For the first part of the I Regret Nothing series where I explain the Game Of Superiority that is blogging, click here.
Remember when I said blogging has turned into a game of superiority? Facebook groups, designed to encourage bloggers to support each other, are where it rears its ugly head the most.
I first encountered this in a group for supporting Instagram accounts where I took part in a post for liking and commenting on other bloggers photos, but the deadline for completion fell slap bang in the middle of a weekend away in the Scottish Highlands, where signal is iffy at best, and I never quite got everything completed on time. I was called out for not upholding my end of the bargain (which is fair enough) by two women (out of like 100 people) who said that my reasoning was unacceptable (as if they had never made a mistake in their life). In protest they had returned to Instagram to unlike my post and delete their comments, even after they knew I was working my way through them with what little internet I had. In my eyes they were a bit petty but once I had fulfilled my side of the bargain one of them returned the photo like. The other one however? The other one contacted the group’s admin to complain that I had left an offensive comment on her photo.
So what was the oh-so-offensive message that I tainted her perfect Instagram feed with? Something to the effect of “I prefer ‘messy’ candid photos like this to posed ones, they are such genuine reminders of fun memories.”
To give you some context, let me describe this woman’s Instagram feed to you – every photo was perfectly colour co-ordinated and in every photo her children were perfectly posed without a hair out of place or a wrinkle in their clothes. Now, I’m not even a mother and I know that this is not a natural way for most children to be. The photo which angered me the most was one of her toddler in a ball pit – the pink, silver and white balls (not natural colours for ball pit balls at all!) were all perfectly placed in the ball pit with her child smiling sweetly in the middle, with not a thing out of place. It looked like the most boring play time ever, to be quite honest. So the image I chose to comment on was one of this same toddler hanging upside down from the sofa laughing, the only photo I saw where the child actually looked like a child. I’m not a parent and I am in no way entitled to judge or comment on anybody’s parenting styles or abilities (not that this stops me, but I know that realistically I know nothing about life as a parent!), but these posts just didn’t feel right.
A lot of bloggers and influencers who utilise Instagram have very clean newsfeeds, where every picture looks very similar and the theme running throughout is very obvious. There’s also normally a lot of white. Neither my personal nor my blog Instagram accounts are like this for one very good reason – my life is messy, and I want that honestly reflected (to some extent) when I’m putting my life out there on the internet for all to see.
The fact that this woman took offence to me implying that a photo she had posted was not ‘perfect’ gives you an idea of the kind of superiority complexes ever-present in the blogging world today. She tartly responded that “We keep those in the family album” (implying that the photo in question was also posed, in which case she should have been delighted that she had managed to take a posed photo which looked natural) and the admin explained to me that it wasn’t my use of the word messy which was offensive, but in fact it was unsupportive of me to imply that one style of photo was better than another (it wasn’t even implied to be honest, it was stated outright but I think the admin had probably dealt with this woman before and was trying to be sympathetic as I was very new to the group at the time).
In the end I never changed my comment, I left it exactly as I had posted it because the problem was clearly with the other woman (tell me in the comments if you think I was the one in the wrong, and I promise to not get upset with you!) and I believe that I said nothing more than the truth. Instead I took the time to block the woman in question, so neither of us have to deal with each other again – a solution which I think is probably best for all of the parties involved. I am still an active member in the group and we all get along nicely without too many hiccups. Certainly I have never again questioned my worth as blogger and especially as a human.