People are so quick to accuse bloggers of throwing shade (which is unsurprising really, after-all I’ve sadly seen a lot of subtle digs on my Twitter feed this week), but I want to assure you that this post isn’t of that nature. I am here to merely pose a question, and at times, play devils advocate. So let’s go in on this subject…..
I’ve had this blog space for almost 8 years. I obviously knew that blogs were starting to be a thing back in 2008, but it wasn’t the vast, potentially money making career it can be for people now.
Here is the contents of my first ever blog….
‘I begin this first blog with hazy eyes in part due to ghastly
seasonal hayfever and also due to the fact my last few nights have only
had intermittant sessions of rest. Changing sleeping positions, watching
old Ally Mcbeals and Sex in the Citys, opening my bedroom window,
closing my bedroom window and then resorting to going downstairs and
going online, hoping that the glaring computer screen will tire my eyes
so they have no choice but to close. This sequence of action is occuring
so frequently I am stirred to find a resolve.
an outlet for my thoughts and ideas has become a necessity to be able to
continue to function as a human being. The nights are spent awake ,
words and images floating around my head with an all engrossing fear of
losing them forever once I lose consciousness . The regret that the
misplaced thoughts will never return and that it could have been one to
make a difference is pure torture.
I had diaries for many years to
vent any personal struggles and scribble with frustrated gusto until I
almost ripped the pages with the pen nib. Having something tangible like
a diary , left an underlying anxiety that someday an unsolicted person
would read the contents…. I cannot bring myself to destroy them
though , I do wonder what will become of them in the future and whether
they will ever be read again…’
I’m not sure I was aware of any bloggers back then, there definitely weren’t any that I or my classmates new of from a fame point of view. A few of my friends and I were just intrigued by this opportunity to have a diary online – a place to vent or document our days. Very little attention was given to aesthetic, I think the most we managed was changing the font. I remember cooing when I saw that someone had managed to create a ‘fancy’ header. It was simpler times.
I don’t remember concerning myself with view counts or analytics. Facebook hadn’t been around that long at that point so we didn’t know how to utilize it in the way we do now. Bloggers now know to share posts on all of their social media outlets, and the most effective techniques to do so on each indivual portal. Like I said, I didn’t care how many people read it, some personal posts I probably preferred were kept under the radar.
There was something raw about the few posts I read back then. Straight from the heart and often uncensored to the point you winced, cried or cringed. If they were blogs about fashion and beauty, you knew for sure positive reviews were truthful and authentic, and the angles from which they were written were unique and unspoilt. With sponsored posts so prevalent, and many bloggers still refusing to be transparent about it, it’s hard to believe what you read/watch these days.
There are also so many blogger tags, and posts that have become the norm, that the world of blogging can sometimes feel a bit repetitive. This is why it is even more important to find your unique style and voice as a blogger in 2015…..I’m sure even the theme of this post will have been on many blogs this week, seeing as I was spurred to write it having seen numerous conversations on Twitter alluding to the issues I am discussing.
In the last couple of years in particular there has been a notable advancement in blogging (I say advancement, it depends how you look at it). With use of websites like Pipdig, and with bloggers using their earnings to hire accomplished website designers, the space they own on this internet has become thoroughly groomed, and so polished it rivals, if not betters, our big fashion glossies. The thing we have to remember is that these people aren’t just building a site, they’re creating and maintaining a brand. With bloggers creating opportunities where they can become authors, designers, presenters and chefs, the blog has to be a clear representation of what they have to offer.
I believe it is innate in all ambitious people to improve and evolve, so it makes sense that bloggers try and make the aesthetic of the blog sleeker, more user friendly, more professional. We should not be negative about those trying to do so, as it shows drive and their desire to be better – a quality which should be applauded (if they remain kind, of course). There is something so pleasing about coming across a well thought out, clear, and visually proficient blog too. However, I do want to pose these questions to you…..Does their blog feel less intimate or welcoming? Does it feel so professional it lacks warmth? Are some falling into the trap of style over content?
People like InTheFrow, who clearly work their socks off and put so much effort into their posts, are getting the balance right. Victoria writes beautifully about beauty, fashion and travel, but she isn’t afraid to tackle trickier issues either. The key factor is that we still see her, the real her – opinions, quirks and all. Despite the extreme sharpness of her site, we still get the personal touch because her personality still manages to shine through.
We’ve had street style photographers at LFW for a long time now, but the last couple seasons I’ve seen them utilized more frequently by bloggers as personal photographers used to document their outfits througout the dizzying week. It’s a beneficial partnership for both parties, with bloggers having amazing outfit shots for their sites and social media, and the photographer spreading their talent and name by being credited in the instas/posts – encouraging future work and building an impressive portfolio. I’m all for creatives helping other creatives….
My blog photo’s are limited in part to my location, lack of good backdrops, ill health and lack of funds. Most of mine are taken in my garden, with myself standing in front of a green backdrop of connifer trees. I don’t have anyone local to take pictures, so I set up the tripod and link to an app on my phone so I can take the pictures by pressing a button from where I’m standing. They are very basic, and slightly awkward as I have no photographer telling me to change my pose or relax my face, or that my nips showing etc. Sometimes my mum tries to help, but because of her bi-focals she says she’s unable to tell if the photo’s in focus! I will admit to feeling extremely envious of those in the position (lots of followers, or photograper friends) or with a budget that allows then to pay someone to deliver the photographic goods. There’s no denying that good quality photography can transform a blog.
Then I ask myself do I really want someone else to do it? I think bloggers can tend to have an element of the control freak within them. Some of us started a blog because we wanted an outlet that was all our own, where we made the rules, and that we were at the helm of. I also like that fact that if someone compliments a post, a picture, or a video featured, that I can fully embrace that positive feedback. I always wonder whether I’d feel as chuffed about a nice reaction if it wasn’t me who’d filmed or edited the video or taken the photos. But maybe I need to chill out and accept help, as this is something I struggle with in all areas of my life, being fiercly independant, and not wanting to rely on others….I digress.
Another way of thinking is that we could applaud those that delagate work so well. It’s not easy to find people who stick to deadlines and deliver work that matches up with your own vision. That takes hard work and skill too, doesn’t it? Art/Photo Direction is also a legitimate role remember!
I can’t help but recall my time working at Alexander McQueen when I think of this particular issue. There was a room full of print and embroidery desigers, as well as all the incredibly skilled seamstresses, all working very long hours (for very little if not any money). We were anonymous, and never got credit for the designs we created that ended up being worn by A list celebrities and on the catwalks in Paris. This is the norm within that area of fashion though, and in many large industries.
Maybe if everyone looked at blogging as a proper career/industry (which they should by now) they would be happier to accept that bloggers outsource. I guess the main point is that people want to be aware of what work is actually there’s…..perhaps this proves we still have a way to go when it comes to being accepted. No one would ask Stella McCartney to get out a drawing of a print featured one of her best selling dresses to prove she made it.
Before I ramble on further, like everything, I think it’s about finding a balance. Of course we feel we have to keep up to an extent or we’ll get left behind. However we shouldn’t feel we need to embrace all changes, not straight away anyway. Perhaps seeing if we can find alternative ways to keep up with the blogging Jones’, while maintaining our personal style and flair, is the way to go.
I know for sure that I don’t want all the blogs I read to look and feel the same. So I guess what I’m saying, in the least succint manner ever, is that if we’re going to scrub up our blogs to achieve glossy level, we ensure our individuality remains. I don’t know which route my blog will go down, but I sincerely hope it will always scream my name!
What are your thoughts on the above issues, I’d love to hear from you!
Lots of Love x