Authenticity has become a quite popular topic as of late-in the news (especially the political world, but that’s all I’ll say on it) but also in the blogging world. Numerous bloggers have written blog/social media posts on their thoughts regarding it so I thought I’d offer mine.
In the seven years I’ve been keeping this blog, I’ve always been honest. Honest about my thoughts on a particular restaurant or hotel I stayed at. Honest about my slight disappointment in a food tour I went on where I didn’t receive a whole lot of actual food to sample. Honest how in an age where it seems so many people are just saying “screw the whole 9-5, working for the man, I’m never going back to THAT grind again,” you can’t help but feel inferior or even “loser-like.”
I came to the Instagram world a bit late (I only started using it in 2014 once I FINALLY got my first ever smart phone). I share photos pretty regularly on it for two reasons-one, I use it to help promote blog posts I write since no, I’m not a huge “influencer” and every little bit helps, and two, I genuinely enjoy the community of like-minded people it’s allowed me to discover. Individuals who live all over the world and come from all corners of life but are people like me who love travel, experiencing other cultures, and most importantly, food.
When it comes to what I post on Instagram, I do try to make it more unique and never what’s already been done dozens of times. If I had to tell you the one thing I can’t stand about 20-something female travel bloggers it’s those who are gazing off into the distance or making the oversaturated “V” stance with their arms like they’re about to do a floor routine in gymnastics. In the three years since I started using Instagram, I’ve posted a total of four photos of myself. Frankly, the Instagrammers who are forever posting photos of themselves posing like a 1940s movie starlet as they pimp (er, I mean promote) the latest clothing or accessory they received for free, just makes me feel like these are individuals on that clothing/accessory company’s payroll, not just a blogger like you and me.
Last week I came across a blog post that I didn’t necessarily agree with or care for. However, it was one of the comments that left me feeling a bit indignant.
“There are people who create: writers, photographers. There are people who promote: bloggers, Instagrammers. The 2 rarely overlap.”
I have no doubt that there are countless others who agree with this individual and yet many people, myself included, don’t feel there’s an ounce of credibility to it. No, I’m not a person with my own byline at The New York Times but neither are some of the big name travel bloggers out there. And the ironic thing is, the most popular bloggers, who envision themselves to be legitimate writers, are often the same ones who do the most promoting in terms of free stuff they’ve gotten or working relationships they’ve entered into with tourist bureaus or other travel services. But me? The individual who still works a 40 hour a week job that has nothing to do with travel or food? I do create; I spend a lot of time creating because I like to, period. I have no incentive to do it, I just do.
Some people may say authenticity in the blogging world isn’t so clearly delineated but to me it is. To me, it means sharing photos of iconic places that have mobs of people in them because that’s the reality. It means posting photos of yourself where no, you don’t look like a model on a fashion shoot. And most importantly, it means being yourself and writing about the things you actually like, not just topics that serve as “click bait.”
The blogging world is inundated with too many individuals who think they’re different and even special because they’re doing what society thinks they shouldn’t do, i.e. quitting their jobs, selling everything, traveling full-time. And yet, in an era where more and more people are doing exactly that, the level of specialness is a thing of the past. The authenticity is no more.
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