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My Thoughts on Being a Blogger & Consumerism

It’s a tricky tight-rope to cross…

I’ve seen the subject of consumerism crop up more and more in my feed and particularly the tricky relationship it has within the blogging world and I think that’s FAB. It’s time that we discuss these topics that we’re grappling with and trying to understand better within this new digital world we’ve created that has no previous blueprint or rulebook for how things should be done. I can confirm that 99% of the content creators that I meet are still in a ‘HOW THE HELL DID WE END UP HERE?’ haze. I mean it’s a haze that we’re grateful to be stumbling through, but it’s unknown for sure and as we reach a point where a large proportion of those who make a living from the internet have been doing so for years, we’re all looking deeper into the mechanisms and the consequences of this weird thing that we get to call our job.

With sustainability and frivolous consumerism being hot topics right now (and I hear about them everyday thanks to Mark who likes to talk about rewilding each night at dinner time), it’s something that I want to talk about more; to attempt to articulate what’s going on in my head, how I try to consider it across all content that I make and to gather your feedback on it. But how do you even begin to untangle the relationship between income, a bloggers ability to sell and the fact that we all really need to stop buying shit so mindlessly? I’ll give it my best shot…

Take online creators out of the way for a minute, because the pressure to buy is everywhere and has been since the dawn of the dime. The floorpan of stores are set out in a way that makes you stomp around the whole thing and ultimately purchase more, ads on the TV, radio, billboards, in magazines discounts and promotions – it’s endless. Consumerism isn’t a new concept, I’d guess that the effect of it just feels heightened right now due to this new influx of social media platforms that have provided more ways to share, but also more ways to sell. I mean I’m at the point where I might actually have to buy ones of those pink tinted unicorn serums that Instagram ads tell me to buy every five minutes. Or those cuddly toy shaped hair growth supplements. LOLZ. I mean I’m joking, but I am intrigued…

And that’s the thing as often this intrigue results in a purchase and that’s ok in moderation because buying stuff is fun. Sometimes we might actually need our new wares for a particular use or reason, or maybe it’s just something that we’ve had our eye on and would quite like in our lives. Heck – it happens to me ALL THE TIME! There are some bloggers out there who have probably made a pretty penny from me using their affiliate links and I’m more than happy to support fellow women whose work I enjoy and admire. For me these links extend into my offline life too. My mates ask for my discount codes when they buy a suitcase which is just the cutest thing ever. They ask me send over my affiliate link when they’ve seen something that I’ve worn that they’d like to buy. Just yesterday I found a dupe for my mate for a pair of shoes that I’d posted about and she’d WhatsApp-ed me to say that she’d like them too. Recommending products is what blogging was built on and there ain’t no problem with that. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where it begins to cross the line, but I do think that encouraging a lifestyle filled with hauls and a constant cycle of new things and excess is something that we should all be mindful of when we’re in creating mode.

One way in which I try to combat the cycle of buying new things ALL. THE. TIME. is with my capsule wardrobe, which I’ve held down (kinda), for the past three years. Sure things slip through the cracks between the seasons sometimes (like oh look hello NEW DRESS), but it gives me structure in the way that I purchase new items and means that I only ever share a haul on my channel once a season – doing four clothing hauls a year. Here’s the thing though – clothing hauls are by far my most watched videos and that’s the case for a lot of others too. So only creating my most watched video four times a year doesn’t make the most sense views-wise, but I feel it makes the most sense for me in how I try to balance and account for the sheer amount of new things that I show in my content and consequently end up exposing you lot to.

Because of this, the term ‘boring’ gets bandied around a lot and I get it. I’m sure there are people in my offline life who think I’m as dry as old bones too – you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea – and this re-use of products and clothing often isn’t the most zingy and exciting thing to watch. But I would LOVE to make it zingy and exciting and in the future, that’s what I’ll be looking to work on more and hopefully some head-scratching sessions will result in some new ideas entering my brain and coming your way. This is the tight-rope I was talking about. Buy more stuff, show more stuff, do more hauls = more views and therefore more income. It’s the consumerism conundrum and is something that each creator is going to have a different take on and find their own way to negotiate it.

Ultimately no one is putting a gun to your head and making you buy something. You either buy it or you don’t. And the decision to tune in or turn off is yours too. It’s something I’ve been thinking about since we recorded our podcast with Clemmie Hooper who said that she’d started to treat her Instagram feed like her morning paper and had curated it to a place where she enjoys it most. Scrolling through feeds should be an enjoyable experience and I’m sure that every now and again something might catch your eye and you click on it and that’s completely normal. However if you feel like impulse is kicking in and you ASOS basket is bulging, then take a break, re-curate and find your happy place online.

As bloggers who undoubtedly earn a proportion of income from selling product (affiliate links and brand deals), I think it’s up to us to choose wisely. Going with a gut reaction for brand collaborations and holding back those glowing recommendations for products that deserve it and have been truly tried and tested. To haul in a responsible way that encourages rewearing of clothing for seasons to come and to shine a spotlight onto sustainable clothing and retailers. I ain’t perfect – no one is – but I feel that this attitude is something that is being embraced by all the fellow bloggers and YouTubers that I follow and that’s SO COOL. We’re stumbling, it’s still early days and I’m sure we’ll all f-up from time to time but it’s a direction that I’m excited to see things head in. Prepare for ‘What I Eat in a Day from my Vegetable Patch’ videos as Mark harps on about replanting trees in the background. I joke, but give us 10 years…

Photos by Emma Croman

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