Is there room for unfiltered blogging?
Is there room for unfiltered blogging in today’s social media world?
Call me lazy, but I just don’t have the time – or inclination – to go through the many filters on Instagram before I upload a photo of my sandwich. But a quick look through the feeds of others suggests that I’m something of an increasing minority.
It seems that any self-respecting social media enthusiast has gone all sepia and artsy. Popular bloggers, vloggers and ‘influencers’ confess to spending hours and taking hundreds of photos before choosing the best shot to post online. Bloggers of this ilk often have a short and sweet blog post, which is padded out with dozens of picture-perfect photos. Which makes me wonder, as a blogger that doesn’t follow this trend, am I communicating to deaf ears?
You see, when I first started blogging in 2011, it was purely to quench my thirst for writing. I’d originally wanted to be a columnist in a national newspaper, or an author. In fact, I wrote my first book at the tender age of 11, and even took the trouble to send it to Penguin Publishers for consideration (sadly they didn’t take to my story). As the journalist/writer thing didn’t work out, I found myself instead navigating the PR world.
Though I love my profession as I get to write press releases, case studies and editorial for a living, I really wanted an outlet where I could write just for me, and be frivolous and dry at times, too. This desire prompted my foray into blogging. I started out writing about beauty from a novice’s perspective (can’t get more frivolous than that) before expanding into my current theme of lifestyle and developing a sister vlog.
However, back in 2011, it seems the world was different, or at least my view of it. Blogging was more about writing and less about pictures. Now it seems the dynamic has shifted the other way. YouTube was an outlet for real people to muse and share their account of life. It was hazy, unfiltered and real.
Yet slowly but surely, blogs have turned into glossy magazines, vlogs have turned into mini TV shows with high production values, and everything is less… well, real.
There was proof indeed of this when I was invited to a YouTube vloggers networking event at Google. I was pleased to see that I wasn’t the only one over 21 (I had my worries I’d be sharing a room with tweens), but the topic of conversation was less about the content people produced, but how it was produced.
Notes were swapped about the optimum camera spec, how much ad revenue can be made and the videos that would generate the most interest. I declined to mention that I still film the majority of my videos on the webcam of my Mac.
Perhaps more tellingly, it was interesting to see the number of vloggers – who had heard the stories of the lucky/talented few who made it big – aspiring to make a career out of YouTube. Now each to their own, and making a residual income from blogging/vlogging is great, but it’s slightly disconcerting if this is the new career option of choice. However this does totally explain the reason that blogs are getting more filtered and less real – it’s big business, and the shiniest photo wins.
Now I totally get that we need to move with the technology changes. Nobody wants to see a grainy photo, and a badly laid out website is particularly jarring.
Even with my unfiltered ways, I went to the trouble of rebranding my tired looking blog this year and changed the name to HalimaBobs.com. Heck, I even include multiple photos in an article where relevant, for example if I’m doing a restaurant or holiday destination.
Changes are sometimes necessary, as long as the content is still king. However, content seems to be losing out to a winning photo and a quirky caption.
But my hope, as we enter a brave New Year – and celebs are being called out for heavily photo-shopped pictures – is that there will be a renewed appreciation of unfiltered blogging, real reviews, and videos that haven’t been edited to death.
If that’s what you want to see, let me know in a comment below. I’d like to be unfiltered friends.
About the Author
I’m not a makeup artist, chef, lifestyle guru or stylist. I’m just me. And like you, I’m trying to make the best of most things, only I’m sharing my warts-and-all thoughts along the way.