This is something I’ve felt the need to get off my chest for a while…
I attended a blogging conference a while back – and the one thing that struck me square in the face speechless – was how willing people were to promote things, in order to get free things — that they don’t even want or use.
Their voices are powerful – but they are giving them away.
On the bright side:
- I met a lot of great women at this conference.
- I got some great tech support for my blog from Dreamhost (p.s., not getting any kick back for saying that, even though it is a product promotion!)
- I found some great blogs and amazing writers
- I learned a lot about publishing
But on the dark side I found that some of the people that I met at seminars at that conference were willing to promote ANYTHING to get whatever they were getting in exchange.
Now I don’t want to go off on a rant here without the caveat that it wasn’t EVERYBODY. Of course not! But here is a specific situation: one lady commented about getting a Samsung Note 3 for FREE in exchange for her review about the phone – which was a glowing review. And this same person then said that the phone was horrible and the camera was all wonky and she wouldn’t recommend it… I thought – why would you give away your integrity for anything, much less something you don’t even want?
I personally quit a design team when I felt the product quality failed to meet my standards. I talked to the manufacturer about my concerns and why I was quitting the team. Why would I want a bunch of things I wouldn’t personally use?
Why would I choose to promote something that, if a reader chose to buy it and had the same experience that I did – would then negatively impact my reputation with that reader?
I began to understand why the FTC asked bloggers to disclose their relationships. It seemed unnecessary to me, at first. I thought, at least in my sphere of blogging, that these relationships were OBVIOUS. People have a product line with a manufacturer, or were on ‘design teams’ – and quite frankly would you do that if you didn’t even like the product???
After the conference I set out to follow a bunch of attendee bloggers on Twitter as well, and you know what? They only tweet commericals. In packs. Nothing of substance. Nothing real. It’s like the advertisers have taken over the voice of bloggers – and they are willingly letting that happen. For what?
Take a stand. Your voice is worth so much more. I want to believe in you. If you tell me you are a ‘brand ambassador’ – I don’t want to have to question your integrity. I want to believe. Is that naive?
What are your thoughts about the integrity of social media?