Bay Area fashion blogger inspiring [life] style

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Art of Reciprocity

As you all know, I'm a blogger (spoiler alert). And as a blogger, especially in 2017, there is a lot I have to do to stay relevant in the blogging world this day and age. So much of that is centered around social media. And Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest are the big Kahunas.

As social media has gone up in value, for some people, actual blogs have gone down. Some bloggers noticed less readership on their websites and even decided to do away with them entirely in exchange for social media only. For me, I've been blogging for way too long to just give it up like that. But I do spend a considerable amount of my time on social media. It's an extension of my blog and I try to do my best to utilize my social media to gain readership to the Muse.

I'm in a few groups on both Facebook and Instagram to help boost engagement. These are groups made up of bloggers and vloggers who share ways to engage with their content. Engagement includes blog comments, post likes, post comments, video views and more. These groups started a few years back, but it seems like a new one pops up every month. With all the social media algorithm changes and the attention given to social over blogs, many bloggers have joined these groups to help stay relevant in an over-saturated world.

Although there are obvious benefits to these groups, there are some drawbacks as well. If you're in too many, then they can become quite time consuming. But that's a controllable problem. You can always opt out. But I've found that no matter the group or the platform, there will always be moochers: people who use these groups for their own benefit without reciprocating the favors in return. And that's simply something that I just don't understand.
We are bloggers, for one. We've spent years explaining ourselves and our livelihood to other people and to companies. We've had to show that we have value in order for others to not mooch off of us. No, we're not going to write a blog post about your product for free. No, we're not going to make a video of your item in exchange for maybe, possibly, a small commission. So it baffles me that these same content creators who bitch and moan about brands not knowing their worth to then do the same to their fellow creators. I'm constantly seeing messages in these groups where some will ask for engagement but will fail to reciprocate. It has been done against me a few times as well.

I really couldn't fathom the idea of asking for something and not reciprocating the favor, especially not in this industry. As bloggers, we understand how much work we put into our content whether that be an unboxing video, a roundup post, or a social share. So why would someone who knows what it's like to be on this side of the track take advantage of others? But it's a very prevalent issue, especially now that it seems like engagement is king instead of content.

And maybe that's the underlying issue. Many are concerned with engagement but don't care how they get it or if they give it. If you don't believe in the art of reciprocation, then don't involve yourself or maybe even re-assess your priorities.

#sorrynotsorry

Please let me know how you feel about the state of blogging, the social media impact, engagement and more in the comments below -- even if you disagree with me. I'd love to hear what you think! And yes, I know there are way more serious things going on in the world right now...
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34 comments

  1. I totally agree with you your post and everything you said ! :) Plus I have also noticed how much more value has gone now into social media than blogs, its hard to keep up with everything and I take my hat off to everyone who can maintain it efficiently.

    Happy Friday hun xx

    www/fashionjazz.co.za

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    1. It's totally hard to keep up with everything. That's why I like to take weekends off from social media. It definitely helps!

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  2. I hear you. So loud and clear. I do not get it either. I'm starting to call people out. I understand an over sight and a slip here and there but three times or more is just plain mooching.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    ❥ tanvii.com

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    1. Yes, I'm calling people out on Facebook, too. If you don't have the time to reciprocate, then don't put your own thing out there in the first place.

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  3. I feel the same way! It is so hard to stay on top of everything and still put out great content which at the end of the day is the most important!
    xo Jessica
    www.whatsfordinneresq.com

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    1. Content is king! Blogging and social media is such a struggle.

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  4. OMG. I am struggling with this right now, but it's more a case of fellow bloggers looking for assistance with ideas, PR contacts, TV contacts and the like...but mysteriously disappear when you ask THEM for help. When that happens, they quickly get moved to my Sh*t List.

    Great post - I'll be sure to share this.

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    1. Girl, I should have added that in this post, too. I've seen this going around a lot on social. I have not experienced this myself, but other bloggers have been in your shoes. I understand not giving out your contacts, but if someone already gave you their contact, then you owe it to them to do the same, especially in this business.

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  5. I agree, and have noticed some time ago that engagement and comments have decreased but like you I don't want to completely sack my website. I recently noticed a couple bloggers getting attitudes for not commenting as frequently on every post of theirs. But, it's dedicated readers not just commenters who comment when they have a new post, that makes me keep coming back and I like to comment via social media sometimes since it's convenient. I am also way too busy these days with life, work, and grad school to worry about people who don't have their heart in it. I think as bloggers we should all support each other, so quite's sad to hear that some bloggers are acting up like this. :) Happy Friday, lady!

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    1. As long as I still enjoy it, I'll continue to blog, even if I stop getting comments. But yea, I'm all about dedicated readers. For instance, we've been following each other for years now!

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  6. OMG, I love how you brought this up because as much as I love these engagement groups, there are a select few that don't reciprocate. It's like if I take my time to help yours, I expect the same. I also just use social media as an extension to my blog. I work too hard to give it up. Plus, social media can be a fab and can be too much to keep up. Love that you always keep it honest!

    www.rdsobsessions.com

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    1. Exactly! We put in too much time and effort into our blogs to give them up for social media alone. Social media has to be curated and specific, but your blog doesn't have those rules. Your blog can be your own.

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  7. I totally agree. Blogging stopped being a cool hobby a long time ago and is now a business, wether you do it because you love it or because you want to make money/become famous. Nowadays, what matters is how many likes you can get, not how you connect with people.
    LA VEINE

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    1. It's definitely a business now. For me, it's still something that I enjoy, so I guess it's a job that I love, but it's still a job. But blogging is supposed to be different. It should be able to be a business that allows you to connect with people. Let's hope we don't lose that.

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  8. Preach, girl! We have to help each other so we ALL grow!

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    1. Word! That's what this whole blogging this was supposed to be about.

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  9. Thanks for putting this out there Cheryl! I'm not ready to give up my blog yet either. Blogging is a community and it's made up of all sorts. Some people are just out for themselves and some are looking to build on the community and support one another. It's sad when engagement is taking a backseat to content but in the end I think we just need to stay true to ourselves and support those who support us back.

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    1. Absolutely -- all about supporting those who support us. I am actually in one comment group on Instagram that is really supportive and they make engagement fun.

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  10. As someone who's been blogging for awhile, I must admit I'm still a bit naive when it comes to issues like this, so thank you, Cheryl, for your candidness. I do agree that comments and visits have gone down over the years, but because I'm not involved in any network of the sort, I'm pretty clueless about what really goes on with other bloggers. I do agree that, like in real life, reciprocity is important in relationships. It's so sad when people expects so much but yet give so little:(

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    1. It's pretty great that you're not as involved in those other things. As a blogger, you're a breath of fresh air!

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  11. Engagement has literally changed the game for me. I love this post so much, and totally agree. Definitely have to give to get, especially in the blogging world. Your blog is GORGEOUS by the way. Have you been blogging long?

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    1. Hey Camille! First, thanks so much for following me on Twitter and for the re-tweet. I stopped by your blog (and Instagram) earlier -- both are fabulous! I've been blogging for about 8 years now! Crazy, I know. So I have experienced how much blogging has changed since the advent of social media. But I'm happy that people are responding so well to this post and engaging with this content. :)

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  12. I think you hit the nail on the head, Cheryl. So many people are concerned with increasing engagement on their own blogs/social media profiles that they don't care about reciprocity. Although there are a lot of genuine bloggers out there who want to connect with others, there are so many people who just want to build an audience. Thank you for this piece. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one feeling frustrated.

    www.sublimecravings.com

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    1. Yea, I think social media has really put pressure on bloggers in the recent years. I think a lot of times they only care about building their own audience because they feel that's the only way you can "win" in the blogging world these days.

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  13. Love this! I struggle keeping up with social media and blogging, so I get people not always commenting or interacting because life gets busy. However, reciprocity is key to building a strong community. It bothers me that I can comment on a bunch of blogs and only one or two will comment back on my blog. How can you build a audience that way?

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    1. Oh, I totally get that. I think it's perfectly fine to step back and take a break from blogging and social media. But yea, you can't build an audience without engaging with them.

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  14. I'm fairly new to blogging, but I'm a firm believer in reciprocity. I'm a member of a few Facebook groups and I always follow the Golden Rule even when it's not done to me. I've enjoyed interacting with you, Cheryl, and I appreciate your thoughts on this subject. I actually wouldn't mind getting your thoughts on more of the state of blogging if you would be so inclined?

    Beth || www.TheStyleBouquet.com

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    1. The Facebook page that we're both a part of is a good example of what I'm talking about, along with a few other pages and groups on Instagram. I think getting and giving engagement is how to build a blogging community, especially now that social media has almost taken over. I think blogging was a bigger deal a few years ago when it was newer. But now it's definitely taken a backseat unless you blog about gossip or celebrities, perhaps. But I think if you still have a passion for it, good content and are engaging with your readers, then you should continue blogging for as long as it's fun to do so.

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  15. Blogging is exploding especially in the business community and I have been teaching it since 2012 and will continue to do so as long as people are interested.

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  16. I'm fascinated by the dominance of social media and how some of my social media buddies didn't even have blogs (but started them later). I'm still all about community and I'm not going to be BFFs with everyone, but would love to form actual relationships. There are fewer of those, but I'll take a few quality ones!

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  17. Its amazing how social media has changed how things are done -
    I had an IT guy tell me blogs were "so 90's" a year ago, so it all depends who you ask. I can only see them getting stronger and other social media as conductors to blogs.

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  18. What goes around comes around. Mean Girls might be a fab movie (it really IS!) but it's a bad business model!

    OXOX
    Dawn Lucy
    http://fashionshouldbefun.com

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  19. I think this is a truly serious matter! When I started blogging it was a hobby, now it's a business and we are hard at work for our business. Just like any other business we take it seriously and should reciprocate if we have a chance to! Thanks for saying this girl!

    Melissa
    Stylista Fitness

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  20. This is so true, I get very annoyed with comments on my blog that simple say 'follow me' . Why would I follow you? Seriously, do they seriously get any engagement from such behaviour is what I wondeR?

    Even in this age, I do blogging as a hobby and creative outlet and have never explored the monetary side of things, so I only go on other blogs if their content draws me !

    Thanks for saying it how it is girl! Love it !

    www.talesoftwoblog.blogspot.com

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