Thursday, 2 July 2015

Truth or Lies?

I wrote a post a while back about the ethics relating to writing blog posts - here it is if you want a read. It's something that raised its head again for me a while ago after a conversation with a friend, so I thought I'd explore it a bit more. We were talking about my Blog - my friend has said before that she enjoys reading it, especially the Frugal Friday posts, and she was remarking on my "Frugal Food February" of the other year in particular. She asked "So come on then, how much did you REALLY spend during the month?" I was a bit lost for a second...the penny dropped eventually though and I explained that the amount was exactly what she'd read on the blog. I went on to explain that everything I write on the blog is truthful - I see no reason to lie and and liars always get caught out in any event.

I wrote my Frugal Friday posts for several reasons - first that I enjoyed writing them - it's a challenge having a deadline to write for each week and for a while I felt like I needed that - it was good for me as it meant that I had to sit down and write that amount of words each week without fail. The other reason is that I know other people enjoyed them and have even found them useful - and if I can do something that I find enjoyable, which also helps others, then why not? I'd enjoy them a lot less though if I was constantly trying to remember whether I'd previously mentioned a particular purchase, or whether I'd conveniently forgotten to refer to it. Take MrEH's car replacement last year for example - I mentioned it on here because a) it was a £2k spend, and NOT mentioning it, particularly when Frugal Friday comes about, would have felt like I was lying by omission b) It was a good chance to "talk through" a process that I've done before and so find relatively straightforward, yet I already know from the feedback I've had on it that a lot of folk found some of the points in it useful to know and c) I've posted pics in the past of the old car when we've been on camping trips etc - now you're an observant lot, I know that, and so I think it's fairly likely you would have noticed MrEH's car had changed colour from blue, to red! At that point, people would be sitting there scratching their heads and wondering what else I'd not mentioned - you can be sure of that. Likewise my new camera, and lens - bought last year. Yes they were big (massive!) purchases for me (around £1,600 in total) and on the face of it, far from frugal, but in reality it WAS frugal - I'd saved up, waited until I could afford it, and until I was certain that it was a purchase I wanted to make, and that I would get good value from it. Had we had debts that needed clearing (aside from that mortgage, and you already know about our assault on that!) then the money would have gone to those first and foremost, but we don't, so I routinely save from my personal income to ensure that I can afford to indulge myself on occasion, once the money is there. Once I have though, I'm quite happy to talk about it on here, there's no reason not to and ensures I can be comfortable within my own moral-framework.

If you're a good liar, you can probably get away with it, and nobody will be any the wiser. Of course if you're a blogger who's keen on product promotion to earn money, or on getting yourself nominated for various high-profile awards, that's a more dangerous game, and it gets even MORE dangerous if you were to be that sort of blogger and a bad liar with a poor memory, to boot. A relatively small amount of research confirms that there are JUST those sorts of bloggers out there too!  Reading through various blog posts myself and a pal  noticed one or two slightly "confusing" discrepancies - discounts offered in exchange for a product promotion initially weren't mentioned at all, and was then subsequently referred to as a 15% discount, before later increasing to 25%. That's minor though and pales into significance when you consider the "Frugal" blogger who "forgot" to mention the purchase of a 20k brand new car - my memory is bad but even I'd not manage to forget something like that! (And oddly enough the tweet which gave the game away has now been removed...however a screengrab is a useful thing!) How about reading posts by someone who has regularly told us that they don't use their heating as they "can't afford it", and yet their family members have regularly been pictured wearing t-shirts in the house in midwinter, or mysterious vanishing pots of money, there one minute and dedicated for a particular purpose, and missing without trace the next? Of course it is entirely reasonable that the writer of a blog chooses what to write about, but, when that blog is of a nature that might even be considered "preachy" on matters of frugality, and its writer is never shy to castigate others for what they see as "wasting money" does it strike you as a bit two-faced, dishonest even, to take a "do as I say, not as I do" approach without making it entirely clear that this IS the approach you're taking? Another good example is the "changing or vanishing history" - where stuff that was previously posted on a blog gets removed altogether or edited to change it's context. In one case I know of that even applies to the reasons why a person got into debt in the first place - originally an honest admission of having done too much "keeping up with the Jones'es" but now apparently due to mysterious "Circumstances beyond their control"...

My question is - is there any need for this? If someone wants to write a spoof blog then that's great - it will be a good read and people will flock to it for that reason - but a blog purporting to be truthful is something very different. If people are voting for a blog for awards, don't they have a right to believe that the blogger concerned is being truthful, not leaving out or even deleting things that don't suit their "theme"? If you have voted in any of the well known Blog Awards over the past few years, are you absolutely sure that the person you've voted for is all that they seem, and as honest as they claim? If there is a little niggle in your mind, then consider doing a bit of reading, and research, then you can make your own mind up, can't you... ;-)



Tracey said...

Thank you for the message! X x x

Scarlet said...

Whenever I wrote a post about my finances I found that other posts relating to my finances received lots of hits. I always suspected that people were checking up on me, but as I wrote in a subsequent post, the truth is unchanging, so I was never in any danger of 'tripping myself up'.
There is definitely a ' do as I say, not as I do' element in the world of blog; there's the person who insisted that nobody needs to buy anything other than ' Basics' shampoo, that nobody needs to visit a hairdresser, that nobody needs a holiday, that nobody needs a gym membership. Strangely enough that person now visits a hairdresser every 6 weeks or so ( if they are now to be believed - it's difficult to tell what is the truth!), takes holidays abroad and has had not only a gym membership but also a personal trainer!
Everyone has the right to change their mind, but the person in question has been downright vile to those who disagreed with her opinions, and at no time has she had the good grace to say that she was wrong, that at the time she didn't think anyone needed them ( or maybe she wanted them herself but couldn't ' afford' them) and that actually people can spend their money on whatever they like and aren't stupid profligate fools just because they have made choices which are different to those she has made.

Robyn said...

Tracey you are very welcome, take care lovely! x
Scarlet yes indeed, it is entirely about choice, something which the more rational of us realise, don't we! You and I have always been very clear on that too - just because I might consider someone mad for shopping at M&S when there's an Asda right next door doesn't mean they're "wrong" to do it, unless of course it's causing them to run up debt as a result. I've cringed on many occasions reading comments on other blogs in relation to questions that have been asked. The person you are referring to on one occasion told me that buying higher welfare meat and free range eggs was a waste of money too and that she would never see the need for it as her finances were more important than animal welfare. I suspect those remarks will have vanished now, though!

gillibob said...

Thought provoking post as usual. I personally believe that we should be truthful to ourselves where finances are concerned. EH knows my journey, I save hard for what I want and will wait to make sure. I have emergency funds, savings and I make payments into savings based on what my yearly finances/ outgoings will be..if that makes sense. I've done the whole no hairdresser bit, but now need it as work dictates I look smart and my hair always has other ideas :) My biggest hiccough is Amazon. I really should balance what I sell to what buy. I am a work in progress on that score, but I do love my books and sometimes there is a reason why some are free e books (sadly)