I feel like I am falling way behind everybody else on this topic. Even if sometimes it seems like this topic is out of fashion and has been talked about a lot, I still think it is quite current. The problematic issue of bloggers being relatable or losing their relatability as they grow their following is always shaking the industry to such an extent that, in my opinion, we are now punishing people for being successful.
Hear me out on this one.
The beauty of social media is that it allows people to start from scratch and create something amazing. Most of us started with flatlays, talking about products we have at home and use on a daily basis. A book, a mug, a pillow and a phone. We had the prop and the camera for our photos. Of course, doing something a lot means you’ll improve at it. You’ll get better. And thus, our photography, composition, editing, style or makeup skills improved. Which is good because as Instagram became more popular, it became harder to grow and stand out.
Yes, the best at their job would take the cake.
A few investments later and most of us would have all the items on the perfect blogging equipment list: a DSLR, fake backdrops, lots of props, fake flowers, sequins and sparkles, etc.
We used to follow people because they were our friends, either online or offline, because we wanted to support other bloggers in the same niche and of the same size. Essentially, we were mostly following people who looked like us, were on the same page, at the same stage. Basically they are relatable. Don’t get me wrong, the only bad reason to follow someone, is just to get a follow back.
Take a fashion blogger for example. She starts taking photos of clothes she has. Often, she posts about the same pieces although combined differently with other pieces. She grows, brands start to get in touch with her, gift her items, which she shows on her Instagram or/and blog. She starts working with online fast fashion brands, which are all very affordable, then grows enough to work with high street retailers, who are still affordable but slightly less so. Eventually the fashion blogger works her way up from the mid market to enter the luxury fashion sector, replacing High Street brands with high end luxury couture collaborations.
And that’s when you click unfollow because she is no longer relatable to you.
Because after all, if you don’t have a Chanel Boyfriend bag and can’t really afford to get one, why would you follow someone who has it? If feels like she is rubbing it in your face, doesn’t it? Thus why would you follow someone who has things you don’t have and who grew faster than you? Why follow someone who, in the end, sort of achieved a stage that you’d like to be at too?
And that’s where I think it is unfair to unfollow for the sake of “un-relatability”. After all we all grow and change, that’s a part of life.
Subsequently someone who has become successful and has changed their shopping or consumption habits should not mean that they are not relatable to you anymore. As they change, they will attract different people – age, gender, social background, income, etc. A blogger will always be relatable to someone no matter what stage of their journey they are at. But it is both unfair and selfish to expect them to be relatable to YOU in particular.
There are plenty of reasons to unfollow someone. They might make you feel bad about yourself and your body. Their content has a massive knock on your self-confidence. They do not disclose ads or take part in shady Instagram tactics. You don’t like their content anymore. They used to produce fashion content and now that they had a baby, they post parenting content. You’ve realized they promote products that are dangerous. There are a million reasons why you would unfollow someone.
But not being relatable as a sole reason?
I think someone who isn’t personally relatable to me is the perfect motive to get better. Look at Lydia Millen or InTheFrow. Both are very popular influencers, who travel a lot, work with a lot of amazing brands, have incredible lives BUT… who also worked incredibly hard to be where they are. They are not relatable to me as my life is a thousand miles away from theirs. But that does not mean I am going to unfollow.
I follow a lot of travel influencers, who are not at all relatable to me. They travel to fifteen countries in one year whereas I only go on holiday once a year . But I do not follow them because I want to relate to them. I follow them because they inspire me. Because their gorgeous photos take me places, because I get to see other sides of the earth that I was unaware of before . Because they give me new ideas, new places to go to. But mostly because they inspire me.
And that’s the thing.
When someone is no longer relatable, they become aspirational.
They give you something to aspire to, inspire you to do better, to give the best of yourself and improve your content. It’s not being better than everyone else that matters, it is always improving yourself that does instead.
Seeing someone working incredibly hard in your industry, being successful and getting the rewards of this hard work is motivating and inspiring. It shows that it is possible, that you can start from scratch and make it to the top, that you decide what direction your life takes and what you need to do to get what you want. Their success makes you want to work on yourself, improve your content but also think about what you really want to achieve.
Is full-time blogging a career you want? Do you prefer blogging as a side hustle? Or as a hobby? Are you ready to put in the work and effort that becoming a full-time influencer requires?
A big blogger is no longer relatable to you because she grew, became successful and was able to afford a change in lifestyle. So what? Be happy for her and look at her as someone to aspire to become, or an example of what is possible, a source of motivation for you.
The reason why I do not follow that many big bloggers is because otherwise the content from micro bloggers I adore would be hidden from me, as you know, the algorithm pushes first and foremost content that gets a lot of engagement. I follow influencers, big or smaller, that have a completely different life to mine because they inspire me.
They were once relatable. Now they are aspirational.
But never, ever, should they create content or live their lives, with the belief that they need to be relatable to people to be liked by them. You don’t live your life for others, you live it for yourself. So why should what you show on social media be different?
Shop the outfit
Denim jacket – Primark
Playsuit – Shein (9TEA for 15% of)*
Wedges – H&M
Bag – Zaful*
Watch – ADEXE Watch London*
Earrings – Nasty Gal
What do you think? Have you ever unfollowed someone because they are no longer relatable to you? Do you think bloggers have a duty to be relatable? Why do you follow big influencers?
Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.
See you soon,
Very interesting read! I just follow bloggers that I like – big or small and hope to get some inspiration! I would not unfollow someone because they grew.
I wouldn’t say they HAVE to be relatable but of course some people follow because they are but some people follow others to be inspired. It’s a difficult one – like we like to go out and eat a lot but at the same time we’re not rich to eat in the he most fanciest places and I think that’s what people like about us? But I could be wrong!
Jessica & James | http://www.foodandbaker.co.uk
I don’t actually think I have unfollowed someone for them being relatable to be, I actually like following different accounts that are different to my style of blogging, I’ve definitely unfollowed people for other reasons though! X
Interesting topic. I’m fairly certain I haven’t unfollowed antime because they were suddenly unremarkable. But I haven’t unfollowed people because my interests changed so their content was no longer for me.
Such an interesting post. I don’t follow that many “big” influencers or bloggers but those I do I do because I find them inspirational. Like you, I would never think about stopping following someone because they’re no longer relatable, I mean, they haven’t changed in themselves, have they? Their opportunities and images might, but they’re still the same person. They way they wrote originally is still what attracted me in the first place. And you’re right, a blogger’s first duty is to be true to themselves, otherwise, it shows. Great post! Lisa x
Really interesting topic (and it’s definitely not been over done!) I strive to be as relate-able as possible but that’s because that’s what I want my “image” to be. I think it’s totally okay to un-follow someone for no longer being relatable to you anymore. It’s our feeds after all and we need to consume the content that makes us feel good! Although I think a fashion blogger who’s using their own props and things AND fashion bloggers posting about higher end clothes can both be relable. I think it’s also about how you present yourself online 🙂
I can’t think of a specific time that I’ve unfollowed for not being relatable, but I’m sure I would if I felt like I had to for my mental health. Everyone’s version of relatibility will be different, and I follow people who both inspiration and relatable.
Great discussion to start, I think it’s important we talk about stuff like this more!
This is such an interesting topic. I don’t think I’ve ever unfollowed someone because they have become less relatable to me, but I bet a lot of people have. I tend to follow people because I enjoy reading their content and seeing their photos. Your quote ‘They were once relatable. Now they are aspirational’ hits the nails on the head for me.
I personally don’t think that growing and developing, achieving success, necessarily makes one no longer relateable. As long as bloggers and influencers keep their feet grounded (aka don’t allow their success to go to their heads, making them feel as though their growth somehow makes them better as people) then you can still relate to them and their journey, especially if you’ve been along for part of the ride! Sure, you may not have the same couture bag, but you may very well be able to picture yourself there some day. You see the influencer who once shared the same bag out of her closet 4 posts in a row because it’s what she could afford, which may be where you are now, and what she’s become – but she’s still the same person at the core… Success doesn’t change who we are fundamentally (unless we let it).
Such a great post and i fully agree with you. I’ve never understood the concept of having to be relatable because you’re never going to be relatable to everyone. And I agree that unfollowing when someone becomes successful is wrong too. I follow people for many reasons, but the main one for me is usually their liability as a person. So unless they had a total personality/ attitude change with their success, that would never be a reason for me to unfollow. Excellent post X
Your pictures are so gorgeous. I think that everyone online who writes has a duty to be honest and friendly, however, I personally I think that some people are never going to like what you say and others will so as long as you do and say what you love, that’s all that matters. Great blog post darling! ?
With love, Alisha Valerie x | http://www.alishavalerie.com
Fantastic post! I’m definitely late to the party with this one because it’s not something I’ve ever really thought about. But I completely agree with you – if you started following someone because they are relatable, watching them grow and develop should make you feel part of that journey, not someone being left behind. I’ve watched some of the blogs I follow do fantastically well, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped liking their content. Really enjoyed reading this.
Very interesting post!
I do have to admit that I do (although very rarely) unfollow people on instagram, but it tends to be a case of them not declaring ads properly, or posting spoilers for subscription boxes the second they received them.
Cora | http://teapartyprincess.co.uk/
I don’t think I’ve ever unfollowed a blogger for being less relatable to me, however I do remember when I used to watch Zoella her ‘unrelatableness’ got so ridiculous it was annoying. I think it’s understandable for someone to unfollow someone who’s unrelatable to them, just because they have nothing in common with them so why should they follow them? However, bloggers changing as they get bigger isn’t a bad thing at all! Their audience may just change. That’s just my opinion though! 🙂 Recently stumbled across your blog and absolutely love it so far x
Oh thank you so much, so happy you love my blog. I do agree with what you are saying. There are of course degrees in ‘unrelatableness’ and if you can’t stand the influencer, of course, unfollow. Totally agree on that. I had noticed in the past that once fashion influencers were no longer relatable because they were no longer shopping at primark or boohoo but at higher end stores, then people deem them unrelatable and unfollowed, which I thought is basically punishing success since as we grow and succeed, our consumption habits change. so yeah, we’ve got the same opinion =)