Last week I tweeted this. I then received a text from my friend, Maria- who’s also a blogger and food instagrammer– saying ‘you really perfected the blogging voice there. You sound nothing like real life. You never use the word ‘ladies’ and the fire emoji makes you cringe.’I realised I had adopted The Blogger Voice.
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed it, or if this is an appropriate way to define it but TBV seems to be when, in order to appeal to your audience, you use a different, less controversial, emoji-fied voice, that is ultimately fake af. It’s the voice that means YouTubers start their video with the strained, high-pitched hiiiii guysssss, or that forces beauty bloggers to looooove a lipstick when conversationally they’d be like ‘oh yeah Velvet Teddy, I’ve tried it, it’s pretty good’. Even when I skimmed Maria’s social media, it was flooded in a tone that sounded nothing like her irl (although hello to that sexy veggie jar).
TBV’s influence extends further than voice- how flatlay accounts on instagram are now The Done Thing, or your blog name should be something like ‘your first name followed by your middle name.com’ or ‘random white girl noun and another white girl noun.co.uk.’ In my own tweet, Real Life Jess would say
FFS too many people undervalue their blogs n I don’t get why??
But TBV translates that to: Women! Be proud of your blogs and live unapologetically *spends 4.5 minutes searching for the fire emoji because I never use it and don’t know if it counts as nature or object or maybe even symbol because it represents my falseness*
The weirdest part about TBV is that my blog is free from it. Okay, I end every post with a Wotsit-level of cheese paragraph that does the ‘comment and follow me because I’m desperate’ thing, but the remaining 95% is my horrendous honesty about that time my period leaked onto my Grandma’s white blanket and she spent the day working out which jam it was, or how I try blady hard not to judge women with VS bags but then I see a woman with a VS bag and have to stop myself whipping out my 16 minute PowerPoint about why Brighton was 8x better before its HMV was turned into that shite. My blog itself is so me. So why doesn’t my social media reflect that?
Often it does. Don’t start thinking I’m some bot who just tweets to be #relatable. When I live tweet my periods or provide all night Eurovision commentary, you’re getting the real deal (which is embarrassing to admit), yet the second I start promoting my posts I’m using words like ‘babe’ and the heart eyes emoji. I start engaging with blogs that don’t interest me at all about the latest trend to put suncream on your shoulders before you sit in the sun and I’ll comment ‘Wow! Keep slaying bae- I’d never thought of that before!’
So why do we (I’m using the inclusive pronoun here, I can’t be alone) do it? Maybe we want the views. Until your Sarah Ashcroft level famous- I joke, none of us actually knew who she was until 10 days ago- and can sit back and watch the views roll in, you have to work for them. Sometimes that will include interacting with blogs that don’t interest you to develop relationships and build an audience. Does it matter that you’re lying to people if it benefits both their stats and self-esteem? I hope not.
Or maybe it’s because we want the brands. After all, you’re probably not going to get sponsored if your posts are all a stoic kind of *monotone Liam Gallagher voice* ‘yeah soo… this t-shirt… washed well.’ (Unless they’re Coconut Lane who seem to hire anyone who’s ever logged onto WordPress.) Brands are paying for that hyper-emotional, overenthusiastic blogger response; when they send you products they’re not really sending them to you Jess, 18, who likes zebras, custard creams and having to phone her mum at least 3 times a week because she’s got lost in yet another National Trust park and needs to be Google mapped out. They’re sending them to The Blogger Voice who will review and promote a product using literally all the adjectives that exist.
Part of me thinks we just deploy it to fit in. Maybe this isn’t a conscious decision- after all, we spend our time tweaking code and taking photos so we stand out- but the social perception of what a ‘blogger’ must be having some impact. Notebooks that read Flat stomach? I just Flat Lay. Hoodies that say Don’t Disturb Me, I’m a Blogger (I’m making these up as I go but ngl they sound pretty good, get me on the Tesco’s marketing team asap). Or what about all the ‘awards’ that circulate like Liebster or Fashionista that are a sweet idea to make people feel appreciated but contain the exact same drippy questions such as: Why did you start blogging? Or Who is your fashion inspo?
Don’t get me wrong, I love a drippy tap of a Q every now and then, but these all align to produce a very one dimensional view of bloggers as one single, unified, brand, rather than thousands of different voices. As we all become the same blogger- the one we’re told is ‘The One’- we all adopt the same voice. And I don’t really like that anymore.
If you want to answer fashion inspo Qs, start you vlogs with the Zoella-esque ‘Hi guys!’ or have take flatlays, then do it. As Corbyn said to Paxo ‘I’m not a dictator’ but let’s be more aware of the pressure to be fake and, most importantly, talk about it without people being scared they’ll lose followers if they’re considered disingenuous. I love being a blogger, but I only want to use The Blogging Voice when it suits me- not because I feel like I have to to be accepted in the community.