The Problem with Sincerity in the Age of Relatable Content

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Over the course of my career, my most viewed and best received posts on any platform have been those that are in some way personal or issue-focused. Like my recent piece on heartbreak, something I wrote about my mental health over the course of 2016, this piece I wrote with Grace about different bodies in the blogging industry, and even a simple introduction to myself that I wrote at the end of last year. My favourite pieces of writing from other bloggers and writers are often similarly personal.

There are increasingly few fashion bloggers who just write about the clothes that they are wearing. Instead, we are overwhelmed with beautiful outfit photos coupled with heartfelt paragraphs about life, love, mental health, personal tragedy, and whatever else. I wrote my piece about heartbreak over the course of a few hours when a surge of emotion and inspiration hit, but it took me weeks to figure out how to write about myself for Hi, I’m Hannah. Even this piece, the irony of which I am painfully aware of thank you, is a result of months of thinking and of discussion with friends and other bloggers. I love reading these posts and I love writing them too, but I could not bear my soul to the internet every week. When they are churned out on a regular basis, how many can really be sincere?

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When I’m having a bad time I find the process of writing and publishing my thoughts and feelings very cathartic and healing. This works well with the internet’s ever pressing desire to be moved in some way by what we are reading and consuming every day. It seems like a win-win: I get the catharsis and the healing from writing, and readers are, if I write well, moved or even helped in some way. And of course, they get views.

My point, which I should perhaps be making earlier than four paragraphs into this thinkpiece about thinkpieces, is that I am becoming increasingly dubious of the lack of sincerity and integrity behind personal essays, issue-focused writing, and the deep and meaningful relatable content that blogs are becoming filled with. Blogging does not always need to be sincere (I would actually prefer it to be less sincere most of the time) but now that blogging as an industry has caught up with the age of the thinkpiece and we know that feelings=views, there is a danger of bloggers and readers alike becoming caught up in writing which, if you think about it a little harder, does not really say anything at all.

While this (sometimes) faux-feelingsy writing is not quite as on-the-nose as Youtube’s ‘I almost DIED?!’ or any given online magazine’s clickbait tweets, pulling sincerity out of our collective arses week after week is not doing anyone any favours. Writing and publishing can really help healing, but we all owe it to our readers and mostly to ourselves to write profoundly about our feelings only when it feels pertinent to do so.

photos by Derek Bremner for Nobody’s Child

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9 Comments

  1. Ewa Macherowska 3 weeks AGO REPLY

    Great photos as always! x

    http://www.evdaily.blogspot.com

  2. Kelly 3 weeks AGO REPLY

    It does seem at times like personal posts are a tad insincere but generally – I like to think positive about everyone’s intentions. It is interesting the way things have evolved in blogging though. Niches are expanding from “fashion” and “beauty” to be more fluid where next to nothing is off topic. It does bring a bit of realness to the otherwise curated pictures that are out there.

    xoxo – Kelly
    http://www.dreaminlace.com

  3. Siobhan 3 weeks AGO REPLY

    I love this! Such an elegantly writtin piece and a subject matter that I’d never though of before but which resonates 100%.
    You were the first blogger I followed, I think it was tumblr days? and the only one I’ve consistently kept up with this whole time. You come across as a real person rather than a brand. Seeing your posts is always a pleasure!

  4. bia 3 weeks AGO REPLY

    This felt so real and so true. It makes me bitter about online culture but also resurrects it somehow since your piece here is also part of online culture. So I guess it’s all about finding the gems nowadays, those blogs that are able to balance profit and personal stories. I’m optimistic that this is somehow possible but fully aware that this is probably one of the hardest things to do. Good luck with everything you do & thanks for making me think!

  5. Bladesoulclasses 3 weeks AGO REPLY

    There are definitely quite a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That could be a nice level to bring up. I supply the ideas above as common inspiration but clearly there are questions just like the one you carry up the place the most important thing shall be working in sincere good faith. I don?t know if finest practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a good game. Both boys and girls really feel the influence of just a second’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  6. Holly White 3 weeks AGO REPLY

    Totally agree that sometimes having a post every week with some kind of ‘deep meaning’ and ‘hard hitting topic’ becomes a little insincere. I tend to write mostly about myself and my mental health, don’t get me wrong, but I love to do so when I’m actually going through something, when life is hard and writing becomes my outlet. I hate churning out content just for the sake of it!

  7. Ash 3 weeks AGO REPLY

    This is so apt! I blurted out a really heartfelt piece when I decided I wanted to try blogging and then felt so overwhelmed with trying to talk about other emotions as openly and sincerely, or rather trying to FIND other emotions that resonated on the same level, that I simply stopped as I didn’t want to do that appropriately titled arse-pull haha. It’s definitely something to think about.

    Some super writing as always, and I love your blog!

  8. Jen 2 weeks AGO REPLY

    This. I’m not sure what else to say except that this resonates with me. So glad to have found you through Lizzy! x

    Jen | https://www.aretherelilactrees.com

  9. Lucy 2 weeks AGO REPLY

    Great your blog
    I really like

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