***Sensitive content warning — some influencers may be shocked or unhappy with the following PSA***
I’ve been in the blogging game now for about 18 months; a newbie to most. But in that time, I’ve seen a lot. Bots on Instagram, disgraced Youtubers, comments full of hate and online bullying. (Did you notice I called it a “blogging game”?)
And I fear this is what the social media and influencer world is becoming. It seems this is the norm these days, and it genuinely worries me.
What ever happened to success coming from useful advice and inspirational writing?
It seems that’s not how “it’s done” within this day and age for most circles, which is a shame.
I’m seeing women feel the need to be in every one of their photos on Instagram in order to gain a large following. I’ve seen men act like complete twits on the internet in order to get views.
And the reason this is done? Money, and sometimes, fame.
Social media influencers rake in big bucks if they have large followings. And it worries me that the idea of gaining thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of followers is leading some influencers to be dishonest and simply think about the money and fame involved in their success.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my fair share of sponsored blogs and paid social media posts. But I’ve only done it for companies I genuinely like and am hoping to support. The money or freebie product has just been a nice little bonus.
But once social media followings become so vast, this idea can quickly go out of the window.
Instead, we end up seeing fake followers, uncontrollable bots, idiocy on the internet, all with the idea that it’ll gain some kind of engagement (either good or bad), generally leading to more followers.
I get it. This type of content is engaging, and is more likely to be what you want to read (or watch) when you’re winding down after work, school or college.
And even for someone like me, it’s difficult not to get sucked into feeling like this is also how I should be growing my following. Wouldn’t it be so easy to get a viral video or buy some followers online in order to grow my brand presence?
But this isn’t how I want to do it.
I’m growing my blog and online presence everyday (albeit slowly), but I want to do it on my own terms. I want to be myself on Instagram (virtual warts and all), I want to write informative articles rather than ones with clickbait titles, and I want to work with companies that match the values and principles that I have.
But there’s something deep inside of me that thinks this is the wrong way to do it.
This is going to be the slowest way of getting my name out there, and my dreams of becoming a full-time travel blogger seem more distant with every day.
But do you know what? I’d much rather go to sleep at night knowing that my journey is one paved with righteous acts, useful advice and kindness, rather than lies, or even worse, cruelty.
Is that too much to ask for?