Friday, 30 June 2017

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: The Power of Blogging #SaturdayShareLinkUp

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: The Power of Blogging

You know that quote from Uncle Ben in Spider-Man, "With great power comes great responsibility"? Well, I found myself quoting it this week with reference to the whole idea of blogging and the role that trust has to play within it.

On Tuesday I was invited to speak on a panel at the Judge Institute (Cambridge University's Business School) - not a typical thing for someone in my profession to do as it wasn't a room full of bloggers I was talking to (or with), but something very different.

Somehow I found myself in a room full of about 20 academics, entrepreneurs and influencers - plus the audience - and wondered what on earth I was doing there. I wondered what would have possessed someone to ask ME to be a part of it. (The confidence thing is a whole other blog post which I'll talk about another time.)

To cut a very long story short, we weren't asked to prepare anything beforehand so that our discussions would be spontaneous. So what we ended up discussing was actually very interesting and I was fascinated by so many different points of views from such a wide variety of people.

We all discussed the notion of "disruption" in modern marketing - all the panellists were chosen on account of being disruptors to the status quo in their fields - and the theme in my panel was trust. I was asked to talk about how trust has shaped (and continues to shape) the way I interact with my readers.

How trust affects what I write

It was, at the same time, both an easy and incredibly difficult topic to discuss.

I could probably write a really long post here, but I'm going to try and keep it short because do you know what? It's Friday, and that pretty much means the weekend. I want to start enjoying my weekend as soon as I can, especially after I've been away for three days working. And you probably want to do the same and get out and enjoy your weekend, too.

And THAT'S what I mean about trust. I've just been honest about the fact that I want to get this post finished and start my weekend. With every post I write, I always try to bring that honesty every single time.

I like to think that you, my readers, trust what I write. I write a lot of sponsored posts in order to pay the bills and to be able to continue to write the blog, but I don't hide the fact that they're sponsored or that I need to earn a living. I write a blog as a profession and want to be honest about that. But I realise that my popularity is based on how many of you want to come and read what I have to say, or what I'm wearing.

And what message I'm communicating to you.

I therefore don't write the blog post from the point of view of, "THIS is what you should be wearing", or, "THIS is what's on trend this season so go out and buy it now".

Or even worse, "This is what NOT to wear." (Have those TV shows finally died a death? I hope to god they have.)

Why should I tell my readers what to wear? I don't see it as my responsibility to tell others what they should be wearing. I see it as my responsibility to help my readers make their OWN decisions. What I actually wear myself is almost irrelevant - take whatever inspiration you like from my outfit choices, but most of all take inspiration from my tagline of "Encouraging women to be fabulous at any age".

SO MANY PEOPLE PUT THEIR TRUST IN ME. THEY TRUST WHAT I HAVE TO SAY. IT'S BOTH A WONDERFUL FEELING AND A FRIGHTENING ONE AT THE SAME TIME

However, I realise that the more popular my blog gets, the more power and influence I have. And it's not something I take lightly.

It's something that has dawned on me over the years seeing as I initially started this blog as a one-year project six years ago.

So I think being asked about the topic of the trust that my readers have in me in a room full of strangers forced me to realise very suddenly that oh BOY, do I have a great responsibility... it's HUGE, in fact. So many people put their trust in me. They trust what I have to say. It's both a wonderful feeling and a frightening one at the same time.

But when I'm asked the question (in direct correspondence on either social media, my blog or most commonly by email): Have you any suggestions about what I could wear?, I always want to ask back: What is it that YOU want to wear?

Many women know what they want to wear, they're simply looking for the permission to wear it.

THAT'S where the responsibility comes in. I see it as my responsibility to help others make those decisions, because I am now in a position of trust.

So when Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker, "With great power comes great responsibility", the man really knew what he was talking about. Blogging is a power all unto itself.

WHAT'S YOUR EXPERIENCE OF TRUST WITH THE BLOGGERS YOU FOLLOW, AND HAVE YOU EVER FOUND YOURSELF LOSING TRUST IN ANY OF YOUR FAVOURITES? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

So all that's left to say is - I've shared my thoughts/stories/tuppence-worth this week, now it's time to share yours... LET'S GET THIS [LINK UP] PARTY STARTED!


- DON'T MISS A SINGLE POST -

ENTER YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE BOX BELOW AND YOU'LL BE SENT AN EMAIL EVERY TIME I PUBLISH SOMETHING NEW!



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Thank you for joining the #SaturdayShareLinkUp! Designed to allow you to share anything you like on ANY topic, it goes live every Friday at 8-9pm UK time and will stay open for a week. You can share blog posts or Instagram posts, old posts or new posts, and link up as many as you like.

PLEASE be kind and leave a link somewhere on your post, and share your post using the hashtag #SaturdayShareLinkUp - if you tweet your link with the hashtag and tag me in @notlamb I'll even retweet it to my followers for you :)

A hot tip for linking up:

Use clear, bright images (crop in close if necessary) and add a relevant, descriptive title (you've got 75 characters to use). These sorts of thumbnails and text always get the most clicks, so don't waste the opportunity to increase traffic and engagement on your best work!




Catherine


Linking up to: Brilliant Blog Posts
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21 comments

  1. I always trust you 100% for sure. You have been a great guide in this blogging world to me, and when in doubt I always check with you, as you know.
    So very grateful
    Much love, dear Catherine

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    Replies
    1. Yes you do Sacramento, and I'm more than happy to help you my lovely! xx

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  2. I love to learn from other bloggers, not only by the way they dress, but also in the way they stand in life!

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  3. Gosh...this question is deeper than it first appears!
    Trust is SO important in the blogging world.
    As is honesty and upfrontness.... (is that even a word!!? Hahahaha)
    I am totally turned off by "sneaky" sponsored posts... with no upfront message of "This is written in collaboration with..." Or "This *** was sent to me by ***".
    Or one sponsored post after another with no "reality" in between.

    I also like to know what I'm getting in to before I read it.
    Sponsored posts themselves are not off-putting at all! In fact, they are often interesting and informative.
    Opening my eyes (and mind) to new things.

    As for being told what not to wear.....hahahahaha....no thanks!
    I love looking at bloggers and getting inspired with ideas about what is possible.
    Even if that blogger does not share my style, or is a totally different body shape, it doesn't matter!
    I just love fashion as an art form.

    Keep doing exactly what you are doing Catherine!
    You have the most important blogger trait.... integrity!
    XXX
    Samantha
    Fake Fabulous | Style and Fashion, over 40

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    Replies
    1. I find it incredible that there are bloggers who STILL refuse to declare their sponsored posts, Samantha... What is the matter with them?! I'm with you on being turned off by undeclared collabs. The fact is they're doing a job and they're doing it very unprofessionally - if they're being paid it's a job, and you have to do things properly when you're being paid.

      And thank you for the lovely comment and support - and no, I wouldn't DREAM of telling *you* what to wear, that's for sure!! 😂😂😂

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  4. I like your approach, Catherine. Your honesty does come thru in your posts and there's a real truth about it. Great topic and food for thought.

    Rena
    http://www.finewhateverblog.com

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  5. Great post! I think you can definitely lose trust in a blogger. I recently unsubscribed from a blog that I had followed for a while, as I lost complete faith in whether they wrote/you tubed (Is that even a thing?) with integrity anymore. It seemed that every new video was about "the product that they couldn't live without", yet the month prior it was a different one It felt like a constant sales pitch and I switched off. I too, like Samantha, dislike the "sneaky" sponsored posts. Im all for people making money from their blogs, I applaud it, but be up front.

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  6. "Many women know what they want to wear, they're simply looking for the permission to wear it." This line, Catherine... gosh...I think you got me there! It couldn't be more true of the way I used to think before I started my lifestyle blog. Actually well into the blog, really. It's only this past year or so, since I've turned 40 that I realise I don't need permission to wear anything. But it was probably my trust in you, in Samantha of Fake Fabulous, Lisa of the Sequinist, of Lizzy and all the other amazing 40+ bloggers that helped me come to that decision. And I'm very grateful to all of you for helping me to shine - not just with my style, but in other areas of my life too!
    Suzy xx
    www.suzyturner.com

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  7. Such an articulate and powerful post as always Catherine. Huge congrats on the talk, that's incredible and so well deserved. I concur with all you've said here. We are role models in many ways, and just as we are. Our integrity, and the trust we have built with others over the years is the foundations upon which our personal brands are built and the reason they thrive. I write about this a lot in my book. The importance of being yourself and sharing your true self. On creating emotion on screen. We want truthful connections in this world (more now than ever in many respects with political upheaval etc). We want to know who we are and where we stand with others, and we find those real, safe voices in bloggers and vloggers who control their content, who are both arbiters of truth and taste. You are right though, your driving force is bigger than what you wear or say, as is mine, it's about making a difference. About giving women permission to be themselves. My purpose is to help others feel their most confident selves and to seize the digital space. I was honoured to interview Seth Godin on the blog this week and his wisdom knows no bounds. As he said, we have leverage. The same access and tools as billion dollar companies. It's remarkable, amazing, a little bit scary, granted but so bloody empowering. Keep breaking new ground lady, and being your brilliant self xx

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  8. I totally agree with this. As a blogger myself I feel like my blog would be nothing without 100% honesty. I've lost trust in bloggers I follow before. One in particular write a rave review about some newly released nail polishes. The formula was gimmicky and sort of cracked all over. Her post never included images of her wearing the polish. A few weeks later the brand quickly removed the product line. My trust in her was gone. X

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  9. So incredibly brave of you to talk in front of an audience of any description let alone academics. I would have been shaking like a leaf. Public speaking is an art Catherine, one of many you've mastered since becoming a successfulfull time blogger. I'm incredibly proud of you & work hard to be half as good a blogger as you are. My hope is to make my own little business as successful as yours one day! Thanks for all your excellent advice & actual help, I truly appreciate how open you are to sharing your wisdom xxx

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  10. Another great message, Catherine! This right here really struck a chord, "Many women know what they want to wear, they're simply looking for the permission to wear it." The permission piece of this really sticks out for me. I speak with a lot of women in my circles and in my community and they do often take my opinions and suggestions as "great advice" which I find weird and frightening at times. Just the other day, a woman whom I know who is struggling to reinvent herself at the age of 30 just after a relationship of 12 years has ended. We were discussing the issue of sex. And she was expressing her interest in having a meaningless sexual encounter with a male friend of hers based on the fact that she just felt the physical craving and need for that. Finally, I said to her, "You seem like you are looking for permission to do this. You don't need permission. You are 30. And double standards be damned. Do what you please. But if you really need permission to proceed, then I am giving you that permission." She was relieved. Getting permission from another woman, a generation ahead of her, that this was okay for her to do. I find situations like this happen often. Someone just needs permission and it doesn't really matter who gives the permission. It seems that if another woman/ person speaks those words, they are able then to give themselves permission. So keep doing what you do, it is so empowering to those who need it!

    Shelbee
    www.shelbeeontheedge.com

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  11. The reason I follow the blogs I do is because they write interesting items, are happy to offer their help on blogging and share their fashion ideas (as you say, without saying this is how you should be dressing too). All of them disclose paid-for content and I've often tried new products based on the write-ups they've written which is why I do try products they review if it's something that appeals to me such as cruelty-free cosmetics. Readers do understand that bloggers need to make a living, of course, but I went off one person's blog because of the lack of disclosure.

    A big thing that puts me off is if I read a particularly unpleasant review about a restaurant, small hotel, etc. If the complaint is something minor that could've been ignored or sorted out with the business that was generous enough to invite the blogger along, it strikes me as quite unprofessional.

    The main thing that would put me off is a catty blogger, however. The bloggers I follow all come across as lovely and personable women you could have a chat with, are pleasant to their followers and speak well of others. Anything mean-spirited is not the blog for me!

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  12. I love hearing how you feel about your blog---I consider mine a little view of my world lol. If anyone is interested in what I do, how I live, dress, write... <3

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  13. So very true.

    Thanks for hosting and I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

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  14. The panel sounds really interesting! And I can see how much you have to contribute on that topic!

    I think trust in bloggers is such an interesting topic. I follow many different bloggers, and I've often found inspiration in unexpected places. I guess what your post made me realize is that I don't like bloggers who tell me what to do do/wear/think/etc. I like blogs that share what they are doing and leave it up to me to decide what I want to take from it (or not)...

    Andrea
    Andrea’s Wellness Notes

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  15. Thank you for hosting dear! I'm linking back to you HERE Hope you'll check out my latest Fashion post

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  16. I can imagine speaking on the panel must have been both very exciting and nerve wracking. I've never appreciated being told what to do (the idea of being a disruptor appeals to me enormously) so anything that says I should or shouldn't be wearing X/Y/Z has me clicking that back button faster that you can say "stuff your rules"!

    Emma xxx
    www.style-splash.com

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  17. I love your honesty!! Great post and congrats on being on the panel...I would have been terrified. I'm sure you were awesome!

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