You’d be forgiven for thinking that, seeing it’s been one week short of a year since my last post, that I’ve left the Blogosphere. I thought I had too*. Many have and are doing so increasingly. In many ways, it’s been the end of an era recently.
Particularly in the past few years, months, weeks and even days; the Irish blog scene has become fragmented, fraught and downright frosty.
Our world, which at its inception was self-regulated, independent, diverse and groundbreaking – has now succumbed to the escalating pressures of readers, commentators and brands alike – and the underlying theme of the dispirited farewell posts was that “blogger has become a dirty word”.
However, let us remind ourselves what happens under great pressure. This, my friends, is how diamonds are formed. If the world “blogger” has become smutty, maybe, instead of discarding it, we give it a polish.
This is why, I’m not quitting blogging.
Listen, yes it’s rich for the likes of Marissa Carter, an early supporter of independent bloggers, to say “that (blogging) game is dead now, there’s absolutely no authenticity left in that business”. Even richer that it was a pseodo-journalist website that published the story as it helps their agenda (not linking because they are not deserving of my SEO juice). Talk about salt on the wound. Not a month goes by without a spiteful thread on Boards ripping apart bloggers claiming they are being disingenuous or underhandedly promoting products for undisclosed amounts of money. We could all point fingers at who ruined it for the rest of us. Who exploited, who oversold, who undermined us.
However, we’ll wear ourselves out even more trying to argue. Think of any political argument you’ve ever got into, or if you’ve ever disagreed with a friend’s review of a film – opposing opinions just end in shouting matches. “Yes, but I’m not like that!” “But so many are.” “I know, and it happens…” “So it’s true” “Well, sometimes, yes …” “So then how do I know it’s not happening all the time.” “Because I’ve told you it’s not.” “And why should I trust you, you just admitted that bloggers lie.” It hasn’t exactly got us anywhere so far has it.
Frankly, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a brand could drop us like this. After all, what is a blogger to a brand but a mechanic by which to promote their product? It’s as cold as that. Blogs and their accompanying social media channels are but mere impressions for brands to buy, which they have done for decades. Whether in the form of glossy magazine ads, high impact billboards, cinematic tv spots or now, in the digital age, online articles, Instagram posts and on-demand video. The readers, which the blogger so carefully recruits and nurtures, are the target market to which brands want to sell to, and as soon as they saw readers revolting against their meddling* they dropped them like a gossip mag who couldn’t keep up with the Kardashians.
*meddling, read; brands flooding the blogosphere with their press releases to manipulate the narrative like they have done in traditional media for so long
None of this, as exasperating as it is, is enough to quit blogging. In fact, it should be reason to do quite the opposite.
To proudly fly our blogging flag.
To take back our title.
We have our own opinions. We won’t like what you tell us to like. We’ll tell you what we like – and broad, sullying brushstrokes that tarnish our character is not on that list. Do not loose heart fellow digital natives, to blog is not to apologise or plead; it is to celebrate, discover and share.
So I’ve got plenty of restaurants I’d like to tell you about. I still wear makeup everyday and have some thoughts I’d like to dole out. There are musings on adult friendships, relationships and careers I’d love to explore – and it’s now, I feel, is the most important time to do so.
We are bloggers, hear us roar.
*Further Reading: The Difference Between Writing and Blogging – aka an eery premonition for all this coming to ahead nearly two years ago