….and what I hate about it.
Travel blogging is not what it used to be. Yes, there are still hundreds of people writing the conventional way, but the industry as a whole has taken a huge shift. A shift that has positive and negatives — but mostly negatives.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the “Influencer” — a person with a large following count who uses their social platform to push products or services. Ever since Instagram blew up around 2013, the blogging and even YouTube industries have met major competition. Social media is no longer a supplement to those platforms, but a standalone medium to make income.
How it Works?
In a nutshell; one gains a following of at least 10K through posting high-quality pictures at a consistent rate. Through the use of hashtags and follow-for-follow methods, the user gradually gains followers. They monitor who follows and un-follows them and who likes their photos. They take note of who engages with their accounts and spends time re-engaging with those Instagrammer’s accounts to gradually build a dedicated userbase. Over time and repetition of these methods, they multiply the number of followers they receive. At this point, they may attract advertisers that “fit” with their own “brand”. The advertisers are then willing to provide monetary compensation for showing off said products/services to the targeted audience. The higher the follower count, the better the compensation…so long as the review is negative free.
Where does Travel Blogging Fit In?
Did someone say London? Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.
I tend to come across many “Instagram Models” who use their large following to get benefits across the globe. It is no secret that influencers use there large following to convince resorts, airlines, restaurants and hotels to give them free services in exchange for reviews for the service given. In 99% of the cases, the influencer spreads nothing but good sentiments on their Instagram. People love to travel and they also love photos that allow them to dream, so this not only helps the influencers follower base, but also maintains a good image for the service provider.
What’s Your Point?
If only life could look this picture perfect. Maybe when I acquire a jawline like that, it will.
Simple. People want authentic travel advice, outlooks and reviews. People think if they go to this resort, hotel, etc, they will have the same “good” experience as the influencer, which most of the time just won’t be the case. You see those fancy little notes and chocolates they leave for them on the table? YOU AREN’T GETTING THOSE. For most people, affording travel takes work, perseverance and determination. These posts discount that and normalize luxury travel. Oh, you are also going to be paying a pretty penny just to score a room, seat, meal, etc, with half the value of the shown services. When I come across these influencers, I tend to give a huge eye roll and move along, because it is not a good representation of what my experience would be like there. Another huge thing that irks me about this, is the Insta model generally has a too-good-to-be-true image. Pecs, tight buns and designer brands out; they just look so damn good, and that is why people are so captivated by them — it is the simple psychology of dramaturgy that sparks the audiences envy. Maybe I’m jealous…I don’t know.
Models…stick to modelling or divulge your sponsorships if you are going to travel. This is all I ask. The bottom line is, it is misleading advertising for the travelling experience and distracts from the insightful, captivating and in-depth travel information that is actually out there.
Can It Be Used for Good?
See the difference? This post tells a story, stays true to the bloggers following, doesn’t mislead his audience and is supplemental to his blog.
Using Instagram as a real-time tool to stay in touch with your following and to let them know where you are off to next — absolutely the perfect use of the platform for travel bloggers. Separate the authentic insights from any sponsorships and always keep your following in the know. Some bloggers are super passionate about photography and this is the perfect platform to promote your work. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any Insta models travelling the world…that is just crazy — but if you are an Insta model, just don’t pretend you are a travel blogger first.
As the lines of Instagramming and Blogging continue to blur, especially in the travel field, we must stay true to our audience with the best possible experience. As long as honesty, transparency and any other synonyms of those are in place, our following can tell the difference between the two and enjoy the authenticity of us.
But then again…what do I know? I just started this thing last month.
What do you think? Do I make good inferences about where the industry is turning? Or am I just jealous? Let me know in the comments below and follow me on Facebook for extra posts you won’t get on here! 🙂