There has been a lot of talk recently about how fake social media is, sparked by the headlines from Essena O’Neill, the Instagram model who famously quit social media, claiming the platforms ‘brainwashed a generation’ (you can see the article on this here).
Of course, Instagram, Twitter and the entire blogosphere is littered with pictures of us looking fabulous enjoying our fabulous lives, going out for fabulous meals, with added filters to make it all look even more fabulous. And to be honest, for someone who carries the motto ‘life without airbrushing’, I’m not surprised that it’s started to get nauseating, and fake social media lives are being exposed.
I started this blog because I was getting a bit tired of seeing some blogs out there which were mere advertorials for brands. I remember coming across one such article which posted about a £250 eyeshadow quad which was apparently too pretty for words.
Indeed it was so pretty that the writer couldn’t say much more than that, and I was left wondering how good it was, how long it lasts, what it looks like when worn (there wasn’t even a swatch accompanying the piece) and crucially, whether it was worth the money.
Now while I avoid pitching things against their cost (as everyone’s budget is different and I don’t want to impose my opinion of what people should spend on makeup), at the very least, I try to spell out the pros and cons, and try on the product for posterity. As bloggers with a certain amount of influence, that’s the least we owe readers.
Of course, there is the odd plucky PR who will try their luck with getting you to promote a product their way (i.e. saying when to publish, tweet, etc.). I even had one that sent me the wrong product, and asked me to amend my review, just changing the name of the product she mistakenly sent. Needless to say I didn’t, and we haven’t been in touch since.
You see, HalimaBobs is set up to be a bit of an antidote to some of the more polished, ‘airbrushed’ and edited blogs out there. That’s why my YouTube channel offers unedited videos with real-time tutorials, and I often start them off wearing no makeup (not no makeup makeup), even at the risk of offending the eyes my lovely viewers.
My style could be seen as rustic or some may say crappy compared to some of the almost cinematic videos out there, but that is how YouTube – and blogging – started out.
Back to basics
When YouTube first launched, it was for real people to post about their lives. Vloggers would post straight forward tutorials, shot in their bedroom wearing a hooded top. But slowly, with the emergence of YouTube celebrities and filtered Instagram, videos have become more like TV shows, beauty tutorials are heavily edited and use dozens of products that cost a fortune.
Suddenly, what was supposed to be an accessible channel for everyone has become unattainable for many. And as for the tutorials, the sharp editing often leaves us unable to emulate the look for ourselves.
Honest, unfiltered blogging
When it comes to blogging, it’s hugely important to offer honest reviews, not just of the things I love, but also what hasn’t worked out quite so well. It’s not about bashing a brand, but it’s about offering a constructive view, so you, as the reader, can make the most informed choice. My view is, when I lose the trust of my readers and viewers, it’s time to shut down the laptop, as I’ve lost it all.
Essena’s stance has attracted criticism, however, as many people call it a publicity stunt in itself, while some have noted that it’s bad faith to have taken the money from brands than bad mouthed them afterwards.
While I agree with the latter point (if she is really against social media, a charitable donation of some of the money she recieved from brands would have made her cause seem more genuine), her stance has lead other instagrammers to follow suit, publishing the truth behind their perfect photos. It’s hard to say whether this is the beginning of a real sea change, or a passing fad, but I for one hope that the whole social media is fake debacle will restore some normality to the digital world. Filters are great, but keeping it real is even better.