With a title like that, I’m obviously referring to myself. I thought I’d share my motives, aspirations and whatever else emerges from writing this post, which will no doubt at some point turn into a mild rant and an incredibly long ramble.
You may be aware of an ‘article’ (I want to say ‘post’, but that would suggest it was written by a blogger – heaven forbid) that has been causing a bit of a stir in the beauty blogging community. Somewhere underneath the cloud of ridicule directed at a blog the writer has singled out for attack, she raises some interesting points.
She recognises a clear distinction between The Media (her capitalisation) and bloggers and never the twain shall meet. Not a problem, it’s a word I don’t feel comfortable using to describe myself or this blog anyway. You can also add ‘writer’, ‘press’ and a host of other professional sounding terms to the ‘makes me feel like a phony list’.
She sees beauty bloggers as consumers who are not qualified to give reviews on products. She believes that beauty bloggers have too much influence over your buying trends. It appears that as a consumer, you’re obviously not capable of reading my blog with any modicum of original thought. You simply absorb what I tell you like some kind of foundation-fuelled osmosis.
One of her main criticisms of bloggers, is the writing style they use to feature a product or talk about the latest release. I’m assuming she dislikes the anecdotal nature of blogging and the way we often eschew traditional journalistic methods of reviewing.
Good. It would bore me to tears to write to you in a regimented albeit precise way. To be fair, I don’t have the writing skillz to do so anyway. I talk to you like you’re my friends because you are. Don’t reach for the sick bucket just yet, I’m not arranging a sleepover, but it’s like this…
I have a passion. A lot of you come back here day after day to share my passion and you understand why I would get excited about finding another perfect taupe eyeshadow to add to my ever-growing collection of perfect taupe eyeshadows. I know that when I write, I’m sharing my experiences with you in an undiluted, raw way. But as a blog reader myself, I embrace that because it’s pure and it’s true.
I write this blog because I love to see you come and read it. I get a thrill if I notice my email subscribers jump up. If I get linked from a forum ‘cos I’ve written something that interests you enough to come and stay awhile, my pride swells. That’s my motivation. PR freebies are a recent thing… probably from the end of last summer onwards. They help me keep my content fresh and up to date and I love them. I love playing with them, I love opening them and I love being invited to consider them for review. Do they affect my honesty in delivering content to you? You only have to read my negative reviews on PR acquired goodies to see that it takes more than a free sample of lipgloss to compromise myself. Try a week in the Maldives next time nice PR lady.
I do try not to trash products, although I have on ocassion. If I dislike something, there is usually some positives that I can include… not because it makes linking back to the PR any easier (although it does) but because I’m well aware that I’m only one person and what doesn’t work for me may be your next HG.
I do have a slight issue with PR that I’m struggling to find my feet with… perhaps the blogger/reader relationship should dictate that I keep it to myself… but being the chronic oversharer that I am…
In the article (or comments, I can’t remember which) someone raises the point about bloggers being a little sheep-like, reviewing the same thing at the same time. It’s true. And it’s the one aspect of this brave new world that I’m uncomfortable with. I desperately want to come up with the goods for me, for you, for my blog. Quality, independent features that no-one else has access to. Why do you think I damn near peed myself when I got the Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland Palette? Well… apart from getting to play with it before you suckers. The problem is, I’m one of many beauty bloggers out there. Not only that, but there are far better writers and reviewers out there too. Until the dust settles and PRs learn how to ask bloggers for their pageviews and stats (why is that never done?) – I guess we all have to review Liz Earle at the same time. Heck, I could turn it down if I’m so altruistic and concerned about your reading experience couldn’t I? But I REALLY WANT TO TRY IT! However, I am becoming much more selective nowadays. It was only yesterday I turned down the opportunity to review the latest in nail fungal cream. (I jest…)
I accepted it. (ok, I jest again… sorry).
There is another genuine problem with the whole consumer turned reviewer aspect. We’re fickle. Sam raises this point in her article. It’s a fair one. In the past I have given you a crappy review of a product, only to fall in love with it weeks down the line. If this happens, my intention is to go back to my initial review and update. You may come across some of these haphazard updates in my archives. Vice versa, we all get infatuated by a new product only for the shine to rub off a few weeks later and whilst we don’t suddenly dislike the product, newer shinier ones take precedence. But does this make my initial review any less valid? Of course not. I’m a consumer and I’m doing exactly what you, Sam or anyone does.
If you’re looking for the perfect review that promises you will be as thrilled with the product as the reviewer. Tell me when you find one. I know I don’t need to tell you to check out lots of reviews and articles written by a variety of makeup lovers: MUAs, Consumers like me and Journos – looking at the combined picture will probably bring you closer to the perfect review than anyone can alone.
If you want shared experiences, a bit of banter and someone who lives to buy and play with makeup and beauty shit as much as you do. Pull up a chair ‘cos I’ve just bought/been sent (delete as appropriate) this bloody gorgeous looking coral lipstick. It pongs like grannies though.
Wow. 1110 words. 2 hours in the making. If only I’d put that much effort into my Media & Cultural Studies degree *dons Mickey Mouse ears* then maybe I’d have those Journalistic qualifications I need to have an opinion. Doh!