On the Fickleness of the Blogging Community

Unless you've been living under a rock without access to social media for the past few days, you'll be aware of the currently ongoing saga about Instagram bots and buying followers. Instagram bots are services which, in exchange for a fee, will artificially increase your follower count, as well as likes, by using fake spam profiles. Multi award winning blogger Em Sheldon recently shared on her Snapchat a tactic for spotting bloggers who had bought their followers. This showed people how to identify bloggers using fake stats to score ad deals with brands, causing those who have genuinely and organically grown their following to lose out. Em recommended checking whether users are liking dodgy pics (including pornographic images) and using Social Blade to spot those buying followers and using bots. This has caused an absolute UPROAR on Twitter, with bloggers looking up each other's stats and (sometimes viciously) calling out those who they believe to have cheated. The vast majority of my timeline on Easter Monday morning was taken up with these kinds of intense tweets. Everyone was talking about it, and everyone was mad.

Now, I've only been part of the online blogging community for about a year, but I have seen this thing happen over and over and OVER. People getting really really irate about an issue (whether it's Cosmo or Vogue writing malicious articles about bloggers, people with fake Instagram followers, or bloggers not disclosing their sponsored content), and within a day, or even just a few hours, things go back to normal. Despite their protestations about their content, people keep on purchasing Cosmopolitan and Vogue magazines, and using them as blog photo props. Although they tweeted about how buying followers and not declaring #spon content is totally scummy behaviour, people keep on supporting bloggers who do so. The drama just blows over like it never even happened.

Don't worry, there'll be plenty of blogger-esque blossom pics in this post to make it a bit more palatable...

I suppose this could be interpreted as a good thing: forgive and forget, right? But surely if the issues were actually meaningful, the drama would result in lasting change? To me, the fact that there are these enormous blow-ups, followed by a return to the status quo shows just how fickle and pointless all the uproar is. I'm totally guilty of engaging with drama, I will myself add to it by talking about it and engaging with conversations happening on Twitter. I'm just as bad as everyone else and I openly admit it! But it does leave me feeling a little disingenuous when it's all over. Did it really mean anything? Is the whole community just fickle as fuck?

Exactly how fickle the community can be is exemplified in this example. A close blogging friend of mine started receiving hate on Twitter in recent weeks for setting up a new blogging initiative, and it led to her feeling really rubbish and even contemplating deleting her blog. This abuse was completely over-the-top and unfounded because the haters in question hadn't properly understood what my friend had intended to achieve and some of the stuff they were circulating was really nasty. My advice to her was just to wait it out, because 24 hours later, the drama would be over and people would be talking about the next thing that made them SO SO angry. And you know what? That's exactly what happened.

I'm not saying that the some of issues I've mentioned above such as fake followers and the Vogue blogger-bashing are not worth talking about. They most certainly are! I just find it incredibly frustrating when conversations about important matters descend into writing (at best) bitchy and (at worst) savage tweets, but nothing else. No change. Nothing but a brief bit of drama. 

  • If you're angry about bloggers buying fake followers and not declaring their #spon posts, go ahead and express this annoyance via social media, but also - unfollow them! Don't read and support their content! Try and educate others about why they shouldn't buy followers in future by writing a blog post about how to grow your following organically, and explain why fake followings are bad for EVERYONE in the blogging community. Writing a post will have a greater impact than sending a tweet because a tweet is gone almost as soon as it is written. A post will have lasting impact and keep being read, and re-read over a greater length of time.
  • If you're cross that Cosmopolitan or Vogue ran an article tearing down bloggers, you should absolutely tweet about it, but also - stop buying their magazine! Stop featuring them in your beautiful Instagram flatlays and providing them with free advertising, there are plenty of alternative publications out there which are pro-blogger!
  • DO something constructive. Channel your anger into something good. Don't just bitch on the Internet and then return to the same behaviours as yesterday.

Now, I'm not going to be one of those people who just tear the entire blogging community down and say that everyone within it is a piece of shit, because that's just NOT TRUE. I'm not going to come out with a load of rubbish about how I identify as an "influencer" because "blogger" is a dirty word. *eyeroll*. The blogging community is a fantastic place filled with people I love, respect, and admire. But it's not perfect. Like with everything in life, there are some aspects, such as the whole drama thing, that we all as bloggers need to work on. But that's the beauty of it, right? We can make the community (and the world, for that matter) a better place. So why not start now?


Until next time, 

A x