We live in a world where everything is edited.
Selfies have filters on and blemishes removed before the real world gets to see them.
Instagram is full of people showing the exciting things, and missing out anything ordinary or god-forbid mundane. Everyone seems to have these glossy lives on the internet, and I think we often forget that this is just a slice of someones life.
We all do it – on my Instagram, just as an example, I post a photo a day and have done so since new years day 2014 – however the day before yesterday, as an example, my photo-of-the-day was of a cup of tea and my laptop screen, showing my latest blog post (Sun, Snow and Skiing), with a nice filter and looking all cosy.
What it didn’t show was that I spent a huge amount of Sunday asking myself some important questions about things, then trying to distract myself from worrying about these questions, and only then did I manage to write my post. The reason I wrote and posted it (I don’t normally post on a sunday) was as a distraction from the less shiny things going on at the moment.
I am not afraid to tell you this. Because we all have days that feel a bit shit. We all have days where we question absolutely everything and think about all the things we want in our lives and that we have no idea how to get there. We are only human, and we can’t be as shiny and positive as our internet lives portray us to be all the time. Most probably, we will wake up the next day, as I did yesterday, and feel infinitely better – but that doesn’t detract having a crappy day the day before.
I try to be positive online, but I am also honest – and whether that is wise or not, is a matter of opinion, but I put this to you – surely it is better to be honest and real, and tell your readers what is going on so that they can relate, sympathise or even help, than cover everything in “Amaro” filter and pretend everything is hunky dory all the time.
I think the relationship between blogger and reader is very special – and one which, though still quite new to me, I am growing to really cherish. Some bloggers make a choice to maintain a really positive outlook, which is great. Others allow a lot more of their reality and personal life in, which is also great. It is a choice, and both are equally valid approaches to this malleable world we call ‘blogging’.
|Logo screenshot from www.hannahgale.co.uk|
One blogger I have come across only recently (and I hope she doesn’t mind me mentioning her here, but she has inspired this post) is Hannah Gale. I haven’t met her, we haven’t even spoken online, but I read her blog. She is so wonderfully, refreshingly honest in her posts, and this has led to some comments this week about her being “negative” on her blog. I have read her posts – she doesn’t sit there and moan, but she does mention the less shiny parts of reality, which is both incredibly brave and really refreshing.
As I said, I don’t know her, but through her blog, I feel that I know a little bit about her – she seems incredibly genuine, and, because I have read her posts; the positive posts, the hilarious posts and the posts where she is brutally honest about feeling crappy, or getting worked up over little things (which we all do, but I think a lot of us find it very hard to admit, and even harder to post into a public arena!) she just seems real.
I think that a reader wants to learn about the inner lives of a blogger – look at people like Zoella – millions of people watch vlogs about what her and Alfie Deyes (Pointless Blog) get up to every day for an insight to their lives – even if they are just going to the shops. The reason, I think, they are so popular, is because you see so much of them – both positive and negative. We have seen them on holiday and at launch parties etc but also, Zoe has spoken, in tears, on camera about her anxiety, and it only made her seem human. (Hats off to her – Incredibly brave thing to do!)
I guess what I’m trying to say, in a very long-winded way is this; isn’t it better to be real and relatable, than filtered, edited and seemingly awesome but inaccessible to the person reading?
And, even more importantly, no matter what your opinions about the blogger’s content; I can’t help thinking that negativity about it, particularly if it has taken bravery and guts to put it out there in the first place – is never necessary.
Laura WoodApril 14, 2015 at 1:11 pm
Hannah's blog is my favourite and I thought pretty much the same when I read the comments on the post you mentioned.
The reason I love reading blogs is BECAUSE they're so relatable. Even just for product reviews they're so much more trustworthy than magazines because they're real, by real people. And whilst something glossy and shiny is nice to look at and lust after, it soon gets boring because it's the same as every other "look how glossy my life is" blog, and then I think… I should've just bought the latest cosmo because at least I'd have got a free gift!
Shoegal Out In The WorldApril 14, 2015 at 1:42 pm
Great post!!! I felt like you were in my mind and you were expressing how I feel and my thoughts on blogging and keeping it real.
Have a lovely day!!!
xoxo Violeta, your Shoegal Out In The World
LizaApril 14, 2015 at 3:48 pm
I love this post! I think you're right, we all want to present the best person of ourselves on the internet but sometimes it's nice to know that you also ask yourself important questions and then worry about them! I love your blog, it's beautiful.
Charlotte AApril 14, 2015 at 4:03 pm
I completely agree that relatable content is best. Bloggers who create posts purely about the best of things might have lots of readers but they aren't honest. People who read their posts are being misled into thinking everything is perfect and then aspire to achieve a lifestyle that isn't realistic. I like Hannah, and I hope she ignores all the hate she is getting. I can see why she came across badly in that particular post but I don't think she intended it to sound like that and I know she struggles with things just like the rest of us.
At the end of the day as much as a beautifully edited Instagram feed and carefully worded blog looks good, I would much rather follow someone who I can relate to on some level. My Instagram photos probably have my ironing basket in the background! I DON'T DO MY IRONING! Shock horror. I'm just a regular person.
I hate that people think they have the right to criticise other people online. They would never approach someone in the street and verbally abuse them so why do they think they can do it sat at a screen?! It's the same thing.
Samantha BetteridgeApril 14, 2015 at 4:51 pm
I absolutely love this post! You're so right, we are all guilty of filtering everything to make our lives look better than they are. However, I love reading honest and down to earth posts more than I do 'superficial' posts, so I guess we need to actually start practicing what we preach a little more! xxx
Sam | Samantha Betteridge
laura135April 14, 2015 at 6:10 pm
I nodded the whole way through reading this! I'm a huge fan of Hannah Gale's writing and it was actually upsetting to read some of the vitriol thrown her way for that blog post. I will always prefer writing that reflects real life, and is honest about things like anxiety, depression and the good alongside the bad. Really well said!
MathildeApril 14, 2015 at 6:17 pm
Hello! What a great post. I always feel attracted to Hannah's blog because of that very reason. I try to create posts that start with my thoughts, experiences or issues then think what can be done to live in a more inspired way, and grow from the experience. It's tough, and that's the whole point. I hope I'm achieving this and if not yet then I'll get better. Shallow is unattractive and it is so refreshing to read things from real people.
SteffRApril 14, 2015 at 7:05 pm
I am all for relatable blogging, gloss and glamour is well and good but I enjoy hearing real stories and experiences so much, they are what make me remember and return to my favourite blogs. That's a shame this blogger is experiencing negative feedback, I will check her out, thanks. 🙂
Sabrina JaineApril 14, 2015 at 9:50 pm
Really interesting post! I agree with you, it's definitely better to be real and relatable. No one is perfect and although it's natural to want to present ourselves at our best, I think bloggers should always be honest with their readers, even if it means being negative!
Hayley NicoleApril 14, 2015 at 9:53 pm
I love this post, it's really easy to feel like you're the only person on the planet who's got no idea what they're doing or to have a crap day or two (which it does feel like sometimes) when really everyone does! I only came across Hannah Gale's blog a month or two ago but she's already becoming a favourite of mine x
AncaApril 15, 2015 at 1:16 pm
Why focusing on the positive isn't real? If I write a list of good things that happen to me is less real than a list of bad things?
I don't like reading about bad things and problems and I avoid bloggers that do that constantly. I read my blog and I want to enjoy every minute of it, so I write only about the positives. Everything I write is true and real and if somebody beliefs my life is perfect because I don't complain… well that is their problem. It's not perfect, nobody has a perfect life.
IsabelApril 16, 2015 at 6:59 pm
I agree with everything you have written. Why people feel the need to analyse and nitpick other people's blogs I don't know. If a blog is not for you, move on to a different one. Don't stop to personally attack someone.
I have recently come back to blogging, and have chosen to write what I want this time- not what people think I should write. I don't claim to fit into any blogger category. I like a bit of everything. Really, I just like writing for the sake of writing. It calms me. I write about my health problems on my blog because it's part of my identity. If someone comes to my blog looking for a shiny glossed over version of me, they're going to be disappointed.
In short- do what makes you happy. Don't live and breathe just for other people.
Bloody Hell BrennanApril 24, 2015 at 8:14 am
Yeah I agree. I really like Hannah's blog too, and have struggled myself with anxiety and depression in the past and I find posts that are REAL so much more enjoyable to read than yet another 'Lush Haul' in the blogging world.
BE REAL GUYS. Bath bombs are fine, but personalities are better.
Arora ApplebyApril 24, 2015 at 2:07 pm
Yess!!! I totally agree and have only just joined the blogging world (www.teachingswithtea.blogspot.co.uk – sorry for self promo lol) and the one thing I've vowed is to be incredibly real to my (not so many) readers, everyone can relate to others about at least something, especially when it's "negative" things; depression, anxiety, heartbreak etc. and that's what I love reading – It reminds you that you aren't alone in this, many people have gone through what you're going through and you take solitude in that fact which I think is amazing! xx
CassandraMay 1, 2015 at 12:34 pm
Thanks for this blog. It made me even more understand how much more I enjoy reading not artificially blurred but sincere blogs.
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:12 pm
I completely agree – real opinions and real perspectives are so much better! I am all for putting a nice filter on a photo, but I also fully acknowledge on a daily basis that I'm only human and we all have crappy days every now and again.
Hannah's blog is brilliant because she balances that so well.
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:13 pm
I'd much rather read reality than something glorified and brightened up. Positivity is all well and good, but it needs to be accompanied with reality.
Glad you liked the post.
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:15 pm
We have to be real, particularly when we know the impact that comparing yourself to others has – we can't become another thing to compare lives to.
We all have our issues and its best to acknowledge that.
So glad you like my blog.
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:18 pm
We can all aspire to achieve more, but when it becomes unobtainable because it isn't real, its just depressing! Hannah is great – I love her blog and she maintains her style despite the negative comments – good on her.
Absolutely – I don't do my ironing and I've got three empty mugs in my bedroom at the moment! NOOOOO!
Feedback is one thing, negativity for the sake of it is unnecessary!
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:19 pm
Absolutely! Honesty is the best policy!
Glad you liked the post!
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:22 pm
Thank you for your comment.
Surely the glossy magazines are just that, "glossy", and blogs have to be reality otherwise they are just an online, fake, version of a glossy magazine!
We all have positives and negatives in our lives, and we shouldn't pretend otherwise.
Glad you liked the post!
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:22 pm
I agree. There is a lot of pressure to be positive and to filter out the other aspects of our lives, but actually what people want is to read the truth.
Glad you liked the post
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:23 pm
She's great – do check her out. She is real, which is exactly what I think you need to be on this platform. She gets the balance just right.
Glad you liked the post.
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:24 pm
Honesty is always best. Presenting ourselves at our best and pretending we don't have a worst are so different. It's making sure we get the balance right.
Glad you liked the post.
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:25 pm
We all have crap days – and thats when this community can be either really supportive, or make you feel worse. I think we should show that things aren't all sparkle all the time.
Glad you enjoyed the post.
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:27 pm
You are, of course, right. The point I am making is more that we should focus on the positive but not pretend there is no negative side too. A lot of blogs now are so filtered and have the downsides cut out that they make their lives and outlooks seem unachievable.
I agree with writing about the positives, but maintaining reality is key too I think.
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:29 pm
Welcome back to blogging! Absolutely agree – write what you want, and not what people think or say you should write.
Writing about the positives and the negatives of your identity is really important – and I totally agree, do what makes you happy. Great outlook. 🙂
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:31 pm
"Bath Bombs are fine, but personalities are better." – Katie, I think I love you a little bit!
I do think it is so important to talk about those things. Reality is so important and filtering out all the negativity or reality just means you end up with a very warped version of who you are – with absolutely no balance! No-one wants to read that!
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:34 pm
Bravo! What a great outlook – and welcome to the blogging world! How are you finding it?
I totally agree, the things that people want to read about are those real things. This community can help people deal with anxiety and heartbreak and know that they aren't alone suffering with that.
Glad you liked the post too!
Rosie LadkinJuly 9, 2015 at 4:34 pm
Thank you – I'm so glad you liked it.
Sincerity and reality is the way to go in my opinion!
Blog A Book EtcFebruary 6, 2016 at 10:36 pm
Most definitely agree with this entire post, sometimes it takes a lot of guts to write a negative post or put up a video of yourself full stop let alone in a negative light. There is no need for negativity from others.
I have been up there on my soapbox having a good old rant once or twice on my blog but the rants that are things that really matter to me and not just a moan – if that makes any sense! Great post and sometimes we all need a little filter when things are crap! xx