Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The State of Blogging




This post has been rattling around in my head for a while and I feel I need to get it off my chest. I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years on and off now. I was really proud of that achievement and I was planning on doing a giveaway as a way of thanking my readers for sticking around. But, I’m just so deluded with the state of blogging at the moment, I’m actually unsure whether I want to continue. (I probably will, I’m just being melodramatic and a bit angry). 


There’s been a lot of changes in blogging over the 4 years I’ve been a small part of it. I’ve enjoyed watching small bloggers becoming absolutely huge and the impact they’ve had. It’s been fascinating seeing it unfold. I love so many different elements of blogging and the blogging community in general. BUT here it comes FAKE FOLLOWERS. It is such a huge bugbear of mine, and LOTS and LOTS of you feel that way too. (There's also the whole issue of non-disclosure which I talk about here).





For a while now blogging has had a problem with fake followers (I blogged about how to spot fake followers here). Most of the blogging community knows that it goes on but there’s still a huge amount of people that do not realise it’s happening. Instagram is particularly rife. Twitter isn’t much better either to be honest, but there’s easier ways of checking fake followers on Twitter than there is for IG. Sites like this one or Twitter Audit let you check people’s followers easily.  

Something I noticed about Twitter Audit that may be of interest to you. When someone has been audited a while ago it won’t show the most up-to-date results so you need to pay around 50p (I think) to re-audit (which of course I did). Examples: an old audit was showing someone with lots of fake followers but when I re-audited the fake follower count went down, this was also backed up with fakers.status check. And alternatively someone who had around 50% fake followers changed to 20% real. The most drastic was someone showing only 10% fake which then changed to a whopping 11% real! So nearly ALL their followers are fake. I double checked with fakers.status again and yeah that’s about right.




So that’s the crux: it’s easy to check if someone has fake followers so why don’t brands do it more? Ultimately, I guess humans are naturally trusting, unless you’ve a reason not to be. One particular person I noticed who has lots of fake followers was done by accident. I had no reason to believe they’d purchased fake followers and they always seemed “genuine” (and that’s a whole other blog post: perception of people over the internet). I was a little bit shocked tbh. Since then I’ve discovered quite a few bloggers with fake followers, ranging from small time bloggers to big bloggers. Bloggers with much, much larger following than I have who have absolutely amazing content are getting passed up because brands don’t think they are big enough. Instead brands are giving work to “big” bloggers who have a considerable fake following. Surely it’s easy to check engagement and real followers? So for the life of me I can’t figure it out. Instead of the tide turning on this it just seems to be getting worse and worse with more bloggers taking the easy route and purchasing a few thousand followers every now and again. Many have said this is a form of fraud and eventually it will catch up with them. But how are brands going to know if everyone is keeping quiet? *sigh*




Recently I discovered that some of my photos had been used without my permission. One case was completely innocent while I have serious doubts about the validity of the reason another person gave me. However, it was quickly sorted but this isn’t just happening to me bloggers are stealing other bloggers content, both images and words, and passing it off as their own. Corrine from Skinnedcartree.com blogged about her experience here. This is so disappointing and really pisses me off.


I love blogging, I love the community and I love the opportunities it’s given me. But, I am so disillusioned with it currently. How can you compete with someone who has actually got considerably less followers than you but it looks like they’ve got thousands more? If you want to work with brands followers still count (and so does engagement). I’d love to have unlimited funds to purchase items for my blog but I don’t so I rely on the occasional PR sample to give me content. It is so frustrating knowing that some bloggers are not what they claim to be yet us genuine, honest bloggers can’t say anything for fear we’ll experience the backlash because we’re “jealous”. Or do you think it’s about time we were more open about people purchasing fake followers or stealing content?



What do you think? 


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31 comments

  1. Holy shit, its like you took the word sout of my mouth and wrote them down in the most logical and eloquent way. I agree with it all. Its so hard for any kind of small time blogger, whatever that even means these days, because of the lack of authenticity!
    Ruth
    www.urbanity-blog.com
    Xxx

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    1. thank you! I'm so torn atm, I still love blogging mostly but all this bullshit is making it so hard and what for? People are risking their integrity (or perhaps they never had it) and work for PR samples? And what about those making ££££ surely that can't go on? argh, I dunno, I wish I had the answers to sort this mess xx

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  2. Well, I really hope you don't let it put you off blogging, because yours is one of the few really genuine blogs out there, so it would be a real loss!

    If it's any consolation, I do think brands are starting to get a bit more wise to the fake followers - I mean, they only have to do one collaboration with someone who's paid for their following, and they see that they're not actually getting any return on it, so they gradually start to become a bit more suspicious. Unfortunately I think sometimes it just leads to them being suspicious of ALL of us, so, again, the people who are genuinely working their butts off to produce great content lose out.

    My particular bugbear is the "follow-for-follow" thing I see on Facebook all the time. People seem to get SO hung up on how many followers they have, and they'll spend literally hours sitting following people whose blogs they have absolutely no interest in, just to get the follow back. It happens to the point where I now just totally disregard follower numbers - they're no longer any indication of how good/successful a blog actually is, so I just hope brands start to realise that soon!

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    1. thank you SO much for that, really appreciated! Yeah, that's my worry, that we all get labelled the same but I would hope rather, that brands just become more wary instead of writing everyone off.

      God, I hate that too! and comment swaps. I might be old-fashioned but I still actually love genuine interaction! xx

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  3. This was really interesting to read! I didn't know about all the fake followers and I knew about some post being taken but what you said really helped me see what's happening to the blogging comnunity.

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    1. thanks! yeah unfortunately it's not new but it does feel like it's becoming more prevalent and it is so frustrating!

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  4. Well, is a very complicated thing.
    I've been blogging since 2009, and I've seen all you've commented on your blog, and some other behaviours really nocive for blogger community (such as blogs with "anonimous" editors criticizing other bloggers,and not for good)

    Sometimes this ambient makes you think about if what you're doing, what blog experience gives you is enough. In my case, is more what I get possitive than negative. Is only a question of focus on possitive things you get, and if is enough for you.
    If don't, sadly one day you'll go away from this blogging world. Take a time, remember what took you here, what made you once write a post and send to blogsfere, and what you felt.

    About the photo, I only can say it was so perfect I thought it was a brand visual por advertising and promotion. Sorry once again.

    Kind regards, and don't give up.

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    1. you dont need to apologise again, I know it wasn't intentional so please dont think I have any bad feelings towards you! xx

      and youre completely right. I do get much more positive experiences from blogging it's just, currently, there seems to be quite a few people benefiting from fake followers etc and I'm just frustrated and disappointed

      Thank you! <3

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  5. A freakin' MEN. It's such a sad state of affairs! Nicking other people's content is just not on. And not crediting images/text (even if used with permission) is another gripe!

    I didn't know you could check fake followers though - that's surely indispensable to a brand! im totally with you on this post. You're definitely not alone!

    Beekeyper - Latest - KIKO Summer Blush in Lust Coral

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    1. thank you! yeah twitter is much easier to track than instagram although I did notice if someone has been audited a while ago it might not show the true results anymore. I actually paid about 50p to reaudit and it came back with the most up to date results. I think I should probably add this in the post eh :)


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  6. I feel you pain! I've been blogging for 2 years now, but never bought followers. I don't do it for the 'fame'. I do it for the love of makeup and blogging. I love sharing my thoughts and images. Ah...I guess my point is - don't stress about it too much. Just love blogging and it will all be ok :) x

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    1. thank you! you're completely right, there's still so many things to love about blogging. It's just so frustrating though! xx

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  7. I had no idea it was so easy to check fake followers! There are a lot of people that I follow on Twitter that I'm dubious about - especially when they have 10k+ followers but they only get about 5 likes or retweets on their tweets! I don't see the point in buying followers, it only creates the illusion of success and cheapens it for everyone else! I can be just as proud of my content with 30 followers as I would be with 30,000! That's how I look at it anyway! Thanks for a really thought provoking post!

    Abbey ✨ www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

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    1. having very low engagement but high followers is definitely a warning sign (or of course the content could just be rubbish ha ;)) but on Instagram you can actually purchase likes too, crazy isn't it?

      And you're exactly right, I love that I can actually chat with people about the best red lipstick or whatever, it's actually pretty sad when you think about it if you have that low opinion of your blog etc that you buy followers :/

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  8. That's incredible, I never knew you could buy followers. What on earth is the point of that. I've only started blogging but I'm blogging for me and to be read by like minded individuals. Personally I feel my blog would be cheapened if my followers and readers didn't care. I understand your frustration with all of this and how it affects genuine bloggers. Unfortunately I think we'll always come across people who try to capitalise on something good. But this in turn can jeopardise the honest work of genuine bloggers.there probably isn't a solution to this except calling people out on it like you say.

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    1. amazing isnt it? there's even apps on itunes/play store, lots of people do it. This is a really interesting post with a discussion about perception and playing the game http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/2016/07/how-do-you-measure-success

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  9. I really don't understand why anyone would buy followers. I am very new to blogging so only just really starting out on social media but I would much rather have fewer genuine followers than have lots of fake ones!

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    1. unfortunately quite a few are still getting away with it, and at a big level too so I guess that's incentive enough!

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  10. Eurgh fake followers are so annoying! Most of the time it's really obvious to spot, especially when someone all of a sudden gains an extra 5k followers automatically overnight with no explanation why or how. It's one of the sad things about blogging. The PRs I work with are pretty hot on it and know who's lying, so I wouldn't be too bothered about it - they're more into good content with great photographs which your blog is excellent for :) x

    Evelyn @ We Were Raised By Wolves

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    1. ah thank you Evelyn, really appreciate that! xx

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  11. Totally agree with this post! I hate the idea of fake followers and the fact that people buy them to make themselves look like they have a bigger following. Just grow it organically and be proud of your readers/followers.

    I also hate when you put together a great blog post and people steal photos or the whole post in some cases and pass it off as their own! I always link back to the original post if I have taken a photo and I always give credit on IG if I love a picture so people can pop over to that persons page. Its common courtesy at the end of the day xx

    Beauty Talk With Lauren

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    1. exactly! there's no shame in being influenced by bloggers just acknowledge it!

      I think what grinds my gears too is when bloggers buy lots of followers but then still have little organic growth, argh try something different then! x

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  12. I love this post its so true, I'm still really new to blogging but the idea of buying followers seems so stupid, I want my blog to grow organically as I blog for me and no-one else really.

    I hate the thought of stealing content, and I hate that some companies won't take a chance on smaller bloggers but only go for the bigger ones.
    X

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    1. it's all messed up! I hear from PRs that it's slowly changing but still people buy their followers/likes/views/comments/everything and still get away with it, so frustrating! x

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  13. Huge bugbear of mine too Trona. I've also noticed some Instagrammers with very low follower numbers & huge amounts of comments/likes, even on v mundane pics like comp entries. I assume this interaction is another 'Thing' people are paying for in addition to actual followers?

    It's all truly disheartening to the majority of us who blog with integrity.

    Thanks for taking the time to raise awareness of all this.

    Nic x

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    1. that might be an Instagram "pod" there's lots active on Facebook. It's where a group of users get together and comment and like other people's photos in the same "pod". Really not keen on those either, it's just another way of falsely inflating engagement :/

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  14. This has been a really interesting read for me... I'm quite new to blogging and it's all trial and error for me. I've been working on growing my social media following but I'd never consider buying followers as there'd be no point to looking good with no-one actually reading my blog! However, I had no idea it was so common. I know I've got a lot of spammers and fake accounts following me but eventually they'll drop off when I don't follow back :)

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    1. yep unfortunately it's pretty common across twitter, instagram, facebook, youtube, and even bloglovin and pinterest, in fact on any platform where you can gain followers. Instagram I think is the worst though, lots and lots do it on there. Even people you wouldn't suspect, trust no one! ;)

      It might be worth actually blocking spam accounts when you spot them that'll stop you from gaining a large amount through no fault of your own, and spam accounts will flock to ones they've had success with previously.

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  15. So I'm pretty new to the whole social media thing. Only ever used Facebook for sharing family photos. But I've just started tweeting. And I'm just beginning to realise that some of these accounts with thousands and thousands of followers can't possibly be genuine. So for the moment, I'm happy with my 82 followers!!! (ok maybe that isn't very impressive but hey). The difference with blogs I guess is the chance of advertising and promotions, so it must be pretty sickening to see this sort of thing going on. But it is way better to be genuine, to have genuine followers who are engaged with what you do and to do what you do well. Which from what I can see is exactly what you do anyway. Keep at it.

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    1. ah thank you! I'm just so frustrated with it! And it can take ages to grow a genuine following but I found chats and general interaction will help on twitter. I love it as a platform anyway so it's not entirely blog driven, I just happen to share my posts on there too.

      Instagram is the worst though, it is absolutely rife on there and harder to detect than twitter but all it takes is a few minutes to look and it's easily seen but somehow loads are getting away with it. argh. I'm going to go and take pretty pictures now ;) thanks for reading!

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  16. It's definitely not okay to steal content. Sometimes if I'm really inspired by a post I think that I want to do something similar one day. But that's about it!

    I didn't even know fake followers existed!

    Jaynie Shannon*

    Xx

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