If the shoe fits.

I love the internet, I really do.  I love social media and blogs and connecting with awesome people I would otherwise never have met, be it in real life or just in my computer/phone.

But lately I have been starting to feel a little cynical about my bright and shiny toy.  I feel a little used and a little lied to, so I’m going to get a couple of things off my chest.

Let me explain:

There are lots of really wonderful blogs in SA, but lately I would open a personal blog only to find endorsements of products and brands and I gather that someone is getting paid to say nice things about a brand that I didn’t associate with them as an individual.  It baffles me.

I get that people blog for money, but I’m battling to separate how much I respect an individual in their personal capacity and how I feel when they promote a brand that looks like they are getting paid for it, but they’re not saying.

If you look at monetized blogging in the US and Australia it is streets light-years ahead of us.  What I respect about a blogger like Mrs. Woog is that she is upfront about being paid to blog, like in this post.  Feel free to go through the rest of her blog, it’s all like that and I love it.

Then, one of my all-time favourite bloggers, The Bloggess, has a longstanding and often acrimonious relationship with PR agencies and she is not afraid to say when she is paid to blog and call out people with hidden agendas.  She is one of the bravest people on the Internet I have come across.  (And funny as hell too)

We are entitled to call Blogging a career, whether you are Mommy, Tech or Car Blogger, but we are unfortunately still in our infancy compared to elsewhere in the world, so don’t rush out and print those business cards. Yet.

But I would like to ask: be honest about your intentions and I would still respect you in the morning if you told me you got paid to do so.

Does it cheapen your Blog when you admit to being paid? 

No No a 1000 times No.  I like to know where we stand with each other and you are entitled to make money from blogging.  In fact, I applaud you for it!  Someone thought your blog had reaching power and they wanted to pay you to blog.  That’s HUGE.  Don’t cheapen yourself by not celebrating it and please don’t endorse brands that do not promote your personal values.

The same goes for sponsored tweets, but that’s a whole other can of sponsored tweets.

Lastly I would like to mention statistics.  It boils down to the same principle as monetized blogging: honesty.  If you publicize a number on your twitter bio or blog and someone asks you to explain that number you should be willing to do so in a public forum and you should certainly not resort to name calling in your personal capacity to avoid the question. (If I seem vague, go and have a look at my twitter stream yesterday).

All I’m asking is this: be transparent.

Live up to your own personal brand and know that people see what you say and do at all times.  They know who is linked to what and never underestimate your readers.

If your personal brand means that you give an unsubstantiated number, in a public forum (be that on a blog or a twitter bio), know that people are going to ask questions you might not be willing or able to answer.  It’s their right to do so, as much as it, respectfully, is your right to decline to answer.

If your personal brand is that of honesty and integrity you will never lie awake at night wondering about whom is going to start asking questions, you will sleep like the baby you might have blogged about earlier that day.

Let’s just respect each other.  Be bold, be brave and above all, be honest.

Please.

21 thoughts on “If the shoe fits.”

  1. I don’t mind it when someone blogs for money, but then only once a week would be cool to read about it and also to speak up if you’re getting paid for it.
    I, on the other hand, love to blog for me and not for products nor companies.

  2. I agree with much of your post, Tania. Blogging (a few years back) used to be about support and community. I know bloggers often need the cash, but if you end up only looking for traffic and romancing PR, and not enjoying writing/community, you’re missing the point.

    1. I agree with all of your comment Scott, but the blogging community is definitely changing.
      When I blogged on Parent24 I felt very ‘safe’ and it really was/is a lovely community and exactly what I needed from a support perspective. The blogging community ‘out there’ is quite different. I’m very lucky to know both of these communities.

  3. Honestly? I just click on the X in the top right corner of my screen. I have ZERO interest in those types of posts. Even if the blogger is upfront about it.

    1. I hear you Jules, but wouldn’t you rather know than wonder? It protect the blogger too.
      If you trusted someone’s ethics/opinion and they support a brand how would you feel?

  4. I LOVE this post! And I agree 100%. If you’re getting paid to blog, awesome for you. Well done! I do think that people should be upfront regarding “monetized” posts.

    Re the stats. If you’re going to publish stats/figures, you should be ready and prepared to back it up and say how you arrived at the figure. If you’re not prepared to do that publically, don’t publically display your figures. (Know what I mean?)

  5. Great post and thanks for the mention. We are catching up with the States here in Australia in terms of commercial blogging. I am so grateful as it works much better for me and my family.

  6. Great post – I’m now a full-time blogger and yes, EVERYTHING is upfront on my blog in regards to commercial relationships and sponsorships. It’s the only way to go – and quite rightly, if someone doesn’t want to read it, they get the warning straight up and can click off. I’m personally stoked that I have been able to create business that works so flexibly around my family. Lead the way in SA and show them how it can be done!

  7. I totally agree. Personally I find the paid tweets on a standard blog to be annoying. I don’t follow blogs to be sold to, I follow the story and when I am being sold to it ruins the story. There is one exception: http://www.rattleandmum.co.za/ where I know the whole blog is about selling me stuff, stuff I am interested in or I wouldn’t follow the blog.

    1. Agreed. I love Rattle and Mum and Tanya is honest about the purpose of her blog. She’s also also a really lovely person 🙂

  8. Right on Tania!I have never been paid to do a post, but will say it out front. I also mention if I get something fro the post – like product to test etc. My policy is that we will review your product and give an honest review – I will not let you read it before hand. Funny enough, I sometimes jus tnever get an answer back if I send this on. Maybe I should oust those people! I also love it when I can give something away – like the Big Blue one. I got nothing from the post but I honestly love their stuff – in fact, I am possibly dressed in Olka Polka for 3 out of 7 days. To me that one was about giving something to my readers and a bit of an experiment in social media traffic (yes, it got HUGE traffic).

    Anyways, sometimes it gets too much on a blog – I am ok with something like Rattle and MUm where the whole purpose is that, but I have recently stopped reading an AUssie blogger because it seems like every 3 rd post is not some product thing. TO me it defies to object of having a blog – which still is a “weblog” for those that have forgotten the original purose – a log odf some sort, your life, whatever

  9. I am just entering into the ‘blogosphere’ and it is kind of by default, I started doing it as a tool to build my brand and am still a bit clueless with regards to the other social media tools, hence the focus on my blog as it was the one thing I could do! I’ve since discovered I really enjoy writing (something I now remember enjoying back in my English classes in high school!). Anyway I haven’t had a sponsored post yet, but I do share and write about brands or experiences I’ve enjoyed, and that I want others to know about…i guess it could backfire on me as it looks sponsored?? oh well….am living and learning…
    p.s. looking forward to reading your blog as have just discovered it now!

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