Warning: Longread and no pictures
Fashion blogging is pretty saturated, this is what we read these days. But I will not dwell on it today.
I am instead compelled to streamline my thoughts on the changing environment of the fashion and lifestyle blogging world.
I read a few posts (by Indian bloggers) which talk about how most new bloggers are generic with no distinct taste and style. This made me think on this whole issue of changes that fashion blogging has seen recently and how unfair it is to judge new bloggers in the block for getting the blogging wrong.
Well, I have been an avid blog follower and reader since 2009-2010. I always believed that one thing that made blog -a blog – was the freedom to own it and use it as your creative space. And creative abilities my differ from person to person. NONE of those blogs were anyway meant for making money because, simply put, there was no market AVAILABLE for the blogs.
Back then, those hobbyist bloggers were lucky enough to get a loyal audience who connected with them at a commoner level unlike today when most of them hold celebrity status. Times were simpler and because money was not part of the game, content was more organic and relevant than what it is now. These blogs either owned by bored housewife in the USA, Indian students studying abroad, or Indian wives exploring the world of Make-up were still interesting because it was providing us (the audience) an opportunity to be part of someone else’s life, who appeared to be not any different than us only that they owned a blog and we did not. There was this unique, genuine, powerful connection which later, went on to become the key to success for bloggers in today’s time.
Once the market was established for all those blogs that were connecting to the bigger audiences, there was no looking back. These blogs that started out as a past-time hobby survived all this evolution in the blogging world because they as well evolved with time. And it is only natural that when a certain company sends out a certain product to thousands of those bloggers, the organic content will not be as organic anymore. I mean there is only one way to describe the ingredients in the product right? Also there is a limit to how creative you can get to describe how lush those products are or how beautiful the watch is etc etc…
Interestingly, with the changing norms of fashion blogging, audience also evolved and developed the hunger for utmost vouyeristic consumerism, plethora of products , glam and gloss of the new monster called-Instagram.
“Instagram is to blog what Junk food is to haute cuisine”- Phashionbug
I fear that gone are the days when you would have your fan following because people read your blog and connect with you at some level. The aspiring bloggers have no choice but to be out in -almost a lost battle because numbers (of subscription/followers/ collabs) already tag you as successful or not without providing enough ground to the new blogs to establish themselves. So if aspiring bloggers are seeking advice to these old-time bloggers on “How do I start blogging?”, “Any tips on how to increase my numbers?”, “How do I get brands to collaborate with me?”, one must not judge them. This generation of bloggers only know blogging to be about numbers and followers. This is the example that has been set by the old-time bloggers. Followers and collabs are flattering to anyone and everyone and if the newbies are aiming for it, WHY NOT?
It is the “successful” bloggers that have changed the rules of blogging. If you visit any of these bloggers’ Instagram (I have not explored the snapchat world yet, but anyway), you will most likely see pictures of food at some restaurant, slippers that they wear to go to bathroom, pajamas that they sleep on, bag that they use as carry on, makeup that they recently tried, places that they visited past week ….this is nothing but feeding our voyeuristic cravings which are what they are. Also, Instagram runs by the rule of post or perish so of course people are posting every darn thing they can get picture of. I follow many of these bloggers myself and I have no time to read “good content” because easiest interaction in the shortest time I can have is to glance through pics and press “like” here and there.
So if you complain about not having much good content in the blogosphere anymore, it is probably because there is not a big market for it.
The main idea behind blogging is to interact with others, to have an audience and that is what sets it apart from a personal diary. The only challenge is to reach the new audience, which is NOT as easy as it was during the inital boom of blog culture given the readers short attention span, addiction to be fed by instaposts of a few select bloggers at a time- and all this gives more power to the number game. Also, the concept of “interaction” has changed over the time. For most of the “successful” bloggers , BTW “numbers” make them successful, if it is not clear already :-) having followers simply means fan following, most interaction is infact done with brands. You have seen them grow to become the stars of your blogging world and they are now celebrity to you. You feel thrilled to be part of their buisnesses. You are proud of them for what they have achieved, you were with them in their humble beginnings and you now see them becoming stars on their own. It is inevitable to not get influenced by such success stories. They become your inspiration and that is why you ask questions like “How do I start blogging?”, “Any tips on how to increase my numbers?”, “How do I get brands to collaborate with me?”, simply because you want to follow footsteps of all those you look upto.
However, while all this is still happening, concept of blogging is also starting to lose its true meaning to the game of numbers and blogging “business”. Top bloggers have followers for a reason, it must be something they are providing to their audience, that makes other people follow them. They are indeed feeding our voyeuristic cravings.
But that should not give anyone the reason to question the upsurge of more and more blogs in the webspace. Fashion blogging has not changed- it is still about running a blog for the love of fashion, what has changed is – people who ran blogs a few years ago, are now running businesses. So in my opinion, it is wrong to judge the new bloggers for not being able to provide for distinct flavor or be unique because guess what? It doesn’t matter and why? because there is a difference between humble and genuine blog and big blogging businesses. We must understand that not every blogger wants to become a buiness blogger (or even have the talent or ability to do that). May be some bloggers are keeping their blog just that – a BLOG- a space to interact, share and talk about things that they love.
We must understand that because there are buisness bloggers out there, thanks to the blog culture that started years ago, new bloggers should not be discouraged to pave their own path to whatever goals they may have.