Already, 2010 is designated as the year of the fashion blogs, the one which won them the supreme recognition. Recently, Anna Dello Russo has repeated her support to the blogging community, praising the fresh air it was bringing to the industry. This new media has certainly filled with enthusiasm many great actors of the world of fashion, and also many anonymous people.
But the attacks are starting to burst forth.
In a recent issue of a renowned fashion magazine, a column is indignant about the financial success of some famous bloggers. The journalist quotes some of our colleagues who have created a bag for a famous label, who are working for brands or influential fashion editors. Of course, there is some truth in this article : it is a pity that bloggers would lose their integrity for profit and ambition. The announcement of Bryan Boy about his six-figure income is certainly irritating, but not only for professional journalists. All the bloggers are not famous and rich.
I think that those kind of attacks come close to bad faith, to jealousy. Are the bloggers traitors ? Sold out ?
Isn't it an hypocritical accusation from a profession which receive tons of benefits, including free samples and special discounts on clothes ? So, yes, Tavi Gevinson, for example, receives samples from designers and many blogs are posting sponsored articles, but they are just imitating their elders : sponsors are the main profit of magazines ! Everyone has to survive. According to some journalists, blogging would be okay if without earnings. But how are we supposed to live ? Blogging is mainly a job for most of us, and sometimes because of a lack of choice : we are doing it because we are not journalists yet ...
According to a poll I have seen on website Independant Fashion Bloggers, more than 80% of the polled declare blogging for a professional goal. No pleasure invoked when you worry about your future.
Now, this is true that blogging is losing speed. Is it the fault of almighty figures such as Bryan Boy, Garance Doré or Tavi Gevinson ? Or maybe are there too many blogs out there ... Indeed, each day, thousands of new accounts are created. Thousands of concepts, but always the same goal : to gain visibility as quickly as they can. But it's hard when there are too many fishes in the sea. Blogging is now as intimate as Twitter and most of the articles seems to get lost in the deafening hubbub of Internet. And what about bloggers' community, mutual aid ? The assessment is depressing. Independant Fashion Blogger has even launched a "comments challenge" to encourage contact and compliments between its members. The website even speaks of blogger's burnout.
It is a fact that blogging is not an easy work. Journalists have at least a team to rely on, and even if they don't receive feedback, they have the satisfaction to see their publication sold.
The blogger is like a novelist, alone in front of the computer, wondering if his work is good and why nobody is commenting his last article. It is an angst I am sure you know.
Sometimes, the blogger even visits other blogs and almost cries to discover some articles which seem to have been written by a six years old but have reached the 40 comments. The blogger is not extroverted, he hasn't got thousands of friends on Facebook and he has a lot of hang-ups. So, when he has the possibility to gain money and love, he goes for it. It is human.
Personally, I have chosed not to put ads on my blog, first because I find them annoying for a reader, but mainly because of my experience on a writers' website where ads have brought me 22 cents so far ... This kind of thing only works if you are Bryan WonderBoy, albeit thousands of articles told you the contrary. There are no magic words for success, just luck, as in the real world.
Unfortunately, there are some people who have nothing to do in blogging and who are literally polluting the blogosphere ( each of us can easily quote one or two without nastiness : it is just a fact that some people were not meant for blogging ) but this is mainly the fault of the magazines, which have given an excessive publicity to the process. So, thanks to them, we have too much competition, no more fraternity and besides, they are accusing us of being self-interested ! Oh well. Blogging looks like more and more to a curse and less to a blessing ...
I have been asked by young bloggers what I could advise them to do to have success. I really can't answer, I don't even consider my own experience as a success. Yes, I have more than 200 readers per day and I have been spotted by a magazine, but when I read articles on making business plans for a blog, I have quite a nervous laugh. That's silly. Until now, The Column brought me £0,00 and no job offer. But we have to stop thinking about profit : the pleasure it gives me is priceless ...
So I think that bragging about earning £50k per year, when milliards of people are unemployed and surviving, is totally indecent. And I also think that blogging is not designed to perish yet, whether the journalists like it or not. So, if I would have to give you a piece of advice, I would told you to blog for pleasure, not for profit. We have to stop being so obsessive about money. We are lured with luxury, especially in fashion blogging, but don't dream : it will never make you happy nor complete, but constantly unsatisfied.
If writing is becoming too obsessive, too mechanical, stand back and take the time to have some fresh air. Do it only as Susie Lau of Style Bubble does it, because you want to share. If it brings you money, great, if it is not, don't get mad and embittered, maybe success is waiting for you elsewhere. And, most importantly : stop trying to emulate the blogging superstars. Stay yourself and bring what journalists can't.