If you’re a regular reader then you’ll notice I don’t often do these types of opinion pieces and I’m mostly just focused on sharing my love of lipstick, ‘n’ all that jazz. However, over the Easter weekend there was a big ol’ drama on Twitter regarding the fact that bloggers have been using bots to help gain their Twitter and/or Instagram following and it stirred up a lot of consideration from me, so I thought I’d put pen to paper (sort of) and share my thoughts as I think the whole reaction was indicative of the sort of world blogging has become.
When I first started blogging in 2011, it was the most wonderfully girly, supportive and lovely environment where everyone had each other’s backs and we all celebrated each other’s achievements. If you called yourself a beauty blogger, you were part of a group, you belonged and anything you did well was given credit. If you were unsure, you could go on Twitter and find encouragement and easily make friends thanks to your common interests. Events were much the same thing, where you’d get a chance to catch-up with some of your favourite bloggers/Twitter friends in person over a glass of something sparkly and a pretty new beauty release.
Fast forward to 2017, and I tend to pretty much avoid Twitter as I find it a platform that seems to mostly serve bitchiness, negativity and anger. Gone are the days of support and instead you’ll find people wanting others to fail and groups of bloggers who have taken it upon themselves to point out the mistakes other bloggers are making, addressing them either directly or indirectly, and all of it feels incredibly unsupportive and unpleasant. There’s this constant fog of competitiveness that seems to overshadow everything else, a fog that’s also present at many events, which is one of the main reasons why I’m very, very selective about the ones I attend. Of course this is a sweeping comment and I’m sure there’s still lots of loveliness on Twitter if you have a bit of a dig around.
This is in no way me condoning the use of bots or any dodgy attempts at growing a following, but there is such a huge pressure on bloggers now to somehow create these gigantic followings overnight, whilst also cracking on with producing great content – and plenty of it – taking wonderful, inspiring photos, replying to hundreds of e-mails, uploading equally inspiring photos to Instagram (and keeping an eye on current hashtag trends), replying to Tweets, replying to blog comments, planning content, arranging PR appointments and attending events (plus manage every other aspect of their life!) and all this MUST be done organically, according to the bloggers on Twitter who are witch-hunting the aforementioned bot users in-between relying on Twitter bots to revive their older posts.
Of course I’m being very flippant, but I find it quite troubling how everyone was so quick to judge the bot users, especially those who know how extremely time consuming blogging can be. I will admit to being thoroughly unimpressed when I first heard about it all, but after having a little think, I do think I was too quick to judge. Whilst using a bot might have been a bit of an unwise choice, I completely understand why there are bloggers who thought it might be a good way to ease the pressure a bit, and I think the majority of people who did it, were just trying to find ways to get themselves out there a bit more – it’s all very well producing great content, but what if you can’t get anyone to see it and don’t know how to change that? There are of course the few exceptions who have just used it out of sheer laziness because they couldn’t be bothered to go it the traditional way and haven’t even tried – you know the ones who arrive on the scene for a short time and suddenly have thousands of followers for no obvious reason – but I think there were quite a few bot users who were just looking for a way to streamline things and maybe ease the pressure a bit, and I totally get that.