The pressure to perform and bitterness

I wrote briefly about the unravelling of yet another healthy living magnate on Facebook this morning but I have a little more to say about why I believe these things are happening increasingly.

It's not what you know but who - or the "like cycle"

At first when I read Pip's post on the like cycle I wasn't sure what to make of it, after all Pip is someone with book deals and other engagements that flow from a balance of her work (very hard work I cannot stress this enough the woman is a workhorse) and of course being established and having a following, not as gargantuan as some but still astronomical numbers to someone like me who has spent years working to achieve my humble numbers.

But when I sat with what she had to say I realised that I've seen the like cycle in place, numbers beget numbers, and followers apply a sheen of authority and authenticity.

I think it’s high time we all took a more clever, critical view of those crowned in this online ‘cult of personality’. Numbers do not maketh the expert. Being well-known does not mean you know well.
— Pip Lincolne

I think it goes beyond being a follower of people on social media though, and that while there are many generous big bloggers in Australia to find your way into that like cycle or circle is not an easy task, it may not even be possible in some cases.

I think that inability to break through is what generates some snark sites and pushes others to focus on creating...

The hook

As I mentioned in my Facebook status it's made abundantly clear in courses and also keen observation of who is growing more quickly that having a hook sells. 

What's dangerous here is not just the people who damage themselves with their inauthenticity but the damage it does to those following, admiring and emulating. In few areas is this more dangerous than in healthy living blogging, people are seeking advice and support in ways to improve their health and if a hook takes precedence over honesty there can be far reaching impact.

The hard place that bloggers / social content creators are then put it is either taking the very real chance that their honest, authentic work will languish and never find a broad audience or to find a hook. Of course some people for reasons known only to themselves but certainly relating to this pressure and desire to succeed will create a hook, embellishing or creating a persona that will see their work thrust into the public eye and that is just terribly sad. 

Sad for the people they are deceiving which includes themselves. Inevitably in the intense scrutiny that occurs when you have a large following and achieve huge success that mask is going to slip, and if you create a hook that isn't truthful then of course you're going to have to deal with the consequences. If you're already in the frame of mind that says the real you isn't good enough, well I can't imagine how painful that depth of introspection is going to be.

I have a great deal of sympathy for the people that find themselves in this position, because if you want to succeed and you don't have this hook then you will probably be...

Dealing with unrelenting rejection

Let's face it the online market is flooded so even if you're talented and dedicated if you can't burst into that like cycle, don't have or won't fake the hook you are going to have to get used to rejection.

You can shut off to the numbers comparison game, if you work hard at it but if you're going to submit your writing, photography or other creativity then you are going to face rejection, constantly. Even those of us who are lucky enough to get commissions and pitches accepted still get rejected constantly.  And if you have a great product that you've sunk hours of development and probably quite a lot of money into that rejection is going to be damaging. You're either going to need a super thick skin, a way to wedge your way into the like cycle, a hook, or a willingness to lose your standards and fake it.

Either way all of this can conspire to make many of us 

Bitter

As I mentioned in my post 

So while there may never be a danger of me hitting 200k followers and getting book deals or speaking engagements, there’s also no danger that you’ll find me misleading you, there’s no danger that my recipes or other posts are created in anything but the spirit of sharing and making the world a little more transparent and lovely.

But I'm not going to lie that doesn't mean I'm not prey to being bitter, that fraud or neo-nepotism can be seen to be the answer to success. Last year was not a good year for me after working more than full-time to see myself not moving forward, it has had me question whether blogging, writing and creating are the right course for my life to be taking. Sure I have to take my share of not succeeding and I do I know I'm not for everyone, however when you see large scale fraud equalling profitability it really stings.

So is what's going on the worst thing in the world, shouldn't we be focusing on the wholesale slaughter of innocents, the awful domestic violence and human rights violations that happen, aren't they more important than some blogger's integrity.

Yes, and No. You see sure there are worse things in the world, but ignoring this kind of behaviour means accepting it as the status quo. Not taking this chance to examine our own practices, and to think critically about who we support and cheer on in this weird online world is a big mistake. 

If we value honesty and authenticity, now is the time to stop and require it of the people that we follow, or to stop following.