The last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about blogging as a general idea.
Let me preface this post by saying I’m lucky. I blog as a hobby, and my income doesn’t depend on whether I post 3 outstanding recipes or DIY projects during any given week.
I blog for you guys because I love the conversations we have and the things you teach me through your comments, stories, and insight, but, as I’ve mentioned before, I blog mostly for me.
Regardless of my reasons, I have this platform—as small as it is—and I feel obligated to use it to benefit others and speak out against things that inspire me, positively or negatively.
Since the 2016 election (I won’t get too political here), I’ve felt overwhelmed with emotion.
Gratitude, empathy, anxiety, fear, anger, denial…I’ve run through the whole gamut of feelings.
One day I’m impassioned to march or compile a list of causes to which I can donate my time and/or money, and the next day I’m just sick with frustration and anger because I feel like I can’t do anything.
But one day it dawned on me.
When To Stay On Brand And When To Speak Out
While I don’t have a lot of disposable income to donate—and I don’t have a lot of time to volunteer or travel to support causes—I can share.
I can share other people’s stories and words and cries for understanding.
I can speak out against “alternative facts” and share the truth—as well as “my truth.”
I can encourage others to do the same.
I can do all these things through A Cup of Catherine.
I will never deliberately alienate or offend my readers, but I won’t hold back when I feel strongly about something.
I’ve read many times that bloggers and “influencers” owe it to their readers and supporters to “stay on brand” no matter what.
That the risk of losing readers because you went “off topic” is too risky, so you should just stay quiet.
It’s clear that a blogger’s followers have myriad viewpoints and backgrounds—and those followers read because they know what to expect: vegan recipes, DIY home projects, affordable fashion, whatever.
In other words, they don’t care who you voted for or how you feel about immigration or reproductive rights.
And, while that’s absolutely true, and there are numerous sources on the web and in print that do cater to politics or social justice, I think it’s also a big responsibility to use our platforms for something greater.Your #blogging platform is a gift. How are you using that responsibility? #influencer @bgbcommunity #blogher Click To Tweet
I agree that consistency is a big part of a brand—and there are certain blogs I follow because I know they’re not going to discuss the wage gap or income tax as they explain how to assemble a cobb salad or frost a cupcake.
And I respect their choice to speak on more light-hearted things or certain topics they’re passionate about (maybe they loathe politics or are still forming their personal views).
I understand that their sponsors want specifics—and that’s the blogger’s prerogative because their paycheck is at stake.
I guess what I’m saying is simply this: I am not one of those bloggers.
I’m not a big shot on the internet, so I’m ok if I lose a follower here or there because I didn’t stay on brand or because interests changed.
I’m passionate about too many things—nutrition, reading, travel, fitness, mental health, and, yes, politics—to limit my focus too narrowly.
I want to be as consistent as possible and I don’t have plans to change my blog’s content or focus, but you can expect that I will speak out when I feel it’s necessary.
To me, it boils down to privilege.
I have the privilege to share through a medium I enjoy, so I should use that privilege to support others—however that may be.Should bloggers stay on brand—or is their responsibility bigger? @blogher #TOL @bgbcommunity Click To Tweet
So tell me…
- What are your thoughts on “going off brand?”
- Do you think social media influencers and bloggers have a responsibility that’s bigger than sharing recipes, workouts, DIY, or whatever their main focus is?