A few thoughts running through my head…
You can’t have missed the conversation of the last few weeks around blogging, old media, commercialised peacocking, and so on. There have been heaps of articles, counter-articles and blog posts bemoaning the state of the bloggersphere. Last week I sat on a panel that unpicked the current influencer marketing landscape and listened to fellow bloggers talk about how they do or don’t get paid to endorse or review products. And one beauty blogger pointed out that it would be difficult to do her job (blogging and Youtubing) if she didn’t get sent product samples to test.
Then I read this post from Out of the Bag that made me nostalgic. It’s funny because just a week or so ago, I was looking at my Safari bookmarks which haven’t changed for about eight years (I don’t really use Safari much). And I was wondering what had become of my favourite bloggers from yesteryear; Mrs Fashion, Alex Richards, Dilemma Knows Fashion, Style…A Work in Progress, Le Portillon. We all used to comment on each others posts religiously, even though we didn’t know each other and in hindsight, didn’t even have much in common apart from an interest in fashion.
Fashion blogging was a different beast entirely then, much more a conversation around our relationship to style than mainstream trends or shopping. We didn’t really put pictures of ourselves up and outfit posts were kept to a minimum. The difference was that it wasn’t an industry then, so there was no ulterior motive of trying to attract the attention of brands or advertisers. We certainly weren’t courted by PRs. All this meant we had complete freedom of what we blogged about; it was truly a labour of love. And I think this is what I miss about blogging.
For beauty bloggers it may have been a bit different, but even then, they too started from a place of pure passion. Slowly, the bloggersphere has changed to become a place driven by brands, SEO and commercial considerations. Beauty bloggers expect to get sent samples otherwise they ‘can’t do their jobs’. Which I always find hard to understand! There are so many other beauty-related subjects to write about that don’t involve product, why not write about them? Fashion-wise I have never needed new product to write about. I think it’s nicer to tell stories about your style or taste and in fact I prefer not to be sent stuff. The problem with working with PRs and brands is that everyone gets sent the same samples in accordance with the same timelines and, well, isn’t that what magazines are for?
So I feel like a sea change is in the air. And it coincides with a New York Times interview I read with Carmen Busquets, the entrepreneur who was one of Net-a-Porter’s early backers and who continues to support emerging businesses. Busquets says, “it is vital — vital — that one reinvents oneself every 10 years,” which struck a chord with me. Next year I will have been blogging for ten years and I don’t necessarily want to stop. But I do want to change and reconnect with that personal, narrative feel. It won’t happen overnight because I do like working with a few brands, but it’s something to start thinking about.
I think blogging is ready to return to its roots, to a slower, meaningful place where it’s not all about narcissism and buying the trendynewttthingrightthissecond. Time to blog like no-one’s watching…
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here