|This beautiful joining of souls has been brought to you by
Giant International Conglomerate, some chick on Etsy, and
modern online revenue streams.
This past summer I debated going to a few blogging conferences. I ended up deciding against it but not before thoughtfully perusing the agendas for the workshops.
One in particular sticks in my mind. It was about marketing and monetization for Instagram, I think. I’m paraphrasing here but the course description was essentially, “Learn how to monetize the most intimate and authentic moments of your life!”
It really made me take a step back because WOW. That’s kind of a fraught concept, no?
I have nothing against making a buck or doing so via blogs and social media. It used to be that the way people did that was to put up banner ads or use something like Google Adsense. Now things seem to be more in the line of sponsored posts or developing “partnerships” with brands.
So I suppose “monetizing intimate moments” means that if you’re, say, getting married, you reach out to brands and say, “Hey there! I have ABC pageviews per month and XYZ social media followers. Soon I will be getting married and sharing that journey with my online friends. Let’s come to a mutually beneficial agreement regarding how your product can be prominently placed in this adventure!”
Then you write posts like, “I love Wedding Dresses R Us! They gave me this dress. Isn’t it gorgeous?!” And you receive a few bucks from Slim Fast so you Instagram yourself sipping a weight loss shake with the caption, “Slimming down for the big day!”
If your sponsored posts and pictures are good, people engage with them, keep following you, and possibly try the products. If they read like forced ad copy then people side eye them, stop following you, and you don’t get many more brand partnership offers.
I get the impression that a lot of online personalities think, “Well, I’d be buying a wedding dress and dieting anyway, probably even with these products. So why not make a buck?” I see their point.
But I wonder about the potential pitfalls inherent in that thought process. Somewhere in the back of your mind you’ve got to be thinking, “How can I structure my [insert intimate moment] so that I can partner with brands?” and then perhaps you’re more inclined to make choices that you otherwise would not because your decision making process is influenced by your need to maintain a revenue stream through partnering with brands.
If you’re not careful just like that Giant International Conglomerate has sway over your intimate moments. What sort of impact does that have on authenticity?
At what point does making sound financial decisions to make some money off of things we do anyway become turning yourself into a real life infomercial?
I don’t know. But the fact that the question is even out there makes me wonder what’s next for blogging. Because, all ethical implications aside, infomercials are often boring. And boring isn’t sustainable on the internet.