Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Immense Pressure, The Exploitations, And The Gratifications Of A Malaysian Blogger

My beautiful yet talented girlfriend of mine took this photo of me :) Thank you.

Warning: This might be a long and wordy blogpost with a genuine intention to mainly express my thoughts as a blogger who has been in the industry for quite some time. This post is certainly not by anyway trying to shame any brands or PR companies, if name(s) are mentioned, it's because that incident actually happened.

I think it's about time I said something. I used to stop myself from writing these kind of somewhat controversial blogpost because I was afraid to rock the boat or offend anyone. Enough is enough. 



Before I start, firstly, I would like to thank all of you who have been supporting me throughout my blogging journey. I am truly blessed because without you, my readers, I wouldn't be where I am right now. So, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. 

"My supervisor told me to research on something more serious..."

I've recently did a mini research on the Gratification of Beauty Bloggers in Malaysia for one of my Masters' assignment in semester one. I interviewed four of my blogger friends that I'm truly grateful for. For the first time ever, in the name of research, I get to ask truly deep questions that usually as a friend, I don't find it as appropriate to ask as when it's for education sake. It was interesting to find out why and how my friends started blogging, their crazy stories as a blogger, how much are they getting paid, how often do they get paid, why are they still currently blogging, and etc. As a blogger myself, I find it easy to relate to what most of them have to say and how they feel being a blogger/beauty blogger in Malaysia as it's not quite taken seriously, to the extend of somewhat feeling exploited. 

"Apparently, blogging is easy..."

Fast forward, I did well in my assignment and my interest brought me back to wanting to further expand this topic for my final thesis. With much hope and excitement, I brought this topic up to my supervisor and sent my proposal and my research that I've done in sem one for a better understanding of what my topic is about. A few days later, I received an email suggesting me to do a topic that is "something more serious". Needless to say, I cringed to that respond. 

"Apparently, nobody cares how bloggers feel..."

I pondered and try to look inwards, why is researching about the gratification of a beauty blogger is not good enough? Why does my supervisor think that this topic is something that is not worth contributing to the world? 

And then it hit me like a wave of tsunami, I remembered all the times that I felt exploited and not being taken seriously as a blogger. At least in Malaysia, WE ARE NOT TAKEN SERIOUSLY. Or at least in my opinion, we are not taken seriously enough.

"I remembered all the times that I felt exploited..."

Apparently, nobody cares how bloggers feel and why bloggers blog because all bloggers are cheapskates and just want free stuff.

Really? I feel depreciated already just by typing out those words. I don't deny that they are some bloggers with that kind of intentions, which is perfectly alright because it's their choice but I do not appreciate to be stereotyped as one of them. Not all blogs are created equal

"There's no reason why we should pay them..."

Apparently, blogging is easy. Just take some pictures, type out some words, or even better copy and paste from press release to make PR people happier so that they will send you more invites and stuffs. Thus, it's easy, any tom, dick, and harry can do it, and there are so many out there. There's no reason why we should pay them or give them items of their choice because they are happy with any minimal stuffs we give them and in fact, they should be happy that we are giving them goodies at all.

Really? I feel rather stupid now to spend my money on investing a better camera to produce better picture quality for my blogposts. I feel like an idiot for all those times I sit hours in front of my computer drafting out my blogpost because I wanted to publish my best. I feel like a fool driving all the way from Klang to the all events located in other parts of the city and bore the cost of all the tolls, parking fees, petrol, and etc. All my wasted time, effort, and money... I could have actually spent them on my family and people who truly cares about me. 


"Not all blogs are created equal..."

Apparently, it is expected for bloggers to publish a blogpost when we have agreed to attend/attended their event or received their goodies. You've attended our event, you must do a write up for us. We've sent you products, you must do a positive write up about us.

Goodness, what have I got myself into? Out of goodwill, I attended events to find out more about the events itself. I had to pay for my own transportation cost and spent my precious time being present at your event, and suddenly there's such pressure to blog about the event even when the event wasn't even properly managed or interesting. Out of goodwill, I accepted the products and risked myself to try new products that might just break my skin out or cause rashes and allergies, and suddenly there's such pressure to blog positively about the products even when I don't find it good or like it. Goodness, what have I got myself into? 


"We've sent you products, you must do a positive write up..."

Apparently, it is not a proper job. Bloggers are doing this as a hobby. Thus, we don't have to pay them for their work because they like doing it anyway. If they can be a full time blogger, they must be rich enough already.

Wow. I guess I must don't like what I do in order to consider it as a proper job. I must hate what I do in order to get paid for my work. I must be rich because I choose to be a blogger. I really don't have anything else better to do in my life, don't I? It must be fun being unemployed and not getting enough income to pay my bills as an adult. #FunEmployed - I guess this is why most Malaysian bloggers say we can't survive by just doing blogging.


"Wah, so nice hor your life, everything also get free..."

Apparently, our friends and family thinks it's easy to just get brands to sponsor us whatever stuff we want/need. I need a new laptop... "Just get them to sponsor you la". I want a new dress... "Just ask them to sponsor you la". I BOUGHT myself a new camera... "Wah, so nice hor your life, everything also get free" O.o

What in the world is happening? My dear brothers and sisters, both biologically and non-biologically, yes I do get free stuffs but there are plenty of other things and bills that I still pay with my own hard earned money. Even if I'm getting sponsored from official collaborations, there are work to be done behind the scenes. Please don't think my life is all so easy but I do believe in God's blessing, thus I am grateful for every opportunity I get. God's blessing is real, all you have to do is believe. 

Maybe that's why I took a somewhat 6 months break from blogging last year, I only blogged occasionally when it's paid and/or when I really do like a particular thing. It's probably because I wasn't fulfilling the expected satisfaction that I had in mind and being taken lightly is definitely also part of the issue. Of course, besides that, I wanted to focus on my studies.

"sometimes it's not the PR's fault..."

I do understand sometimes it's not the PR's fault as they are also just doing their job according to what their client or boss wanted. I once worked as a PR Executive and I know how stressful it can be trying to be the middle person for everyone. It's not the best feeling on earth. Some of them are graceful enough to understand that bloggers needed to be compensated properly and if we decide to reject certain events or campaigns, they understand where we are coming from.

When I decided to come back on the whole blogging thing early this year, I've noted a few blogging ground rules for myself to ensure that I won't feel that I'm being exploited as a blogger. I want to be happy with every blogpost that I write, I want to be able to feel the satisfaction and be proud for every blogpost that I produce and publish. Even if it's sponsored or paid reviews, I want it to be as honest and as real as I can. I want to love what I write.

"there are still brands trying to shortchange me and devalue my worth..."

Though, coming back isn't fully 100% smooth sailing either, there are still brands trying to shortchange me and devalue my worth. I've decided to stop giving excuses for these companies who care less about bloggers. If you are wondering who am I to say all these things as I'm not even famous. Well, at least I'm trying and want to be a blogger and an upcoming vlogger who knows my worth. I'm not getting as much jobs or free goodies but I'm definitely happier now.

If you've read till the end of this blogpost, thank you for your time!

xo, 

Twitter |  Bloglovin | Instagram

18 comments:

Janice Yeap said...

Good write up babe! You seriously write down whatever I have felt all these years of blogging. Thank you for voicing this out! :)

Miriam Goh said...

*claps* great post dear! It is definitely saddening how people look and judge bloggers. Life isn't all a bed of roses for us yet that's how people look at it. Getting used, undervalued and taken for granted is something that we face in this industry. It's definitely time for us to set our foot down and stand firm to what we want and not get exploited. Bravo to a great post!

Tracy Wish said...

Well said ! Blogging requires so much time and effort. It deserves the respect as a paid job itself. Careers aren't just limited to offices anymore, it has spilled into an online dimension.. Whether maintaining a website or blog. Bloggers are important in being the front runners of trying out a product - or attending an event so that the rest of us can have a better judgement before trying ourselves. You give up your time to try something out so that the rest of us can channel our time and money efficiently. Keep up the good work!

Tracy Wish said...

Well said ! Blogging requires so much time and effort. It deserves the respect as a paid job itself. Careers aren't just limited to offices anymore, it has spilled into an online dimension.. Whether maintaining a website or blog. Bloggers are important in being the front runners of trying out a product - or attending an event so that the rest of us can have a better judgement before trying ourselves. You give up your time to try something out so that the rest of us can channel our time and money efficiently. Keep up the good work!

Tracy Wish said...

Well said ! Blogging requires so much time and effort. It deserves the respect as a paid job itself. Careers aren't just limited to offices anymore, it has spilled into an online dimension.. Whether maintaining a website or blog. Bloggers are important in being the front runners of trying out a product - or attending an event so that the rest of us can have a better judgement before trying ourselves. You give up your time to try something out so that the rest of us can channel our time and money efficiently. Keep up the good work!

Tracy Wish said...

Well said ! Blogging requires so much time and effort. It deserves the respect as a paid job itself. Careers aren't just limited to offices anymore, it has spilled into an online dimension.. Whether maintaining a website or blog. Bloggers are important in being the front runners of trying out a product - or attending an event so that the rest of us can have a better judgement before trying ourselves. You give up your time to try something out so that the rest of us can channel our time and money efficiently. Keep up the good work!

Max Law said...

YES. EXACTLY. ALL THE POINTS.

MaryJane Tauyan said...

I feel you babe! all the efforts from blogging editing photos and videos - money and time to attend events and make sure we got everything haha I pay for hosting and extras and gosh, you don't want to know how much I'm paying every year just for my blog haha Love this blogpost!

Arisa Chow said...

Happiness and doing things in your own pace has it's own rewards, that I believe is something every blogger should come to realize by now.

Kylie wenn said...

Very much agree with you!~

Miera Nadhirah Tan said...

I feel you.. this is a good article and you speak on behalf of a lot of us..

CikLily Putih said...

JQ.. this entry is great... i love it

Aerisk Ong said...

Ahahahaha!!!! I can feel the your expressions from this blogpost!
I've this feeling too... Well, I was awaken after half a year I blog haha!
I just want to blog whatever I like. If you need me to review anything, then you need to accept my honest-ness on your product... If you can't, then bye bye... I just want to have a realistic blogpost.

I'm still continue blogging, but I blog for myself. :) #bemyself

vs said...

This is a very good piece of writing! Go ahead and explore your heart's desire. It is important AND it is SERIOUS!

vs said...

This is a very good piece of writing! Go ahead and explore your heart's desire. It is important AND it is SERIOUS! Dr.V

karenelin said...

Awesome write up babe! Although Im just a blogger for my personal journey, I do understand how much effort to put in, in drafting up a post and even just finding inspirations to write about something bcos nt all the time we get to write nicely unless we find the right atmosphere and we're in the right mood - what more having such pressure to write up a good post. I always like bloggers who write about the truth, bcos sometimes i realize famous bloggers only write stuff bcos they get paid well, thus all the loyal readers would actually spend a bomb on those products and use it just bcos the blogger wrote it well, meanwhile the products aint tht good afterall. I guess most bloggers, tht have climbed far enough to make it a fulltime career, just had no choice but to continue writing only the good ones just not to get "fired" or ditched. Keep up babe! I love reading your posts!

Deelicious said...

I am currently doing my research on bloggers + readers.... so far, my university and supervisors is very supportive and they think it is important for me to do so..... but on the other side, I can totally understand your frustration, especially with those exploitation..... sigh.... keep up babe!

JQ LEEJQ said...

Thank you everyone for being so supportive! It truly helped me to push myself further to research more on this topic and to help me believe that this is in fact, a serious topic to look into and research about. I pray for the very best for each and everyone of you! :D