I just stumbled upon #Bloggergate and I felt the need to talk about it because this ain’t right. I normally wouldn’t really talk about these sorts of controversial subjects on here, but this time I just feel like I have to speak out. So for those of you who don’t know what this whole drama is about, it is basically a feud between a Dublin hotel and a social influencer who reached out to them about a free stay in exchange for exposure. If you want to read the full story, you can find it here.
Bashing all social influencers
First of all, I just want to say that I’m not really on anyone’s side in this matter. I both disagree and agree on some points with both parties. I didn’t know the blogger in question, but I did know the hotel owner (Paul Stenson from The White Moose café) I found his social accounts through Anna and Jonathan Sacconejoly a while ago and have been following him ever since. I enjoy his content, but right now I feel a bit let down and angry. Also, I have to point out, Paul is bashing social influencers and influencer marketing as a whole, while he is friends with Anna and Jonathan, the Sacconejolys, a.k.a. social influencers. What he probably also doesn’t realize is how much following he gained from that friendship (well I guess I’m an example of that). If it wasn’t for the Sacconejolys I would have never heard of him and his White Moose Café. In return, the Sacconejoly’s have probably also gained following through Paul. Which is absolutely fine, that’s just the way it works. What I do find strange is that keeping all this in mind you go out there and bash social influencing completely. You can even classify him as a social influencer himself… he’s vlogging, he’s on Instagram, he’s on Snapchat etc… And he has quite a big following. So technically he’s bashing not only every social influencer out there, his own friends and himself.
“Anyone today can be a blogger…”
Let’s talk about the thing Paul said that infuriated me the most. I quote: “Anyone today can be a blogger as long as you have 30 seconds to spare. Because that’s all it takes to click a mouse and becoming a blogger on blogspot or any of these things. In about 2 to 3 minutes you can become an influencer by having a following of 50.000, 100.000, a million. Depending on how much money is on your credit card. Because followings these days can be bought.” That is literally what he said… can you believe that? Obviously, he doesn’t know a single thing about blogging and how it works. Yes, you can create a blog in 30 seconds, sure. But you do not become a blogger in 30 seconds. Hell no! Those are two very different things. Also, yes you can buy a following. But honestly, you can straight away spot who does and doesn’t do that. Is he really assuming that every blogger or influencer has a bought following? I mean, sure, there are rotten apples in the blogger/influencer community, but please don’t group every blogger and influencer together. We’re all individuals…
Also, I feel like he’s taking it way too far. He’s posted numerous times about this whole #bloggergate on his Facebook page and now he had actually gone as far as posting an invoice directed to Elle for all the exposure she’s been getting throughout this whole thing. I hope he is being sarcastic, but either way, he goes very far, way too far if you ask me…
And that’s not even everything, he has now gone and banned all bloggers from his café and hotel. So if I were to go to Dublin right now I wouldn’t be welcome there… Ridiculous right?! Again, I hope he is being sarcastic…
“Ordinary people, in ordinary jobs”
Now, moving on to the other side. Elle Darby; YouTuber and Instagrammer. I didn’t know of her before this whole #Bloggergate thing. Also, why is this even called #Bloggergate? Elle isn’t even a blogger. Anyhow. I can understand her frustration. It was a shitty thing of Paul to put a screenshot of the e-mail she send out there for the world to see (he could have just replied to her and said no). He did black out her name and such, but he didn’t do a good job at that, everyone could still see her name. So yeah, in that sense I feel like Elle has a point. On the other hand, I don’t agree with lots of the things she mentioned in the video she made on the subject. She is bashing on people with ‘an ordinary 9 to 5 job’ and on Paul. I mean if you’re making a video because you feel like you’ve been bashed, please don’t bash anyone else yourself. She literally said: “If you’re a social media influencer, good for you because I know how difficult it must have been for you to cut against the slack of other people in ordinary jobs, living an ordinary 9 to 5 life because they don’t have the balls to do what they really want to be doing with their lives.” So everybody in an ordinary 9 to 5 job is unhappy? I seriously doubt that. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with an ordinary job and living an ordinary life! She also said that if he was going to try to roast her, she would roast him right back and ‘guess who is going to win’. I mean I get her anger, I get she’s frustrated with him, but still. Surely this is not the way to deal with something like this, especially not on a very public platform like YouTube. It shouldn’t be ‘an eye for an eye’ right?! Another thing she said: “The sooner the blogging industry is realized as a proper industry the better”, well at least that is something I can a 100% agree with!
Blogging industry misunderstood
Let’s talk about that blogging industry. Because I do believe it gets underappreciated and misunderstood quite a lot. Although it is getting better, I think nowadays most people know about bloggers, YouTubers, Instagrammers the whole shebang. I just think there are still a lot of people out there who don’t understand or don’t want to understand how the blogging industry works. Blogging is something, usually done as a hobby. Take me as an example. I’m not doing this for money, or for free stuff. I mean I don’t earn a dime doing this. I do this because I love doing it. I love having this little place on the internet where I can express myself, where I can talk about the things I love. For some people, this wonderful hobby can turn into a fulltime job. But that doesn’t happen overnight. It is not a job that you can apply for or that just falls out of the sky. You can’t just think, oh well let’s be a fulltime blogger. No! It doesn’t work like that. To be a successful blogger, to be able to turn it into your job, you need to work really hard. And no it’s not the same as being a surgeon, or a police officer or whatever. But it’s still working. I feel like loads of people do not understand, do not see how much time goes into it. They just see what they want to see. Young people, mostly female, that earn money writing up a post, or posting a picture and getting loads of free stuff. That is a very one-sided and romanticized image. It is not reality!
Blogging isn’t easy, it takes lots of time, effort, energy and determination. Especially now, in a time where it is so extremely popular and so many people blog and vlog and do other stuff on Social Media. You have to stand out amongst all the rest. It just really annoys me how misunderstood the blogging industry is. Not just about how much time and effort it takes, but also about money. Please just accept that nowadays blogging can be a fulltime job, a job that includes money. Because yes, bloggers have to pay their bills and their bread as well. Why is everyone giving bloggers and other social influencers such a hard time over earning money? What about magazines and other media. They get sent loads of stuff for free as well, they get paid for advertisement. So why shouldn’t bloggers be paid for what is essentially the same service?!
And maybe, if we go back to this particular case, the way Elle wrote up that e-mail asking for a free stay in return for exposure wasn’t the right way of going about it. At least, not in my opinion. I would never dare write up such an e-mail. But on the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with bloggers and vloggers reaching out to brands and companies to see if they can be of interest to one another. I sometimes reach out to brands as well (not really for this blog, it’s too small, but I do sometimes for Oh My Book). I guess it may be handy if there were some sort of guideline on how to interact with brands and companies, what you can and can’t ask for and how you should go about it. Because I bet there are lots of bloggers out there who are just asking everyone for free stuff, get what they can get. I mean in every industry there are rotten apples. But I do believe the majority knows better.
Ok, so let’s end it here. I think – hope – I’ve gotten my point across. If not, I may do a part 2, because this subject, not necessarily the feud, but how people see the blogging industry is very dear to my heart and I could talk about it for ages. Anyhow, this is probably way more than enough for today!