My thoughts on blogging…relatability

13th December 2016

My thoughts on blogging...relatability

In recent months I’ve seen many people on Twitter discussing (okay, more like complaining) how they feel like they can no longer relate to their favourite bloggers.

In general, most of these comments are in relation to the “big bloggers” who started off reviewing clothes from Primark and now they’re showing off their collection of handbags and shoes from Prada, telling us that £1000 for a bag is “reasonable”.

However, it got me thinking about relatability; about how people relate to me through my blog, and how I relate to others through their blogs.

While my blog has always predominantly been a personal/lifestyle blog, the topics I write about are very much dependent on the stage of life I am in at that particular moment in time.

For instance, when I first started blogging I wrote about school and college, then I moved onto university and started sharing the struggles of leaving home and “adulting” for the first time. Now I write about working full-time and pursuing a career, as well as personal development and reflection which are subjects I enjoy writing about right now.

In the future, when the time comes, I’ll share my journey to buying a house and settling down. I’ll write about my hip replacement that I will inevitably have in the future (hey, it might not be that far away). I’ll write about starting a family, if that’s something I choose to do.

As I grow and evolve, my blog grows and evolves with me.

I know that many of my readers are a similar age to me, so they are also probably going through (or have already been through) many of the life changes I have documented on my blog. I like to think I’m quite a relatable person because I’m just living a normal life, and I’m not afraid to talk about issues that might not be so exciting or glamorous, but that many of us have to face.

Similarly, I tend to read blogs wrote by people of a similar age because I seek comfort in knowing I’m not alone in the phase of life and that other people are experiencing the same ups and downs as I am.

It gives me great comfort to know that someone else has had to move house because they’re neighbours are horrific. It gives me comfort to know that I’m not the only one living with mental illnesses. It gives me comfort knowing I’m not the only blogger in the world who doesn’t want to turn my blog into a full-time job.

I think that a lot of issues on regarding “relatability” in blogging stem from the fact that blogs and social media platforms are becoming more and more curated.

Just because someone’s life looks perfect online doesn’t mean that it’s perfect in real life.

I see it all the time on Instagram and Twitter. Lives are filtered to only show the positive, exciting and aspiration moments. It’s easy to get swept up in these posts and to forget that this isn’t real life. Or at least, it’s not real life all of the time.

It can be hard to relate to someone who is constantly jetting off around the world and staying the most luxurious hotels when you’re stuck in a office, working hard just to pay the bills. I’ll hold my hands up and admit I’ve felt like I couldn’t relate to someone because their life seems so much better than mine, completely ignoring the fact those people probably have to deal with many of the same challenges in life as myself.

What we share online is all down to personal preference, and I personally choose to publish content that reflects my real life. I want to be relatable, and fortunately, in my circumstance, I don’t think that’s too hard!

I’m not afraid to publish a #nomakeup selfie with a flare up of acne, or a blog post that discusses my mental health, because that’s just me and that’s just my life.

Of course it’s sad when we can no longer relate to those bloggers we used to look up to. It can even be frustrating as we wish for them to be more “real” and relatable again. But this isn’t something we can change.

We can’t expect people to stay the same just because it suits us.

We can either continue to support those bloggers we no longer feel we can relate to despite our difference of interests, and move with them as they evolve. Or we can walk away peacefully, and find new blogs that better suit our interests, written by people who we feel we can relate to.

I hope my loyal readers will continue to stick with me as I transition through these various stages of my life, just like they have done in the past, but I won’t feel hurt if they stop reading because they can no longer relate to me. I’ll understand.

Have you ever felt like you can no longer relate to the blogger behind the blog?

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  1. People change all the time. I notice that even my own writing has changed, and I don’t blog about complaining about university and people on train. Even though that made for good blog content that people found funny. I ranted a lot and people could relate. And because I chose to make my blog more positive, I think less people related 😛 Which is kind of funny.

    Just because someone’s life looks perfect online doesn’t mean that it’s perfect in real life.

    This so much. I think I’ve had a couple of people tell me, with such surprise, that they didn’t know I had mental health problems or problems in my family. I had someone message me in private as soon as I posted a blog post with one paragraph saying I was going through a rough patch, asking me if I was OK and if I needed help and just panicking all over me. :/ Because the times I choose to open up a bit about my struggles, it doesn’t fit in with all the happy posts on my blog. But I don’t want to blog about negative shit, so I filter that out. People shouldn’t be surprised that, well, I am a real human with real problems.

    I actually feel like I should write a blog post based on that one statement, really! xD

    I don’t know if I feel like your blog is super relatable to me specifically, but I know that *you* are a cool person and we get along and we are friends and I enjoy reading your posts. I don’t feel I have to relate to someone to be able to enjoy their blog or interact with them.

    • Holly

      Funnily enough I wrote a post about the weird people you encounter on trains but I never got around to publishing it and now I don’t even get the train anymore.

      Ha, you should totally write a blog post on that! I often feel like I’m all doom and gloom on this blog which is why I’ve started series like Little Victories to bring some positivity to the blog.

  2. It happened a few times not to relate with the blogger as they had changes in their lives, but the same might have happened with a few of my followers too.

    I was thinking of your question about being relatable, I don’t blog about my problems. I have no idea if this makes more less relatable or not. I travel a lot in UK, I have my own house, car, I love my job. Does this mean I have the perfect life? I’m not sure about that, most people are more interested in holidays abroad, even though I wouldn’t change a holiday with the caravan in Edinburgh with a holiday in Spain at a 5* hotel because it’s not something I like. My home is great for us and we are very happy with it, but, again, it’s a 2bed semi-detached house and not a 6bed+study+swimming pool mansion.

    • Holly

      Yes, I was thinking the same thing too. Maybe some readers have stopped reading my blog because I’m no longer relatable for them.

      I think it’s good to have blogs that are inspiring and inspirational, as well as blogs we can relate to. When we change what we write about we also gain new udiences, and that’s just as exciting too.

      I love your blog because it inspires me to want to explore more of the UK, but at the same time I think it’s relatable because your trips are affordable and realistic.

  3. Chynna

    I don’t really read “big bloggers” blogs, to be honest. The circle of bloggers I read on a regular basis have been pretty much the same since I started. It’s always nice seeing how everyone has grown, as well. My blogging started off the same way as yourself – school and college, university and “adulting”. I’ve veered more towards travel and food posts now because that’s what interests me and I rarely do a personal in-depth life updates as much as used to.

    You’re definitely a relatable person, Holly. I love your posts on here because you give your own opinions, advice but also make it personal.

    I’ve had to switch off from Instagram lately because of the whole “someone’s life looks perfect online” thing. I still post on Instagram, but I went through a phase where I would get extremely sad/disheartened when I’d see other people’s posts and they seem to be having the fucking time of their lives and I’m just at home, still living with my parents, in a shitty job, not happy, blah blah. The phase has passed and that’s mostly due to the fact that I’m not concentrating on somebody else’s life. I’m concentrating on me which is the most important thing.

    I always fade in and out of blogging purely because I’m so busy, but blogging will always have a special place in my heart and it warms me to see that when I come back to the blogosphere there are usually always the same people such as yourself. It’s like coming home, basically.

    • Holly

      I love your travel and food posts!

      I think sometimes it can be hard to talk about “adult stuff”. For example, I spend most of my day at work but I don’t feel comfortable talking about what I got up to at work. Plus it’s boring!

      Aww thank you! That’s exactly what I aim to do. I want to share my life experiences, but I don’t want to preach or tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t be doing.

      I think I really struggled the most with Instagram when I was unemployed last year and I could barely afford to pay the rent. I’d look at everyone else’s “perfect” lives and beat myself up about the fact I didn’t have a job.

  4. Susanne

    I can’t say I’ve seen someone I used to read become unrelatable, but rather that I’ve seen the trend change very much and that I can no longer find new blogs to read that are relatable. I read someone who put it so well: that when blogs started coming, we loved them because they were written by ordinary people and that everything on the site weren’t perfect, people wrote about thoughts and daily life and we could relate to it and feel familiar with what they wrote. While now, blogs are like fashion magazines or shopping malls. So I guess I could say that blogs in general aren’t relatable anymore (yours is though) and I think it’s sad, because I think it’s sad that the ordinary people sort of have been kicked out of the internet. I don’t count Facebook here.. that’s a much longer story…

    • Holly

      Yes! I find it very difficult to find new blogs to read.

      This so so spot on. It seems like everything has to be perfect for it to be featured on a blog these days. It’s all curated. I want more ordinary people! Or extraordinary people living ordinary lives.

  5. Amy

    I don’t really read many bigger bloggers, probably because I like to stick to my favourites, but I’ve seen a few vlogs where this has happened. I hate it when people go from talking about every day ordinary things, to blogging at a film premiere or something. I just can’t relate, and it makes the content pretty boring, in my opinion. If I wanted to watch someone at a premiere I’d switch on the TV or read a girly magazine – I go to blogs and vlogs for something more normal.

    I guess it’s hard now, because there’s a lot of pressure to be like vloggers such as Zoella, when she has a significantly larger income than the majority of bloggers/vloggers. It’s just silly.

    Oh, and while I like seeing lovely photos on Instagram (and they get a like from me), I don’t find a rose gold flatlay nearly as interesting as a picture of someone with no make-up on, having the time of their life in a unstaged photo. I can’t relate to a pile of rose gold items.

    Your blog is definitely relatable. I sometimes worry that mine’s not, but that’s because I like writing stupid advice-style articles in between all the life stuff. But I enjoy that, so I’m just gonna get on with it. I’d just say do what you enjoy, and if people stop being able to relate to it, then so be it. Life’s too short to worry about pleasing everyone.

    • Holly

      I only watch a couple of people on Youtube, but honestly my favourite videos are the ones when they show a normal day in their life. I strangely love a good cleaning montage!

      Haha I don’t get the whole rose gold craze! I just had a look back through my Instagram feed, and while it looked lovely and dreamy when I was in Norway and Lanzarote, in between there’s the less exciting aspects of my life, like a new pair of slippers or some baking I did. Instagram will never be my thing, but I do like Instagram stories though. I feel they’re more “real life”.

      I think I’ve related to nearly every single post you’ve wrote Amy! Especially when we were both moving house at the same time. It gave me so much reassurance to know I wasn’t alone.

  6. Elisa

    relatability is a difficult word which carries different meanings for different people. for me personally, i have never felt like that to any blogger – or at least not for long term. for instance, a blogger or youtuber whose posts or videos i once loved, i might feel that as they grew, they no longer interest me so i decided to stop reading to their blog or watch their videos instead of pointing my finger at them and be like, “oh gosh, i don’t like this blogger / youtuber anymore because she’s so beyond now, like there’s no way i can relate to her anymore.” i mean, if a blogger evolves and the blog grows and she starts buying expensive products, it’s her choice. yeah sure for me who cannot afford those, it’s easy for me to say they are not “relatable” when in truth, i’m probably just acting bitter — you know what i mean? instead of dictating how these people live their lives, i can simply excuse myself by not reading or watching their posts and videos. of course, i know how annoying it is when a blogger who started out small suddenly claims that a $175 face powder makes sense because it’s not. it’s insane. but that’s MY opinion, i can’t possibly insist the blogger who has grown famous and received lots of sponsors etc to stick with a $3 product, right. to each their own, i guess. people grow and they change; it’s up to us the viewers to stick through them or find another muse. plus, they are “big” bloggers so what do you expect, right. i read and watch some lifestyle / beauty youtubers and bloggers because i enjoy their posts and that’s it. others can b*tch about how unrelatable they are, how expensive their stuff are yadda yadda yadda but for me, i just see them as muse. it’s like we watch tv and see everything shown as muse. it’s all supposed to be fun, nothing serious kind of thing imo.

    i used to write about my life quite a lot on my blog too but then i changed and i stopped exposing myself too much. yes, i still wrote entries about my life or what i’ve been up to lately but only in snippets and fragments. i think in the end, what i’m saying is that people publish and write whatever they want to write. we can’t dictate them for posting entries or videos that we don’t like. besides, you can simply not read or watch the blog/video if you don’t like it. i personally don’t think people live to please others –unless of course, one is an extreme people pleaser but you know what i mean: “you don’t mind, i don’t matter.” your blog is relatable though by the way.

    • Holly

      I know right! There’s no need to kick off on social media or to make that person feel bad for the changes that they’ve made to their life. If anything, it would be false if someone, for example, carried on doing Primark reviews if they didn’t actually shop there because they now choose to shop at better quality shops.

  7. Just as many have said in the comments, I don’t really read “big” bloggers blogs because blogging for me at a young age was about connecting with people who were similar to me/at the same stage in my life. And to begin with blogging only came about for me at first so that I can have a nice index when I was very into website development xD

    I really enjoy your blogs Holly! Even if I don’t leave a comment sometimes, I always click your updates on twitter to see what you’ve blogged about – I think you’re one of the most relatable bloggers I know in this community. I come from a similar background of suffering from mental illness and acne. I have fallen into the “omg their life is so amazing mine is crap” pit before but when I had a conversation with a friend who said that she loved my instagram because it seemed like I was always such a positive person who was always happy 24/7 and that it’s hard to find people like that around. This was completely untrue from my actual life and it really goes to show that social media is distorted.

    Loved this blog, Holly! Thanks for sharing!

    • Holly

      To be honest, I did know the “big bloggers” existed until a few years ago and I sort of realised I’d been living under a rock in terms of blogging! But I still tend to read more “personal” blogs because they’re the ones I can relate to.

      Aww thank you Pauline, that’s so kind! Yep, social media is massively distorted.

  8. When it comes to blogging, relatability isn’t really an issue on my end. People can post about things I can’t directly relate to but I’d still make an effort. I mean if people with expensive products are not putting others down for not being able to afford the commodity, that’s another story. I enjoy reading about different things because I learn from the content. Eg. Some fashion blogger I enjoy following has a $3,500 handbag. There’s no way I can afford it right now but I still like Ooooh-ing at it :’).

    It’s good that your blog grows with you over time. People definitely don’t have a perfect life. As much as we want to avoid comparing ourselves to others, we do it anyways. It’s good in a way that we want to be able to measure how we’re doing in life but it’s not good when we don’t see the full picture (someone avoiding talking about their struggles/etc).

    I’ve stopped interacting with a few bloggers over time because of who they are (a negative person most of the time). Do what you do and keep on striving for the good things (in life) :).

    • Holly

      I think there are blogs that provided us with inspiration and goals, and others that we read because we can relate to those who write them. Personally, I do roll my eyes when someone says something is “affordable” because the term affordable means different things to everyone.

      Yes, I’ve also stopped reading blogs written by people who are too negative. I like to try and put a positive twist on the negative aspects of my life that I share online so it’s not all doom and gloom.