Right now, I wouldn’t want to be a vlogging guru. They’re under the most intense scrutiny and it’s uncomfortable to watch, never mind to be actually at the centre of.
Let’s kick off with the ghost written book. It’s one thing to blog or vlog but another entirely to be able to whip up a book. In this situation, I think it’s a timely reminder that good advice is worth its weight in gold. Generally, what others do on their blogs or vlogs is none of my business – I’m not even a vlog watcher particularly, but, I feel that certain vloggers have been very badly advised and rather naive.
If we remember that these are predominantly very young people who have risen to fame stratospherically in a short period of time, it’s unreasonable for us to expect that they might have an ability to work their way around the media and huge, big money collaborations, such as a book, in a way that belies their years. They’re totally reliant on others to guide them.
A ghost written book is a common thing – just ask Katie Price. Why would you try and style it out as your own when there’s no shame in a collaborative effort? Along the way, someone has advised that not mentioning any ghost writers would be fine. Like, you could just get away with it, and furthermore, those brief years on You Tube have earned you the right to deceit. If it had been open from the beginning, these thoughts that are currently all over the media, wouldn’t exist. It’s also poor advice, in my view, to disappear in the heat. At this point, you just say sorry that it wasn’t made clear enough. When you’ve disappointed people, it’s a horrible, horrible feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But, it’s time to say sorry, that’s all.
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It’s not reasonable to expect the target audience – mainly 12-14 year old girls to even know what a ghost writer is. And yet, if you build your empire on honesty, taking advice that strays you away from that path is bad, bad advice.
With the non-declaration of sponsorship issue, again, it’s poor, poor advice to try and hide it. Why wouldn’t you be proud to be working? Why wouldn’t you be proud to be at the forefront of a whole new genre of media and be guiding and forming the commercial aspect? What today’s vloggers do now affects the entire future of the industry and they need to own it and shape it with integrity rather than rely on others to call the shots.
There is huge, huge money in vlogging – we could be talking about 70K per video in some instances. But all those incidental ‘here’s my bathroom’ lingering shots on undeclared sponsored products, all those tweets at £600 upwards a go, and I haven’t even started on Instagram, are creating a tide turn. It’s absolutely nobody’s business whatsoever what anyone else earns and even if you earn at the lower scale, who knows what your potential is? The steps you take today are so crucial for the footprint you leave for the future.
The global beauty market value has doubled in the last 15 years – bloggers and vloggers have played a huge part in that. There’s no point in being acerbic about vloggers and bloggers making money – they’ve become as much a part of the industry as any cosmetic counter. It’s the wider economic picture that everything has a commercial arm, and so it is with blogging and vlogging. Those who think there’s somehow some element of wrong in earning money in this new genre need to wonder whether they’d really like profits from the boom in beauty to go entirely to shareholders in Estee Lauder. Not sure why it should, really.
All the vloggers that I know personally work their butts off. Globally, some have just got lucky. Generally, they’ve all worked to be where they are now.
I think the roots of not declaring formed with the view that there was shame in making money from it. New seeds take time to blossom, and few were willing to be seen planting those seeds for fear of judgement (and let’s not forget there are entire websites dedicated solely to bringing down popular You Tubers and bloggers like circling vultures so you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t). So, it seemed easier just to not mention it. At the time things started to take shape, commercially, along came agents, who should have been the ones steering their wards on a steady course and not seen them as a quick cash cow.
You’ll just have to take it from me that you need nerves of steel to watch money that could have been yours handed readily to someone more naïve who will take it with no regard for openness. And still, there is non-declaration, despite the ASA being extremely clear. Now, I think everyone is even more terrified of judgement because they’d have to back-track like crazy and admit to past non-declarations to go forward in the future.
Ultimately, none of this is about a ghost-written book. It’s about an industry that isn’t regulated, that is populated by very young people caught now between a rock and hard place, many of whom have been given shamefully inadequate guidance. And others who have seen it as no business of theirs to guide any of it themselves despite the fact they’re pioneers and front runners, and critically, influencing a very young audience.
In my view, you cannot take to the internet and reap the benefits without taking some responsibility for what you do while you’re there.
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