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”.
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!
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