It’s been a rough week for the content creators of the Philippines whether it be online or offline… but let’s be honest, almost everything is online nowadays or will eventually find it’s way there. Whether it be about newbie bloggers & vloggers forgetting their social etiquette, Mocha Uson (NOT! hyperlinking her ever) or whatever grievance there is out there, it’s been bugging the hell out of me and of course, I would like to take the chance to air out my grievances in a semi- long blog post whether Filipinos actually take the time to read it or not. jab!
I’d like to believe that I’ve been in the blogging/ vlogging or as I’d like to generalize it as, the online content creation industry, long enough to be worthy of writing this post. Although I’ve already been blogging personally for the past 11- 12 years, I’ve only been a public blogger (jumping from URL to URL) for the past 5-6 years and a vlogger for the past 1-2 (but I did vlog back in college if that helps strengthen my point).
I’d also like to believe that I’ve been through the bests and the worsts of blogging as I will fondly and blatantly share memories in my career with all of you. I was there when blogging was somewhat “new” to businesses and traditional media wherein people would question our mere existence and say, “what are bloggers?”; to a time when bloggers where deemed as “vips” (which was quickly outlived, btw); to being “just another blogger”.
My favorite memory of this was when I met a prestigious, well traveled and highly respected senior writer who, after I had introduced myself as a blogger, plainly said- “Ah, I’m never going to remember you- anyone can be a blogger nowadays but not all of you can write!” At first I took this comment as an offence but I quickly came to the realization that she was in fact right. Based on my poor use of punctuation marks and run on sentences, I’m sure you would all agree with said senior writer and that’s fine!
I have been around top bloggers, pioneer writers/ reporters/ bloggers, mass com OJTS and newbies in the industry. I started as someone who had just as much no idea what I was doing at a press con, to someone who was given special services and attention at an event, to “just another blogger” who has hopefully earned the respect from her peers and seniors both in the online and traditional media world.
I am writing this article not to spread hate but to hopefully shine light on some pressing issues us bloggers and vloggers are having to face today. Our facebook groups have been buzzing with non stop discussions regarding the current situations and well, if no one is going to defend us, let me be the one to do so but not without sharing my own piece of harsh realities. So without any further ado, here are a few things that are wrong with bloggers and vloggers:
- IT’S ALL ABOUT NUMBERS
Just like any other industry the business of being online is all about numbers- how many views you make in a day/ week/ month, subscribers, followers, etc. I was once introduced to an online whatever-she-was who came up to me and said, “Hi! I’m _______, I make 100,000 views in a month. And you are?” Since I don’t pay too much attention to things like this, I simply introduced myself and stayed as far away as possible from her for the entirety of the night.
During huddles, people will talk about someone and account how many followers this person has and question his/ her authenticity, their “claim to fame” or whatever else there is to talk about. Online, there are a million and one articles on how an online influencer can increase their views/ following and most of the time it involves buying followers (which I am strictly against) or other somewhat helpful tips like bandwagoning, strategic titling, engagement, quality content creation and the like.
Now, I’m not saying that all these things are bad (except for buying of followers) especially because numbers are what companies look at first but as I’ve mentioned in a similar post:
“Sometimes you’ll meet an Instagrammer (influencer that posts purely on Instagram and has a wide following) that has a buttload of followers online and yes, while that’s great and all, sometimes the following doesn’t match their engagements aka likes/ comments. Instagram is a tricky place I tell you and I struggle with it quite often. A harsh reality is that followers, likers and comments can be BOUGHT (enter, Google!) so look for an influencer with a strong following, an engagement and mostly, someone who you think would be a great reflection of your brand.”
Every business is about numbers but when it breeds hatred and competition, it makes things go bad- really fast.
2. A LOT OF US HAVE A STRONG SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT
I recently read about an online content creator who walked into an establishment and demanded for certain services because of the fact that they created content online. Whether or not the accounts of what happened were true, it’s not the first time I’ve heard it happened. Yes, I’ll admit, some of us do have a strong sense of entitlement and believe that they deserve more than they actually do just because of the fact that they can write or say anything they want about an establishment and get away with it (or can they?). My 2 cents on this is that, you don’t have to get things for free and if you want to try out something on your own, spend your own damn money! If you can’t afford it, then simply don’t write about them or like in the case stated above, demand for something without even coursing through the necessary mediums.
It’s not wrong to ask for something especially if you know your worth and have proven it to whoever it is that you need proving yourself to. Since I’ve taken blogging as a full time job, I will kindly request to be paid for my services, especially for promotions and I will even reach out to brands for possible collaborations by introducing myself to them in hopes of a deal. If the answer is no, I’ll put on a good face and understand that I am simply not what they are looking for at the moment and will pray that the day will come that I can work with them.
I also make sure that once a deal is set, to enumerate my expected deliverables and to actually deliver. It’s not rocket science and it’s good etiquette- one cannot simply ask for something without giving anything in return. Business is business.
3. BLOGGERS AND VLOGGERS REPRESENT NOBODY ELSE BUT THEMSELVES
In the day and age wherein creating content can be easily accessed and achieved, we no longer find ourselves having to represent anyone else but ourselves. Personal branding is what I believe a lot of us lack and just because you can say and do whatever you want because it is your brand, doesn’t mean that you should. Yes, you have the freedom of speech but it doesn’t mean you have to act like a complete nincompoop.
I’ve heard many stories of a blogger/ vlogger acting out of line during events to the extent of irking professionals in the media thus, creating a bad name for the other online content creators. I’ve seen it happen and as a human being, it is really f’in annoying to have to witness that in real life.
Recently there was a debate about the tupperware blogger (I don’t know who you are nor did I do the research about you, fyi), that vlogger who had their camera in a celebrity’s face during a press con completely blowing it for the other media people around, a vlogger who was too eager during an event and personally, I think it’s pretty bad. Although bloggers do not represent a certain establishment, company, etc. you have to remember that you are representing yourself and that is the most important thing.
3.1. EVERYONE WANTS TO HAVE THE BEST CONTENT
It’s true- I’ll be honest, that’s what I aim for but never at the extent of ruining everyone else’s opportunity. Wanting to have the best content out there is something we should all aim for but this should be done in our own means. Having been able to speak to a lot of traditional media professionals, many will express their dislike of the new age of bloggers and vloggers and to be completely honest, I don’t blame them. In fact, I share their sentiments. They too want the best content and their jobs require them to do so but they work in their own professional terms- so why can’t we? That’s the keyword: Professionalism. They show up to an event, listen intently, interact and keep their social graces at par. They don’t whip out their cameras mid event and steal the spotlight for their intros nor do they get in a person’s face shoving their cameras so close you can see their pores to get “extraordinary” shots and most of all, they don’t go over the top and disrupt an event just to do so. I cannot speak for every single traditional media person out there (just in case the nuisances do exist in their community) and I’m not saying that ALL bloggers/ vloggers are like this- a lot of us will make our introductions before showing up to an event or will simply find a strategic way to spice up their vlogs/ blogs but hey, if the shoe fits, you might want to reconsider your choice of shoes.
4. ANYONE CAN DO IT
I would like to go back to the senior writer who told me that anyone can be a blogger but not everyone can write well- she was brutally honest and it hit me to the core but I won’t lie and say I’ve never said it before either, but just because this statement does present a harsh truth, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
The internet is a magical place and it’s given us opportunities we could have only dreamed of. In the next 20 years, I imagine that every single person will have their own blog or vlog because there are no requirements in doing so which is why I give workshops about it because the truth is, anyone can be a blogger or a vlogger but not everyone can do it right and I really want it for all of us! When I say “do it right”, it is in the context of all the things I have stated above. I will never tell another person what content they should make and how to make it because that is something we all need to figure out on our own and by all means, we ought to do it.
My local vlogging community was outraged a couple days back at someones’ remark that vloggers shouldn’t use their phones and some other personal tips at how to make “good” videos online. Now, while I don’t disagree with all her points (I agree with you but it doesn’t mean I like you), I contest at that the thought of mocking someone for even trying. Anyone can blog or vlog but you need to ask yourself WHY you’re doing so and WHAT you want to achieve from it and HOW you are going to do so. If it’s by putting down another person, you’ve already set yourself to fail but if it’s by improving your craft by learning from others and being a decent human being then you do you.
5. THERE IS ALWAYS DRAMA
Someone once told me that the internet loves drama therefore, a lot of content creators will try to breed drama whether it be through their titling strategies aka click bait (much like this post. OK, I’M GUILTY!) or will create their own. This might not be applicable to the majority of content creators but, it is a reality that we still cannot deny and it’s something I want to talk about.
For the record, I could care less for drama but when the only thing you can post about on your social medias of choice is just that whether it be #chesmes or anything that breeds bad juju then don’t be surprised if people end up having a bad perception of you. Again, ask yourself WHY you are doing it and WHAT you can benefit from it. If your intentions were to catch attention and have people talk about you then there, you created drama- congratulations. Now live with it.
Like I’ve said, the internet is a magical place and we are all enjoying our moments in the sun being able to write or say anything we want- much like what I am doing in this post, but let’s go back to self branding and… well, you can figure it out for yourself.
I wish I could list down more things but it’s 11:30 in the evening and there is still so much work to be done and I’ve reached a point of peace as I’ve been writing this which is a good indicator for me to stop. It’s probably too long anyways. I guess the bottom point of this extremely long banter is that we could all use a little bit of respect whether it be respect for ourselves, the people around us, the people we work with and even to the ones we consider as competition.
Bloggers and vloggers or online content creators are not going away any time soon and we all just need to live with one another- we don’t need to like each other, we just need to learn how to live harmoniously. At the same time, we should at least try to be people who others can stand to live with.
We all have a voice and we all have a voice we want others to hear. To those listening, we might not always like what we’re hearing (like now) but people are going to talk anyways… so tuff (for you AND me).
If you’ve made it this far in the blog, thank you and if I offended you along the way- ask yourself why. I’m not playing God and saying I’ve never made these mistakes myself but it’s a never ending journey of living and learning which is what this post was meant to do- educate. I give workshops to share experiences and to help my attendees improve their craft and at the end of each segment, I always tell them to follow their passions and to strive for the best whether it be in through their content, editing styles, writing and most importantly themselves.
What are your thoughts?
Also read: Bloggers/ Vloggers/ Influencers & The New Age of Advertising- Content Creation 101 For Bloggers & Businesses