I’ve sat on this post for a week, talked about it on social media but been too nervous to publish it. I don’t want to come across as moaning, or ungrateful. But yesterday, after seeing another runner call out the shaming and the trolling, and the passive aggressive no names but making it plainly obvious who you’re talking about BS… it was time to talk about it.
‘Stop using African children to get Instagram likes’.
I’m lucky that this is about the worst of the online negativity I receive, my adopted kill them with kindness approach at replying to every message has worked pretty well so far. For every person I’ve replied to, I have always received a nice reply from them.
What hurt me most in terms of online negativity, wasn’t actually trolling but passive aggressive tweets surrounding my decision to run the Boston Marathon.
The worst part, three of the people were girls I knew. Girls I would have said were insta friends. A girl I’d been on holiday with…
Sadly Jordan behind the Instagram projectmarathongirl has had a similar experiences She shared this with me after she was subject to some not-so-discreet Instagram bitchiness…
I just don’t understand why people feel that they can say things hidden behind their screen, that they would never dream of saying to someone’s face. Or maybe they would and people are meaner than I want to believe they are. Paul Addicott, a well known runner who sacrifices a lot of his time and energy to pace races around the world (paying his own way!) told me about his experience of online mockery, with people making fake accounts just to do so.
It is NOT OK.
Online bullying and trolling is unacceptable. In my opinion, if you have a particular problem, send a polite direct message to the person, rather than slating them in public. I reply to every single criticism, but it’s upsets me far more when someone doesn’t come to me individually.
I have started screenshotting and saving the lovely messages that I get, because somehow, amongst so much lovliness, it’s only the negative DMs that I remember. They say it takes 7 positive comments to balance out a negative but I question whether, when it comes to social media, we need more.
By opening up so much of my life online, I open myself up to criticism and feedback (wanted or unwanted). I wish I could take on board the advice I read recently – ‘what other people think of you is none of your business’. If only it was that simple…
As Jordan said, we’re only human and it’s hard not to take negative comments and online digs are hard to shake off. No matter how thick skinned you are. Blogger and instagrammer Zanna Van Dijk recently had to turn off her reply function on Instagram because of the messages she was receiving.
I understand there are issues around disclosing paid partnerships that really upset people, and it irritates me just as much as you – when I see people being shady around what they’ve been paid to post, or when I’ve been part of the same campaign and know that people have been paid without adding AD to their post. Personally, I don’t think #Sp is clear enough.
When we’re not paid is when it gets tricky and there’s quite a lot of confusion around what counts as a ‘sponsored post’ – I had understood it as a paid for post. When I’m given free product without guaranteeing to post, then I don’t see that as sponsored. However, I want to be as open as possible with you all, so from now on, i’ll use #RBPartner I have been sent a product that I’m talking about but haven’t been paid to do so. I hope this helps clear things up. Lucy (a lawyer and fellow blogger) wrote a great post for bloggers – and readers – on when something is deemed an AD or not.
I recently had someone report me to the ASA (the advertising standards authority) because they thought that I was using an affiliate link on some tea I mentioned, which I wasn’t. And to be clear from that, when there are affiliate links, (of which I don’t do many because I never want to feel pressured to push a product), then I will always let you know on the post.
The reason I won’t become a full time ‘influencer’, and have not postponed my dietetics degree, (even though it is a crazy amount of work right now), is because social media is fickle. People’s opinion of you can change so quickly. I will post something and get over 2000 likes, then post another image and only receive 500 likes. And it affects me more than I like admitting.
Imagine having a job that relies solely on how much people like you?
Whenever I receive any negativity online, I question why I blog and share my life on social in the first place. To be honest, my level of criticism is quite low, and I take everything to heart, so maybe I need to toughen up. But realistically, I work so hard on this blog that when I get sent passive aggressive messages or see tweets/fb messages where I’m not mentioned by name but it’s clear that I am involved, I get really upset.
For every pound I make on this blog, I’ve probably spent two. And for every blog post, instagram picture or collaboration, there is hours and hours of work behind it. There are stressful situations behind the ‘perfect’ insta, deadlines that get pushed back and payments that take months to come through (not to mention taxes, but that’s one of life’s guarantees, right). I make so much free content that when I get a backlash for working with brands, it breaks my heart.
I always try to work with brands that I think you guys will genuinely love as much as I do. Brands who I buy the kit from, or use in my daily life anyway, or am intrigued to try and feedback on! I have turned down lots of collabs and pulled out midway when the brand asks for something (wording etc) that I’m not happy with.
Most fitness/running bloggers I know didn’t get into it to make money or get freebies, they did it to share their journey and hopefully help and inspire people. They want to share advice, anecdotes from their own challenges and encourage others to participate.
And that’s what I still want. So to everyone that has ever sent me a lovely message, you have no idea just how much they mean to me. I now screenshot every single one and remind myself, during tough times, of why I do this.