Who will you follow through Cyberland?

Travel bloggers and blogging

Bloggers are a strange bunch. Commonly found roaming around Cyberspace, scavenging for adjectives and stealing trending hashtags in the hope of linking back to their own blogs. I have a confession…I’m one of those bloggers!

All you have to do is click online and you’ll find a smorgasbord of blogs and bloggers all fighting for likes, shares, pins, comments, tweets, re-grams, etc. Everything from where the next hot travel destination is, to how to have better sex, what’s new in fashion, to how to make those wrinkles disappear.

Go onto YouTube right now and you’ll find an array of people sat in their bedrooms giving quality advice via video links (vlogs) on how to live better, save harder, smell sexier and how to have stronger orgasms. Yes, it’s all out there and after perusing the endless realms of the internet, you can choose which (if any) of these online friends you want to follow through the cyber minefield.

Personally I love reading blogs and not specifically because I write them myself, more that they are the voice of the common people. They typically aren’t affected by big marketing budget spin, they don’t hide behind faceless corporate strategies and are usually an honest view of the world. Take for example 20 years ago if I had a complaint about a business, wrote my letter pleading unhappiness and got the stock standard response back; there really wasn’t anywhere for me to go from this point.

But through blogging and social media in general, I can send my message out to people who choose to follow me, to stop them coming to the same misfortune. This is not to say that social media is for complaining, that is not what I mean at all so don’t send me hate mail.
It’s a global form of communication to reach an audience with similar preferences. As an example, here is a blog I wrote about eBay when they acted illegally, to warn my readers.

Of course blogging and vlogging is big business and I fully appreciate that bloggers and vloggers create content because they’re paid. It’s fairly easy for me to distinguish between someone who is delivering a message because bills need to be paid, and those who have a beautiful message to share.

Do I think that bloggers and vloggers lose credibility when they get paid? Absolutely not. I have actively sought out paid work through blogging and although what I’m writing about is dictated, how I choose to platform this message is ultimately my own.

Just because one is getting paid to write about a particular topic doesn’t make it less valid; I don’t know any bloggers or vloggers who would sabotage their hard earned reputation for the sake of a quick dollar.

Blogging changing peoples behaviours and buying patterns

My sister has never followed bloggers and being more traditional typically travels with a Lonely Planet guide. However, when she travelled around South America, she did so almost entirely by reading blogs by Nomadic Matt. When I asked why she suddenly changed her travel patterns, this was her response:
“Because I wanted travel advice from someone who had recently travelled in South America, could outline the realities of the continent and had no reason to lie to me”.

That’s what I think we all want when reading a blog, an honest account about a topic of interest, from someone who has nothing to gain from us personally, and free from marketing spin!
Real advice for real people – this is the main reason why +size fashion bloggers do so well.

Being a travel blogger primarily, my own travel plans are shaped and molded by blogs that I’ve read. This tends to be how I do most of my research, well that and speaking to local people.

Enjoying some blogging downtime in Madagascar.

Enjoying some blogging downtime in Madagascar.

The Acid Test
I work for a company that sells package tours to America. Last year we hired a group of bloggers whose discipline spanned across all fields including travel, fashion, lifestyle and good sex. Their mission was to go on one of our tours and to blog/vlog/tweet and Instagram pics to their audience. It was a very successful trip and opened our business up to an audience which wasn’t necessarily our target demographic.

Take for example the beauty vlogger posting a video to all her YouTube followers and inspiring them to travel on a similar trip to America. You could say that this is influencing and changing people’s patterns whether they are consciously aware of it or not. Suddenly there is a girly-girl travelling on a camping tour through the United States with her makeup bag and a Go-Pro, just because one of her cyber friends made it look exciting, glamourous and possible.

If you consider the potential a blog or video link from the right person has to change the mindset of the public, it’s quite incredible.

The BREXIT Debate
Will or won’t Britain leave the European Union? That’s the hot topic of the hour and whilst I am confident of which way my vote leans, it’s been interesting to follow the messaging, media propaganda and scaremongering from both sides. David Cameron is probably the worst offender, scaring the British public out of making any decision which doesn’t involve remaining in the EU, to the point where one of his cabinet ministers questions Mr Cameron’s future in politics. Whilst newspapers like the Daily Metro aren’t bloggers, the principle is the same but on a large scale and potentially to people who don’t know how to vote and will swallow everything printed in a throwaway newspaper.

Who to follow down the rabbit hole
There are some bloggers who have a huge following, have made a lot of money and I take my hat off to them. Zoella is a classic example with her beauty, food and lifestyle blog. These aren’t people who dabble and despite some opinions, it’s a full time job which takes dedication and a driving ability to constantly serve up the truth.

Below is a list of my favourite bloggers who I will gladly follow down the rabbit hole to Wonderland just to see how deep it goes. It’s not an exhaustive list but they are voices I will seek out and listen to time and time again.

A Life of More (Previously Love Puffin)
Hayley tells it like it is and whilst she is younger and travels as I used to, she knows her way around the globe and more importantly, a laptop. She tells the truth regardless of how it comes across and who is reading it.

Nomadic Matt
Any travel blogger who doesn’t currently reside under a rock, knows who Nomadic Matt is and for a good reason. He has travelled more than most have or will, and has a very personable way of recording his travels.

Goats on the Road
I found these guys when I was researching my trip to Iran and have been a convert since. I like their style, mainly because it’s in a similar fashion to my own. Plus, they’ve been to some very cool places.

For those of you not usually drawn to the world of blogging, it’s worth dipping your toes in to see how warm the water is. Leave comments, like, dislike, give your opinions and get involved.

Social media promotes just this, the act of being social and interacting in a different way without being face to face.

Go on take the red pill, you might just like it!

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