HOW TO BE AUTHENTIC ON THE INTERNET
In the last year or so there’s been a real uproar on what a blogger (or content creator) should or shouldn’t be doing online. Are we the authentic platform we started as? We all have very firm opinions on the subject, but the question I’m currently asking myself is: If a lot of the public are screaming there’s an issue, is there?
It’s something I’d like to talk about, that’s for sure.
I think there’s a distinct lack of education for the public when it comes to our online positions, but I believe it should be us taking the stand to educate them – not just letting it ruffle our feathers when they get it wrong!
When the blogging world first boomed, it was off the back of women like Zoe Sugg, sitting in her room, dipping into her Primark bag to show us what she’d picked up that weekend. It was very much an insight into a normal woman’s life, the only difference being she was just sharing it with the internet.
It took the world by storm and continues to do so, which I think is absolutely amazing.
Its lead on to full-time jobs talking about our passions: insanely incredible – but where the house of cards falls down for me, is how we, us, the bloggers, have gotten ourselves confused with what our job is.
The pressure for an authentic lifestyle has backed us into a corner. It’s not just hauls on your bed when you’re being paid a fair pop to talk about it. People want to know you’re coming from a real place, because ultimately, you’re advertising.
And unfortunately, with that job, comes responsibility.
As bloggers we have a responsibility, whether we like it or not, to be real – but I don’t think it’s as crazy real as everyone’s making it out to be.
For me, you don’t have to be bare your soul online to be authentic.
Authenticity doesn’t have to mean you spill your inner most secrets. It can be as far removed from that part of your life as you like. Whether it’s showing only your wardrobe or beauty stash, or talking about your favourite books and how to organise your storage. There’s a place for all of it and none of it is less valid because it’s not a retelling of when you got your first period.
ARE WE FAKE?
I think the bee that is in everyones bonnet is about fakery.
A bloggers success has been built from (yes, our hard work, but also) an impressionable audience who believe our word over traditional media.
We are not to be likened to perfume ads, talking M&M’s on the TV or anything else fictitious you see the media coming up with. We are real people, not actresses or here for ‘false’ advertising.
So what do I mean? Let’s break it down a little bit further.
WE NEED TO BE REAL
Mostly, we want to share the best photos / scenario’s of ourselves online: fine. There’s no damage to be had in picking the photo that you like your hair in best, or clearing your bedroom floor of the chaos to get the best shot – you do you, absolutely.
I do believe it’s damaging, not only to our personal brands, but also to our audience, if we lose sight of reality when portraying everyday life.
If we are promoting a brand that we love, be-it lipstick to cereal, shouldn’t it be a true representation of how we use that product or service? Especially when we are being paid to do so.
Can a filter over an image could be deemed a lie? I don’t believe so. (Unless you’re changing the colour of your dress, but that seems like a stupid thing to do).
However when you are building a scenario for your daily life, it needs to be a real one.
There’s a large percentage that are becoming increasingly consumed by an enhanced lifestyle, potentially without even realising it. I think we really do need to take more consideration when it comes to that.
A NEW INDUSTRY
We are, as a new collective industry, building something from nothing and that does deserve respect. We are sharing ourselves online, hopefully giving others a platform to feel included and part of something positive. It’s something that has the potential to be really amazing and is opening up new opportunities every single day.
It’s all still so very new, and there are lines that are still blurred. How much is too much? When do you switch off if your job is you? It takes time to figure these things out. But I think it’s important that anyone who doesn’t work online understands. It is so much more than a full-time job. And is not, contrary to uneducated belief, easy.
Like I said, I don’t believe you have to share your deepest darkest secrets to be successful here. But I do think it’s beneficial to have the reminder every now and then. That we have built our successes via an audience who believes in us. And we owe it them, and ourselves, to be as authentic as we can.
COAT IS SHRIMPS – OLD SEASON.