Saturday, April 7, 2018

Bloggers, How Do We Strike the Balance Between Real Life and Virtual Reality?


Hey ladies. Please allow us to go off topic today. I want to speak on a current trending issue which sparked a bit of a twitterstorm and had the YouTube world shook! 

So on Wednesday, my sis and fellow blogger Missy May posted this on her Instagram. I urge you to read her caption then come back. This was in the same week Zimbabwean Youtuber RLT released this viral video. If you can't be bothered to watch the whole thing, I'll break it down for you. RLT
 is a Youtuber and Instagram babe who uploaded a sobbing video on her channel, explaining to viewers that her current visa was expiring within a month, and that she needed her followers to contribute towards the £2300 it will cost to pay for British Citizenship. She opened a GoFund Me page and asked if her viewers would drop "even just a pound each". #Visabae was a hashtag thus created to capture the plight of this young lady and the criticism that followed.

Whilst many came to her defence and even dug deep into their pockets to donate generously to her cause (over £4000!), her video which culminated in a Channel 5 News appearance, also resulted in very harsh backlash from her fellow influencers. RLT has been criticized severely not only for her poor life and money management , but also for the apparent false image she has worked so hard to build online. Many referred to her beautiful clothes and expensive bags which embellished her Instagram feed, and questioned why all along she was unable to use her influence to raise the £2300 needed to pay for her citizenship.



RLT has defended herself by claiming the expensive fashion items on her feed are borrowed from friends and gifted through brand collaborations.  Now I must admit that I wasn't too familiar with this girl prior to the #Visabae storm and don't know how citizenship applications work. I am also unsure of the ins and outs of brand collaborations because I'm not one of those fortunate bloggers who has brands banging at her door, although I wish Glasses Direct or Jord Watches would give a sister a chance (can someone please teach me how to write a badass pitch?) But it does pose the question of whether we are losing our souls and integrity to the social media game. Is image gang trumping reality? Is our obsession with looking a particular way online causing us to live further beyond our means?  Most importantly as bloggers, how do we strike that balance between real life and virtual reality?

Now, whether you think RLT is a scammer or not, or is deserving of the generosity of others or not, mquestion is this: is social media becoming a poison to society?  Not too long ago I hailed social media as one of the essentials to becoming a badass blogger and leveraging your influence. But bloggers, how do we strike the balance between real life and virtual reality?

Girls, if you have the answer please comment below. And let me know what you think about #Visabae. 

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20 comments

  1. I must say I find the visabae thingy a lot difficult to take in. Just like you I didn’t know about the young lady till now so can’t lean towards the people who condemn her lavish lifestyle on social media!
    However, a cry for help has been issued and considering her claims of depression and occasional suicidal thoughts as mentioned in her video, I don’t think it was wrong for people to have reached out to her ����‍♀️.. I only hope that after getting her papers sorted, she would be able to get her life organised as well in terms of pursuing her academic goals or whatever she planned to do with her life.

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    1. Absolutely Lilian, I so agree with you! Social media as with everything else, has its pros and cons. I didn't know her prior to the #visabae thing and I'm sure many people have come to know her now. (publicity whether good or bad).
      I do hope as well that she picks up her life and continue with her pursuits after this.

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    2. @Lilian thanks for your input on this issue. I think the people who gave are well within their rights if they want to, so there is no love lost there. Also, as you've also said I do hope she is able to sort out her life and secure a better future for herself.

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    3. @Jessica, I am 100% with you. SM has pros and cons, but is it more of one than the other? Also, like you I hope she is abl to sort out her life.

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  2. Very interesting topic, I'd not heard about the drama with RLT before (also a new introduction to me!). I think projecting honesty online can only be a good thing; although as with all social media - I think there's a general understanding now that we each show the 'best bits' and the 'highlights'. Having said that, I'm sure her followers would like her just as much without her having to borrow bags from her friends! It's lovely people reached out to help her though, it's encouraging to know people still, as a general rule, want to help others :) Great read, Madeline!

    aglassofice.com x

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    1. Hi Gabrielle. As always, it's nice to read your thoughts. She was also new to me, but her video kept comming up on "recommended". Yes, for most people the general understanding is that SM highlights our best bits - especially for a visual platform like Instagram, but I wonder if 12, 13 or 14 year olds actually know that? You have pointed out something quite important which many of us have overlooked - in today's world, people are still quite generous! Perhaps, social media has been good in creating 'community spirit' , or the 'it takes a village' mentality.

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  3. I saw the title to this post on your Insta and I was hooked. I knew I had to read the post. And similar to Gabrielle (aglassofice), the RLT/VisaBae thing was completely new to me and frankly I don't think I know enough to judge or comment. I can currently see the situation from both sides - the Youtuber and audience giving her stick, but all in all it is quite nice that she managed to get the help she needed.

    Sheena
    https://afashionstudentsdiary.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Hi Sheena. I'm very grateful to you for your comments. Thanks for coming over from Instagram! Yes you are right, a lot of us don't know the ins and outs, but from what she has presented online and what she told us, she has sparked a lot debate. Anyway, like you said it's nice she got the help needed. Perhaps she'll be able to sort herself out now.

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  4. I'm here sis!! Ha! Where do I even begin with this #visabae wahala npo? Hmmm...I do have a lot of questions to be honest. She same here at the age of 10yrs so automatically we say its the parent's fault. I don't know about other African parents, but you know Ghanaians will make sure their children will get the papers because its a priority. Legal or not so, you're still encouraged to get it if you're old. Coming to Rutendo herself, she's not a kid so she should have seen this coming and worked towards it. Misplaced priorities! Not to bash her, but sis, truth is, she could've saved something! She has survived up till now so there must be something. Cmon...!! I know people who have used other people's nkrataa to y3 edwuma and have secured their's now by saving so what is she on about? The job isn't for me? What? I came here when I was young and sis, I've worked from warehouse picker packer, kitchen assistant, sales, waitress and now a teacher. NAH she has no excuse, but she sure is brave to do this. Again, misplaced priorities, a bit of laziness and glued to the fancy lifestyle. Thank God she got the money and hope she will learn from this. We definitely have a role to play as bloggers. People look up to us so the more real we are, the better.

    https://www.missymayification.co.uk

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    1. Yes sis. You have raised so many points! Where are her parents? I cannot imagine this happening to any of my family memebers because even if parents are not helping, what about aunts, uncles, cousins etc. etc? But anyway with RLT, we never know so lemme keep quiet on that. I think the mentality is different because Ghanaians would kill themselves to do the necessary! Lol! Please don't say too much sis. We get it. Ha!
      On a more serious note, you are a hard worker Missy May, that is why I said your head is on your shoulders. You did all of that whilst running a successful blog! God bless your hustle.
      And finally, you've said what I was looking for: We as bloggers have a role to play!

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  5. I try to stay true to my readers tastes and for me, it's affordable stuff so thankfully I don't have to worry about trying to afford designer brands (or borrow them) lol but yea this is very interesting. Also, you wanna pitch those brands? Seriously you can do this girl! Just email them and introduce yourself (where youre from and what u blog about) then give a few basic stat counts, then tell them why you wanna work with them and how you would creatively featuring their brand. You can do it!

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    1. Hi Ellen. I always look forward to hearing your opinion. Staying true to your readers is important - that's how they relate to you! That's why I referred to Missy May, because she takes some badass photos, but then she took this one photo and captioned it so honestly which made me really connect with her. Thank you so much for your tips! I am scared of rejection I guess because I am by no means what one would consider a big blogger, but I'll give it a go, so please keep your fingers crossed!

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  6. This is an excellent topic. As someone who doesn't have citizenship in the country I live in, I can relate to it. I don't know everything about the whole situation but I don't think this girl was wrong to ask for help. It is her right to ask for help, she didn't force anyone to donate, anyone can ask for a donation and as long as they are candid about their reasons for asking for it, that should be alright.

    However, I can understand why some people feel the need to criticize her. She must have known that this issue will come up so she should have had prepared for it in advance. She must have known that she doesn't have a citizenship. Flaunting a glam Instagram profile certainly doesn't help people see her in the light of someone who needs help. This just goes out to prove that not everything is as it seems when it comes to social media. That being said, I don't judge her for reaching out to get help. This might benefit other people as well, bringing awareness to this topic as from what I heard, the situation with visas in UK is somewhat complicated at the moment. I personally have friends who have lived in London for plus 30 years and they still don't have citizenship. It is a difficult subject. I hope this girl sorts out her life and I wish her all the best.

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    1. Hi Ivana, you have given a real balanced view and have tried to see the story from both sides so I am grateful for that. You are so roght, no one forced anyone to give anything. But millenials have been accused by our elders of being entitled and spineless so I wonder if she has fed into this stereotype by not working for that money? She has definitely brought about some awarness and hopefully this will be a warning to many people. Having said all that I am really proud of the ladies who have commented on this post because one thing we have in common is that we all wish her well!

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  7. I need to let you know how good you look in that dress! i know its not the subject of this post but i hope you dont mind :)

    https://strawberryleopard.blogspot.pt/

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    1. Hi Ana of course I don't mind! I am flattered. 😊 I'm not a fashion blogger but I am really into my clothes and make up you know!

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  8. I totally feel like she should not be getting backlash for it, she does not deserve that, At the same time through she should be more real with her followers through the process, instead of just coming out one day and saying that. So she should learn from this, and just be more real on social media.
    http://sugarcoatedbears.blogspot.com/

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    1. Hi Courtney. Thank you so much for your input on this. I hope she does keep us updated. I think the people who donated would need it. I think we all need to reflect on if we are being 'more real' on social media, but yes hopefully she has learned.

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  9. Ladies, thank you all for your input. I am really happy to see the discussion we've had going on here. In case you are looking for an update, you can find her latest video here >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYJ3oCKZxQo&t=633s

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Hey! They say communication is a two-way street. I would really appreciate you leaving a comment!

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