Influencing the Influencers - Disclosure in Social Media (Vol 3)(216 Posts)
Great idea, thanks Frugal.
For anyone new to the thread / topic, this is where we will discuss the beauty blogging industry and hopefully gain some insight into its practices - for example is it true that bloggers are financially motivated by brands to endorse their new products, can we trust their recommendations, is it any different to beauty editors in print, etc.
It will not be a witch hunt or mention the physical appearance of any bloggers - that's just not interesting.
Have I missed anything?
Ouch, started the new tread too quickly. We should have called this "Disclosure and conflicts of interest on beauty blogs".
Anyway, any comments and insights are welcome!
Thought the current vlogger 'guidelines' might be useful as a reference.
Wibbly in parts, especially regarding sponsorship and free goods.
My own industry isn't currently regulated. It has a professional body, but like a lot of bodies, it's paid for by its' members and in the case of mine, it's spectacularly toothless and inept.
Is peer pressure / self-governance the answer to better standards of disclosure?
Sorry, that last sentence reads like an exam question!
Blimey, I went to work, came back and checked in and it had all gone tits up. What a shame that happened. I was enjoying the fact that we were having such a considered and grown up discusion up until that point.
Thanks for starting a new thread frugal, hopefully we can just get back to discussing disclosure and honesty again.
I'm going to shamelessly repost my last post from the previous thread. I'd hate my pearls of wisdom to disappear unread .
I did a module on regulation as part of my masters and remember (vaguely!) a lot about consensual models of regulation and regulatory culture. Blogging certainly seems like a sector where it needs to come from the bottom up, not the top down.
But bloggers, especially 'big' ones, do have the power to change culture among brands. I've seen it happen in other industries, where people working together have forced multinationals to change their approach to one that aligns more with the values of content producers.
But of course that presumes that content producers have the kinds of values that we're talking about on these threads...
Well for regulation to be truly effective it needs to be independently funded and organised. Which usually means public funding etc.
But this isn't exactly a top priority for policy makers, so bottom up / self regulation is where it will have to start.
We'd just started discussing this on the other thread - I was pointing out that self regulation of the traditional press is a joke, and intentionally so. Although they trot out a line of freedom of the press, its actually because those powerful media companies don't want to be properly regulated as it would reign in their power and influence.
But it is true that in other sectors, bottom up pressure + responses from those powerful and influential in a sector can bring about change.
I think some of the big bloggers could facilitate this, by getting together, consulting opinion, developing some common standards and guidelines, following them themselves etc.
Like the 'Fair trade' logo, there could be a shorthand which bloggers following that approach display on their site - it would / should help them build an audience, and also help smaller and newer bloggers withstand the pressure.
E.g. I like Sali Hughes and wasn't v surprised by what she set out in her response post - though I'd like her to explain more about how her blog is funded and whether it is a marketing - so costs covered - or revenue earning activity for her. But for newer, smaller, younger bloggers it can be harder to hold out against the pressure. A set of agreed standards they could choose to sign up with should help them too.
Thanks for reposting Freya I was going to ask you!
I've also been to work and back. My work is incredibly regulated, that's probably why I want to let it loose here. But I also believe in freedom of thought and constructive criticism...
I think we are witnessing growing pains. What started as a hobby and a creative outlet has become a full-time job for some, and people are really confused about rules.
Thanks for starting this frugal, I'll be reading with interest.
I think the problem with guidelines is that's all they are...without something to back them up, or consequences for not following them, they're pretty meaningless.
Sorry but can someone please fill me in on what happened to the previous thread? I just saw a bunch of comments attacking it but i don't know where they came from?
I don't know either Ayala but we don't want this topic derailed. And I thought it might be fair to rename the thread.
The old thread should still be there, just click on Vol 2!
I wanted to post a few quotes from an article in the Guardian that Floisme mentioned yesterday:
“The social media stars of today: they are real, honest. Their sharings are often unedited, unpolished. They don’t always look perfect. What matters most is that this is real and authentic, and you get the feeling you are seeing the person ‘as they are’, warts and all,” says Natasha Courtenay-Smith, a digital strategist who has worked with several social stars.
“A brand has to ensure its marketing communications are ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’ and its marketing communications are ‘obviously identifiable as such’ and these rules will likely apply to materials using the route creators on social platforms,” explains Andrew Joint, commercial technology partner at law firm Kemp Little"
"“This of course means different things on different platforms – hashtags on twitter (#advert) to different labelling on Instagram or visual/audio on YouTube. It really is a question of common-sense and a general sniff test. The question is ‘Would someone know this is marketing material?’ and the answer needs to be ‘yes’.”
Also to take the products discussion in a slightly different direction, I'm going to have a go at making some of my own when I've got a bit more time and i'd like to hear more from those that do.
Cleansing oil / balm seems straight forward enough, I've made my own oil salt scrubs (for body) before, though I'd love to hear more about what others have tried.
And someone (Wolpertinger?) said in one of the earlier threads that they were making their own serum. HOW?? Serum is one thing I'm happy to spend on (I stick to boots level for cleansers on the basis that it's on your skin for seconds then straight down the sink) for the consistency etc.
So please do tell how you go about that, I'm all ears.
And YY to beauty bringing out the inner chemist in women - I remember making moisturiser in A level chemistry =)
Swiftcraftymonkey (or something like that) is a good Diy beauty site from someone who knows their chemistry.
Dougal Bigbuttons makes her own serums and has some great recipes.
I think the huge influx of money and brand influence is a bit like a gold rush for social media stars. I mean, if even bedroom bloggers with a handful of followers are courted by PRs, it is difficult to say no.
And as a reader it's confusing too - blogs I have followed for years have changed, and it's hard to know who is controlling them.
I think that many bloggers are trying hard to be just and fair. Perhaps we should reward bloggers who seem honest and open by visiting their sites and clinking their links. In some way I think we were unfair to punish CH when she was trying to change her disclosure and be more open.
Perhaps we should highlight bloggers who seem to be disclosing properly?
Thanks for the new thread Frugal.
What I'm interested in is how social media, particularly the blog/vlogsphere appears to be turning into a vehicle for PR.
I posted on the previous thread that Gleam are advertising some posts. They state more than once that they want people who 'share a clear vision for role of social media for brands, businesses and social talent.'
I'd like to know what their 'vision' is. And also how bloggers feel about being part of it.
I'm in Scandinavia, and our blogger scene is small but perhaps a bit more upfront about disclosure. I checked the main page of a leading local portal and they have a fairly detailed Code of Conduct (this is just a part of it):
*PR samples should be disclosed
*Advertisements and product placements should be clearly labeled.
*If a blogger has been given something for free and he/she writes about it, it is considered an advertisement.
*If a blogger has been compensated in some way (either with money, vouchers, goods, services or in any other way) for a post, it is considered an ad.
* Bloggers are free to voice negative opinions and not review gifted items.
They also give sample phrases how to disclose various things.
Things are not perfect, but leading bloggers seem to disclose and newbies imitate them because they want to be hired by blog portals. And followers still follow them.
So I am vaguely optimistic and believe in what Freya and Dougal said - if bloggers and their management companies see this as important, it might happen.
dougal I make my own c serum, with FA and vit c and niacinamide(b3) one.
You can make a very basic c serum without many ingredients. If you want to go down the route of more complicated ones with emulsions then you need to stock up on a few basics.
Swiftcraftymonkey is great but does require some previous experience/knowledge of chemistry.
I have used eds forum a lot which is packed full of recipes.
To answer your question, frugal, about highlighting bloggers who do disclose properly. Yes please. I wouldn't have much to contribute, having become so bored and disillusioned that I had turned them all off. But I would take notice.
I'd be particularly interested to hear about any bloggers who are prepared to give negative reviews, as opposed to just ignoring a product they don't like. For me that would be a real sign of independence and one that just might hook me in again.
Beautycrush, or Samantha Maria as she 'rebranded' her channel is as interesting one, she started out years ago as a kid in her bedroom now she's hugely popular and a complete Gleambot. It's glaring obvious that she's nothing but a soulless shopping channel now but her millions of kid subscribers still think she's one of them, despite her endless Tom Ford freebies and designer bags.
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