Should Bloggers be Giving Advice?

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Should Bloggers be Giving Advice?

Scrolling down Twitter I found myself reading through an argument that had struck up on my timeline, as we all do from time to time. This time the argument was between a fellow blogger and a non-blogger, the blogger followed, the other individual I didn't, but I found myself reading the disagreement anyway. They were having a disagreement because the blogger, who had a fairly small sized following of under 1000 people had writing a blog post giving people advice on how to start a blog. The individual who wasn't a blogger had responded to tell her she had no right to share this advice giving how petite her following was and how short a time she had been blogging (about 3 years), it got me to thinking, should bloggers be giving advice to strangers online? 

You can see both sides of the argument to an extent; the blogger had every right to post whatever content she felt comfortable sharing on her blog, blogging had been a learning experience for her and despite her petite following she felt like she had learned enough to share her thoughts and wisdom. The disagreeing party felt that her small following and short span as a blogger meant that she hadn't learned enough to share any wisdom and that her advice may work for her but may not work for someone reading the post. I found myself siding with the blogger, why shouldn't she share content she enjoys on her blog? She felt she had learned enough that she could pass on these lessons and maybe the person reading could move from A to B faster than she was able to. She wasn't pretending to be a master of blogging and know everything there is to know, she wasn't promising overnight success, nor was her blog post titled something egotistical like "How to be a Successful Blogger Like Me", she was simply sharing her story, recalling the problems and barriers she had run into and offering alternative routes for those reading the post so they wouldn't have to run into the same barriers she had when she began blogging, what's wrong with that?

Should Bloggers be Giving Advice?

This type of post may be okay, it may not promise fast routes to success, it may not call the author a master of all things blogging, a guru of life, but there are posts out there that do and are they then problematic? I promise if you scroll down Twitter on any given day of the week you will see blog posts being shared titled "SEO Tips to Take Your Blog to the Next Level", "How to Double Your Instagram Followers in a Week" and "The Secrets to a Successful Blog" (all of these posts are fictitious and if you happen to have a post named any of them, I apologise, this post is not aimed at anyone). These posts have titles that promise something, they promise to take you to the next step in some way, to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you would like to be, are these posts any more wrong for someone to write than the one I mentioned above? Well, I guess it depends how you look at it. For me, I personally know that a lot of titles are jam-packed with clickbait. Did that blogger really double their Instagram followers in a week? Was it organic? Or are they extending the truth in the hopes it draws you to read the post? Maybe they did, maybe it really isn't clickbait, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the moves they made will work the same way for you. Maybe you follow their tips and tricks and only gain 20 followers in the space of a week, is that really their fault? 

I don't think so. Blogging originally was created as a 'web-log' a sort of diary where people could write all about their experiences and life. So, if someone wrote a post titled 'Greek Travels with Lottery Winnings", would we expect to come away from that post knowing how to win the lottery and use our money to travel the Greek Islands? No, you wouldn't. A blog stripped down to its truest form is a collection of memories, a collection of experienced writing by the author in such a way that you may gain knowledge, you may be inspired or you may just leave their blog with something new to think about. You are not entitled to anything. We live in a world where FOMO is something easiest to describe by starting "Well it's when you're scrolling down your Instagram feed and..." and you can justify your purchases because someone on the internet that you trust said that it was good. We live on the world wide web and sometimes this leads us to a feel entitled, we expect people to post blog posts when they say they will, we expect videos to be uploaded to YouTube weekly, and we expect to always be learning from our fellow bloggers, but maybe we just have to accept that sometimes we can't take things at face value. 

Should Bloggers be Giving Advice?

When I click on that blog post "How to Double Your Instagram Followers in a Week" I know to take the advice with a little pinch of salt. Maybe it's clickbait, maybe it worked for them, maybe their tips and tricks just don't work for me and that's okay. You won't find me in the comments "OMG THIS IS SO FAKE, IT DIDN'T WORK FOR ME, WHAT A FAKER" because I know that the blogger is telling us their experience. Sure, it might be writing in a way that provokes us to think we can use these tips and tricks to follow in their footsteps, but all in all, the blog post is really "How I Doubled My Instagram Following in a Week". I don't fault the writer for titling it in this way because we all do it, it's clickbait, you are more likely to read the first title than the second version and the blogger knows that. So maybe the fault lies in the reader or maybe I am just biased as a blogger, but I think readers should approach a blog post knowing it is just experience, it may be filled with tips and tricks but whose to say they will work for you? Advice should be taken as just that, advice and not as fact. 

So, should bloggers be giving advice? Why not? You may learn from their advice, you may not. You may not gain anything from the post while 80% of readers do, should that post be taken down, never to be seen because you didn't enjoy it? Should those other people who did gain from the post have never had the chance to see it because you don't think it was helpful to you personally? If your answer is yes, then maybe you shouldn't be reading blogs anyway. Let people do their thing, read posts you enjoy and don't read the ones you don't enjoy, you'll end up way happier this way anyway and who knows, maybe you'll learn something new. 

What is your opinion on this matter? Should bloggers be giving advice? Is clickbait really that big a deal? 

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