Can authenticity exist under such faux circumstances?
When I published my first blog post, it was for the pure love of writing. I mean, I write for a living and it seemed only natural to extend that into the de rigueuer online world. After a while, I saw how some were creating a lucrative, successful profession out of it and I wanted that too. The seemingly glossy world, the freebies, the picture perfect life. And when brands came knocking, I was eager. That is, until I realised how many were very unethical and were only interested in furthering their bottomlines. I started saying no, and eventually, they stopped knocking at my door, I became completely discouraged and stopped blogging for a good two years. I did post a few things, once in a blue moon, but that was it.
Last September, I began again and this time, I told myself, I am blogging for me. I am blogging about things I truly feel connected to. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
We need to write about products we actually like. Knowing the name of the brand has to be a secondary factor. Knowing how the product/service/garment functions, how well, and whether it serves the agenda we’re after, must be first and foremost.
Blogging is an extension of one’s personality, one’s spirit and heart. And it’s only when we write about things that matter to us, that we truly feel connected to, will we write genuinely and with a passion our readers can feel, share and embrace.
Once (and thankfully, only once), a long time ago, I forced myself to write a positive review about something which I knew was junk, and yes, it was paid. And right after I wrote the piece, I deleted it, and emailed the brand saying I simply could not in good faith deliver a false recommendation to my readers. It did not end too well. Because of my inexperience, I had to (quite literally) pay my way out of the contract. It was a pricey lesson but a lesson well learned.
These days, I purchase as many garments and accessories, cosmetics and skincare products, as I receive samples, to style, test, and review. And I make my caveat where samples are concerned clear from the get go – I am free to exercise my independent opinion, no matter if payment is involved.
In a world that’s plenty plastic fantastic, it’s even more imperative that the opinion of an editor or writer or blogger remains true, genuine, real.