| clichés and hypocrisy in blogging

Saturday, 3 October 2015

These days, blogging is a hobby with high expectations. That is, if you want to succeed and earn a huge readership. And in turn, come clichéd "blogger things", such as phrases you'll see over and over again in blog posts, typical "blogger pictures" (such as the one above) and blogging topics.

One piece of advice I often see emphasised in advice posts, normally something along the lines of "how to build your readership/advice to new bloggers", is to let your personality shine through. Being honest, could you really be any more vague? What particularly annoys me with this phrase is when its related to blog photography, particularly in the beauty category. How are you supposed to show personality through product flatlays?! Simply adding some pretty flowers or popular blogging books is not showing personality at all.

Whilst I can think of some great examples of blogs which have a unique blog photography style such as Beauty from the Fjord or Milkbubbletea, who have very different blog aesthetics, the majority of beauty blogs, however much they may think, have no authenticity at all. If you were to look at the picture outside of their blog, it would be extremely hard to tell which blog it belongs to.

Where the hypocrisy comes in here, can be observed easily during blogging chats. Common questions have been "what attracts you to a blog/keeps you reading/makes you follow a blog? Every time there comes an innumerable amount of replies along the lines of a clean, simple blog layout, with big and clear pictures. At the same time you'll see answers based around personality, uniqueness and authenticity. It's a given that people look for different things when they read blogs, but I find these two aspects highly hypocritical! The majority of blogs out there have a very clean and simple aesthetic, so ways to stand out as "unique" become very difficult indeed.

If we were less scared to divert from the norm (not saying at all that mine is different at all from other people's layouts..), then genuinely we could allow our personalities to manifest in all aspects of our blog, not just our writing and content. This lack of difference in blog aesthetic stems from people's responses to what they look for in a blog to follow, or in other words, our wish to please the audience.

I am not arguing that aspects of uniqueness are clear solely through appearance, evidently writing style is a big factor in order to connect with your readers. And whether you see an issue with an obvious lack of individuality in blog photos and layouts depends on your aims with blogging. Personally, I would love to gain more followers and expand my readership, but at the same time, I would rather this happened organically, with a smaller base of loyal followers than those who follow but are not really that interested in my blog.

I also mainly use my blog to improve my writing skills. Some may want to improve their photography or HTML skills, and in this case surely wanting to stand out particularly for your blog photography or beautiful layout would require you to differentiate yourself from the rest.

It's also apparent that certain things need to be present in blog photos, such as typical blogger books, pretty props, that Ikea flower pot, those Real Techniques brushes. Am I the only one who's starting to find it all a little boring? I now find myself scrolling past most beauty posts, bar a few beauty bloggers whose posts I really enjoy reading, for lifestyle, travel and opinion. Again, everyone's interests differ and for some I can understand that beauty and flatlays and prettiness is exactly what they want. Where is honestly the uniqueness and individuality in including the newest blogger hyped product that everyone else is reviewing at the same time?

I would personally love to see the blogging world turn a new page, where glossiness and prettiness isn't the most important thing in order to ensure success. It's also a huge shame that blogging has become synonymous with certain products, photography styles, habits and freebies. Everyone knows that life is never as perfect as anyone portrays, so why should it need to shown like this so much on blogs? Showing your individuality is never a bad thing and why must we emphasise so much on it as a trait we look for whilst most blogs look extremely similar?

What are your thoughts on this? Is it easy to show personality through blogging? Thanks for reading!

The traffic jam of life


  1. This is a really interesting topic for me. I've been blogging for 7 years now and have seen all kinds of changes happening in blogging styles and attitudes and there's always another challenge to face when you're trying to aim for longevity and community - rather than being pushed and pulled by the vagaries of current trends.

    Recently I started to seek out content that was slightly different to the blogs I've been following for a while so have begun hunting new blogs. And it wasn't until I deliberately moved out of my comfort zone that I began to see the kinds of things you point out here about the similar aesthetics / photos / text.

    As part of my exploration of new content I've set myself a challenge to leave 300 [genuine] comments on blogs over 30 days - as a way to connect with new bloggers. And it's having a lot of unintended consequences - beyond commenting. Like you I'm noticing all kinds of features that I struggle with - and I'm learning just as much from the blogs I don't enjoy as those I do!

    If there's anything I'm proud of through my blog it's that people often say I made them smile on a day they needed one and that they thought they were the only one thinking/feeling something, until I said it out loud in a post. Those things are worth so much more than any freebies a company could send me to promote!

    I'll be pinning this to the #300in30Days Pinterest board - where I'm saving all the blogs I'm visiting during my challenge.

    For the record ... this is comment No.130 ... just 170 to go ...

    Thanks for providing me with something I could genuinely comment on!


  2. Hi from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    I have started blogs before and never really got anywhere due to the pressures of conforming, style etc etc. Topics you really have identified.

    I am also a quite useless writer but I just want to tell the story of being an Englishman in the Balkans.

    I have invested a small amount of funds into consultations by established bloggers etc (this time) in order, so to speak, to get me going.

    Your post says it all in my opinion.

    Its all about being the unique personality each of us has as humans.

    You have opened the door I was searching for, and whether it doesnt conform or not, I will blog the way I feel is best.

    Its not about the numbers or comments or likes.

    Its about satisfaction.

    The writers satisfaction.

    Keep your blog as you see it.

    I'll keep checking back, as we are both doing things in another culture.

    And I might learn some more!

    Bests from the Balkans


  3. I actually really agree with everything you said here, I tend to think this about SO MANY beauty pictures every day. Same background, same props and layouthow are you supposed to show your personality which is meant to be the whole point of a blog, surely?


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