The world of social media has its ups and downs. One day people are having a blast and the next a storm explodes. More often than not at the center of the turmoil, is a blogger or an influencer. Why is the storm hitting the bloggers and not the people around them? Critics are quick to point out that bloggers supposedly take on ‘collaborations’ that don’t reflect their authentic selves or are portraying a reality that is fantastical, over the top and far removed from what real life actually represents.
But isn’t that the duty of bloggers, to entertain their readers and give them escapism from their everyday lives? As long as bloggers make it clear that what they are presenting to their readers is a sentimentalized version of reality, then there is no reason to create a witch hunt and blame bloggers for all the misery in the world. So my question therefore is do bloggers have a duty to educate their followers?
Do bloggers have a duty to educate?
I remember a few years ago, Nicki Minaj released Anaconda, a sexually charged music video where Nicki was ‘twerking’ with backup female dancers, in a dance sequence that celebrated the beauty of the female body. And yet, surprise, surprise, Nicki received a lot of backlash for daring to accentuate her voluptuous curves or having the audacity to be so comfortable in her own skin. Despite racking up millions of views, critics tried to oppress and dehumanize Nicki’s sexuality, claiming that ‘its pornography’, that she ‘does not respect herself’ and is ‘selling her body for money’.
It baffles me that people could hold such archaic views of women who are comfortable in their own skin and how we still revert back to that ‘angel in the house archetype’ where women should ‘cover up their bodies’ and follow the so called rules of moral conventions. One of my favourite reactions was when Nicki was told that she was a bad role model for women, and was a negative representation of what ‘feminity’ should stand for. But who says that females have to act and look a certain way ?
After all, Nicki Minaj is one of the most powerful women on earth; she’s nailing it. Nicki is a rapper, singer, composer, business women and so much more who knows what she wants in life. Above all she teaches us to be comfortable in our bodies as she is comfortable with hers, showing how the power of dance can allow ourselves to express how we feel, and what to come across to others. So what if she likes to twerk and show off a little skin? Let her do what she wants. After all isn’t that what feminism is about, allowing ourselves to feel comfortable in our own skin and empowered in our bodies ?
Which brings me to my next point. If Nicki is such a bad female role model’ then why are parents allowing their children to watch non-age appropriate videos and content ? Shouldn’t it be the duty of the parents to control what their kids are watching, instead of blaming the singers, the dancers and the actors for creating ‘adult content’ ? Secondly, I don’t know about you but I have never read in a singer’s job description that it is their duty to be an ‘educator’ or a ‘teacher’. It is the parent’s job to teach their kids to be vigilant with what they see online, on the TV or on any other media platforms.
And what about social media influencers I hear you ask? In order to discuss as to whether social media influencers or bloggers have a duty to educate their readers and followers, we need to look at the argument within two contexts: social media content and social media collaborations.
Do bloggers have a duty to educate when it comes to content?
Social media is a place where content is king. Imagery must be beautiful, mind blowing and whimsical. People want to be inspired and want to aspire for more. They want to be enchanted and see beautiful photos. Thus, Instagram has become a place where you share the best aspects of your life. Which can sometimes condition people into thinking that influencers have the perfect ‘instagrammable’ life.
What we need to bear in mind is that Social media is something relatively new. It is experimental for most people and can be confusing at times. But it is also a place where people can express their creativity, so when critics choose to ‘critique’ or dismiss a bloggers content as being ‘fake or unreal’ they are putting a dampener on a bloggers creative process. Isn’t it obvious that the content we create is engineered to create a moment however, that in order to create a photo or tell a story that there must be some element of fantasy to curate content ?
Thus, yes, some content is not real. Some content is worked, embellished, constructed and staged. It goes into the name. From there, it is obvious to me that it might not be reality. Internet trolls and haters should stop thinking that people on Instagram can’t tell the difference between real and staged moments. Most of us can. And for those who can’t who are usually vulnerable or very young people, then they need to be told and warned from the beginning.
Is that an influencer’s job though?
The internet, twitter trolls and haters seem to think it is. I think it is not. It is not an influencer’s job to educate and teach people to learn how to make the difference between, real, staged and fake content. They can occasionally remind people to be vigilant if they feel like it. But it is not their job to teach the world that their content is not real. Of course it is not, it is a photo! By definition it is staged.
Even the most ‘natural looking photo’ has some element of fantasy within it, whether that be the angle or aesthetic the photographer chooses to curate or the story that they wish to tell.
Parents and teachers are there for a reason. Parents raise kids so that they grow up learning how to protect themselves and on how to handle ‘real life’. Teachers educate kids on other matters. It has always been like this. So why all of a sudden do we think that young women and men who work in the creative industry, and whose very purpose is to entertain and transport their readers, have a duty to educate their followers ? I am not saying however that there should not be some kind of ‘prevention course’ and in some cases there is no harm in the influencers reminding people that life online is not life offline. Nevertheless it is not the influencers job to educate kids. It is a parent’s job.
Another thing that really bugs me is the double standards in the media industry, especially as bloggers become scapegoats and yet other ‘more respected’ media roles like TV and Film, as well as journalists are treated differently because their jobs apparently hold more prestige. For example
Influencers do ads, which are by definition, staged. And they get hell for it. While almost no one dares to say anything about actual TV and magazine ads, which are often more damaging and staged than an ad on social media. So Picasso can paint a nose on the forehead but it’s all fine while Listerine on a bed side table and pancakes on a bed are a crime? It just does not make sense, this is a clear example of double standards in the creative industry. My guess is that influencers make the perfect scapegoat because people don’t understand them or how their industry works. They are also easy to target because they are individuals that can be vulnerable and really affected by what is told online, especially when it is negative. In contrast a brand can get insulted and they won’t give a sh*t.
So yeah, here is another thing you need to teach your kids. Be kind. Don’t troll or bully. Remember that behind a screen, there is a person with feelings, emotions and vulnerabilities. Teach them to not do to others what they would not want done to them.
Do bloggers have a duty to educate when it comes to product endorsement?
When an influencer promotes a brand and a product, they endorse said brand and express their agreement with their practices. As a result, they are giving their followers the go-ahead to buy the product. If it is a product that can harm mentally, psychologically or physically, then yes, it is their responsibility to educate their audience.
When influencers promote an appetite suppressant, which put a lot of pressure on girls to alter their body , then yes, influencers do have a responsibility. They can contribute to endangering someone with their endorsement, when it is something that can alter the body or mind. Refusing such collaborations is basically going against the brand. It is showing that using social (body) norms that often create insecurities and make people vulnerable to make money is unacceptable.
To me, this is the only context where influencers have a duty to educate. By refusing un-ethical collaborations or warning their audience of the potential damaging effects of working with certain brands. Otherwise, no, it is not an influencer’s job to teach strangers how to tell the different between real, staged and fake content.
They have a voice and followers who listen to them, it is true. They can choose to educate people. CAN is the operative word here. It is a choice, not a duty. Teaching and educating is however a duty that parents and teachers have. Not Influencers.
Shop the outfit
Co-ord – Femme Luxe Finery*
Cardigan – Pretty Little Thing
Bag – Shein
High Heels – Maison Martin Margiella
What do you think of all the controversies around content creators? And influencers? Do you think it is a blogger’s duty to educate? What’s your take on the issue?
Thank you for stopping by. Hope you liked this post.
See you soon,
*Some fashion items featured in this post are gifts from brands but all my opinions remain my own.
Great question. There are so many personalities in the blogger world it is hard to educate our own self over the views or practices of another Blogger. I read tips and see what collectively works for many, not just one
This is very true! We as influencers should not be responsible for other people’s actions, it’s unfair…
FATIMAH • ROSEYGOLDBOX
Really great post, I think there is a lot of expectations for bloggers now and that they have to be perfect all the time which isn’t the case. I do also think that if you have a wide following you may be seen as a role model or educator x
Really great post, I think there is a lot of expectations for bloggers now and that they have to be perfect all the time which isn’t the case. I do also think that if you have a wide following you may be seen as a role model or educator x
What a very honest and thought provoking post. I completely agree with everything you said. Influencers shouldn’t be blamed for how certain people react to their content. I found this super interesting to read. I also really love your outfit in the photos! It works perfectly with the background graffiti!
Nowadays, it’s really hard to put content on the internet. You get judged whatever you do. I do believe bloggers can choose to educate people but it’s not their job. The sole responsibility shouldn’t be put on their shoulders. However, for people who have a large following, it would be great if they can use that to inform others.
This is such a difficult discussion and I think you make some really great points here and whilst I agree it is not our duty at all to educate people, I do think to a certain extent it’s really a shame that a lot of the time we can’t actually differentiate between what’s real and fake on social media anymore! Having the ability to be openly creative with our work is amazing and so bloody fun but I also think it can be really toxic for not only yourself but for a hell of a lot of people to be constantly putting out this persona that a perfect life without struggles, hardship and down times exists! I think being real and open in our society is so important and if we were all a little more honest about how crap and difficult life can be, it could alleviate so much weight off of our shoulders as a generation. I think we’d all be so much happier knowing for sure that everyone, even rich, famous, seemingly perfect people have shitty days!
As long as the blogger genuinely likes the product and gives an honest account of their experiences, it’s really no one’s business how they decide to portray, promote or advertise the product. You don’t like the over editing or their creative approach? Don’t support it and move on. It’s that simple. People are so quick to judge and put down bloggers especially on social media and it’s heartbreaking.
I love this post! I love your truths about Nicki too shes owning it! I think the main point of blogging is just to have fun and do what they like within reason and to not worry about educating people!
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with this! It’s not up to influencers to present a ‘relatable’ social media presence – for a start, everyone has a different normal so how would that even work? I do feel some sympathy for people who are affected by the constant portrayal of perfect lives on instagram, but that’s more a personal thing to work on than to demand influencers change. But I agree that there IS a responsibility to make sure you are promoting healthy and safe products. It’s such an interesting issue as the industry is so new, but I agree with you!
Beth x Adventure & Anxiety
Your post is very honest and thought-provoking. I hate the fact that the internet trolls and bullies are sometimes allowed to judge others without them being called into account for their actions! I don’ t think bloggers and other media influencers primary role is to educate either, but I think we can all learn from each other and be kinder–as you said. I love posts like yours that make you think! Great post! 🙂
This is a great post! You worded this perfectly, I absolutely love your photos!
Loved this post and I do read many reviews to honestly get different perspectives on similar topics as it is the best way to get a generalized idea without letting one persons opinion skew my overall opinion. I love blogging and just have fun with it… plain and simple.
I think this is a difficult one. I totally see your points and I agree that they shouldn’t HAVE to explain themselves. But I do think education is necessary. It’s a new career and a lot of people who don’t have a heavy social media presence don’t understand the job, which is totally understandable. While I don’t think the influencer has a duty to educate, I don’t know who else could possibly do it? It might be better for everyone in the long run if people now spend more time explaining how it works. Great post x
It’s so sad that women are being bashed for doing what they want to do. Show some skin, get called nasty things. Be completely covered, still get called nasty things. When it comes to educating, it’s great in a sense that people can learn more (like I learned so much from reading other people’s blogs), but not where they educate to explain or justify themselves. I remember someone trashing an influencer for having a “set up” bed and all – it was very upsetting to read the negative comments. I’m just all for positivity and encouraging people to live their best lives. As for setting “rules”, definitely not with that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me
I have not seen someone talking about that topic much but you have done a marvellous job and explained it nicely and the pictures speaking louder than words, they are beautiful ??
This is such an interesting read. Well said, girl. I love your last statement, “CAN is the operative word here. It is a choice, not a duty. Teaching and educating is however a duty that parents and teachers have. Not Influencers.” By the way, you look gorgeous in that outfit!!
I think it’s a tricky question. I think the ideal thing would be to be completely honest but sometimes it may not always be possible. It depends on our moral compass I guess on what is okay and what is not.
I think it’s important for everyone to be authentic to his or her true feelings. Perceptions and judgements have nothing to do with any external situation or another. It only reveals the tendencies and insecurities of the person doing the judging.
I feel that there are some instances where bloggers and influencers do have to take on some responsibility, especially as you say when someone can influence body/mind. Because that can be so damaging.
I think part of a blogger’s duty is to be transparent and honest – and this definitely comes through in content.
This is such a fantastic post.
Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/
Great post and a lot to think about! I don’t think it’s a blogger’s job, no. BUT if a blogger (or YT’er) has the platform, the audience and the knowledge then they should IF they feel comfortable doing so. I don’t believe any blogger should be throwing out advice that they don’t really know anything about – it can be damaging.
I agree. They must be comfortable doing it and actively decide to educate but if they don’t choose too, they should not get trolled for it. So true, if you know nothing about something, do your research first before throwing out advice.
Such a well written blog post! I definitely think its a fine line. I think theres nothing wrong with curated imagery so long as your not completely altering it to show something that you didnt actually experience e.g. photoshopping yourself onto a different background.
I agree. Even though I would not necessarily agree with photoshopping yourself onto another background, I think that as long as the influencers disclose it and they are transparent about it, then, it is okay. It is the lie that isn’t though.
I remember all of the backlash she got for that video. I think in some cases an influencer can educate, but It definitely isn’t their job.
What a great post!! As a new blogger myself it is so interesting to hear the expectations that people have and what people think this role is really about!
I don’t think its a bloggers duty to educate others. Buuuuuut, if someone has the knowledge and the audience, why the heck not. If they want to do it then go ahead. As long as you know what you’re talking about AND can talk about it in different perspectives or have studies that gives same result/support your post then go right ahead.
I do however think that in some cases some people need to take responsibility for what they have done, not too long ago we had a group in my country that made music containing raping kids. Not even Spotify wanted to take responsibility for it as they claimed it was “art” or something.
I agree. I think it is all down to being comfortable with educating people. If they choose not to, that is their right and they should not be trolled for it. Yes, Spotify not taking responsibility for that song is pretty bad. It sort of gives legitimacy to such horrible content.
First off, your outfit here is AMAZING! I could never pull off something this glam and you look absolutely stunning! Following on from what you’ve said about Nicki Minaj, I’ve always loved that woman for the exact reasons that you listed in this post. She encourages us to be comfortable in our own skin and hats off to her for being so incredibly confident and rocking that amazing body she has. She is indeed killing it and is super successful, a true inspiration. Yet people will still go after her and others alike. One of my favourite sayings is ‘you could be the juiciest peach in the entire world, but there will always be those who don’t like peaches’ x x
Ellis // http://www.elliswoolley.co.uk
This is definitely something that should be talked about more openly so credit to you for that, I think that as long as people are authentic and share content that they genuinely enjoy (be it educational or not at all) and any products are safe/advisable to use then this pressure should not be put on influencers. Really thought provoking, great post x
Girl you look absolutely stunning in these photos! I am living for those trousers! And I do think that bloggers have a certain duty to educate their audience. However, I don’t think blame should be solely put on bloggers or influences as after all, blogs are just someone’s personal space on the internet x
This outfit is incredible! I think as bloggers, we have incredible influence on our platforms and we should use it wisely, however for most of us, this is just our space online to be ourselves and to share things we love!
Love, Amie ❤
The Curvaceous Vegan
I love this post and totally agree with you that we don’t have a responsibility to educate! I think it’s so important that we’re honest and genuine but bloggers are also content creators and that means having creative license! Also – Nicki Minaji is killing it with her new album!
Soph – https://sophhearts.com x
Firstly, wow! You look absolutely amazing in your outfit Corinne! Secondly, this was an interesting read and you made some great points. I think as bloggers should be allowed to have creative control over what we do, it’s our blog after all. As long as we are not being deceptive or misleading to our audience then we should have the freedom to express ourselves how we choose. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Corinne <3 xx
Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com
You have posted this using very correct words. And Yes this is very much thought provoking as it may make us question ourselves too.
First, you look incredible in that two piece and the background is FAB! I agree with you, there is a lot of influencers are in so shape or form advertisers, models, journalists, photographers and marketers yet we are treated like the bottom of the barrel. People only ridicule the things that don’t understand. Thank you for shedding light on this topic!
Natonya | http://www.justnatonya.wordpress.com
First of all, I love your outfit.
Second, no, I don’t think it’s our duty to educate. Sure we can put our opinions out there, but I don’t always expect everyone to agree with me.
Very controversial piece but you put your argument across in a clear way. I have to disagree with you though as I am not the biggest fan of Nicki Minaj. And I mean I prefer role models setting good examples but at the same time, people are allowed to do as they please and so it’s a point that can be debated forever! Great post.
Hi Lia. Thanks for your comment. Nicki Minaj was just one example to start the article and absolutely not the focus of this post. She is not everyone’s cup of tea, fair enough. I don’t think she is a bad example either as she is one embodiment of success. People are indeed allowed to as they please as long as they don’t harm anyone. As when it comes to influencers, although they can educate people should they choose to do it, it is still not their duty nor compulsory.
Do I feel that bloggers/influencers need to educate their readers/followers? I am sure the occasion could rise, but generally speaking, I don’t think so. We are required to include #ad, #partner or #sponsor with a post or disclose that there is money exchanging hands in a longer-form post. Those requirements should automatically tip someone off that they are seeing an ad and that there could be some level of fancy, whimsy or creativity within the post – not necessarily 100% reality. And most of the time that SHOULD be okay as long as the content isn’t misleading or giving false claim.
Hi Laurie. Absolutely agree. As long as there is appropriate disclosure, then it is obvious it’s an ad and probably staged as well. Influencers can educate their audience if they feel like it, comfortable with it, but have no obligation to do so and should not be blamed for their decision.
I agree with SO MUCH of what you said. I feel like, when it comes to keeping things “realistic” people need to be responsible for their own social media consumption. For example, I can’t follow too many people that put across the “perfect life” image because it makes me feel bad after a while… I don’t blame them or throw hate their way, I simply unfollow or skip past. However, like you, I think when it comes to unhealthy promotions like appetite suppressents, people need to do better!
Jas xx | https://thoughtsfromjasmine.co.uk
Wow, your outfit blend in well with the graffiti wall, simply stunning. Love the color and print of this outfit. Good question raised here and give me a detailed thoughts about bloggers work scoop.
I appreciate your input and thoughts on the matter. I think it’s extremely important for bloggers to educate depending on their niche. For my blog – I want to educate, but if I ran a different type of blog – I probably would have a different perspective.
Such a question ! And yes, I’ll say that bloggers do have a duty to educate, and educate positively… In this age of social media, it might be so easy for people to be swayed by negative influences. Frankly speaking, social media educates in all tempting of ways but we should change that and embrace a positive energy. And you’re looking just as great!
Everyone has there own mind, whilst it can be easy to be influenced by others, I find it very disappointing to blame influences, for other peoples actions.
I think if you’re incredibly knowledgeable on the topic or have postgrad study on the topic, yes you should use your platform to educate (if it fits your niche). You have the credentials to back it up. However, if you do not, this is when I think it might be best to maybe not say anything. Or if you do, you should make it very clear that it’s only your opinion and you really don’t have much study to back it up. I think the biggest problem comes when people voice their opinion but do not back it with research and readers take bloggers words as full truth. It’s a very tricky situation.
Yes, yes and yes – I agree with you on so many levels. Like with product endorsement yes you have to educate or bare in mind what the company stands for etc. but when you just post a picture you don’t have to shout staged every time! Like yes pretty much every pic is staged and it’s just creativity and we shouldn’t have to tell everybody all the time that it doesn’t represent the reality 100 %.
Loved that post girl.
Educate? No. But I believe bloggers/ influencers should be honest with what they put out in public. I think that’s the least that they can do. To be honest in their opinions and not be biased just because they were paid to write a content.
But then again, if for example, I’m paid a hundred thousand dollars, I’ll probably try to find a way to write a post that is honestly worth the pay, if you know what I mean. 😛
So there, it’s actually a difficult question. 🙂
I think it depends on what their blog is about. I personally would never promote a product that I didn’t like or didn’t agree with their practices. I expect bloggers/influencers to tell the truth.
Interesting topic and great post. I personally think the job of an influencer is to solve problems of the audience. The problem can be lack of education but it can also be lack of outfit ideas or need for humor and fun content when bored. So I agree with you that it necessarily isn’t our job to educate others – on let’s say how to take care of your garden – but on the other hand some of us enjoy doing it and it’s also just fine.
Ps. Your outfit is just stunning and suits you very well! 🙂
I think bloggers should educate only on what they know. If they’re job is just to share about a brand, then their responsibility only is to do that. What the company itself does is not the bloggers job nor their responsibility.
People love to blame someone else for their own negative feelings. It’s up an individual or parent to understand reality and bring happiness it their own lives. If I post a picture of my abs I’m fat shaming. If I’m a quarter native American and show pride in that it’s cultural appropriation or stereotyping. People are to quick to blame others for their own feelings
I don’t believe it is the influencer’s Duty to educate their viewers! For me, I love to follow people who are real with their audience, ofcourse on instagram everyone’s life can seem perfect. More often than not, these comments come from people who are perhaps unhappy with their life or themselves! xx
Great informative post!
Yap! I think everyone has the duty to educate! If you post something or advertise something you have to know that people who love or follow you will absorb the information. Make sure to always spread love and good things. Nice post.
This is such a thought provoking article indeed. I don’t necessarily think it s a duty to educate viewers and more a choice. For me I like to feel a blogger is being genuine with their audience.
I don’t think we have a duty to instruct about how it took 50 shots to get the picture we wanted of that pancake, or you had to twirl 35 times in that dress before you captured the right moment for the camera. They do the same things for marketing agencies. So influencers market and shouldn’t have to apologize or educate. Although we do have a responsibility to let people know who is paying for our product placement, same as anyone else. Social media is so interesting as it is idealized and stylized and yet people get depressed because they feel the lives we lead are perfect when they are not. I am not sure we have to educate. But I do think maybe giving them a dose of what reality is really like for us will ingratiate us to our followers more. Because the reason they follow us is that we are more real than the ads. We are real people doing these things and so showing off our imperfections isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I agree with you. It is not the duty of content creator to educate people, rather parents should be held responsible for misdeeds of their children.
I don’t think that bloggers have a duty to educate but I do feel they have a duty to be honest. By all mean accentuate and make things sound perfect, but if it is done with a kickback, that can be quite devious. Nice post and well thought out.
I think it depends entirely on the blogger. I blog a lot about baby loss and I do this to educate others on some level. In other posts I am not there to educate, just to provide my view on certain topics.
We, as bloggers, can have a part (small part) in educating people. And as someone above said, it depends on the niche of the blog. When it comes to kids, you are right it is the parents job. I’m a blogger and a parent and I will be teaching my kids what they need to know. As they get older and this is true for any adult, we need to educate ourselves and form our own opinions on things. Bloggers can influence opinions, but bloggers shouldn’t be held on a pedestal for people to follow and only follow. Hopefully I explained my thought on this well. This was a really great post and very thought provoking.
I totally agree with you, it’s really hard to put something on internet these days , specially when you are a influencer. which is totally unfair.
What I feel is influencers do play a role in educating people but the end lies within ourselves what we do.
It’s definitely one question that bloggers often ask themselves. Given this platform, I think it’s one way of spreading the word, of reaching more people and raising awareness. I enjoyed reading your post!
This is a really deep post that really makes one think. I think that bloggers have to take responsibility in educating people.
To answer your question – it is a YES.
However, it is still the choice of the blogger, if they want it or not. Part of my branding is to educate and deliver quality content to my readers that they will find useful (and hope become a reference), and its the branding philosophy that I never regret and passionately doing it.
This is a really interesting post but a tricky question to answer! I enjoyed this and I think it is an important topic to debate! x
Thats so very true and i have to agree. I think that bloggers and influencers today have a huge responsibility because people tend to trust a lot. They can lie just because someone is paying them. Great debate topic! Thanks for sharing.
I feel content should inform and entertain– why that can’t have a little information that educates is beyond me. But, I think it really depends on what kind of blog you have and whether it appeals to all the above.
I think, at the end of the day, any blogger or influencer should try to be informed themselves before they endorse anything and/or comment on certain aspects of politics, government or wold happens. We are putting forth information into the world and should take it upon ourselves to not be ignorant or, at the very least, not push falsehoods we BELIEVE are truths. Granted, it’s kind of a duh moment about Instagram not having “ugly” parts of life, who wants to see that anyway? 🙂
S .x https://samsramblings91.blogspot.com/2018/10/4-email-fails.html