Blogging, Events, And Swag. What Is The Responsibility Of The Blogger?
I have mentioned more than once how I love being a blogger and standing up on my digital soap box talking about things that strike my fancy every day of every week. I have also mentioned how often times this results in me receiving invites to events or receiving things from companies/brands to try out. However, while I appreciate each and every invitation I get and I love getting free stuff from brands/companies to try out (this is also known as ‘swag’) I have always maintained my honesty and integrity here on this blog and have been completely open about things with my blog readers. This is, in my opinion and in the opinions of readers who I have communicated with, part of what makes my blog, my posts, and my writing style attractive.
A couple of weeks back, actually it was on the day I went to the Ex, I read a tweet from Spiro aka @mandylor of ItsAllStyleToMe.com. I am going to quote it to you directly and post a screenshot of it but, for full disclosure’s sake, here is a link to it. The tweet read: “PR firms make sure bloggers provide verifiable web stats, twitter, FB accounts. Demand a post within 72 hours fashion show/event. #blogs.”
At first I agreed with Spiro when I read his tweet and I retweeted it. However, upon further reflection since then – the tweet was tweeted on August 24th around 3PM – and I came to realize that while I think Spiro is a good guy I don’t 100% agree with him. Why is this? Well, while I agree that PR Firms should be more than entitled to check with bloggers/online personalities for their stats to ensure that the PR company’s client is getting value for inviting people to the event or sending them swag at the same time who is to say that the event/product will be worth writing about?
As an example, I was recently invited to an event for the launch of a new product. I went to the event and while it was an OK event there was nothing there that wowed me. The product was not, as far as I could see, being demonstrated live at the event and it was a product that was being launched on one popular mobile platform but not two of the other, also very popular, mobile platforms the devices I was carrying with me at the time ran on. This meant that I couldn’t use the product for myself once I got home, I couldn’t see the product in action, and there was nothing particularly uber-cool about the event itself. What exactly was I to write? I don’t want to bore my readers by regurgitating the press release. I value the attention my readers pay to my blog and don’t want to pay lip service to a brand because I now owe them for inviting me to something. If this means I get invited to less stuff and/or receive less stuff than other bloggers/online personalities/media then so be it. I am content with knowing that I am always bringing my readers something that wowed me and which I think all y’all will find cool or interesting too.
Demand a post within 72 hours fashion show/event. #blogs
Also, the word ‘demand’ is a bit rough in my books. It costs more than a few drinks for you to be able to demand something from me, I’m not that type of guy! 😉 But in all seriousness, if you want me to write a sponsored blog post I can write a sponsored blog post but be aware that it will be very, very clear to everyone who reads my blog post that it is sponsored. I don’t mean I will change my writing style or I will not try as hard, what I mean is that I will put disclaimers – just like you see in magazines when they have huge articles in the “Special Advertising Section” – to let my audience know that I am being compensated for writing about this. It is, in of itself a question of whether or not a blogger should even do a sponsored post. As of yet, I have never done one, but I have been giving it thought and I think the answer is too complex to be a yes or no thing.
At the end of the day, I have, as I said above and numerous times in the past, always tried to be honest and open with my readers as much as I can. There are, of course, certain things I don’t talk about in my personal life but that is because it is my personal life and there has to be limits. But, what I do talk about, I talk about fully and openly as much as I can and that is what you are going to get from me. If you want to ‘demand’ a post within a certain amount of time you better do your jobs because I am going to demand a caliber of event that makes me WANT to post about it. This last part isn’t just coming from me by the way, I have spoken with friends who work in PR and marketing and they totally agree with me.
One last thing – as many of you who follow me on Twitter know my name is Dan and I am a Twitter addict. Even if don’t write about an event afterward you best believe I will be using whatever hashtag you give me to tweet about the event when I am there. It is also likely that I am going to tweet about it with or without a hashtag and check-in to the location on Foursquare (which I usually set to post to Twitter, Facebook, and BBM). I am trying to think of a way to say this without sounding like a douche but because I am a Twitter addict I am having conversations with people pretty much all day every day. Although I am DEFINITELY NOT a celeb and I am just a regular guy when/if I talk about an event on Twitter there is a decent chance someone is going to engage with me about it. Doesn’t that count for something too? I sure think it does.
Lastly, usually when I go to an event it almost invariably takes a heck of a lot longer than 72 hours for the event photographer and the company’s web team – all who are being paid money – to put up pictures on the company’s website or Facebook page. How can you ask bloggers to do something for free in a shorter amount of time than you yourselves are accepting from people you are paying to do a job? To me that just doesn’t make any sense.
What do you, my readers, think? Is this 1,100+ word post just me wasting kilobytes and making your eyes bleed? Or do you agree that I am correct in disagreeing with Spiro’s tweet? Let me know.
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