An Uncomplicated Life Blog: How Blogging Is Like A High School Lunchroom

Monday, July 10, 2017

How Blogging Is Like A High School Lunchroom

The popular girls run the show and everyone tries to be like them

Why don't we sit down and have a little chat, mmk? I'll just pretend like you're here with me, so amuse my make believe for a sec. I think this post is going to be a mini rant and therapy session. And dang it if writing a blog post isn't a whole hell of a lot cheaper than therapy, right?! Anyway, I've been struggling lately. I've been struggling with this blog, and with the blog community in general. No, this isn't going to be a whole post dissing bloggers - there's some really great ones out there! More discussing why I'm struggling with this whole "influencer marketing" thing. And making an accurate comparison of influencer marketing to a high school lunch room. Seriously.

It seems like people now understand that blogging can be a legit career where you make actual money and can do it on your own time and from home in your pajamas. This week alone (I kid you not) three people wanted to grab drinks or coffee so that I could "counsel" them on how to get a blog started and help them up their social media game. And that's cool. There's a big market out there for that, and lots of opportunities to be had.

But is anyone else tired - I mean EXHAUSTED - of their favorite bloggers "going to the dark side" and posting nonstop sponsored content? Their Instagram feeds are full of "like it to know it" photos, meaning you'll get an obnoxious email sent to you if you like their photos with affiliate links to buy whatever is in said photo. Or they're posting about the free crap they got from some brand. Basically, every photo has "#ad" in it, if they're properly disclosing their photos. I'm talking at least 80 percent of their content is branded crap. Yeah, I calculated that statistic. Real numbers, right there.

Even their Instagram stories are full of sponsored content where all they do is link brands and add required hashtags. I'm sorry, but is it just me that finds that SO INSANELY boring?! Instagram stories kinda took over Snapchat because of the much better reach you get on them, and I see so much branded stuff it's actually more entertaining to watch commercials on TV. Because at least those are well-lit and have actors who legitimately know how to act, unlike an influencer on Instagram stories pretending to love a product they're rep'ping.

Here's the truth on the matter: I'm frustrated. I'm frustrated because I'm writing posts from my heart, that actually have things to say about things, and I'm watching other bloggers who only do sponsored work make so much more money than I do and get more opportunities than I do. Their blogs aren't entertaining or providing useful information. It's literally just a dumping ground of public relations nonsense. And these bloggers are growing and exploding and it's BLOWING MY MIND. Am I jealous? Sure. While I wouldn't post nonstop sponsored content here, I'd love to increase my income. I'd love more followers, especially if these followers engaged in pre-planned, pre-bought content.

I don't understand what people find relateable about this content. How does a photo of a protein shake get 2k likes?! How do these bloggers grow when they're basically shoving paid advertising down their followers throats nonstop? Basically, I don't get how THEY'RE growing and I'm remaining stagnant. And it's driving me nuts. Yes, comparison is the thief of joy and clearly I'm comparing myself to them and feeling bummed out. But it's mind-boggling.

In June, I resolved to blog again about the things that matter to me. To focus on a good mix of content of DIYs, recipes, thoughts and ramblings, topics in motherhood and so on. Now that we're in the second week of July, and I don't have a single sponsored post planned for this month, I'm just annoyed. I'm annoyed at the growth of the influencers who (to me) seem so fake and bought and unrelateble and frankly - unlikable. But they're growing like mad. 

My attitude is clearly a problem. I could work a little harder. And I know that the summer months are sloooowwwww for bloggers. But I wanted to start a discussion, with both non-bloggers and bloggers alike: What are your thoughts on influencers who post nonstop branded content? Are you engaged with them and liking their social media posts to have it help you in some capactiy? Are you personally friends with these people? Do you genuinely like their work? Let's discuss! Am I just in desperate need of an attitude adjustment or is this something we all find annoying? 

If I'm being totally honest, I feel like it's kinda a popularity contest where people are engaging with these bloggers because they're the "popular girls" in the lunchroom, and other bloggers desperately want to sit at their popular girl table. They don't really like said popular girl, but they want a piece of the popular girl pie. Am I wrong here?

Help a sister out. 


  1. Being a "it" blogger is absolutely a popularity contest. I'm just so sick of the cliques. I'm so sick of the pods. I'm so sick of people acting interested when they're not. And yeah, I'm sick of nonstop paid content. I don't mind paid content, but I want it to be a mix of paid and non paid.

  2. I think it's a bit boring when people are not creative in showcasing sponsored content. There's a difference there. I post primarily sponsored stuff, but most of the time you may not know until you read a disclaimer at the end. I think it's frustrating that A-people are cheating to grow B- people who deem themselves as "influencers" are actually very ignorant, and in turn those people are unfortunately the most successful C- people genuinely don't want to grow (i.e. learn photography, staging, editing) and D- people don't even put an ounce of thought into sponsored content (when the brand's brief allows you to).

  3. You're not alone in this; not only am I not growing, I'm LOSING followers (well, in terms of Instagram. Blog and Facebook are slow and steady up). I also am confused at the types of posts that soar with likes and comments. I left a comment group because they were alllllllllllll sponsored posts and it was quite dull. Now I'm only in a few groups with people I actually care to see their content.

  4. Amen, sister! :) This sounds absolutely ridiculous, but I'm a reality TV junkie and used to looove the show Jon & Kate + 8 (surely somebody else but me watched it?), Anyway, it was all about how these parents dealt with their family of 8 kids ... so interesting! But then, the show became popular and it became less about their regular home lives, and more about them going on paid-for resort trips, putting together free tree houses, going on paid-for experiences around the country, etc. It became less honest and real for me ... I stopped watching it. Long story short, I try to keep that in mind with my social media ... balance is key. :)

  5. Blogging pays the bills. It's up to the bloggers to make it useful and not just throwing stuff in people's faces. But what gets me is the behind the scenes stuff...bloggers making insane amounts of money and paying people to like and promote their stuff. THAT'S how they get so many followers, that's how they get so many likes on a picture of a bottle of shampoo. That's how. I honestly like real life stuff, sponsored or not. 50 pics of you in Cabo isn't going to make me like you. Whether you're holding a bottle of expensive wine or Tylenol or not. Don't let it get you down. Just be real. Real people can see real followers and real comments.

  6. I agree with those of you who said balance is key. It is. Most of us are in this to try and make a living but if you're always selling then it loses the personal touch that we all enjoy blogging and reading.

  7. I have been blogging for almost 4 years. I have done sponsored content a few times and made money with it. I don't go for every gig and only share what I truly feel my readers will want to see and/or know about. Yes, I have stopped reading blogs because many bloggers have done a lot and turned "commercial", but without the ability to make money, some blogs wouldn't be around (like mine). I use the money to supply my blog with content.

    I don't clique up with bloggers. As a matter of fact, I don't have a posse of anyone. I am cordial with everyone and mostly keep to myself. I blog about what I want and have worked very hard to network my work throughout the social media world. I don't rely on anyone to do it for me. Up until this weekend, I haven't even invested money into my blog for anything other than project supplies and my domain name.

    Having a fruitful blog takes a really long time and a whole lot of effort. Numerous places I've read have stated that it takes 10x longer to put your posts in front of people's eyes than it does to actually write it.

    I am not completely disagreeing with you, I just feel like there's two sides to this. Maybe I'm the "missunderstood loner" in this high school.

  8. I agree with Gena. Keep it real and it will come back to you. The rest will fall away.

  9. I'm so sorry your frustrated girl! I totally hear you and feel the same way. Stay true to who you are!

  10. I hear you and your frustrations. I just dgaf. I posted more sponsored content last year. I have a full time job and this isn't to pay my bills, moreso a place to chronicle my life and meet like minded people and if I can make a buck or two or two paid now and then, that's good enough for me. Blogging is tough $hit.

  11. I know how you feel. I do sponsored posts from time to time but I know a few girls who are just ad factories and it gets old that they rarely ever post non sponsored content.

  12. Yep. I'm over the people who post only sponsored content. Most of the time it doesn't feel genuine. There are exceptions, obviously. You know I could go on and on. I'm just over what blogging has become for so many.

  13. It's wonderful to write from the heart and even more amazing when you're connecting with people because of it. Try not to focus too much on what others are doing.

  14. Nothing turns me off faster than constant sponsored content. I totally understand how you feel, but it's always best to "just do you!" Good for you!

  15. I couldn't agree with you more. This blog post really hit home with me and is probably one of the reasons I have quit blogging for so long. I can't play with the big dogs so I quit. But do I really want to play with the big dogs? I started blogging when blogging FIRST started, back in the early 90s, when it was a real BLOG thing and not what it is today - where every one is an expert at this or that. BLAH! So I may just go back to regular blogging again, just putting stuff out there, my thoughts and opinions and leave it at that. LOVE this post.

  16. Thanks for the real post, it's greatly appreciated!! Sorry you're feeling so frustrated, sounds like you're in the right headspace though. Be you-- you're impacting people whether you know it or not.

    Meaghan xx

  17. A to the men!!! I'm sorry you're so frustrated, but I feel you friend, I feel you!

  18. Right? You pretty much just said what I've been thinking! One of my favorite blogs went to the dark side and gets paid by an ad company. It's painful to read her blog. All the photos are covered by ads. Ads pop up at random times. Now I'm not above doing product reviews or sponsored posts but even those are written in my voice with my readers in mind. My blog is mine--and I'll probably never be able to quit my day job!

  19. I've been blogging for nearly 7 years. Not one sponsered post. I started and continue to blog to connect with people and share ideas. I just signed up to an affiliate program. For books. The book love came before my burning desire to get 30 pence if you happen to like the same books I do. You are welcome to join us at the geeks table!


  20. This is such an interesting perspective! It does feel that way sometimes!

  21. i'm not gonna lie, i straight up ignore most sponsored posts now. i totally think that for non bloggers who read blogs, the sponsored posts aren't as obvious and they think the blogger is really sharing something they really use or care about. but when i am 'friends' with a blogger, i want to hear about their life or what things they really do/use. props to them for making money and stuff, but i don't have to read it. i think i'm in the minority with not wanting this to be a career or make any kind of money, so i don't judge those who do want that, i'm just not going to 'waste my time' (that sounds harsh but you know what i mean) reading something i don't actually care about.

  22. I feel the same way. I wish blogging would be how it was about 5 years ago--telling our stories!

  23. This is such an interesting post! I especially feel this way on YouTube, but bloggers have tried to become YouTube, and ARGH it's all a chain effect. Thanks for the fantastic discussion!
    -Amy @

  24. I love your honesty I this post. I honestly miss blogging a lot but I did start to feel almost this pressure to do and buy things to feature on the blog... things that the cool kids would like. And then i would get away from blogging about the stuff that I love, funny confessions, real life things in my life and DIYs. I tend to ignore all the sponsored does get annoying on so many levels. And I'm a little jealous too when i hear that they quit their job and live off their blog... Good for you man, that is amazing. Anyways, I appreciate you staying true to you :)

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