Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Everybody's a F*****g Blogger
Everybody's a blogger nowadays: everyone has their own outpost (or three) in the vast plains of the cybersphere; Internet life is taking over real life and blog musings are taking over in-person conversation. My editor, Kwannam of I.T Post in Hong Kong had given me free rein on this piece, and I went on and explored the effect of this phenomenon on our fashion-world. Here's an excerpt of the piece, read the rest of the article after the jump:
Yesterday at Café Select seemed to be a typical lunch date among friends in New York City: catching up on the latest movies seen and the best new free yoga classes in town, who’s dating whom and who isn’t anymore, a rundown of the sample sales happening within the next week---we, after all, all worked in and around the fashion industry in differing capacities. But there was one more thing we seemed to have in common; interspersed between the chatter were bursts of enthusiasm in a language that would have sounded foreign merely eight years ago. “I could only imagine how many hits you got from the UK after that feature.” “How come I’m not on your blogroll? We’ve been friends for ages!” “Nicola Formichetti just tweeted at me, sooo dreamy!” It then dawned on me: everyone at the table was a blogger, or had at least some significant social media presence, be it on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook.
Read "Everybody's a Blogger" and more on I.T Post
The days of Internet life being some sort of secret, second life are gone. We spend majority of our time awake online; whether it be on our computers at work, on our smart phones, or on a laptop at home. Online life has been seamlessly integrated into our real lives, and blogging about new purchases or a favorite new band, or a new source of artistic inspiration has become just as good as talking about it in person. I do, however, sometimes find myself at a loss of things to talk about when in the company of friends who’ve read what I said on everything that interests me. It’s as if the blog has taken the place of my precious, precious company.
Now that the blogosphere has become so cluttered, suddenly people are finding it okay to bear a little more of their soul online. If a few years ago, fashion bloggers obscured their faces for fear of being hunted down by clothes-nappers or for being shamed at work for writing about clothes online, people are now Twit Pic-ing their daily outfits, tweeting about what they had for dinner, using Facebook to check into the bar they decided to ravage that night and to tag which friends they brought along with them. Everything is up on the net---all for the world to see, and for whatever reason, it’s all okay. It’s as if today’s creators and consumers of social media feel a sense of safety in numbers; “If so many people are doing it now, I don’t feel so exposed.”
Blogging is changing fashion at broadband speed, and it is changing the lives of the people in the industry just as rapidly. Street style blogs such as Jak and Jil and The Sartorialist have quickly created celebrities out of the once mysterious, elusive editors; it was only very recently that Anna dello Russo and Nickerson Wooster had become household names. The media could not gush enough about how many bloggers who had started by taking digital camera photos in front of their mirrors are now sitting front-row at Fashion Week. The fast-growing nature of the Internet has made it possible to create celebrities out of small-town sit-in-front-of-the-computer-all-day fashion nerds.
Blogs, now more freely used by many, have now become popular tools for career advancement and not just pedestals for the middle-of-nowhere misfit to realize delusions of grandeur. Professionals in the creative industries are using their social media presence as sort of an informal portfolio for themselves. Advertising copywriters keep their tweets witty and well-written in hopes that a brand (or a competing agency) would take note and possibly seek them out. Stylists blog behind-the-scenes coverage at shoots that they work on, allowing fans a peek into how their creative story develops. Even for those whose line of work wouldn’t have the most defined, visual portfolio, say, those who work in fashion PR, or in the business side of advertising, social media becomes a makeshift creative showcase for these half-right-brained, half-left-brained mavens. Those not very verbose maintain Tumblr accounts where they collect reblogged photos or videos that inspire them, displaying their personal aesthetic and their creative aspirations. Blogs have become indicators of taste---exhibiting whether or not these people have a good eye for style and design.
Blogging has effectively changed the bigger picture, the industry, as much as it has changed the lives of the people in it. It ‘s barely about the battle of blogs vs. magazines anymore; relative neophyte bloggers and old, established publishing houses are now finding inventive ways of working together. Bloggers are guest-writing articles in the online glossies, and the magazines are casting them as models in special editorials. Bloggers write about scanned magazine clippings that inspire them, while the bigwigs offer them jobs as correspondents or even editors, as Susannah Lau of Style Bubble had once been hired Commissioning Editor at Dazed and Confused. This isn’t to say the tension between the old and the new media has dissipated to silence; a major magazine closes up shop every month or two, while blog traffic seems to grow exponentially. But with the way bloggers and magazines and are constantly affecting each other and causing one another to evolve, we might have possibly reached a point of constructive, creative tension.
Everyone’s a blogger today. Everybody wants a slice of that social media pie---the feeling of having a personal outpost in the vast plains of the Internet, the sense of connection to a community of creatives, the whisper of a promise of fame. Those with the gumption to have bought their stakes early, putting up a blog four- or five-something years ago, may be reaping the benefits of their foresight now, but blogs, fashion blogs in particular, come and go like designer-collaboration dresses at a high street store. Only time will tell whether or not today’s bloggers will continue to be the media churning supermachines that they are now, and knowing how quickly Internet time flies, it’ll be high time to check in on them in about half a year. Or at least until the next lunch date between a group of fashion-crazed friends.