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Disillusioned with blogging

October 12, 2014

I’ve been thinking about blogging a lot lately. A lot. In fact this is the third blog that I’ve drafted on the matter, and I’m yet to publish any of them. Maybe this one will make the cut?

Just a heads up – you might want to grab a drink and a snack because this turned into a bit of a rant.

Over the past few months I’ve gradually become more and more disillusioned with the online world of blogging. I don’t quite know where it began, when those tiny seeds of doubt came from, because for a long time I was so happy with the way that my own blog was growing, the way that I was working with some of my favourite brands, finding some new ones along the way, and being given the opportunity to share them with my readers. But somewhere along the way I just stopped feeling quite so positive about the whole thing.

I think part of me has this quiet sadness about the way the blogging world seems to be going. Every man and his dog is writing a blog right now and I see all too many who are clearly in it for one thing. The whole ‘industry’ is just tiring me out.

I feel like a bad person for saying these things, to be honest. I think it’s incredibly exciting to see this very open form of media – opinions and recommendations that could just as easily have come from your friends, but at the same time I just see product after product after product and there’s nothing behind these reviews and all-expenses paid trips and freebies. It feels like a lot of blog posts are constructed to fit around a product, rather than slipped into the conversation.

‘I’ve always wanted to spend a freezing cold afternoon on a boat in Scotland learning how to dissect fish whilst wearing a fabulous jacket, so I was super excited to hear from blah blah who paid for my entire trip and for me to write this post and for this fabulous jacket.’

I know I’m equally to blame, and I’m sure plenty have read my blog and thought exactly the same thing. Which is why I’ve decided to take a break from all product placement, unless it’s a project or company that just feels like the right fit. The long-term projects and relationships with PR agencies and brands that I’ve worked with over the years have really made me smile, and I think that the results have been great. I’ve always been selective – I don’t say yes to every product I’m offered, and a lot of the time curiosity makes me hit the ‘reply’ button. So you might see products pop up every now and again, but on the whole I think I’ll be focusing much more on content that’s just mine.
My life. My family and friends. My travels.

It’s why I started blogging, and it’s why I keep reading other people’s blogs. The number one reason why I follow them is for the words. A very close second is the photographs – especially if they are perfect and beautiful and imperfect and kind of make you stop and catch that breath of yours. But mostly I’m there for the words. The ones that make me want to grab a scrap of paper to write a few words myself. I started my blog to create a space for my writing, to get back into a routine of blogging and to have a space to fill with creativity. I don’t think that I necessarily veered too far off track, I just want to make sure I’m driving in the right direction.

I hope I don’t lose too many followers from this post, and I hope that no-one reading this thinks that I’m directing it at any particular blogger(s). I’m sincerely not. It’s also not about product placement/article placement/paid content/making money from your blog. It is mainly a reflection of my own decisions, and in seeing one too many artificial bloggers. It’s about repetition and seeing others possibly losing their way a bit. I’d love to hear what you think about the subject. Please do leave a comment – even if it’s to tell me I’m an arsehole. Or a hypocrite. Have you been thinking the same? Have you thought the same about my own blog? Seriously, any feedback is more than welcome.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. October 12, 2014 1:58 pm

    I know how you feel, I’ve actually had a few new followers on Twitter recently that have openly stated on their profiles that they’re into ‘blogging for fame’. Maybe Zoella’s darn Youtube advert is to blame, I don’t know, as long as I’ve blogged there have always been ‘famous bloggers’, heck as long as I’ve used the internet… remember Myspace? There obviously is a want for that lifestyle of free stuff, free events and maybe even buying the house of the back of it, but it’s that desperation that stinks so bad that if you think about it enough, it’s enough to put you off.

    I took a step back for a while and now I’m completely doing it as a record of me, I don’t care if people like it, I don’t care if the inbox fills up. They’re bonuses but they’re not a reason to carry on. I think sometimes it’s important that it’s not something you ‘have’ to do.

    • October 15, 2014 12:52 pm

      That’s so strange! I’ve not seen bios that odd before. Utterly bonkers. I kind of just want to scream, THEY’RE ONLY USING YOU FOR YOUR LINKS AND EXPOSURE! THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU! But I won’t.

      Thanks for your comment, Ruth. Your blog is lovely! I might be visiting Oxford in November, so will keep your tips in mind.

  2. October 12, 2014 2:03 pm

    This is great. Your honestly completely permeates throughout this post, although I can tell that it must have been incredibly difficult to write. I’m sure you won’t loose any followers by voicing your utterly credible opinion, but if you do, are those the people that you want within your platform in the first place? Anyway, I think what you’ve expressed is dope & good luck with finding those worthwhile brand partnerships. I’m sure everything will slot into place! :)

  3. October 12, 2014 2:26 pm

    I’m relatively new to blogging and I’m definitely finding it tricky to remember why I started my blog (even though it wasn’t that long ago!) especially with wanting to grow it & starting to get offers by businesses. I think you’re right in taking it back to what YOU want to write about. Your blog is lovely and really nice to read because it is so personal. So many blogs I’ve been looking at recently to find some inspiration have just bored me because of the constant ads – it makes them all the same. It’s nice to see someone else actually verbalise this and I think you’re an inspiration for doing so :) I’m going to try to hold on to my roots of talking about myself, culture, and about being a Brightonian living in the North and try my hardest not to dilute what I love writing about. I look forward to your new posts :)

    • October 15, 2014 12:56 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Jenny! I think it’s very easy when you first start blogging to get caught up in PR emails – they can be really exciting to receive – but when I started blogging eight or so years ago, they just didn’t exist. Or at least you had to be a bit of a mega blogger to be sent anything. So I think I’ve always tried to stick to what I wanted to do in the first place, which was, quite simply, to write!

  4. October 12, 2014 3:20 pm

    I hate the fake and phony sponsored/product placement type posts, sometimes they can seem so contrived and pointless, and insincere. I love your example of how the stuff gets shoehorned in awkwardly. Hey, sometimes I read something useful or relevant that has been sponsored, but all too often… They’re not. I think I am also pretty jel as I want some money and free crap to write about on my blog. But I blog for fun and my blog is so unpro it’s untrue, so I don’t mind really :) honest posts are what I love, so thanks :)

    • October 15, 2014 12:58 pm

      I think there’s definitely a lot of worth in some featured/sponsored/gifted articles and reviews, but sometimes they are completely irrelevant to both the blog and their readers. Thanks for your comment, Catherine x

  5. Penniless Veggie permalink
    October 12, 2014 3:46 pm

    The blogs I really enjoy and follow, are those that are not at all glossy or perfect. To be quite honest I enjoy the untouched photos and the unedited chit chat. I enjoy the honest humanity of the exchange. And often, very often, I discover really interesting thoughts and ideas, and ways to of doing things for myself that I very likely wouldn’t discover otherwise. I don’t think I’ve ever actually discovered a branded product that interested me on a blog, though maybe that’s down to the kind of blogs that actually attract me in the first place. I don’t object to a bit of sponsorship, but if a blog is product heavy I lose interest fast and I just won’t read, fortunately there are plenty enough of the kind of blogs that I do enjoy to continue to keep me engaged.

    • October 15, 2014 1:00 pm

      I think advertising down the side bar, as long as it’s not intrusive, is a great to maintain an income without losing integrity, but the balance in content should – in my opinion – always favour your own words. Thanks for your comment – your food looks so good!

  6. October 12, 2014 5:26 pm

    Oh christina you say it far better than I ever could! I have been awful at blogging recently and often ive thought id like to blog but can’t actually think what I want to bother saying?! ! This never used to be a problem, and after a lot of pondering ive realised I read barely any blogs anymore (because of the reasons you outline, mostly) because the content just adds nothing to my life! This has actually helped me remember what I want to write about and im beginning to feel my head filling with post ideas and fluttering in my heart-a feeling returned from the early days!

    • October 15, 2014 1:01 pm

      Thank you, Sophie! I keep running out of time to read blogs, too. Maybe it’s why I’m getting frustrated with paid content. Yay for inspiration! I do love reading your blog x

  7. October 12, 2014 7:44 pm

    Totally get where you’re coming from and it’s so well-timed as just today I was (secretly) wondering if I was still into blogging as I was a couple of years ago… It’s quite hard to compete with all the super-glossy sponsored blogs out there, and I catch myself wondering if I’m doing it for the right reasons, or if there’s any point in writing a blog that’s not all about the products and being the first to put something out there. But then I read blogs like yours, posts that make me want to brew a cup of something warm and think and write, and I remember why I love blogging and I remember to just ignore what I don’t like on the internet. I hope you can do that too and concentrate on what you love about your online life, because I’d really miss your posts if you became so disillusioned you gave up on them altogether!

    • October 15, 2014 1:04 pm

      Thank you, Claire! It did, fleetingly, cross my mind – but I love writing too much to give it up, and it would seem a bit like cutting off my tongue to spite my nose! It wouldn’t change anything, I would only be hurting myself. Keep blogging – it’s so useful for your readers, and I love reading x

  8. October 12, 2014 8:04 pm

    I definitely see your point here…and I actually think there’s a degree of blissfulness around only having a small blog myself…I very rarely do product reviews partly because the opportunities don’t land in my inbox, but also because that’s not what my blog is for.

    There are 1 or 2 blogs I used to thoroughly enjoy, until it was sponsored post after sponsored post…and it’s a damn shame.

    Also wanted to say I’m glad to hear that you are not disappearing! I was worried you were going to disappear completely for a while. I know I don’t comment all that much, but I do love reading your blog!

    • October 15, 2014 1:07 pm

      I used to check a few blogs religiously, but cut back to catching up once a week as the sponsored content was just getting too much. Thank you, Cat! I did consider giving it a break, but I enjoy it too much to drop completely, so for now I’ll just maintain my own content rather than other people’s x

  9. Aja permalink
    October 12, 2014 11:44 pm

    I totally get your point. I hate reading those posts. I don’t mind an ad or two in the sidebar or at the end of a post, but I don’t like it when people will write what you wrote as an example in your post. I can deal with I found this and it’s great, or they sent me this box of stuff and I love it and then talking about the product maybe and moving on, but it can get annoying if it’s all the time. I am glad you are not deleting your blog, though. I was a little worried when I first saw your title.

    • October 15, 2014 1:08 pm

      Thank you, Aja. I was hoping you would comment as I know you’ve been a lovely long-time reader so would know if my own product-placement had become too regular x

      • Aja permalink
        October 15, 2014 11:31 pm

        I have never had a problem with your product placement at all.

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