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.