Bloggers get their fair share of ridicule just for being bloggers but it seems that having standards only makes things worse. Rolling out minimum requirements or rules for engagement can quickly have you labeled a ‘diva’ by industry professionals. So how do you discern reasonable vs over-the-top requests to work with an agency or brand?
For me, the line is drawn at my health. I absolutely will not engage in any activity that could adversely effect my health. As a tech blogger, I’m often extended the opportunity to review products. Sometimes products are given to me and other times, usually with more expensive items, a review unit is sent. Review units are essentially products that are set aside for the purpose of testing and reviews – products that every other tech blogger in the UAE touch and take into their homes. For example, I once accepted the opportunity to review an early model of a VR Headset. The product was mostly made of plastic but lined with thick styrofoam around the areas that made contact with the skin. After wearing it for about three minutes, I got a headache and my eyes began to water. I took it off and was concerned that I was having some weird reaction to the virtual experience. After a few hours, I tried again and as I moved the device pass my face, I caught a whiff of cigarette smoke. The styrofoam was completely smoked out and that was the problem. Apparently, the person who had the device before me was a smoker, lived in a smoked out environment and based on the poignant smell, smoked a hundred cigarettes per day. It was the conditions of the product before reaching me that made me sick and not virtual reality, thankfully. Consequently, I have stringent rules about the types of review units I’ll accept and earphones don’t make the cut.
Sharing earphones (in-ear headphones) is not hygienic. First, using earphones isn’t great for the body. The buds cover the opening of the ear trapping moisture and warmth inside which basically creates optimum conditions for bacteria to thrive. Then, when we share them, we pass that along. Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental health at the University of Arizona also told Buzzfeed US that ‘studies have shown that earbuds cause an 11-fold increase in bacteria in the ears’ and ‘when you share headphones, you’re doubling the microbial flora in your ears and introducing new bacteria’. You can – and should – clean them regularly but I just can’t imagine those tiny sound holes coming clean.
I’m just not up for sharing earphones and I make that clear when I’m extended the opportunity to review them. I ask if the product is being given or loaned and if they’re loaned, I respectfully pass. It’s a personal choice and I stand by it, whether that makes me a ‘diva’ or not. What do you think?