As bloggers we are constantly messing up and doing the wrong things. I have spoken openly about my blogging mistakes in the past and will be the first to hold my hands up to a mistake I have made. We are not perfect, and none of us have ever claimed to be either. But something I am noticing quite often recently in the blogging community, are bloggers who just get it wrong. Whether it’s the advice they share or the way they speak to their readers. There is this increase of bad advice and no thought going into posts and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen this happening either.
As a person who shares advice and puts herself out there for the world to judge. I am very aware of the fact that words can hurt people. Words can cut just like a knife does. I think bloggers forget the platforms they have and the responsibility that’s on their shoulders. We are to be cautious of the things we put out there and the advice we give, because one wrong move could be destroying.
I have got into a habit of including disclaimers into my writing, and letting people know that what they’re reading is my own opinion. This isn’t just to cover my back but to set my readers expectations too. In todays post, I thought I’d share some of the things that us bloggers do to get it wrong. Of course, these things don’t apply to everyone but they are just some observations I have made myself. And are even things I have done myself too.
BLOGGERS CAN CAUSE DAMAGE
The rise of mental health and self-care posts in the blogging world has increased in the past year, and for obvious reasons. But, I think the approach on how to help other people during this time needs to be carefully done. Posting “5 Ways to Cure Your Depression” is really not helpful for those suffering with crippling depression. It’s not helpful and it’s not smart. Theres no way that your depression is going to be cured by taking a bath and getting an hour extra sleep each night. Yes, those things can help temporarily make you feel better, but it’s certainly no cure.
Mental health is a serious and important thing that needs to be discussed with caution. There is no one way approach to anything to do with mental health. And suggesting someone should just take a bath and they’ll be cured is not it. If anything that can come across rude and very patronising. There is a fine line between helpful and disrespectful. Now, I am not pointing the finger here because I’m sure that I have made a mistake like that in the past. We are all learning together.
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WE PRIORITISE POPULAR CONTENT
The million dollar question. Do we write because it’s what we know our readers want? Or do we write because it’s what we want to post? I really don’t know what you should do. Should you post content that you know will do well, but you don’t enjoy it? Or should you post content you love, but you know might not do as well? As a blogger this is the kind of question I ask myself every time I’m writing new content.
I go through this constant battle between wanting my blog to perform well but also wanting to be authentic to myself and posting topics that I enjoy. There have been countless times where I haven’t posted something because I know it won’t do well. I know other bloggers struggle with this too and it can be quite a big worry for us.
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BLOGGERS DON’T TAKE THEIR OWN ADVICE
There has been countless times I have posted a blog about overcoming anxiety, when I cant even overcome it myself. I can share tips and tricks on how to combat stress, whilst I have been in a very stressful situation myself. We don’t practice what we preach alot of the time and I will happily say that some of the advice I share with others is not the advice I follow in my life. Why do you think that is? We are quick to help others but when its ourselves we don’t listen.
I guess it’s easier to help others because you don’t know the in’s and out’s. But when it comes to yourself you are slower to take the time and effort to look after yourself. Which is kind of sad. And another valid reason as to why we should prioritise our mental health and self-care.
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Yup, you heard it here first. Alot of your favourite bloggers are lying to you. The truth is, they hated that product a company sent to them but they told you to buy it anyway. The blogging advice they give you isn’t all that true but they want to look like they’re helping you. You’d be surprised at how many bloggers lie and cheat to get where they are. Now I know these people are few and far between but its a reality on any social media platform. Most of your favourite Instagram influencers are doing it too. The internet can be a deceiving place.
As already said, this is the minority of bloggers and not the majority. There will always be bad seeds no matter what it is you’re doing!
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What are your thoughts on this topic? Is there anything you lie about as a blogger? Do you practice what you preach?
Somewhat of a different post today, and one I’m sure alot of other bloggers will have opinions on! I am excited to hear them!
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I am the worst at not listening to my own advice at times I really need to, great post I totally agree with you! 😊
Thanks Beth 🙂
‘5 ways to overcome depression/anxiety’ posts – these type of posts cover the first three things you mentioned – they are dangerous, only for the views type of content and I’m sure the bloggers themselves are still struggling.
I applaud you for being open and honest. 👏
For me funnily I’m my truest self in the blogging world – it feels fun to post content for random strangers to read. (I don’t really share my blog with family and friends or on social media) My blog world is my safe space for my quirkiness and stories. 😊
They really are so damaging to people and its kind of insulting too. Saying that you can cure your depression for going for a walk. Its really sad that they think its okay to do!
It’s funny how all of these “how to overcome depression” posts say the same things. Like there’s no creativity whatsoever. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a post where the ideas weren’t taken directly from someone else’s post 🙄
Darren Owen - Living PF
The lying bit i think most already know this and to be fair they’re tryna make a living. Ethically it’s definitely not right though. The advice and sharing stuff i do my best to post my truths and a lot of things I talk about or advice I’ve actually been through and have come out the other side of it, although cycles may repeat. It’s a job behind the scenes and a responsibility. If only they knew 😅
Like I said in the post, this isn’t aimed at anybody as I know that alot of people that I know don’t do this. Its for the small number of people who think they can get away with it, but we all see through it!
Darren Owen - Living PF
Of course, I get it!
Great post!! regarding the first point — that is something that many people struggle with — to be authentic but at the same time to be able to give value. I think in most cases if you are honest and real then that in itself is something that most people will want to read. After all no one does YOU better than you. And there are people who would want to read that — one because we are all nosy and two because no one else has your life experience.
You are so right! We all have something to give in life!
I enjoyed reading this blog today because it succinctly delivered on several key concerns about just how important it is to be forever vigilant about the things we describe and indeed proscribe when knowing that there is an audience somewhere out there listening to and as importantly, who may be following and perhaps with bated breath, you’re/our/their every word. The “captive audience” it is anticipated, ought to be thus engaged and tentatively so or why else would seminars be held?
It is therefore crucial, particularly when offering any advice, that the reader is made aware that one’s ‘utterances, either comes from a shared experience’ or that it is offered following best practice when quoting numerous sauces for further reading. That’s the responsible approach and indeed some thought should be given prior to hitting that “WHOOSH, IT’S TOO LATE” button because, we are in “LAW” absolutely responsible for what we say and do and similarly speaking for what we have written.
Opinions and our right to them, do come with there own boundaries and whilst they may be uncomfortable to some, divisive discourse for instance, is part and partial of “parliamentary debate” being left or right of centre, would nevertheless require having the stomach for uncomfortable truths and would enliven any argument and consequently, it would be irresponsible to not have them.
Mindfulness and having the passion to hold one’s position, does mean that a precarious stance or a fine line not to be crossed inevitably will be but our use of language should forever remain respectful and it should never be at the expense to deliberately offend anyone.
As always, thanks for sharing your wisdom!
Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader)
Human behaviour is such an interesting thing. We usually know what we need to do but we don’t do it. Knowledge doesn’t translate into action. The most simple example is people know the secret to losing weight is to eat less and move more. Yet, we have an obsesity epidemic in many western countries.
I try to practise what I preach and everything I write about green living are things I do. Some of my health posts are things I research and try to do but I’m not perfect.
I’ve reached the point where I avoid reading any post that’s flagged as an AD unless the product or topic is genuinely interesting to me.
Yes you are soooo right. We all know what we should be doing, but alot of the time we don’t do it and then get confused when it doesnt work!
Seeing the in increase in product suggestions is sometimes annoying because you know that the blogger may not really like all the products they are promoting. It sometimes feel like they are just doing it just because. Great post and I love your honesty. I am a big believer in you should practice what you preach.
I agree with you! Alot of people just promote products to make money, instead of doing it because they actually like them!
NAND KISHORE SINGH
Great post – I often fail to follow the advice I give to others. That said, it’s not through lack of effort! Often I write advice as a way of giving it to myself. I would never recommend a product or give advice I didn’t believe is right of course. Thanks for sharing Olivia 🙏
Thats the same with me. I sometimes write posts with me as the reader in mind. I like to put myself into the shoes of the audience!
💜 Personally I THINK!!! that there is NO!!! Absolute “Right”, “Wrong”, Error, “Mistakes”, Black and White et al merely Our Perception, Shifting Sands and Shades of Grey; so, for example, Pop Psychology may be received gratefully by those who ARE Suffering mild mental health problems while those experiencing severe mental health issues may be Institutionalised for their own safety and the safety of others…it’s Crystal Clear Clarity that I, and Only I, AM Accountable and Responsible for My Intellectual ReActions to My Emotional Responses and so ARE YOU!!! ALL; this may sound HARSH!!! but it is a Truth that Cannot Be Denied yet it is Denied as We Blame Others for How We Feel and Act
Choosing the right words can make a big difference when writing about subjects like mental health. “How to deal with depression” might be a better title than “how to overcome depression.”
Bloggers who exaggerate the truth about their lives, whether it’s a mental health disorder, acting like a “success zombie”, or someone who pushes their products to make a dollar really drives me crazy. The other day, a blogger was blabbering on and on about how rich he was going to be by using the Law of Attraction. But it’s more than just imagining wealth and reading 10000 books on how to get rich fast – it’s the act of doing that leads to results. But what bothered me the most was the tone of his writing. It was a snarky, bossy, overly zealous tone to the point where it was unrealistic and just really bad advice. Long story short, I left a constructive comment and unfollowed.
I loved this! A success zombie isn’t something I have heard of, but you explained it perfectly there. Sometimes it takes a comment like that from someone to realise your own behaviour and to snap out of it! Which I hope he does!
Success zombie is a term coined by a successful CEO named Andy Frisella. He swears a lot, but the messages that he drives home are clear as day. His podcast is one of my favorites, preferably the MFCEO series 🙌
You touch on such an important topic there Hilary:) I think titles and keywords are super important, and their impact needs to be recognised!
The problem starts from imitating the style of a blogger that you admire. Instead of being yourself, it’s easier to be yourself than pretend and that’s how you come with half assed post with no personality or creativity
Yep! You are so right!
Everything you mention is very true. And it’s always so hard to follow what you preach; it’s easier giving advice than taking it. 🤷🏻♀️🙄
Facts! It really is. I struggle with this too
Great post! Really enjoyed it. Being authentic in our writing I believe brings more respect. We should always consider what we are about to say, do and write. 😊
We for sure should. We forget once our words are out there, we cant get them back!
A spot on post that really resonated with me- thank you Olivia! As a blogger and content creator, I work hard to dispel misinformation surrounding what I and others in this field do. I was in a college class the other day and the teacher asked whether we found interior design inspiration through social media. She then made a wary comment about influencers and how fake they can be. It was at that point that I felt my two cents might be needed. I can’t speak for others but I know my values as an influencer. Influencing falls low on the priority list. First and foremost, I strive for authenticity, to grow in my ability to be a better friend, better writer, better encourager. What I share is from the heart. I don’t stray from delving into messy, contentious topics but I like to only speak from experience. I know I can speak honestly about depression, eating disorders, sexual assault and the like because I’ve been there. I may not have had the same experience as another but I can empathise. I feel it wouldn’t be responsible for me to shell out advice that has no real backing. I will always speak from a place of tact and sensitivity and try my best to predict what feelings may come up in my readers and what questions I can answer within the post. I’m by no means perfect but the vast majority of other bloggers, content creators and influencers I follow have similar values and are just upstanding members of this community. I learn so much from them and am incredibly grateful to have these friends.
Somebody else mentioned this, about how we should be only speaking from our own experiences and I agree. How can we share advice on something that we know nothing about? Yes we can research, but I think the whole point of blogging (for me anyway) is speaking from experience. And speaking about real life things im going through at that moment. I think thats what gravitates people towards certain bloggers. Their willingness to be vulnerable.
I grasped at the honesty at this post✨Good on you Olivia👏🏾
Regarding the point on being your authentic self v writing popular posts is a big battle. I struggle with that a lot. I don’t know where to draw the line. While writing posts that I know will do well takes me a long time because I am procrastinating while writing posts I like takes little time because I enjoy writing it so much.
Listening to your own advice —God, so many posts I didn’t write because I don’t do that.
But again, many posts I wrote I don’t necessarily listen to the advice I preach. Although I like to mention “this is for you as much it is for me”. Well we all need to do better.
Sorry for all this rambling. I really enjoyed reading this. x
Loved hearing your thoughts Shahrin. You’re so right. Its easy to share what you think others should do, but often times we aren’t doing it ourselves. I guess its our human nature. Its easier to advise others, than to take your own advice! x
Great post! I guess the pressure of posting blogs which will attract traffic but not being authentic is a great point. Sometimes even i feel trapped in that mentality. This post has made me think how to make better use of this platform !! Thanks 🙂
I suffer from that too. Im constantly thinking of how I can make posts more attractive, but then I feel like it takes away the personal part of blogging!
I agree about the mental health point! 5 ways to help deal with depression would be fine but claiming these things will cure depression- it irritates me so much!
Yes me too!!
This is a great portray of advice. Loved your blog.🤗
If you are in for some motivation and visualisation of life journey do visit my blog : lifexcitement.wordpress.com
Keep writing! God bless
Thanks so much!
What you mentioned about the mental health posts – so true. One can make a “5 way to wear hot pink” and no disaster will come of it if all the suggestions turn out hideous. So what? It’s just taste/fashion/wtv. But when it comes to the medical field, not so much. Even if one thinks “suggesting a hot bath may not help, but it won’t harm” – yes it will. Because someone who is truly in need will look at that post and think “People get better with a hot bath? Why don’t I? I must be different. I’m alone in my disease”, and the frustration of not being able to find a cure or an answer will only aggravate the problem. Thank you for calling it out.
You are soooo right. I didn’t even think of it that way. So many people will be wondering why they are not cured when others are. It makes me sad that people feel comfortable and okay with sharing posts like that. But it can have a really negative impact on peoples and actually make them worse!
A lot of what you said can be true. I like the disclaimer note. That’s a good idea. If I talk about mental health I always encourage people to seek professional help if they’re issues are chronic and/or debilitating. Great post! Thanks for helping to keep us bloggers on the straight and narrow!
Its best to do that for sure. Because you don’t want to be held responsible if something does go wrong or if someone takes your advice the wrong way!
Blogging is a form of discussion. You can share experiences and often people can relate to this but it’s not a blogger’s place to give advice. I pass on what I read and I question often both myself and by throwing question out there but giving advice is for experts and a blogger is not an expert unless they are blogging in a particular field they are qualified to discuss and even then….
You’re right. As bloggers we should always speak from experience, as thats the only thing we can really speak on. We aren’t doctors or medical professionals.
You’re so right.
Kind of feeling guilty on the “practice on what you preach” part because I am a very inconsistent blogger and most of the times, I tend not to do things that I recommend for others to do. It’s like I am advising for someone that even I don’t or won’t do. For five years being on this platform, I grew so little. But I’m working out things on how I could fix this mistake. Thank you so much for this post. It’s an eye opener for me and mostly for other bloggers as well. Xx
I think we all are guilty of doing that. I have posted blogs about being happy and being thankful when I have felt nothing like being thankful or happy. Which just shows that on the internet everything isn’t as it seems. xx
Olivia, I wish I could keep up with your posts in a more timely fashion. I know I am always in for a good read and thought provoking session. From what I can tell, being a blogger that has a wonderful blog is no different to someone like me in terms of how I have advised and supported others throughout my career. I have been a part of an IR department, headed up HR departments, been responsible for the governance of organisations and even been a CEO here and there. During each of these roles, I have administered advice, support and leadership in a very professional and successful way. However, I am not good at following my own advice and as my doctor said to me the other day: it is time I took care of myself and not others. The great thing about you is that you can provide so much good commentary because of your experiences and you know where the pitfalls are. You can offer insights and pearls of wisdom that many of us can tap into and reflect upon. May you keep blogging for a long, long time 😊
Your doctor is right Sean! You really do need to take care of yourself. You only have one life to live, so make sure you’re putting yourself at the forefront!
Thank you, Olivia. I appreciate the awesome comments!
Tina (Totetally Legal)
It’s not really “lie”, but more like “withholding” myself from being brutally honest when it comes to reviews. Perhaps, my being a law student plays a lot on this apprehension because I know how stringent the cyber libel law my country has.
Olivia as you mentioned I am not sure if this holds true for all bloggers but I like the fact that you’ve tried to be honest with your post!
Sustainable Safety Solutions, NEPAL
What is your TRUTH?