You may or may not have noticed that I wasn't particularly active on Instagram over the holiday weekend. What started as taking a little time off to spend with family visiting for Thanksgiving turned into me being so fed up with Instagram feeds of nothing but Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales that I couldn't even stomach being part of the community.
Not to get all preachy, but the holidays should be a time to be with friends and family. It should be a time to give thanks and be grateful, to be in the moment, to live life. Yet all I saw being thrown into my face was greed and need peddled through "Swipe Up" after "Swipe Up" by individuals who were hardly acting like individuals at all.
I'm not the first to say it and I sure won't be the last, but seriously, where has the creativity and originality gone? Who are we really "influencing"? What good are we really offering? What value are we giving YOU the reader/follower? Or, has this world just become a never-ending robotic rotation of marble tabletops, coffee cups and sale pushing?
I have always wanted to use this space to share the things I love (and apparently some of you love too, as I'm guessing that's why you read and follow along), to provide entertainment and to be helpful by sharing advice, opinions and things I genuinely love and use (and I'm not just paid to). Yes, commissions from affiliate links do make up a portion of my income, as is the case for many bloggers. Yes, I probably would have made more money if I pushed thousands of sales down your throat all weekend long. Yes, maybe it was bad business for me not to do so. But I never set out to be a billboard, nor do I ever do anything just for a paycheck (Trust me, I've turned down thousands of dollars at times when I probably shouldn't have just because I didn't believe in something.). I've never been one to do what everyone else is doing, or what is "popular". Chances are, if everyone is going left, I'll be the girl going right. That's just who I am, in life, in work and in this space.
There's talk at nauseam for influencers to use their "space" and their "voice" to make a change, to do good, to make a difference. And yet those same people are out there doing nothing but pushing sales like they're going out of style....the same sales that everyone else is pushing....wearing the same clothing....posting another cup of coffee on another marble table top like there's nothing more to life. I mean, at this point the only people "influencers" are influencing is each other. I genuinely can't even tell some people's feeds a part. And as a creative, that saddens me. I'm saddened by how many people, with so much talent, who I so enjoyed following for their individuality, have now become "just another influencer". It saddens me that we're all so unique with unique POV's, thoughts and ideas, yet we all feel the need to "be the same". It saddens me that what use to be a space providing value has turned into a black whole of Pinterest-worthy, unrealistic nonsense. It saddens me that there are real issues happening around us, but we all only seem to care about perfect feeds.
Now, I get it. Some of this comes with the territory, some of it is part of the job. I would know. It is my job. But there's also a big difference between providing real value as part of your job as an influencer and pushing things just to make a buck or two. Sharing sales, content, product recommendations, etc in a creative and organic way is 100% what a blogger should be doing. But only sharing sales OR only sharing items they don't even own or use OR only sharing things they're paid to, that is what I take issue with.
I am by no means trying to bash any other creatives/bloggers/Instagrammers for doing what they do. They make their choices on how to run their sites and accounts based on what works for them and that I respect. Not to mention, buried in all the repetitiveness there are still quite a few talented women (many of whom I'm lucky enough to call friends and colleagues), and, of course, men, killing it with their creativity. Plus, I'll be the first to say, I'm guilty of doing many of the things I mentioned up above (Lord knows I LOVE a good sale!). Oh, and don't even get me started on my coffee photos. I'll probably post at least one this week!
But I also love pushing myself to create and share other content (even if it means it doesn't get all the likes and comments). I love sharing things to make a difference, not add to the noise. And most importantly there is oh so much more to life outside those tiny Instagram squares. I just wish some people wouldn't be so afraid to color outside those square's lines....
As we come towards the end of this year, I'll be reflecting more on what it currently means to be a blogger and influencer, what it means for me, what I want for this space, what I want to provide for you as the readers and how to make a positive difference while encouraging you to live your best life. Thank you to those of you who follow, read, comment, support and show love. There are so many bloggers you could follow, probably ones with prettier, marble table-top filled feeds, maybe ones who don't do the opposite of what everyone else is doing, ones who might not always keep it real, but you choose to read and follow Runway Chef and for that I'm forever grateful.