Beards, listicles, juicing and blogs – just a few of the things we hit peak of in 2014.
With so many of us choosing to share our emotions, style ideas, fashion buys and diet advice through the likes of WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger, what exactly does the future of the blogosphere hold?
I, like many of my friends who studied journalism at Kingston University, had to maintain a blog as part of my course. I actually had two, one on films (erm WTF?) which was graded as part of a news module, and a second one on the trials and tribulations of keeping healthy and losing weight before my much anticipated post-university trip to Magaluf. In fact, you can still read that gem here (just maybe don’t if you reeaaaaally hate typos, because it’s absolutely swimming in them.)
Back then, back in 2009, blogs were new and unknown, they were by no means a way to make an income or become a popular figure in society and honestly I didn’t think much of them. I quite liked writing them, because I’ve always quite liked writing, but I never stuck at them, never made them my passion, never made them a proper hobby. In fact, I think it’s fair to say my infatuation with blogging was pretty much the same as dieting. I’d stick at it for a week and then OHMYGODAMCDONALDS and everything would be forgotten and i’d give up for another few months.
When I bought this domain name in 2012, it was a way to place myself as a freelance journalist on the map. It wasn’t to blog regularly, more a place to display my portfolio, add my contact details to the world and hope and pray that people would Google ‘freelance journalist’ and find me.
Naturally, I didn’t write much. Just a few posts about vintage clothes and feeling really, really sad about being an unemployed graduate and being extra, extra sad because my Dad had been diagnosed with cancer (for all blog newcomers, he made a full recovery – i’d say my homemade lamb stew and dumplings were definitely the reason).
Maybe I’d have stuck at it more if it hadn’t been for the fact I got my dream job at LOOK, because what’s the point about writing about fashion and beauty and life on your blog when you can write about it ON LOOK’S WEBSITE. Am I right, Am I right?
That was an amateur mistake for me. Really amateur. Writing for a publication means (or at least it meant three years ago) that everything is very search-based, written from a really positive and safe point of view, and, well a bit dry. It doesn’t make an impact, it isn’t shareable and it’s all a bit vanilla. A lot of it is also about churning out quick content because online teams are small – and so lengthy things taht need research or glossy pictures were neglected.
It’s only recently that companies have started to see how well being relatable and fun and honest does for traffic and have thought about jumping on the bandwaon.
I dedicated myself to my job, in writing and producing content for LOOK.co.uk without really thinking about my blog or the sort of writing I enjoyed most – the sort of writing I now write all day err’day for my blog.
I, like many journalists, thought blogging was a phase, bloggers would die off and that would be that, all power would go back into our hands. That was naive, insulting and just really, really stupid.
I’ve seen a lot of posts about how blogging is set to get even bigger for 2015, with more and more people setting up their own, and the same posts have also addressed the fact that more and more blogs will focus on being honest and relatable. The new blogs that grow fastest won’t be those that show photoshopped, edited, designer style snaps or make-up how-tos, because let’s face it, those areas have been covered aplenty in the blogosphere – and the clear winners are already pretty bloody obvious, it’ll be the ones which focus on writing, on getting inside the minds of the readers without being patronising.
I hope that’s me.
When I was taken on by Handpicked Media and was first toying with the idea of going full-time (and leaving London, because there’s no way, even now, I could afford to do this with a London rent to pay – not yet, anyway), I was told that the blogging community was as saturated as the acting one, and that’s true. So true.
You can’t start a blog today just because you want to be a blogger, because you want to be the next Zoella or The Glam And Glitter or Ella Catliff or whoever it is you use as your muse, you have to do it because you enjoy it.
There are far too many blogs in the world doing the same thing for people to pay interest, to come back for more, to share, to encourage others to read, to make it a success in commercial terms. Your blog has to be for you.
So, by all accounts, continue to write, continue to share your brain to the world, but don’t do it because you hope it’ll lift off and transport you to a whole new, glamorous life because a) it’s not as glamorous as it looks, because blogging, just like social media can be very manipulated to look a certain way and b) that’s like turning up in Hollywood being like I’D LIKE AN ACTING JOB PLEASE, KIND SIR.
Blogging is fantastic because it is a place you can clear your brain and put down all your confused words in writing, in a way which you can’t do on Twitter or Facebook without being labelled an attention seeker. It is more helpful than a diary because you get feedback, support and attention and for that, it is one of the most brilliant creations of the internet age, or at least it is for me.
But, if your passion does lie in writing or photography or fashion or beauty, don’t just rely on a blog to reach your full potential. Study it, dream it and get a job in it, because, if nothing else, the experience will shine through on your blog and make you stand out from the hundreds of thousands of otherwannabe professional bloggers.
So yeah, go tackle the blogging world, but don’t do it just because you want free lipstick and socks. (Although it’s OK if secretly deep down that is one of the reasons – just make sure it’s not the only one).