Can we talk about the way that the blogging/vlogging/slogging your guts out behind a screen and camera industry is being portrayed at the moment?
Last week there was a … what’s the word? Oh yes, shit storm. Last week there was a shit storm surrounding a young woman and her pitch for a complimentary stay at a hotel in Dublin with her partner just before Valentine’s Day. It was a pretty basic pitch but it landed in the inbox of a hotel owner who is famous for disliking “influencers” as he put it and he went to TOWN on her. What a roasting she was given. Basically she proposed to him via email that she come along to his hotel, and in exchange for a stay, she would offer him advertising on her 88,000 subscriber youtube channel and her 75000 Instagram channel. She didn’t word it quite like that and swift google of the hotel would have forewarned her not to but hey, guess what, she didn’t know and the way she was treat was appalling. To clarify, complimentary stays aren’t a new thing, they are so common place in all industries but especially the creative ones – journalists, actors, actresses, celebrities – please make no bones that they get these complimentary stays in exchange for advertising. It’s a service exchange.
Apart from the fact that this young woman was embarrassed by the roasting she was given in public by the hotel owner, I was really surprised to see the response from the owner’s followers on his facebook. “Freeloaders”, “Scroungers”, “Get a real job”… all of these comments made over and over again. One man wrote “Well maybe if you got a real job, she could pay for her stay like the rest of us have to. Entitled bitch.” A woman wrote, “Ugh, what do you want to be when you grow up kids? An influencer. Just push the button Donald or Kim, one of you.” Can you imagine being her child? You can be anything you like when you grow up as long as I recognise it as a paid profession in my in my outdated way.
Firstly, if HMRC can recognise blogging and vlogging as a “real job” then guess what buttercup? So can you. If my money is good enough to pay income tax towards our NHS and services, then you can recognise it as a real job whilst you enjoy said services in the same way I do. The problem that we face here in the grander scheme of things is that this isn’t respected as a “job” – if it was, it wouldn’t be an issue for someone to offer a barter exchange for services. Wine companies, for example, offer complimentary tasting sessions and cases of wine to certain clients because they want those clients to spread the word about their product, they want them to put the wine into other hotels. Yes, anyone can become a blogger or vlogger, with no qualifications or experience and that must be terrifying to John who is a qualified electrician with 32 years experience and still earns less than a successful 19 year old vlogger on a 10K per month retainer from a cosmetics client for slapping a bit of make up on her face and pouting for the camera. The creative industry is affluent – it always has been, and it doesn’t make a vlogger/blogger anymore “entitled” to tap into that than a footballer or actor – who for the record also don’t need qualifications or experience.
I came away from the thread wishing that people would realise the hard work that has to go into vlogging and blogging in order to make it a career (which it is by the way) only to find that maybe, as bloggers and vloggers, we need to look more at ourselves to help people see this as a respected career than we do at them. Do you know how many times I’ve seen the phrase “OMG how do you get the time?” in a blogging group when someone has said I do XYZ to try and drive traffic to my blog/grow my socials/gain exposure for my content? Numerous, in fact it’s daily. Or phrases like “I couldn’t be arsed with that”, “It’s just desperate isn’t it” or “Ugh everyone wants to be famous”. The truth is we have an industry here where there is a blurred line between hobby blogger/vlogger and professional blogger/vlogger and if you can’t be bothered, think someone spending hours and hours, week after week to work on their content or grow their socials is pathetic, you are 100% a hobbist. If you want to work in the blogging/vlogging industry then the answer to “where do you find the time?” is quite simple – when you’re cooking dinner for your kids, at 2am during the first boob feed with eyes half open, during the day when you’re kids are at school… you find the time just like anyone. You wouldn’t ask Shelia sat behind her desk when she finds the time to put an audit on her spreadsheets so why the fuck would you ask someone in your own industry where they find the time? If they are pathetic for wanting to grow their socials or gain exposure for their work then you have to ask yourself what you’re in it for because no one is in it to have no one read or respond to their work. If you’re doing this as an online diary then cool but please, don’t shaft people who aren’t.
This is also something that is a career, I’ve seen bloggers/vloggers disputing that time and time again, that what we have with this incredible industry is not a career because it’s fleeting but it certainly isn’t and it is growing constantly. A career is something that involves a series of paid work, especially with progression – which is exactly what happens in blogging/vlogging.
As bloggers/vloggers, we’re a part of the problem because we aren’t respecting our own industry – so how can we expect anyone else to?