It’s been an interesting week for me, blogging wise. First, I toasted myself for surviving 9 years on the interweb in one of the most challenging blogging niches I know of, and then I had an eye-opening few hours catching up on some online blogging goss. I came across across quite a few blog posts, forums and boards where people voiced their dissatisfaction and generally disparaged a few big-name beauty bloggers for selling out to advertisers. Then, I read the rebuttals by the affected bloggers I follow.
While people can be very nasty, I have to say that in a large part, I tend to agree with the general thinking that it’s very hard to actually trust anything said in blogs these days as so much of it is carefully curated and thinly veiled advertising. Yes, I’m a blogger and I say so. I see the dishonesty and lack of integrity and as a blogger, it disappoints me as much as it does you. Even more, perhaps, as that means I’m tarred with the same brush.
Yet, in some ways, I feel that as readers, we made these bloggers who they are. We MADE the “gurus”, and if they’re now enjoying commercial success of that, we shouldn’t begrudge them that success, right?
I’m not a huge blogger by comparison, and I don’t have legions of groupies. I’m not going to tell you to trust everything I say, nor am I going to get into a diatribe of disclosure to defend my position as a blogger. I’ve made that peace with myself and how I run my blog. If you believe what I say, thank you. I will try to not abuse that trust. If you don’t, well thank you for not making up stories about me making bag-loads of money otherwise LOL! 😀 (Man, I wish I did 😛 )
But I hold in high regard anyone who discloses that they receive sponsorship. It allows me to treat that post as a “commercial break”, as long as it doesn’t happen too often. If they choose not to, and I discover it later, their integrity goes to the dogs in my eyes. Product samples for review are a grey area but a disclosure is wise, so people are made aware, and can judge accordingly.
It’s just how it is, and that’s how people feel when they feel a little cheated. It’s as if a good friend you share secrets with has just turned around and stabbed you in the wallet, by recommending a crappy product, they got paid to promote. No one likes that feeling, and that I feel, is why there is so much dissatisfaction in the ranks.
It’s hard to navigate the beauty product jungle. There are billions of products out there that claim to be the best at what they do. What we, as a consumer want, is to shortcut that process. We want the BEST, and when there are people who are willing to be beauty guinea pigs to help us navigate that jungle, we implicitly give credence to what they have to say.
Yet, I also feel that this is the problem with building up people into “experts” and “gurus” and hero-worshipping them. It’s the whole reality-show celebrity culture, you know. Some people out there are famous just because they’re on TV. Not because they’ve invented a cure for cancer, or even have a skill, but because they bared their boobs or got up to some notoriety on some reality show.
Ditto the internet. Some people are famous for just being out there or because they appeal to people, and advertisers want the eye-balls. Some start out being good at what they do, and then numbers and fame get to their head. We’ve discussed this before and whether we like it or not, this phenomenon is here to stay. This happens with singers and movie stars and not unsurprisingly, it happens to celebrity bloggers to. We’re all human.
Yet, I say that this practice of hero-worship is what brings the disappointment. You big up this beauty guru to the extent that everything they say is gospel, you hang on everything they say and do, and you WANT to be her, living her glamorous lifestyle, buying all the expensive things they tell you you need. And then something doesn’t gel, or something sponsored fails, and suddenly the whole image comes crashing down. In some ways, aside from a modicum of jealousy and envy, it is this sense of disappointment that makes some people feel bitter about successful bloggers.
Yet, isn’t it our fault as followers, fans and hero-worshippers for making them the internet “guru” they are?
So dear reader, don’t be jealous or envious or hateful. If a blogger no longer rocks your boat or gains your trust, move on. Fame, like looks will not last forever. Why get so hot under the collar, whacking away at your keyboard in a fit of faceless rage to disparage and bring down a blogger? They may get pissed, or react, but ultimately, they remain famous. You aren’t.
As readers and consumers, I think part of the duty lies on us to do our homework. Don’t rely on the word of 1 person simply because you perceive them to be an expert. Even experts in various industries have differing views. Instead, what I do always, is read a wide cross section of reviews from perceived industry experts and consumers. Different products work differently for everyone, so that’s another major consideration. Also, different wallets will account for different budgets and these days, there is a blog for everyone.
We all have different ideals, perceptions and tolerances. We all read blogs for different reasons. Some, to learn something, others, for entertainment. Sometimes, we outgrow the blogs we read, because the blogger chooses not to grow up, but we do. There are people I can’t relate to anymore and I just unsubscribe. There is a space for everyone, and like it or not, social media advertising is here to stay, and it’s all about numbers.
So, if we are the ones who make the beauty gurus who they are, then I don’t think we should begrudge them from capitalising on it. Whether they choose to do it overtly or covertly will then make the difference in whether they remain famous or become infamous 😉
Do you have a beauty guru or blogger that you idolise who let you down?
I like quite a few bloggers, but I don’t think I actually idolise anyone. I kind of left that sort of thing in high school haha! Sometimes, I catch them out making conflicting statements e.g. telling you sunscreen in makeup is sufficient one day, and then insisting that you use a separate sunscreen another. It made me roll my eyes, as it came from a blogger with a huge fan (rather, worshipper) base. But I still read her views, because people who work and are immersed in the industry always have a trick to teach – you just have to learn to sift the wheat from the chaff 😉 What about you?