Are We All Just Sellouts?

Last week I was having a conversation with a friend after they made a comment that blogging seemed to have lost it’s purpose and just becoming a gimme gimme platform of people expecting to get things for free. I both agreed and was a little put off.

I agreed because over the past year and a half or so I have seen it too. Bloggers who I liked to read had become solely about running giveaways, getting things for free, being paid to do an honest review and writing for what seems like only for pageviews. I also began to see it in myself at the end of 2013 and wanted to change that last year.

As I mentioned in my blog post last week, I wanted to get back to the root of why I started blogging and get away from the pressure put on by deadlines and get away from what felt like forced articles.  So I started saying no to lots of things coming into my inbox because saying yes and writing a post that was not authentic was making me feel like a sellout. Saying yes because they were paying me $xxx wasn’t making it authentic. So I started really only working with company’s and brands that I would buy myself and could truly stand behind. Also, ones that let me talk in my own words and not editing what I write until it was no longer what I wanted to say.

I was also a little put off by their comment because there are a lot of bloggers who write for the love of writing and sharing, who post authentically and not for money or views. We both agreed that those people, those bloggers, get overshadowed by what it seems like the blogging world is becoming, and that is a billboard of sorts.

So it got me thinking. In some ways this is nothing new. We are all kind of walking billboards and sellouts.

The idea of a company wanting to give something for free can make you really feel excited. The feeling that your opinion is valued, that you are something.

I remember the first few things that we got given as a part of OVM – free bagel snacks, free body wash, free salad dressing. That was awesome, right? Then it lead to books, tickets to events, being flown to events in exchange for a blog post and social media sharing. Better right? Never asking for items, companies always making us feel like they really valued what we were going to say about it.

Until we weren’t going to say something good, then we were asked to keep our opinions to ourselves. Hmm, strange, but I thought you wanted our opinions?

What would you value more? Reading about a product that the person actually went out and paid for, with no affiliation to the company or brand, telling what they honestly do and don’t like about it….or a person writing a review of an item knowing they were given it for free or paid to write it? Hmm.

I see people tweeting about crackers, tampons, adult diapers and I think, really? Would you really be talking about this if you weren’t getting paid?

The thing is, it is everywhere. Celebrities, athletes and bloggers alike. For example look at celebs wearing particular clothing – they were likely given it. So them saying they LOVE the jeans by ‘XYZ brand’ may not be so. Athletes wearing their sponsors logo on their uniform, their race car, tweeting about eating a certain chain of food….the list goes on. Money and freebies talk. And we are all listening.

How much value does it really give the brand? Give the blogger/athlete/celebrity/person talking about the paid or free item? Getting things for free, and being excited about it, does that make us a sellout?