Blog Criticism | The Neverending Story

It looks like the Belgian blog criticism treadmill is back at full speed. Or did it never stop? I’m writing this article following some activity on Twitter and an article by fellow blogger Ingeborg Deleye.  Translating the entire text would be crazy and it’s not that my knowledge of the English language is as extensive as Ingeborg’s Dutch vocabulary, so I’ll stick to translating the main arguments that were raised during the discussion.

Some arguments are cross-overs from my previous blogger bash rant. You can read it here.

Are bloggers narcissists?

“I have a problem with hundreds of similar, narcissistic photo reports that don’t contribute to anything.”

Here we go AGAIN. *sigh* Everytime I hear the word ‘narcissism‘ when referring to outfit bloggers, it makes me roll my eyes so hard I get dizzy. Why so judgemental? If getting your picture taken is narcissistic, then everyone’s a narcissist. We all post pictures of ourselves, whether it’s on Twitter or on Facebook. Some people even change profile pics more often than I post my outfitpics.

It’s funny this remark always comes from people who choose not to do outfitposts themselves. I advise you to try it yourself to find out what it’s really like. It’s damn hard. Personally I find it very confronting, and I always post my outfitpics and afterwards never look at them again. Because I too, am a modest West Fleming. Posting pics is scary, instead outfit bloggers should be rewarded for their bravery (I’m joking obv).

But then again, I also agree with Ingeborg on the fact that a lot of bloggers tend to post 20+ pictures of the same outfit in more or less the same pose. The golden rule is to keep it short and simple, with a maximum of 8 pics that show us both the entire outfit and the details of the garments. The idea is to tell a story around your outfit, so focus on the look and not on how you look.

Lost in Translation?

“I have an all-consuming horror of ‘dt’ errors, childish sentences – including sentences of less than five words – and English idioms which I ten years ago repeatedly ventured to with my own girl group.”

People please keep in mind that not everyone is a writer or a journalist or has some sort of education that involved a lot of writing. Have a look at some of the biggest fashion bloggers (whose mother tongue isn’t English) like Chiara from ‘The Blonde Salad’. Makes about 20k (!) a month and gets tons of designer items delivered at her doorstep. Is it because of her fluent and exquisite English? Hell no. People aren’t visiting her blog to read about new collections or whatever. They want to be inspired by her outfits, they want to see the fairytale she’s living in etc.

Is that a good excuse to neglect every spelling or grammar rule out there? Of course not. But spelling mistakes aside, let the bloggers just have their fun. It’s not like ‘Twilight’ was a friggin’ masterpiece either, but it got the message accross. And isn’t that the most important thing? Isn’t fashion all about expressing yourself in a creative way?

And as for the literally translated idioms; they might irritate you but for me, they just crack me up.  “What great is!

Product Reviews

“…shameless advertising for products that don’t work.”

I have to disagree when people say bloggers always write the particular product is fantastic and definitely a must-have. On my blog, I do prefer to write about the products I do actually like. For one, because I don’t have the time to write about everything I get/buy since this is not my job, and second, because I don’t have that much time on my hands I like to use it on products that are worth my time.

I have to admit there have been times I saw some products on other blogs that were highly recommended and I got the same ones and they didn’t do anything for me at all. Does that mean these bloggers are fooling people, by saying this product is fantastic? Perhaps. But keep in mind that what doesn’t work for one person can perfectly be another’s holy grail.

On the other hand, I do have little faith in blogs that don’t mention whether they have received the product for free. There has to be some sort of transparency towards your readers imo. I’m always going to put honesty with my readers first by adding a disclaimer to the post or a mention that I’ve got the product from a PR company or brand, or when I got paid for writing the post. And even if I have approved of the product by writing a post about it, I’ll always list the qualities of the product that I didn’t quite like. It’s up to the readers to determine what weight they attribute to those qualities and make up their own mind whether or not the product is relevant for them to purchase.

The Quality Label

The quality label for Belgian blogs is something I started thinking about around year ago, when I first learned about a similar initiative that already exists in the UK, named ‘Handpicked Media’. It’s a platform that unites bloggers that have a certain standard and supports them in getting deals with companies. I’ve discussed it with some bloggers, journalists and pr peeps and most of them agreed there might be something there. The big question is however, how do we implement it? How can this be translated to the Belgian market? And who should decide who gets to join? “A neutral person“, suggests Ingeborg. But who can be regarded as a neutral person in this business? No matter how I see it, there are always going to be some hidden agendas. There are so many different kinds of blogs and to like or not to like is still a subjective thing.

Another thing that kind of troubles me is the idea of a good blogger that should get the quality label. Who ever said blogs are only great when they are run by talented writers? I for one, am a very visual person and I think Style Scrapbook is a great blog, even if Andy writes jack. And I’m sure her other gazillion readers would agree. I don’t go over there to read stories, I go over there because I want to be inspired by her outfits. People with a journalistic background probably pay more attention to the writings than the actual visuals. And let that be the point I’m trying to make. Everyone is looking for different things when they are visiting a particular blog. So why should we narrow down the candidates for the quality label to ‘talented writers’? Do you see where I’m getting at here? It all comes back to subjectivity.

The quality label is not the solution, my dear friends.  That is, if you consider the quantity of bad blogs as the actual problem. Even with a quality label, there are always going to be crappy blogs, and that number will still keep on growing. Another thing is that what might start out as a crappy blog, might turn into something totally different after a while. It’s a learning process. It’s about searching, trial & error.

So “why do some crappy blogs get a lot of products from companies?”, was another question that was posed on Twitter. I think this is because the companies in Belgium are new at this, not only when it comes to blogs but to social media in general. They have yet to find out what works and what doesn’t to promote their brand on the level of the consumer. I think it’s up to the PR’s of those brands to choose their bloggers more wisely, by considering the bloggers’ identity and check if they match with the brand they’re trying to sell. The best way to get to know them is to just meet with them in person for an exploratory interview. Both parties should explain what their brand is all about and what they expect from a possible collaboration. I’m well aware of the fact that this method asks a bit more effort from the PR’s, who are already up to their asses in work, but I’m pretty confident this would pay off in the long run.


To conclude my massive rant (I could write books about this), I provide to you the real solution: FEEDBACK. Every blogger is looking to improve their blog, and that includes me. So tell me how can I improve my blog if I don’t know what you like to see, read or what you specifically pay attention to when you’re visiting a blog? Just like I said earlier, it’s a learning process, but you can’t do it alone. Just like students are getting feedback on their papers and journalists on the articles they hand in, I want to get some feedback and learn from my mistakes too. So next time you decide to make all kinds of general comments on Twitter, at least have the guts to tell the blogger you’re referring to what they can do to improve.

And if you really are concerned about the better blogs being burried under a pile of shitty crap, I have another solution: STOP focusing on the bad ones and talk about the good ones instead! Feature them in your magazines and on your websites/blogs, talk about them on Twitter or over lunch with a friend. Like their FB pages, follow them on Bloglovin’, retweet interesting things they say, post links to the blogposts you find interesting or inspiring.. In other words; spread the word! I’m sure the help would be very much appreciated!


 *this article was based on tweets by @eva_vd,  @anne_elle_be & @irisagogo

(I’m also open anytime for feedback on what you think of the blog in general. The good, the bad and the ugly..  You can comment on the particular posts or drop me an email at ste.dejonghe(at) . I’ll be happy to hear from you anytime!)


  1. January 19, 2012 / 10:26 am

    i hate it when people are taking pics of me because it is not always that pretty! yes about the blonde salad! i am sceptical about the labal, i will discuss that with you in real life! you are right about Andy BUT she has gorgeous pics, so there has to be something good about a blog! BTW please keep on writing, you are talented and smart…

  2. January 19, 2012 / 11:10 am

    So feedback it is!
    In this indeed never ending story, I must say that this was/is one of the best articles I’ve read so far. Basic, simple, examples, different angles… everything a good argument needs! Thank you for that.

    Jennifer D.

  3. January 19, 2012 / 11:35 am

    Ok – ik ga lekker averechts in ‘t Nederlands reageren, mijn Engelse woordenschat is niet uitgebreid genoeg, oops! Heb genoten van je artikel, omdat het wel de verwoording lijkt van vele dingen die ik denk en voel. Alleen die dt-fouten, daar krijg ik het serieus van op mijn heupen (zeker als iemand 100% Nederlandstalig is) en dan stuur ik wel even een tweet of een mailtje. Gewoon omdat ik het jammer zou vinden, moest de blogger in kwestie niet de geloofwaardigheid en ‘fans’ (dit is zó niet het juiste woord) krijgen die hij/zij verdient. ‘t Is gewoon het engeltje in mezelf, haha. Hélemaal akkoord trouwens met ‘spread the word’: ik doe dit héle dagen. Mijn vriendenkring leest niet per se blogs, maar de geïnteresseerden geef ik zeker nuttige links door.

    • Sté
      January 19, 2012 / 12:28 pm

      Super dat je die personen mailt! Ik heb het in mijn post ook niet echt over de bloggers die geen hol juist kunnen schrijven, ik bedoel alleen dat een foutje hier en daar wel acceptabel is. Als ik bij dezelfde persoon bijna altijd ‘dt’ fouten spot, dan denk ik toch ook van allez, dit kan nu toch niet’! Hoeveel keer kun je nu missen tussen “het gebeurT” en “dat is gebeurD”? Er bestaan zoveel websites die je kunnen helpen. Google is your friend, I always say 😀

  4. January 19, 2012 / 12:01 pm

    About a year ago someone I just knew for a month passed me on the street and after some small talk he told me. “I didn’t know you were that kind of girl”. And I was like “What kind of girl”. Well this is what happened: he came across my blog on the internet and he saw some outfit pictures, he didn’t think I was that narcissistic. EX-Cuh-USE-ME?! Most bloggers don’t post these pictures because they ‘like themselves’ that much but they post pictures because they like their OUTFITS!

    And about the spelling mistakes, blogging is a very spontaneous way of sharing your view onto the world. So it is NOT journalism! If you don’t like the blogging style of a person, just don’t read it and move on.. But I guess there’ll always be haters. Let’s prove them wrong!

    • Sté
      January 19, 2012 / 1:03 pm

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Dana!
      Pictures are just images that are taken in a split second. They don’t define who you are in any way, just what you look like. Of course there are always going to be some bloggers who think they’re ‘all that’, but those are exceptions and it’s not fair to think everyone is like them just because they post pictures. I’m not a fan of LABELS, except when they’re on a piece of clothing, ha! 😀

  5. January 19, 2012 / 12:41 pm

    Well, we’ve talked about this already 😉 But still, you’re right. I don’t get why people spend so much time bashing the ‘bad’ blogs. Bad publicity is still publicity. The big problem is the overload of blogs, so the quality get’s lost. It seems like, even in tiny Belgium, everyone started blogging.

  6. January 19, 2012 / 3:23 pm

    OK, look, I’m going to admit up front that I am not Belgian. However, I have been living here for more than 3 years now , and I’m going to talk a bit about my observation.

    In Belgium, especially in the academic environment, making an effort for one’s appearance is really put down. I think people have the wrong impression that brains and looks can’t co-exist. I was in the social/political science faculty for 3 years, and I swear a lot of students think they can save the world by dressing like hippies. I respectfully beg to differ. It is almost as if when you fill in your brows you’re a high-maintenance b*tch who don’t care about starving children in Africa. I know that generally speaking Belgians are very down-to-earth and tend to save their money for houses and cars, but I hate it when I put on a tiny little makeup people immediately think I have no brain/are high-maintenance/difficult to be with. That goes with the narcissist comment. I don’t understand why bloggers have to be shamed for their passion for fashion and beauty.

    As for the typos, how about kindly leaving a comment down below to tell the bloggers about them so they can correct the mistakes?

    When I review a product, I try to look at it from different perspective. I review mainly things that work for me, but I try to think for everyone. I’m not going to tell everybody to run out and buy a warm-toned gold eyeshadow because it works very well for me. I try to be honest about the possibility of it pulling orange on very fair and cool-toned girls. But I also think ultimately this is very personal. If you are OK with this pulling orange on you, then by all means go ahead. It is also possible that when people think you look very good a certain way you don’t feel comfortable with it at all. To each his own. There is no one thing that works for everybody, if you can try something before making the purchase you should always do so. I personally think my blog serves to share what I have found, and if you have a similar skin tone/undertone you might more easily find it enjoyable. I am not professional and I am not paid to sing praises, and everybody has purchased stuff that turns out not to work.

    As for the quality label, I don’t think it is necessary. The social media is fundamentally built and maintained by all those who participate in it. If a blog is biased, people will stop reading it and it will cease to exist. Also, again, this all comes down to personal taste. I tend to go through great length when I review products, but maybe some people want to see more pictures so who knows?

    I do agree with you that readers should have the courtesy to encourage good blogs, but ultimately I think as bloggers we should also learn to ignore haters. I don’t think they feel very good about themselves, and that’s why they have to put people down.

    Last but not least, I think we should try to remember that we blog because we enjoy sharing. For one hater there has got to be 5 new friends out there!

    Sunny 🙂

  7. January 19, 2012 / 4:26 pm

    Zolang een medium kritiek krijgt en daarover discussies ontstaan, zichzelf reguleert en in vraag stelt LEEFT het. ‘Neverending’ is dus positief, vind ik. Dat geldt voor kranten (kwaliteit? populair?), voor magazines, voor websites en dus in zekere zin ook wel voor blogs, of die nu kwaliteitsvol zijn of niet. Dus ik kan het alleen maar toejuichen dat mijn artikel aanleiding kan zijn voor argumenten voor/tegen, vraagstellingen en (al dan niet hevige ;-)) reacties.

    Het enige wat ik er nog wou aan toevoegen: ik heb niéts tegen outfitposts (liggen mij gewoon absoluut zelf niet) of tegen mooie foto’s, maar ik vind dat een mens zichzelf moet kunnen inschatten. Wie goed schrijft, schrijft. Wie fantastisch is met beelden, foto’s en minder goed schrijft, moet dat bij zichzelf kunnen herkennen en houdt dan misschien beter een beeldblog bij. ‘Ken jezelf’ is een cliché maar in dit geval de basis van kwaliteit, vind ik. En daarmee sluit ik graag mijn eigen bijdrage aan de eindeloze discussie af. 🙂
    X. Ingeborg

    • Sté
      January 19, 2012 / 4:52 pm

      Oei, was ik iets te hevig? 😀 Deze post is geenszins een ‘aanval’ op jou, maar eerder een reactie op iets wat we al meermaals hebben gehoord. Ik gebruik net je artikel als referentie omdat ik het interessant vond en ook heel goed geschreven.

      In ieder geval, bedankt voor je reactie en ik kan alleen maar akkoord gaan met wat je hier zegt. Het blijkt gewoon in de praktijk heel moeilijk te zijn om de eigen kwaliteiten en verbeterpunten in te schatten als ik blogs of vragen in de Belgian Blogger Unite FB groep zo bekijk (ik weet niet of je in die groep zit?).

  8. January 19, 2012 / 6:01 pm

    In jouw geval zou ik mss niet zo letterlijk gereageerd hebben op het artikel van Ingeborg omdat het dan al snel zo x vs y overkomt, terwijl je het evengoed had kunnen ophangen aan algemene opmerkingen tov een mogelijk kwaliteitslabel, en dan ingeborg’s artikel terloops vermelden als inspiratie ofzo. YA KNOW

    besides, ik vind mijn eigen foto’s fucking awesome en mijn hoofd ook, zelfvertrouwen is goed, NIET SLECHT! Als je echt zelfzeker bent ben je een positief en aangenaam persoon die het mooie ziet in andere mensen!

    • Sté
      January 19, 2012 / 6:32 pm

      I see your point! Will keep that in mind! Het is nooit de bedoeling geweest om er een x vs y toestand van te maken. Er zijn enkele punten waar ik gewoon niet akkoord mee ben en andere dan weer wel 🙂

      Mijn voornaamste punt die ik wil maken is nu niet om op de mening van een ander te hameren, maar eerder om een open discussie te creëren. Hoe ik het in mijn hoofd zie is nog anders dan ik soms neerschrijf. En hoe het overkomt bij iemand anders kan ik zelf moeilijk inschatten. Ik moet nog veel leren over schrijven en ‘tone of voice’. 😉

  9. January 19, 2012 / 9:18 pm

    Heel goed stuk Stéphanie, couldn’t agree more!

  10. January 20, 2012 / 8:41 pm

    Heel interessant artikel! Ik ben zelf ook geen outfitblogger, maar de kritiek dat dit narcistisch zou zijn vind ik ook echt absurd en vaak heb ik het gevoel dat jaloezie de oorzaak is van sommige van die kritiek. Ik ben meer van het principe: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”!

    Wat betreft dt-fouten en andere schrijffouten moet ik wel zeggen dat ik mij daar toch wel heel erg aan stoor. Ik kan verstaan dat je eens over een foutje kan lezen, maar als ik al meer dan 5 fouten op 1 pagina zie staan dan haak ik meestal al af.

    Het internet is groot genoeg voor zowel blogs met meer foto’s als blogs met meer tekst imo. Wat een goede blog is, is idd zeer subjectief en moeilijk te beoordelen. Smaken verschillen and that’s a good thing!

    x Kimberly

  11. January 24, 2012 / 5:19 pm

    Ok, this is always a complicated issue. In fact, it seems that the main success of some very special and blessed girls who decided some time ago to start a fashion blog, has created a tremendous revolution in the world, which has left behind the principal objective of blogging: simply having fun and express yourself!. And it is a pity… it seems money and sudden success have already corrupted the blogosphere.

    So now the discussions are more related to “What can we “great blogs” do for stopping those really upsetting silly blogs that do not contribute on anything to the fashion world???” Because if we do not stop them or put them aside, we will have to divide the “cake” in too many pieces and that is not nice at all”… And with the word “cake” i mean: invitations, gifts, cocktails, etc etc… The battle for success and front rows have started, girls! 🙂 And I think it does not happen only in Belgium, but all around the world..

    I think that the best ever is to do things for real passion, not for money, not for gifts, not for success… is it nice to be famous? I suppose it is but being realistic ¿how many of all of us who run a blog will get the success of Chiara or Andy???? One or two?? So, for the rest, just relax and do your thing the best you can and in the way you prefer… that´s all…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *