11 February 2014

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

I know that 'how to do blogging' posts are highly contentious at the best of times, even when the blogger in question has been round for years and has actual helpful knowledge and experience to share. And I also know that I am far from being in this position. I won't tell you what you should and shouldn't write about, what your pictures should look like, I can't offer any SEO advice or tips on how to get followers. Instead this is just a polite urging for people to be nice. (Apologies in advance, it's probably a bit all over the place!)
Dealing with PR
This is nothing to do with whether or not you should accept PR products, whether you should contact companies or wait to be contacted or anything like that. It's just a reminder that when you are dealing with a PR person you are dealing with A PERSON, and you should be polite. Thankfully I've never worked in PR/blogger relationships/whatever you want to call it but I know people who have and I've heard some right horror stories! Obviously each interaction/relationship is different but I think a couple of basic rules that should be followed goes something like this:
Do not demand free things.
If you are offered a free thing, do not ask for two free things instead.
If you request a free thing that is showing on a website as 'out of stock', do not expect that your importance as a blogger can magic one up out of nowhere.
If your free thing does not come as fast as you like do not complain loudly and publicly that you are 'losing your patience' with the brand.
These are not steps on the path to more free things.
Also, I find that things like 'please' and 'thank you' go a long way.
* I am using 'free things' for lack of a more accurate/diplomatic phrase, but you all know what I mean.
(This doesn't mean that you should let companies exploit, dictate or be rude to you either. Everyone should be polite.)
What kind of blogger am I?
I never really noticed 'til the weekends chat that some folk have very strong ideas about what subjects different kinds of bloggers should post/chat about. I'm referring specifically to the #lbloggers chat that was supposed to be on 'blogger influence'. I didn't read everything in the chat - those things go way to fast for me - but I got the impression there was some #lblogger dissatisfaction with the chat being about 'pr and how to get free products'. This wasn't really the set topic but these things are organic and you never really know where the conversation is going to go and that's relatively unavoidable (unless, y'know, people stopped bringing up the things they don't want to talk about?), but I was a bit confused by the insistence by some that lifestyle bloggers shouldn't talk about products, that kind of thing was just for beauty bloggers.
I write about products and do product reviews - so I'm not a lifestyle blogger (by the definition of some?), but I write about cake, so I guess I can't be a beauty blogger either? It just all seems a bit 'you can't be in our gang', and I don't really see the need for it. I'm going to set myself up as a #wifblogger, so I can write about What I Fancy with no one telling me I'm wrong to do so!
If everyone is happy with the content they write for their own blogs, then fantastic. If you don't like things other people write about, don't read it. If you don't want to join in a chat because you don't like the subject, then don't whine and complain about it and don't take it out on the chat organisers - you can join in and make the best of it, quietly wait 'til a another week when a topic you are more interested in comes up, or host your own. Unconstructive criticism doesn't help anyone.
(Just a couple of quick related points - liking make up doesn't necessarily make you shallow, accepting pr products doesn't necessarily make you greedy, writing sponsored posts doesn't necessarily make you a sell-out, deciding you aren't interested in any of these things doesn't necessarily make you ... whatever the perceived implication of that decision is. We all decide for ourselves what works for us on our blogs).
Giveaways, Compers and the ASA
This I suppose is a bit different, and I considered putting it in a separate post but I don't rant often and figured I might as well get it all out of my system in one go so I can get back to writing about tea and bath bombs and other cheerful things.
 A blogger I know and admire has come under a lot of fire for declaring that entries to her giveaway from 'comper' accounts would be disqualified. This has upset a lot of people, and a lot of those upset people have been very vocal about it.
Now, I'm not at expert on the ASA guidelines, I don't have a clue about how these things have to 'officially' work. But even if you think you have been severely wronged by being denied an opportunity to win a free lipstick - insulting and threatening someone about it just isn't cool.
My nephew had a birthday party last month. The kids played pass the parcel, and the main prize was a book and some colouring pencils, with sweets under each layer of paper. The only people allowed to win this prize were the small handful of children in attendance that afternoon. I'm sure most people wouldn't consider it appropriate to knock on my nephews door and demand to be allowed to play, or call him names because they weren't invited.
This wasn't a big company sponsoring a giveaway to gain loads of exposure, it was a girl (woman, sorry) using her own hard earned cash to buy a present for one of her readers as a thank you. There's no need for a lynch mob, it's not a huge injustice... let's all just get on with our lives!
Anyhows, I've written a whole lot there and should probably finish up soon. For anyone that's just skipped to the end, I basically used a lot of words to say 'people on the internet are still people and it'd wouldn't kill to be nice'. Would love to hear your thought on anything I've rambled about!  


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  2. I would most definitely join #wifbloggers !
    100% agree with everything you've talked about. Manners shouldn't evaporate behind a computer screen but apparently they do in some cases. I'm sorry to hear about the attacks towards your friend, after going out of her way to do something nice, you'd think people would be polite and if they can't enter- just be pleased for others that she's hosting a giveaway at all, it's not as if she has any obligation!
    Great post,

    1. #wifbloggers are the best! Maybe we should set up our own chat? :)

  3. I couldn't agree more with you in this post! THANK YOU for writing it!

    When the "#bbloggers" chats started I was always so engaged, but then everyone started telling everyone how their blog should look and what they should be writing about. I felt like I wasn't blogging the right way. In fact, that's when I stopped blogging so often and over time stopped completely.

    I would buy the same amount of makeup and beauty products even if I didn't have a blog--because I absolutely love trying new products. The reason I blog is to put my thoughts and opinions about the products I purchase out there--that's why I started in the first place...

    My blog is my blog. Your blog is your blog. Why should I (or anyone else) listen to anyone that tells them what they should blog about or how their blog should look like or be run. What makes someone's opinion better than others' opinions? If we were all doing the same thing and all had the same posts, what is the point of us all blogging?

    I feel like there are too many bloggers out there that think they're so much better than the rest of us. If I want opinions about what I should write about on my blog or post suggestions, I always ask my readers...not someone in a chat that probably has never even cared to read others' blogs beside their own blog.

    Sorry if that was all over the place and a "rant"...had to get that off my chest!
    Great post! ♥b

    Brittany's Secret

    1. I know all about the need to get things off your chest, as you can probably tell from above! :)

      I like lots of different blogs, that post about lots of different things. The thing that makes the difference to me is the blogger, and if he or she in engaging and interesting, and the key to being engaging and interesting is to write about what you are interested in, rather than what other people think you should be writing about!

    2. Couldn't of said it better myself! ♥b

  4. I think the issue with the #lbloggers chat the moment, is that the chat increasingly seems to be getting away from lifestyle blog issues - so the "products" that were being talked about where beauty related. For me, I want the chat to be about lifestyle topics, issues and blogging - like it use to be many months ago.

    Sadly the chat is getting so far away from being about the basics and the fun part of blogging and pushed by either hosts, topics or side questions within the chats into being about PR, products, how to make money and having the same old topics every other week. Not all of us blog for money - but the topics keep going and revolving about it.

    I'm not sure the host helped herself by her hostility towards some people in the chat from what I saw.

    1. I don't take part in the #lbloggers regularly because I'm not always about when it's on so can't really comment on the usual topic of the chats, but was given the impression by whoever runs the lbloggers twitter account that this was the first time PR had come up in the chats. I never got the impression that Sundays chat had anything to do with making money, but we don't all always see the same things in chats as it moves so quickly.

      In theory (and like I said, I don't take part every week so don't know how well this actually works) it's a different subject each week. Just because you don't like to mention products, doesn't mean it should be banned. I don't particularly get into chats about photography for instance, or techy stuff, because it all goes well over my head - but that doesn't mean I'm going to attack people for it.

  5. I'll have you know that I am disgusted that I wasn't allowed to play Pass The Parcel at your Nephews birthday party. And that I wasn't even invited to the party. *sulks*

    And now for a sensible comment I agree with everything you've just blogged about, I enjoy writing about what I write about Lifestyle, Fashion and Beauty in my opinion go hand in hand in hand (There's three of them).

    I must admit I have often felt frustrated when the chats come down to cameras, I know very little about the subject so for me I have perhaps tweeted "I know little of this & don't understand so it might be a quiet chat for me" But I'd not be doing more than that.

    1. You can come next year! ;)

      I like writing all kinds of things and if I don't fit into a niche then fair enough but I don't think I should be excluded from chats etc because I have more than one interest.

      I have no idea about cameras either, or all manner of other things than come up in the topics... and I can imagine that if it was how to make money' each week it'd get really frustrating, but as far as I know that's not the case.

  6. Great post - I agree with everything you said :) I blog about beauty, fashion and lifestyle, not just one topic, so I'm definitely a #wifiblogger too! Blog about what you want to, no-one should tell you what you can or can't write about x

    Telina | Love, Telina

  7. I agree with you but I do have some comments. I ask for products from PR people only so that I don't have to spend all of my money on them. I am disabled and don't have a fortune to spend on makeup anymore. I used to but not now. I always put that they came from a PR firm. I will say if there is a problem with the product. I am honest. I don't review if it is horrible, I tell the firm first though.
    Just my $.02

    1. That's cool, I have no problem with people posting PR items!

  8. Completely agree with everything you've said - manners don't cost a penny! I'm totally up for #wifbloggers, too ;D

    Jess xo

  9. RAHHHH! I needed to let that little scream off my chest! I've been so frustrated with this since Monday morning (the chat is 7am monday for me) and while I only caught the tail end, I was disgusted with how the host was treated! The thing that people need to realise is that just because you're typing instead of talking, doesn't mean there isn't a person on the receiving end of whatever it is you have to say. When I was young, mum always told me "If you don't have anything nice to say, shut your cake hole" and "think before you speak" (occasionally this was the follow up to a whallop on the butt for being an inconsiderate little so-and-so). Anyways, I think that this whole internet thing makes things just impersonal enough for people to forget these simple conventions and it is not right at all! Perhaps we all need a mother figure standing over our shoulder, reading our tweets and clipping us over the ears when we forget our "p's and q's"? I dunno, but what I DO know about the chat is that every week a different host picks the topic, therefore if you want to turn the topics to something different all you need to do is ask (politely, perhaps with a please included) to be a host, and that the lbloggers account copped so much whizz over sunday's chat that was not fair to them, and everyone would benefit by following what the host declares as the questions instead of making up their own and them complaining about them/being rude little pricks.
    Now, this ranting thing feels pretty good, doesn't it? hehe xx

    1. I bet it was a relief getting all that off your chest! ;)

  10. I'm definetly a #wifblogger!
    I kinda dislike how theres blogger categories and they can be so strict, you should blog about what you want :D :D


    1. Yeah it seems a shame - I'm not sure I fit into any of them but then all my faves post a whole bunch of different stuff too!

  11. Interesting read! Agree wholeheartedly with everything you've written. Most of the people I chat to regularly in the blogosphere are lovely people but you do get that 'other' element. Imagine how much nicer everything would be if everyone just acted like decent human beings?!

    Sharon x

    1. I was probably being a bit overly negative because as you say the vast majority of people I've spoken to have been completely lovely!

  12. It's not the first time #lbloggers chat has become derailed, they all seem to dissolve into the same thing's being churned out by people after a while usually along the lines of :
    "everyone is so great in #lbloggers"
    "if your blog is small just be yourself and you'll gain readers"
    "your blog shouldn't be nothing but PR's or it takes away fro the authenticity"
    and a whole lot of other generic blurg statements that have been said umpteen times already (can you tell it's a sort of pet peeve of mine?) I don't get how Michelles chat was derailed so harshly, I missed the chat but when she told me the topic I've no idea how people decided it was about PR... urrrk.

    1. hahahah I don't always catch the chat but this did make me giggle!
      I've no idea how people decided it was about PR either! Ah well..

  13. I missed that #lbloggers chat and I'm glad I did, it sounds awful! Here's my golden rule of blogging:

    It's your blog and you can do what you want with it.

    If everyone follows this simple rule, then we'll all get along wonderfully!

    Up with #wifbloggers! :)


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