87-B14A-9983497B8B8A.JPG

Look, I’m not attacking any one. You do you, boo. And I totally get it, I’m a blogger. I’m as guilty of many of these things as the next one. But the narcissist, selfish, unrealistic nature of what blogging has evolved into has left me a little lost as to where I belong in all of this. I’ve never been one to do what everyone else is doing, or really even care what everyone else is doing, but I do care about making a difference and an impact and at times it can be hard to tell if I’m even doing that anymore. Because I don’t have a “big enough” following, my work is somehow valued differently, even though I actually work more professionally than many other’s I hear horror stories about. I try to do things that are different and unique but it seems no one notices for that very reason. Someone with more followers does it and everyone can’t stop praising them. I work hard to come up with ideas and develop content, and people, even people who are supposed “friends”, will knock it off without an ounce of credit. I see other friends put genuinely useful and helpful content out into the world, and never get even close to the attention it deserves. But you best believe if they were posing with their dad sneakers at the latest restaurant everyone would say “omg girl! so cute! goals!”. Honestly, some weeks I can’t even stomach contributing to whatever all of this has become, and don’t even want to post on Instagram even once. Somedays it’s all I can do to not throw up my hands in despair and just walk away from it altogether.

While bloggers aim to inspire, I think some of the evolved behavior, has adversely, inspired more bad than good. People seem more narcissistic and less kind. I feel like mental health issues are on the rise because of worth that is based on likes, followers and keeping up. I feel like people are spending outside their means, because they’re being told they need this, that and the other thing (and everyone on Instagram seems to have found the mysterious pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to support their habits, unlike the rest of us). I think bloggers all think they’re someone important, but really, they’re just the girl (or guy) next door.

And at the end of the day, blogging is a privilege. Having a computer to write on, a fancy camera to take nice photos with, and internet to put your content out there, you’re incredibly privileged. Having an audience (of any size) is a privilege. Having access to the privileges of blogging is a privilege. And it’s a privilege that is being taken for granted, ignored and not taken into consideration with the respect it deserves.

If you are privileged enough to have even one person that cares about what you say, than you should be sharing your little heart out. You should be jumping for joy and ecstatic that someone out there cares about the same shit you do. Do you know what a gift that is in a world of billions of people?! Don’t take that for granted.

If you’re privileged enough that lots of people care what you say, and this has become your career, don’t lose sight of what got you there and what made people follow you in the first place. Stop worrying about what other’s are doing, what a team tells you you should be doing, what data is telling you will perform better and just do you. Stop getting so caught up and worried about all the noise and non-sense and just create. After all, that’s what you used to do to get people following you in the first place.

Oh, and you know how you get those things called campaigns now because of all those readers of yours? Yeah, that’s a privilege. Like having any job, you have to work for it and earn it, but just like any job, it doesn’t mean that finally getting it isn’t a privilege that not everyone is as fortunate to get. Treat it as such. Be on time, be responsive, be organized, BE KIND. Leave your ridiculous demands at the door and remember you were hired to do a job, so do it. Trust me when I say that those things will go a whole lot further than any of your bought followers numbers ever will. And those readers of yours? Be kind to them. Be grateful for them. Respond to them, help them, guide them. You wanted to be a resource, so be a resource. You are there to create for them and help them. They are not here to fuel your PJ lifestyle.

6FAC3AAB-03B0-4F6C-9722-03F48CAD39FC.JPG
edits-1.jpg

When it comes to products, be it style, beauty, home or other, the over-consumption and excessive buying is, in my honest opinion, absolutely out of control. If I, as blogger who gets gifted items, feels like I can’t keep up, I can’t even imagine, how non-bloggers must feel. There is a bombardment of new products at all times that we’re told we “have to have”. But do we really? What’s wrong with the last 10 face lotions you purchased? And do you really need that 27th pair of jeans? Where fashion blogging, for example, was once a way to see how real people styled things in real ways, and made use out of pieces in more than one way, it now feels like another thing to keep up with (and an excuse for some people to hide their shopping addictions behind “work”). Not only does it put a strain on the wallet, but it can also be straining mentally, it’s not environmentally sustainable, and it gives hardly any regard for those among us with little or no means. For me, the mental toll has been incredibly hard, often making me feel severe anxiety over not having a new outfit, equating gaining or losing numbers (aka popularity) based on said outfits, and routinely being more worried about what I’m wearing than anything else (I can’t tell you how many fights the Mr. and I have had because I’ve been distraught over not having an outfit to match whatever place we happen to be in). It also makes me heart hurt, knowing there are so many people out there, who have so little, while so many bloggers are perpetuating this “thank you, next” culture and seem to have so much.

And what about travel? I’ve always loved it, and probably always will (The Mr. says I’m a gypsy at heart and he’s probably not wrong). In fact, traveling was a learning tool my Mom used to teach us about different things when my sister and I were younger (i.e. going somewhere instead of just reading about it in a book). As an adult, I view traveling much the same way. Of course, I love to photograph and document everything, because I genuinely enjoy doing that and, again, because it’s something I’ve always done (started photographing on my first trip when I was 9, and haven’t stopped since). But here’s the thing. I love to travel because I love to learn about other places, other cultures, other traditions, other ways of life. Sadly, however, within the blogging space I feel that traveling has become a status (“Omg! I’m always on a plane. My life is so hard.” *insert eye roll) where people care more about Instagramming a place, than they care about the actual place. The complete and total disregard individuals have for local people, places and history in their quest for the “perfect” photo is, quite literally, ruining people’s lives and causing more harm than good. I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had with locals about how these kinds of travelers are upsetting locals, destroying their homes and towns, being rude and disruptive, and even driving up the cost of living, which then eventual drives locals from their homes. Travel should translate into storytelling about a place and its history, its people, its habits, and it should inspire one to want to visit because they genuinely want to immerse themselves into that world, not because they just want to Instagram the same picture everyone else is. An effort to document the world’s beauty has, in the process, turned into destroying the world’s beauty.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the restaurants, the ones that are clearly built for nothing other than a photo generating factory. If you go even 5 days after something opens, you’re already behind. There’s so much unsaid pressure to be the first to go somewhere, photograph it and share it. I mean, honestly, the food isn’t even good 75% of the time. Or, I don’t know, maybe it is, but how would we ever know given that everyone orders the EXACT SAME THING for their photos? Like, are you even eating that, or did you just get it because it photographs well?! Wait. We already know the answer to that. And, just like with products and clothing, I feel like we are wasting so much food, just for photos, without any regard to how it is effecting the environment, where it is coming from, and the fact that we’re throwing away perfectly good food, when people just around the corner, are homeless and starving.

Here’s the thing. This might not all be so bad, if there was a flip side. Like, I’m telling you to go buy all these clothes, while also telling you to go volunteer and bring your gently used clothes to a women’s shelter. Or, here are all these beauty products you need AND here’s how to recycle all the containers when they’re empty. Or, here I am in Hawaii, but I’m not tagging the specific location a) to protect it and b) to inspire you to find your own magical spots and take your own original photos while you’re there. But the way the influencing world has evolved is a world that favors money and popularity over originality and creativity. It’s like high school all over again.

61565766-78FF-4386-9902-2C7B524D86C0.JPG

So, where does this leave YOU, the reader?

How can you absorb the content and engage in a way that is helpful for you? First, I think you should speak up. Don’t be afraid to tell your favorite bloggers what you want to see and don’t want to see. Secondly, don’t be afraid of changing who you follow. Just like bloggers evolve and grow, so do you. Don’t feel bad hitting “unsubscribe” or “unfollow” from bloggers whose content no longer serves you, or makes you feel badly in any way. Lastly, learn how to make the content work for you, not make yourself conform to the content.

And where does this leave bloggers? Where does it leave me as a blogger?

To be honest, somedays I’m not really sure. Somedays it’s really difficult to keep trying to forge a path no one else is walking. After all, this was a career I never planned on, so why force it? But I am also acutely aware of the unique gift I’ve been given of having a platform all my own to share whatever I choose, as well as an unplanned career as a photographer, recipe developer and content creator, and my gratitude for that is what inspires me to keep going. So, I’ll be here, as long as I have even one person listening, reading, trying my recipes, thanking me for my content. I’ll be here trying my best to share unique, transparent, real, relatable, genuine, authentic, helpful content that positively inspires and impacts. I’ll definitely still be here sharing travel guides and beauty picks, and maybe an outfit or two. I’ll be here working hard at for every opportunity that, by some miracle, I’m lucky enough to have come my way. I’ll probably be blogging, more than I’ll be Instagramming. But mostly, I’ll just be here doing what I would do no matter what career I have, and that is being kind, spreading love and inspiring positivity in a world that needs that much more than it will ever need another Instagram of latte art.


I’d love to hear in the comments- what are your thoughts on this topic? Agree? Disagree? Somewhere in between?