Put down the pitchforks ladies (unless it’s just part of your pilgrim chic outfit, of course) – bit of a clickbait title here. Heehee, what am I like? But I thought I would wade in with some opinions on bloggers, bots and how we’re all guilty of a bit of fakeness when it comes to this blogging business.
As a bit of re-cap for anyone unaware, the last day has saw a big ole’ scandal in the Twitter blogosphere, as people have started naming’n’shaming bloggers for using bots on social media (specifically, Instagram). The bots basically take over a blogger’s account to like, comment and follow/unfollow on their behalf. This effectively automates the engagement aspect of Instagram, letting the blogger get on with the important things in their life, like taking photos of blossom and finding a good wall for #ootd posts.
So the reason this is scandalous is because it’s essentially buying followers – not in the way that people used to buy 5000 fake follower accounts, but it takes all of the legwork out of growing your Instagram account and in theory fast-tracks it’s ‘success’. What really irks people about it though (and if we could take a sec to appreciate the word ‘irk’ please) is that it then opens that person up to a world of opportunities with brands, as they believe the person to have a successful social media following. Apparently some of the bloggers guilty of using bots have been linked to huge brand campaigns, press trips and serious amounts of moolah.
The blogging community is kicking off, but my question is – aren’t we all guilty of faking it for followers?
For what it’s worth, I don’t agree with using bots and yes, it is shitty if people are getting recognition/compensation/free bloody trips to the Maldives based on paid-for engagement. But my one issue with this whole hoo-haa is the indignation that ‘geniune’ bloggers who ‘work really hard’ are being looked over in favour of people ‘cheating’. I can’t help but think it’s all got a bit self-righteous, and we all need to hold our hands up and ask how genuine us genuine bloggers really are?
For example, my Instagram is something I’ve been trying to actively improve for a long time. While I’m happy with the content I’m creating, my growth and engagement are still a bit, er, shit. The algorithm change and what can be seen as an over-saturation in the beauty blogging market make it hard to get your content seen, which we all know. So what do we do? What do we advise other bloggers to do? Engage. Like, comment, follow. Spread the love. Support each other. But however we dress it up, what we’re really doing is the same like-for-like/follow-for-follow tactics that these ‘fake’ bloggers are doing – we’re just spending our own time doing it.
I follow just over 1000 Instagram accounts. When I make the decision to follow someone, I do so because I like their feed and think I’d enjoy seeing their posts – but there is also that ulterior motive that maybe they’ll follow me back. Maybe they’ll start liking my photos. Maybe they’ll help me to grow my account. And I think more bloggers should be open that that’s part of it for them too. And if it is, then the bots are just an extreme version of what we’re all doing. A very extreme, very crass, very non-considered version (as some of the photos that the bots end up liking are pretty LOL) – but a version of the same game nonetheless.
Now I’m not saying that I won’t be interested in what names come out from this latest scandal, but I would like to see the ‘holier than thou’ attitudes dropped a bit. We can agree that bloggers using bots have taken it a step too far, but let’s not pretend that at least some of our engagement on Instagram isn’t done with the same motive.
Yes, call out the practise itself – with it now being so easy to apparently tell who’s using the bots, I imagine most bloggers with them will be deactivating them today. And that’s good for us all. But in my opinion, there’s nothing to be gained by making this some big witch-hunt and striving to tarnish other bloggers’ reputations. In the words of I-don’t-know-who but they had the right attitude, DO YOU BOO. The cream will rise, cheats never prosper, and all that jazz.
What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments!