Though I won't speak for my fellow IFB contributors, I imagine that they'd all agree with me: as veteran bloggers and active members of the blogging community, we've seen (and received) a lot of criticism, complaints, and even attacks, over the years. It's likely that we've even made them ourselves. (God knows that I have.)
Recently I turned 30, and I've been evaluating my life. I've also been evaluating what the last 6 years of blogging and social media have meant for me, and in both instances, the same phrase keeps coming to mind:
Be the change you want to see in the world.
It's an easy platitude to quote. It's a lot harder to live by every day. It's a very conscious and deliberate effort. It's difficult.
I see people (some bloggers, some not) complain via social media about the practices of a company. Whether you're a plus-size woman complaining about a lack of sizes, a traveler upset by poor service, or a mom upset at a server because they didn't smile at your kid, taking to social media doesn't always result in positive change. In some instances it can – I've had that happen myself! And in some instances it can backfire on you.
It's also been my experience that I'll find more success, or at least feel more SATISFIED, by contacting customer service, a manager, or public relations directly about my concerns. I know that they're being heard by the person who needs to hear them and see change as a direct result.
It's harder. It means removing the safety of anonymity and vocalizing dissatisfaction. But it also means possibly seeing your concerns addressed. Isn't that worth it?
Act in a Way That You're Proud to Support
As a contributor at IFB, I know that we aren't always able to satisfy the community. People get upset about our lack of diversity or insulted by a post we write. They hate the spammy “Follow my blog” comments that they receive in their mailboxes. They hate how the blogging community has sold out for sponsors and advertisers and free clothes.
And that's okay – I don't always agree with everything and everyone at IFB either.
There's more power in acting in a way that encourages the changes you want to see. If you want to see more diversity in the contributors, build a top notch blog. Hone your writing skills. Make it a point to highlight true diversity regularly. Champion it on your blog, your social media sites, and when you meet people in person.
If you hate seeing spammy messages from new bloggers desperate to build a following, reach out and build genuine connections with those new bloggers. Offer advice. Take them under your wing.
Say no more often. I've being saying no more often, and it feels good. It's refreshing to not feel obligated to get product reviews done, worry about getting a post up on time, or whether the advertiser is going to get shifty and shady on me mid-way through a negotiation. It gives me more time to focus on the things in my life, work with and share brands that excite me, and just takes away the pressure.
Be Willing to Lead by Example.
No matter how large or small our audience is, as bloggers, we have the platform and opportunity to lead by example.
Use your site to hold yourself accountable for what you truly believe in.
Push AGAINST the system that fashion blogging has built: stand firmly for what you believe in and the blogger you want to be.
So consider this your call to action: BE the change you want to see online.
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]