Having blogged for the best part of three years now, I've come across so many different digital influencers – from the super friendly to the super phoney blogger.
And that's what this mini rant is all about: fake bloggers or “phoney” bloggers as Dawn Ward from The Real Housewives of Cheshire might call them.
So who are these phoney bloggers? And more to the point, what do they do? Well, there's nothing like personal stories to back up the mini rants, so let me give you two examples of my experience. And yes, I've changed their names to protect the
I'm friends with a blogger (let's call her Amelie) who was once friends with another blogger who became a huge influencer and really well known. This “famous” blogger then decided that Amelie wasn't big enough in the blogging world and decided to ditch her as a friend. Literally, she just stopped returning her calls.
First of all, what kind of person does that? They were friends before even blogging became a ‘thing', so for someone to do that to someone is quite frankly, in my opinion, downright inexcusable.
Understandably, it really upset Amelie. The last time I saw her a few months ago, she was telling me about the whole ordeal like it recently happened. It actually happened four years ago – and she was still carrying the pain.
“I feel worthless” she told me when she was recounting what happened. “Like our friendship never counted for anything…”
And as much as I felt sad for my lovely friend and sympathised with her, I began to realise that this wasn't uncommon. There are too many star-struck influencers rearing their phoney blogger heads – and they need to get real.
What actually needs to happen is that they get their faces out of the backside of those they want to impress (who they are convinced will catapult them to influencer stardom) and start being genuine.
I mean, what the hell happened to just being yourself? Isn't that what us bloggers are supposedly known for? Being honest, being individuals and being dependable?
Phoney blogger people: you are letting the team down on all fronts. And I really think that you are jeopardising the future of bloggers. We should be sticking together, supporting one another – and not just those we aspire to be like.
Why try to force a phoney blogger relationship to win popularity votes? Isn't this the sort of playground tactics you'd expect seven-year-olds to get away with? Not grown up people – some even that have children of their own?!
It happened to me
So here's my second example – and this time it's personal. A couple of years ago I was walking into a blog event with a fairly well known blogger (who I won't care to name as she didn't strike me as particularly friendly when we met – I was ‘small fry' to her).
As we walked in, she saw another blogger (funnily enough this one was male) and they started chatting to one another, leaving me standing there like a lemon. There were no introductions made or any attempt to welcome me into their conversation.
And as they walked and talked, male blogger man (who has children of his own) turned and noticed me enough to acknowledge me. I already knew who he was as I had been following him for a while, but we made small talk until he decided to make up an excuse to ditch me fast. However, he must have checked out the business card I gave him as he later started following me back on Twitter and Instagram.
Bear in mind this was two years ago. I have made numerous attempts to “make friends” and get to know him better through social media. I've liked his posts, commented on them and even asked him questions.
And I kept up the liking, commenting and sharing for 6 months. I thought (perhaps naively) that we could be friends.
And what happened? Absolutely nothing. He didn't respond to any of my questions, let alone acknowledge that I even existed. There were no likes on any of my social media posts or my comments to him…sweet FA.
Now that's fine of course – we can't all be everybody's cup of tea, I realise that. But when I ask someone a question or a comment that might warrant a response, I expect one. We teach our kids that it's rude to ignore people when being asked a question; so why be a hypocrite?
But because curiosity got the better of me, I decided to do a bit of research (okay, it was more like mini stalking), but I watched (and learned) what posts he liked, which ones he commented on and who he decided to reply to.
And would you Adam and Eve it? Every. single. one had a VERY significant influence in the blogging (or digital influencer) community. There was not one person he had interacted with if they had fewer followers than he had. I suspected that he was a phoney blogger and I was right. Always trust your instincts eh?!
This guy is hardly a massive influencer himself; he has around double the followers that I have on one of his social media platforms, yet it appears that he chooses to distance himself from those with fewer followers than him.
He's a ‘star-struck blogger' and a phoney. And on an ongoing basis I come across those who are all out for themselves and just don't share the love.
Whatever happened to being supportive? Half the reason I love blogging so much is that it gives me the opportunity to meet like-minded people, to have a laugh, to talk about our hopes and aspirations and to share information as best we can.
There's always one
I'll give you another example of something that happened just recently at World Travel Market in London. I was one of the digital influencers who managed to get a spot at the speed networking session.
Bloggers are sectioned off into separate zones at the event such as ‘cultural travel', ‘family travel' ‘gap year travel' etc. There were only a handful of us in the family section, but I got talking to a few people I met that day. Most of them were friendly, approachable and down to earth.
We all exchanged business cards to keep in touch and being the kind person that I am (and with absolutely no expectations), I decided to share the business cards I'd collected that day with the people that I met.
And, sadly….there's always one isn't there? I met her and she came across as friendly, but when she was still moaning about how dire the event was after an hour, I knew then that she just wasn't my sort. Nevertheless, I still decided to do the kind thing and share my business cards with her.
That was two weeks ago. Did I so much as get an acknowledgement from her for doing this? Even when I followed and promoted her on social and left her a lovely ‘nice to meet you' message. Er…nope. Again – absolutely nothing.
And yet two weeks earlier we'd been swapping stories, talking about our experiences and promising to keep in touch. I kept up my end of the bargain, but she had clearly decided that I wasn't ‘big enough' to be in her clique.
I moaned to my friend Kerry about the phoney blogger and she put things into perspective for me. She told me that, like me, she is very trusting of people and that she's had the same conversations with other bloggers.
I so badly wanted to believe that all bloggers are kind, genuine and sincere. These are my people; I relate to them, I sympathise with them, I celebrate with them and above all, I support them. But when it's clear that I'm just not ‘successful enough' for some to warrant being my friend, I find it sad.
I've met and made friends with bloggers from all backgrounds and at all stages of their blogging journey. They range from those with 268,000 followers (yes, really) to those with less than 100.
I don't look at the numbers of followers they have and rub my hands with glee when I see they have a much larger following than me. I look at the real person behind the name.
I'll ask myself if I enjoy their style of writing and if relate to them. And if the answer is “yes”, then I couldn't give two hoots if they've got 2 followers or 200,000 – I'll follow them and I'll support them. I'd like to think most bloggers would agree, but that wouldn't be realistic now would it?
It has been good to get this off my chest, almost cathartic, so I make no apologies for going off on a rant about star-struck influencers and their phoney blogger ways.
Perhaps once in a while, I should try being a bit more ruthless to climb the influencer ladder myself. But deep down I know that this isn't me. So I've resigned myself to taking the longer, more scenic route, to grow in the blogosphere. But at least I know the people I choose to follow I do so because I genuinely like them; and in this case, being ‘bigger' isn't necessarily better.
How do you feel about phoney bloggers? Do you have any past experiences to share? Feel free to have your own mini rant in the comments below!
A Pin For Your Blogging Board
You might also like…
- SEO For Bloggers: 14 Things You Should Know
- Bloggers Stand United! Don't Get Short-Changed
- 59 YouTube Hacks You Shouldn't Ignore