Blogging is something that I love. I’m passionate about my blog and creating content for it, but it’s changing. I’ve only been blogging for just under 3 years, but I’ve seen a real shift in attitudes, the community, and I’m not sure it’s for the best.
When I started blogging back in January 2015, I did not have a clue what I was doing. I just knew that I loved beauty and wanted to write about it. My first blog was so bad and I was very much making it up as I went along. There was no fancy camera, marble backgrounds, props … it was raw and it was basic. Looking back now, I’m amazed that anyone even read the posts, but they did.
Back then, it didn’t seem that competitive and there was a real sense of community. Over the last couple of years, this seems to have changed – yes, there’s still a community, but it seems to be becoming a lot more cutthroat. So-called friends will step over you just for the sake of a PR contact, drama kicks off over the slightest thing, and people are starting blogs with the view of making money.
For me, I didn’t even know you could make money from this when I started and it has never been my focus. Yes, I will do sponsored posts or Insta ads, but it’s not what drives me. I just wanted to share my love of beauty. A lot of us often get asked how we get sent ‘free stuff’ by girls just starting out. If you’re starting a blog purely for freebies, then you’re in the wrong game. You need to have a passion for it, because there will be days when you will wonder why you ever started.
The blogging world might seem huge with the vast amounts of different blogs out there, but it can also feel very very small … almost incestuous in some ways. Everyone seems to know everyone else, or have a story about such a blogger … it’s like living in a village at times.
You can meet some of the nicest people through blogging, but there are also those who you just wish you’d avoided from day one. Friendships are thrown away so easily and you quickly learn that there are some people out there who just want to use you. Then there are also the fake friendships – my god, there are so many of these. I know people who really dislike others, but one look at social media and you’d think they were the best of friends. I’m tired of it. I don’t want to live my life like that – I just want people in my life who I genuinely like.
Social climbing is becoming more and more common. Want to get your blog noticed a bit more? No worries, strike up a friendship with the ‘popular’ group. Never mind that you have actively bitched about them – we’ll just keep that on the down low. Now my blog will never be one of the most read and I’m fine with that. I’m happy to keep beavering away and putting out content that I enjoy. I’d rather my friendships be genuine and not purely to make my name as a blogger.
One of the things that drew me into blogging was how anyone could do it. You didn’t need to live this amazing lifestyle to do it. There didn’t seem to be the popularity contest that there is now. I’m not talking about the ‘bigger bloggers’, I’m talking about the rest of us. It didn’t seem to matter as much whether you had 1,000 followers or 10,000 and whilst there were cliques, they weren’t as obvious.
I tweeted a thread yesterday about blog awards. I’ve been nominated and shortlisted a few times, and whilst it’s nice, it doesn’t really mean anything. It didn’t change how I view my blog … nor did it make me think I was better than anyone else. Blogging awards seem to be becoming more and more common – anyone can set them up it seems, but are they helpful? Every day I see some amazing blog posts with stunning photography, but you never see anyone talking about them. Every time blog awards are announced, you can pretty much guarantee that the same few names will appear.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that these aren’t good blogs by talented women (and men … when the awards bother to include them), but it’s all just so predictable. You have bloggers who are friends with the organisers or the judges being shortlisted time after time. Then there’s the people who’ve used less than honest tactics being nominated … it all starts to become a bit of a joke. Each day we all work hard to produce content, and we’re constantly trying to improve – you don’t even want to know how many hours a week I spend on all of this.
Does the fact that most of us don’t have some piece of plastic saying that we’re the ‘Best whatever’ mean that our blogs aren’t good? No it bloody doesn’t. I see people getting upset that they haven’t been nominated or shortlisted and I’ve even seen women feel like they should just give up. It actually makes my blood boil. If these awards were based on your content and knowledge, then that’s one thing, but I don’t believe they always are. Part of me genuinely believes they’re a popularity contest and it’s who you know and not what you know. Your face has to fit.
There are some blogs that have won awards that are undoubtedly beautiful and really informative, and yes, it’s lovely for those bloggers to be recognised. However, do I think that it means their blog is more worthy or better than the thousands of other blogs out there? I think you already know the answer to that.
There are so many blogs now and the competitiveness has really increased over the last year. I do understand this more cutthroat blogging that is becoming more prevalent. For me, I’m happy to sit with my cup of tea and type away. I’ll always enjoy taking photographs, and I’m grateful for the genuine friendships that I have formed. I’m never going to be Zoella and I don’t want to be. I just want to share my love of beauty … which is why I started in the first place.