SHOULD BLOGGERS BE RELATABLE?
Gucci handbags, swanky press trips and bouncy blowdries can often make the world of blogging seem incredibly inaccessible. There isn’t a right or wrong way to blog, just as there isn’t a right or wrong way to consume content, and fundamentally it comes down to personal preference and what you want to take away from your social media feed, or your morning browse. Lately I’ve picked up on a few comments – and even the headlines surrounding a certain advent calendar – that have got me thinking about whether bloggers have a duty to be accessible, and why it is people can get so upset when they’re not.
It seems almost counterproductive that someone might follow a blogger and support their success, then get frustrated when that growth eventually leads to bigger collaborations, widened opportunities and – lets face it – increased wealth. Whether it’s jealousy – I know I’ve certainly felt a pang of the green eyed monster when I’ve seen others celebrate jobs that I would bloody love to book myself – resentment, or just genuine disheartenment that the gal they once loved who promoted £8 Missguided skirts is now sipping her lattes in Burberry, I don’t know.
What I do know, is that it is okay to grow out of someone. It’s fine to hit the unfollow button if someone’s content just isn’t floating your boat any longer because your feed is your place to consume whatever you want to, in whatever manner you choose. Equally, it is more than okay for a blogger to grow up both personally and professionally and choose to share a more ‘aspirational’ lifestyle if that is what they enjoy living, and nobody should ever feel the need to apologise or feel guilty for their successes.
Aspirational vs. Relatable
For me, bloggers (generally speaking) tend to fall into two categories: aspirational or relatable, though it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone can’t be both. Take two of my favourite bloggers; Lydia Millen is very much an aspirational blogger; she jets around the world, works alongside L’Oréal and owns an enviable collection of designer handbags. For some, that might make her quite inaccessible, whilst others will enjoy the window into a lifestyle that they cannot themselves afford to live. It only takes a short conversation on Twitter to realise that Lydia is ultra-lovely, ultra-down to earth and has worked ULTRA hard to get where she is today. Equally, Hannah Gale thrives on a reputation of being the gal pal you’d love to share a bottle of Sauv with on the sofa on a Friday night whilst watching I’m a Celeb. She is the epitome of relatable and I lap up her content because it makes me want to shout ‘Yes! EXACTLY!’ whilst quickly ordering the £20 jumper she’s wearing without having to take out a sizeable loan. That doesn’t mean, however, that she isn’t aspirational too; in my earliest days of blogging when I was struggling a bit with my self-identity and where I might fit in, it was following Hannah that helped me to realise that my identity is ME and I fit in by being just that, sod what the rest of the ‘sphere is up to.
I recently saw someone getting quite upset on Twitter because a blogger she subscribed to on YouTube had done a £5000 haul; that isn’t wrong, but neither is the girl who uploaded it. Would I likely press the play button? Probably not. Does that mean someone else won’t be favouriting it and going on a shopping spree? Definitely not. Hell, even a £300 ASOS haul makes me cringe a teeny bit but not because of the lucky gal showing it off, just because it’s not the kind of spending habit that I can relate to personally. I understand that when you’ve got £20 until payday and a blogger is telling you that a £160 jar of moisturiser is a worthy investment it can be easy to feel deflated at best, and pissed off at worst, but I also think it’s important to remember that if you’re not going to go running into Harvey Nichs to pick up a jar then you’re probably not the target audience.
Personally, I know that my style of blogging very much falls into the latter camp. I feel most comfortable when I am (over)sharing my life with my followers. I talk about my periods and doing the laundry in my captions and I upload snaps in my pjs and blog about the reality behind Instagram. It isn’t for everyone. Some people get bored of the life updates and just want to know where the skirt is from, and that’s totally cool too.
Is there room for everyone?
When people talk about the blogging industry as being oversaturated I whole heartedly disagree; there is so much room for everyone because if we all did the same things, talked about the same places and the same clothes then my goodness would it be dull. The breadth and depth of content out there in each and every category from fashion to food means that everyone is free to enjoy what they want, when they want it and from whom they choose to support; it really doesn’t matter if you’d rather read about the latest release from Chloé, or from Primark.