Well, well, well… it’s that time again.
I am sad that this is my first “legitimate” post of 2017. As we trudge into March, the whole new year, new me thing has metamorphosed into let’s take all the bad behaviour from 2016 and amplify it to the nth-degree. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. If you don’t like what you see, do something about it. Call it out the second you clock it. People need to be held accountable for their shady behaviour. And I’m glad we’re seeing more exposés happening lately. If you are a blogger/vlogger/influencer/whatever and you feel like any of the critiques below are applicable to you, well, tough titties, I’m afraid. Fix it. Be better, not bitter. We can all be better. Click here to read Part 1 of this series.
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• It doesn’t look like Instagram has any plans to reinstate realtime out-of-app notifications on who follows you. And that sucks. If you follow me while I’m on the Instagram app and I see the notification, I will look at your account. If we have mutual followers, share similar interests… chances are I am going to follow you back. If you follow me while I’m not on the app and the follow notification gets pushed out of my news feed, please don’t be upset if I don’t follow you back or if you think I’m ignoring you (not the case). I will only know you’re new if you start liking and interacting with me on my photos, which I strongly urge you to do.
• Third-party apps that allow you to track followers if and only if you give them permission to post things, whatever those “things” may be, from your account. Excuse me, but no?!?
• Unless you’re a brand or a celebrity, I think it verges on despicable if you have 10,000 followers but only follow 20 people back. And that leads me to…
• Buying followers. You wouldn’t believe the amount of direct messages and e-mails I get from spammers that want nothing more than to increase the number of people following me. Some say it’s as simple as liking X, Y, and Z. Some say you have to join their network for some kind of fee. Some say it’s a one-time purchase of X number of followers for X number of dollars. Grrr.
• To the people who buy followers: we see you. If you have 6,000 followers and your pictures don’t even hit 50 likes, something is obviously wrong. You’re not slick. You haven’t fooled anyone. It might be enough to pull the wool over the eyes of some unassuming brand rep for the sake of getting PR samples, but everyone else can see it’s a stunt. What actually matters on Instagram is engagement—people actively liking and commenting on your photos. Engagement is what makes Instagram fun. It allows the community to proliferate in a positive way.
• And speaking of likes… check out the screenshot below of a DM I received. This is not okay, people.
• Oversharing. I have to think long and hard before posting photos of myself (*mini fist pump for not using the word selfie*). And even after thinking about it to the point where I convince myself to do it, I still don’t like doing it. It isn’t because I hate the way I look. People are always asking me to post more, actually. And I appreciate that—truly, I do. But I think it distracts from my content. Hah, look at me saying content when I write blog posts once every other month. I’m serious, though. I’m not into plastering myself all over the Internet. This space is for you and I to talk about vapid stuff! Besides, you really have to laugh at the people who announce publicly that they’re going on vacation for two weeks and then when they return they post that their house was robbed. *Madea voice* Like, hellurrr? How dumb can you be?
• The onslaught of unhelpful blogs. Pretty pictures, although nice to look at, don’t tell the reader much. Small blurbs of 100 words or less also do not tell the reader much. If you are a blogger and this is your standard for how comprehensive reviews are to be written… you are not helping anyone! And if you think you’re helping anyone (aside from maybe the brands you’re giving promo to because they sent you free crap), YOU’RE WRONG! This is not Twitter! There is no character limit on how much you write! And this is precisely the reason why I don’t write a blog post every single day. I would rather produce content that is consistently interesting, thorough, helpful, and worth reading, even if it doesn’t get posted regularly. And the same goes for Instagram. I don’t post on Instagram as often as I used to, and I’m pleased to say I pull better numbers and have more engagement than the people with over 10,000 (legitimate) followers. Why? Because I’m not posting pictures of the same products in a different combination every single day. It becomes monotonous. Sodden. If there’s nothing new, there’s nothing new to comment on. Not rocket science.
• The white marble fairy dream pixie princess fantasy setup on Instagram. I feel like Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. NO. MORE. WHITE. MARBLE. EVER! Not the ticket, folks! It makes everyone’s pictures look identical, which is another cause for low engagement. Is it X’s picture you’re looking at or Y’s? I dunno, I can’t tell them apart. Didn’t I just scroll past that picture? *scratches head* And this brings me to…
• The blatant hijacking of intellectual property. Holy shit, you guys. I don’t know how many people I’ve seen outright steal from Binita (@hiddenharmonyworld). From the layout of the photo, to the trays, to the wooden spoons, to the floral embellishments… sometimes right down to the goddamn cup of coffee in frame. Just because you like how someone else’s pictures look doesn’t mean you need to copy every single detail. Even some pictures that are clearly inspired by others have similarities too striking to ignore. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to just come up with their own aesthetic. Be creative. The world is your oyster. It will feel much better when you know your photos stand out as being beautiful and creative in their own regard. Do you know what I take my photos on? BEDSHEETS! That’s how I roll! I’m due for an upgrade, but for now this is serving its purpose!
• The makeup community is out of control. Last I checked they were applying foundation with condoms, cucumbers, and vibrators. They will be applying it with dildos next, just wait and see. The hardcore ones will be applying it with their husband’s penis. Which should make for an interesting video tutorial or Instagram story. And that leads me to…
• Instagram stories that are just 20 seconds of you doing a peace sign, then the clip plays in reverse, then it plays again, then it plays again in reverse. It’s extremely unappealing to watch you sip your wine, spit it out, sip it again, spit it out again, on a loop for half-a-minute. This is me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYkxAPmAAIc
• People scrunching up their faces when using a face mist. WHY? Might as well plug your nose while you’re at it so you don’t drown.
• Bloggers who e-mail every company on the face of the Earth asking for PR samples, and encourage others to do the same. No. Then they have the audacity and arrogance to write about the products and say “oooh, these just landed on my desk” in a matter-of-fact way. Are you shitting me? The products didn’t just land on your desk, you stupid twat. You begged the company’s PR team for them and gave them your mailing address. Stop acting like this was some fated, divine, meant-to-happen experience. And now you’re writing a glowing review on them after having only used them for three days and are failing to disclose that they were sent to you for free (or that you begged for them). Outrageous. And don’t think you’re being helpful/altruistic in doing so. The motivation behind this isn’t to help others. It’s greed. If it feels good to sell your soul for a face oil, then by all means, continue to do so. At the very least you can be honest with your followers and readers and tell them when you have NOT paid for the products you’re reviewing. And this goes for everyone. It’s as simple as putting an asterisk beside the product name each time you mention it. Or, have an all-encompassing disclaimer saying that all products are PR samples unless otherwise specified. There’s no reason for me to still be making this point in 2017. Don’t be a product pimper.
• Instagram bludgeoning us with sponsored posts. What the fuck is an avocado mattress? Maker’s Mark and Spanish Lincoln Motor Company… we get it. Enough.
• I absolutely abhor the term “therapist swipe”. Sounds like something your psychiatrist does to you after you admit to them that you’re cheating on your spouse again.
• Plastic surgeons. Especially those who use influencers to promote plastic surgery or their practice to the influencer’s following (with no regard to how young the following might be). This is disgusting, it’s wrong, and it needs to stop. I’m looking at you, “Dr.” Simon Ourian. Hippocratic oath, my ass. Just another money-grab.
• GLOSSIER REPS. ENOUGH! WE GET IT. Glossier should just change their name to Rodan + Fields at this point!
• There are way too many “skincare brands” in miron glass bottles that are nothing more than unimpressive blends of 10 difference essential oils with an exorbitant pricetag. The market has been filled, thank you, now kindly march along. Organic has become whoreganic.
• Collaborations with influencers. I think we’ve reached capacity on those, too. How many more crappy limited edition makeup palettes does the market need? And it’s not just the fact that this is annoying and everyone has had enough of them, it’s that there is always a scandal behind each one. People are so quick to put their name on something because they think it’s going to make them a fast buck. They don’t think of the ramifications on their reputation when things go belly-up. Sorry, but my sympathy is limited these days.
• Influencers becoming the “face” of a brand. Again, too many scandals. Over it. BYE!
• Like it or not, brands can do whatever they want. Sometimes it’s to our benefit, sometimes our detriment. I cannot believe how childish, petty, and unfairly some people behaved over the recent May Lindstrom price increase. Some people made really hilarious posts about the price increase (which I have no issue with—we all need to laugh), some people made some Debbie-downer posts about it, and some people made some belligerent posts about it. Community in-fighting is not pretty. I spoke to a good friend about it and we were both neutral to the situation. At the end of the day, nothing is going to reverse the price increase. The choice to support the brand is entirely yours. If you don’t want to buy the products, nobody is pointing a gun to your head telling you to do so. May’s brand is not going to crumble because a few people are no longer going to support it. Trust me—there are millions of products out there that are just as luxurious and at fairer price-points. The world will go on. With brands like The Ordinary (which, in my opinion, is all cheap shit and not even worth the couple of bucks each product costs) having their moment right now, the scope of the industry is changing. It’s a fickle industry. Because of The Ordinary, we’re going to see a lot more companies try to produce budget-friendly skincare lines to accommodate this shift. One thing that will always be true is that there’s a sucker born every minute, and with each new product released there will be some influencer getting paid to shill it, and their underlings will all run out to buy it blindly. Once again, the world goes on. If you like paying $40 for a small jar of coconut oil, have at it.
*NOT* ON MY NERVES…
• People calling others out on their nonsense.
• People calling brands out on their nonsense.
• People using their heads and being critical of certain movements in the industry.
• People becoming smarter and less wasteful about what they’re buying. You don’t need 20 cleansers and 10 moisturizers. You just don’t.