As anyone who has literally lost hours of their life from scrolling through social media knows – sometimes the comments section on certain posts and articles makes for some right car-crash viewing. It never fails to surprise me how many people out there are willing to verbally fight to the death over issues like whether or not Harry Styles is gay.
However, occasionally the discussions out there take more of a serious turn where people are justifiably moved to have their say (I’m looking at Donald Trump and the movement to block his hate-mongering ideas from polluting the UK). But I’ve noticed some heated debate recently as to whether or not a travel blogger ought to lay out their personal political views on their social accounts. It got me thinking, should travel blogs get political?
Should travel blogs get political?
We like pages or follow blogs because they mesh with our interests. One of mine is travel – I write extensively on the subject for Travelettes.net as well as good old Saints on a Plane and a variety of clients through my line of work – and consequently I read a fair few travel blogs. I’ve always thought of people that love to travel as being fairly open-minded – after all if they are physically breaking down boundaries and seeing the world, surely they will possess a similar mind-set?
Unfortunately, there are a few out there who fall into a more judgemental camp (check out our thoughts on Travellers Vs Tourists) and what with all the crap going on in the world at the moment, it’s sad to see people like this commenting with their, frankly scary, views on some of my favourite travel blogger’s posts, such as, locking all immigrants out in the cold and throwing away the key. But what really got me thinking were that these sorts of people tend to bash the blogger for giving their own opinion on an issue – even though their opinions tend to fall on the side of peace, empathy and tolerance, there are still comments proclaiming, “We liked your page to see fluffy, aspirational travel pics so keep your politics or world views to yourself!”
I guess I can see that side – sometimes we just want a bit of escapism from this cold, hard and sometimes shitty world, right?
But see, the thing with many blogs (and part of the reason I like them so much) is that bloggers are not newspapers with hidden agendas pretending to be unbiased. You read a blog because you buy into the person behind it – they put their personality into their articles and you read their accounts of Lisbon or Bangkok because you relate and reckon the bars etc that they recommend might be something you would like too… So, surely it follows that these personalities have opinions and it is their right to express them on their blog when they see reprehensible things going on in the world?
In fact, if you run a blog that has thousands of followers, maybe it’s even your duty to show where you stand on big global issues you feel strongly about… Because there are some hideous people out there who certainly don’t hold back from trying to influence the masses with their awful ideas. And with the hope that the majority of travel bloggers are all aboard the peace, love and acceptance train, if they have something to say then they should probably say it and not just opt out of the conversation.
Of course travel bloggers should write about great places, tips, tricks and open peoples’ minds to the world. But we also signed up to the person/people behind the blog so let them have their say and speak up about what they believe in – if nothing else, at least you will be able to see whether the person behind the brand that you are supporting with your readership is a good egg or a total bell-end.
What do you think – should travel blogs get political? Or should they avoid it like the plague?
Photographs by Sophie Saint