Fraud and fakery amongst the blogging community is rife these days and I’m feeling frustrated. Since I started blogging almost 3 years ago, I’ve worked hard to build up a following and contacts. Now, it seems like people don’t want to put in that effort and want to cheat their way to the top.
Let’s start with Instagram. Once upon a time it was so easy to gain followers. My account grew quite quickly and it was a pleasure to post. Then they went and got themselves sold to Facebook and the fairytale was over. Changes to the algorithm mean your feed is no longer in chronological order and less people now see your photos. Along with the shadow banning, Instagram is now a lot harder for us smaller bloggers. I’ve been stuck at around the 22,000 mark for most of the year – there’s just no growth anymore.
Now it’s not just me in this position – we are all struggling, but some have taken to less than honest tactics to grow their following. You have the people who buy followers – seriously, what is the point? Yes your numbers might look better, but there’s no engagement and one look at Social Blade gives you away in a heartbeat. Brands tend to still be taken in by the stats, so these fakers are still getting opportunities based on how many ‘followers’ they have. Sorry, but that’s fraud.
Then you have my particular bugbear – the ones who follow and unfollow. I think most of us can name at least 10 bloggers who regularly pop up on our notifications saying they’re following us. Those same names also regularly appear on the unfollowers list too. Following large numbers of people only to unfollow a large number the next day is not only frowned upon, but who has the time? I know some people will pay for ‘bots’ to do this, but some will do it manually. If you’ve got the time to regularly follow and unfollow 100 people a day then you’ve got too much time on your hands. This even seems to be happening on Twitter now and I just don’t see the point.
Social Blade was probably the best thing to happen to the blogging world in a long time. Just type in a name and check their activity on social media. You’d be surprised at the results. From the big fish to the little guys, the dodgy tactics are rife. This has been the year of the ‘calling out’ with hardworking bloggers getting so frustrated at these tactics that they’ve named and shamed some of the bloggers who like to indulge in a little bit of fraud. However, some bloggers seem to be like Teflon and after a couple of days of a Twitter spat, they carry on their merry way.
Since the change in the Instagram algorithm, engagement is down for everyone. Likes aren’t as easy to come by and some people can’t deal with that, so they use ‘bots’. They pay for likes … again, in my eyes, that is fraud. If you’re taking work or PR from a company who has looked at your Instagram and have seen all these amazing numbers, then you’re deceiving that brand. Some PRs are a bit more savvy and know to check Social Blade, but sadly some are still blinded by the numbers.
In January, I will have been blogging for 3 years and frankly I’m amazed I’ve carried on this year. When you put hours and hours into your blog and social media, you can easily become frustrated and disheartened at all the cheating you see going on. I’m not even going to touch on the fake friends, the witch hunts and the cliques … I think we can all see that with our own eyes. I genuinely hope 2018 is a better one for bloggers, but I highly doubt it.
I can’t see Instagram changing the algorithm anytime soon, and some brands will still be blinded by numbers. The cheaters will continue to cheat and us honest bloggers? Well we will continue to be frustrated. However, I love blogging, I really do. My passion has died slightly this year after seeing the fakes and the frauds, but I want my passion back. So I’m going to be an optimistic Angela for a change and believe in Karma. Blogging needs to be more regulated, as does social media and I hope that happens next year. It has to.
There are some bloody amazing bloggers out there who work so hard and don’t cheat. So here’s to them … the honest, genuine and decent bloggers. The ones that might fly under your radar, but trust me we’re out there. If you’re a PR, then may I suggest adding Social Blade to your bookmarks … it takes 2 seconds to check if a blogger is honest. Be sure to check Twitter as well as Instagram … it will open your eyes.