Friday, October 31, 2014

Some Blogkeeping Items

1. I joined Instagram! Username: vegmargaret (My twitter handle wasn't available on instagram, though my instagram handle appears to be available on twitter, so I might change it in the near future on twitter to match, especially as the instagram one is consistent with pinterest.)

I have to tell you that the primary reason I signed up for Instagram is to utilize it for Influenster sharing items. But - because I'll be using it to subject you to potentially obnoxious sponsored items, I vow to maintain at least 80% of my content as cat photos. (Seriously. Hold me to it.)

2. I joined Influenster, and qualified for a "voxbox" which I just received this week. Basically, Influenster is a network that works to connect brands with bloggers and other "social influencers". They do surveys to see if your interests qualify for boxes of product they send out for review. I guess if you prove your worth you get more valuable boxes; to start with you get some hodge podge items from various brands. 

I honestly don't know how I qualified for this one, which is mostly beauty products. Either they give you the first one that comes up when you've joined so you don't think the whole thing is a crock, or my answer to the effect of "routinely wear makeup" (i.e, I have a two-minute routine of standard makeup I apply each day to look professional at my job) was sufficient to make me sound like a fashionista. 

3. I'm hoping this will lead to more opportunities for sponsored posts or products review, as well as maybe applying for some brand ambassadorships. First cause it's fun to get free stuff or (hopefully, eventually!) some extra cash! And as we're looking forward to expanding our family, I like the idea of exploring options that could allow me to reduce hours at my real job and still earn some extra income while being at home part time. I also hope that partnering with brands will expand the reach of my blog, and thus the extent of the community and conversation I try to foster with it. 

I absolutely promise you, I will not promote in a positive light a brand or product that I dislike, regardless of monetary consequences. I know everyone says that, but, heck, I'm not sure I'll even get another voxbox after the direction of some of the (honest and constructive, in line with my ethics and interests) comments I plan to make on this one . Nor will I ever turn my blog into a walking advertisment without my own content (presuming I could even get that much sponsored content, which I realize is presuming a lot). 

If I ever become an asshole or seem to lose common sense regarding sponsored content (since there does seem to be some degree of correlation with these things in the blog world), feel free to call me out on it.

4. Enter my first giveaway here! Despite the preceding paragraphs in this post, this is an absolutely unsponsored, unaffiliated, personally purchased giveaway. I just wanted to do something for my readers who have shared my Doctor Who post and celebrate the awesome reach it's achieved!


  1. I will hold you to the cat thing on Instagram! Just followed you ;)

    I joined Influenster when they first started and cancelled my account after one box. I think it's easy to get beauty brands to work with them since the products are low cost and those types of companies are used to giving away free products in the hopes of converting new customers down the line.

    1. Ah, hadn't thought about that in regards to beauty brands, but that makes sense! Not sure that means it'll be worth continuing for me either, maybe I'll try some more activity (outside of the voxboxes) on the non-beauty-product topics and see how possible it is to skew it away from that.

      Oooh, you have a fair number of kitty pictures yourself! :)

  2. Truly, there is no bigger turn-off for me than seeing a badge indicating a writer's participation in one of these "we're blogging to make money" organizations. Among the people who attempted to peer-pressure me into blogging was a woman who professed to love the freedom blogging allowed her. Express yourself! Write because you want to write! It wasn't long before she was pandering to a car company in exchange for being able to test drive cars and go on free trips. Most of her subsequent blog posts were tied to this, written with windy disclaimers about how the car company wasn't making her write anything, but gee wasn't it nifty to get a free trip to Anytown, USA, and here's what they provided after the company picked her up from the airport. (Complete with photos of swag bags.) I'll leave it at that with a polite request not to have what has been a charming personal blog devolve into commercialism and pandering to advertisers.

    1. I definitely understand your concern, and have seen that unfortunate transformation on blogs I read myself. I would like to believe there can be a middle ground, where advertisers/sponsors can be placated without compromising the writer's integrity, and the transactional side of the writing is truly transparent.

      And you've pointed out one thing in particular that bugs me on other blogs - when even if they're technically being honest about their opinion because "I wasn't *required* (in literal terms in a legal contract) to write anything, so obviously whatever I'm writing is true", we all know there were expectations, stated or unstated, and encouraged actions that had to be followed to maintain the relationship with the advertiser.

      My goal in particular with Influenster (I mean, I already have the one box so I'm following through with it as an experiment, if all my readers decide it was awful content, then I suppose I won't do another one!) is to be transparent in what's "required" versus "encouraged" versus something I came up with one my own. I've had some content on Instagram already that isn't truly as transparent in disclosures as I'd like to develop a method to disclosing (and I am trying to keep that mostly on Instagram, and thus maintain twitter as a more pure social media for my blog), but before I do an actual blog post that's "sponsored" I want to do a post that talks about how Influenster works, what I'm earning "points" for even if it's officially not "compensated" etc.

      I hope you'll at least give me a chance and take a quick look at my content over the next couple weeks as I fulfill the quasi-obligations from the first box, and see if you think I'm handling it it in a transparent and honest manner. If not, please do call me out on it! And then I'll reconsider doing such content in the future.

      I do want to see if I can make money from this, but cliche as it may be to say, it is more important to me to make this a place of conversation. I don't want to give up the conversational aspect and expressing myself at the cost of earning a little pocket change.

    2. And one example of how I think it's possible to participate in some commercial endeavors without making my blog into an advertisement: Influenster is allegedly providing product for *review* purposes, not advertising purposes. That means I can review it according to my personal standards. So while my post will discuss the product itself, my personal standards include examining things such as animal testing and excess packaging. So I'm using these products I received as a prompt to explore how I look at that when, for example, finding a new perfect mascara (which has been sorely lacking in my life for some time since my last perfect mascara was discontinued). The content will, yes, include a review of products I received for free, but more importantly I'm using it to showcase how I look at commercialism and my own purchases and ethics.


Please join in the conversation!

Please note: Although I'm trying to keep the commenting as wide open as possible and not requiring logging in to one of the profile options, there have been reports of glitches and comments disappearing while trying to post under the Anonymous option. I would recommend logging in if you have one of the profiles, or at least copying your comment to paste back in if something goes haywire.

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