On Tuesday evening, I had a meeting at Vitrin in Antwerp. Because I was an hour early, I decided to go trough some magazines while waiting. One of them was the Belgian women’s magazine Feeling. Not my usual read, but it was the s/s fashion issue, so I decided to check it out. As I went over the pages, I stumbled upon a big article with “fashion blogs” as the title, in big letters. Because I previously expressed my (somewhat) dissatisfaction about the lack of features about bloggers in Dutch magazines in Belgium, my first thought was: “Finally!” But my joy quickly turned into something totally different. As I was reading the article more thoroughly, I couldn’t help but feel more astonished with every line I read. Of course I’ve read about the “journalists vs bloggers” or the “blogger bashing” phenomenon before, but I was happy that we were spared from all that drama here in Belgium. That was until now.
To be short, the article was overall offensive, disrespectful, haughty and therefore very unprofessional in my opinion. And it turned out, I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Quite upset, I posted about it on Twitter, which immediately created a huge commotion among other bloggers who were just as shocked and offended.
For those who haven’t read it, here it is (scans thanks to Kim from It-girl):
I’ve summarized some of the comments from the author and added my thoughts on each matter (since he didn’t bother to talk to or confront any bloggers with his so-called “critical research”).
“Bloggers now get front-row seats and during New York Fashion Week, 40% was reserved for digital media. I don’t have anything against that, but of the 100 blogs I had a critical look at, only a minimum turned out to be worth watching it for about one and a half mouseclick”.
I really don’t get why some journalists are whining about bloggers sitting front row at fashion shows in the first place. I’ve never heard you complain about the celebrities sitting front row, even though it’s common knowledge that they even get paid to be there! So let me make this clear: front row is reserved for the influencers of the moment. And since we’ve now entered a digital age, it’s more than normal that some places are occupied by bloggers. A lot of these people have more readers in one day than some magazines (like Feeling) have in one month. Do they all deserve to be there? That is a subjective topic I won’t discuss.
And about the only a minimum of blogs being worth the trouble: I think you’re reading the wrong ones. I know tons of blogs (among them also Belgian ones) that I check out every day because they help me stay updated on what’s happening and more importantly, inspire me. I have a whole list that keeps me busy for hours. All of these I stumbled upon during my everyday use of the internet. Google is around since 1998, it’s about time you learned how to use it.
“Bloggers are stiff narcissists.”
Where in the world did you get that ridiculous idea? It’s not because someone posts pictures of themselves online, that they’re also in love with themselves. When a blogger has a great sense of style, his/her readers want nothing less than to see what their favorite blogger wore that day. From the many style blogs I follow, almost 9/10 times people practically beg for pictures when the blogger hasn’t posted some in 2 days. So just because that doesn’t interest you, that doesn’t mean it goes for the rest of us. People want to get inspired. It’s also mostly young people that read blogs, an audience that doesn’t have the financial resources to buy what they see in editorials of printed media. They want to see outfits that are affordable and wearable.
Another thing most readers seem to love, are posts about the glamorous life of a blogger or fashion journalist. They want to see what”s going on behind the scenes, see what parties they go to, if they get to meet famous people, get amazing goodies.. So yes, there’s a lot of Me, Myself and I in those posts. But again, if that is what the crowd wants..
“Content is often an unnecessary luxury.”
True, because it’s so easy to start a blog, there are a lot of people who start one without knowing anything about fashion history, fabrics, the process of designing or the industry. But those are most of the time also the people whose blogging experience won’t last very long. They don’t realise blogging is hard work and that you really have to be passionate about fashion and the whole industry that evolves around it. And that is a learning process you have to be willing to put a lot of time and effort in. So what if I don’t add some history if I post about a trend, does that mean I don’t know what I’m talking about? Fashion is constantly changing and evolving, and so am I. I suppose you didn’t know everything about fashion right away either. Rome wasn’t built in a day…
“Bloggers are inveterate snobs.”
If I had the money, I would buy designer clothing too. What’s wrong with sharing your buys when you’ve saved for so long or worked really hard to get them? What sometimes does frustrate me, is when some bloggers lie about how they got the designer things. Don’t answer you have a student job when your readers are asking you how you’re able to ‘buy’ so many designer items. If there was a student job that would pay for one designer bag each month, I would want to know about it! Just admit you got it from the designer/brand or that you have very loveable and generous parents.
Another thing is when bloggers are losing the ground beneath their feet when they get designer items. They seem to forget where they came from and why they managed to get so many readers in the first place. There’s nothing wrong about adding designer stuff to your wardrobe, just mix and match it and don’t change your style because of it. Oh, and don’t act like buying or getting designer stuff is the most common thing in the world. For most people it is not. Don’t forget to be grateful for everything you get.. Of course, there are always some who just love to show off, but that’s more an exception than a rule so there’s no need to generelize bloggers as snobs.
“Some blogs are perfect cases for when you’re doing research on language deterioration.”
True in some cases. But everyone makes mistakes, so do I. You’re forgetting that bloggers do everything themselves, from the research to the editing of texts and photos. So don’t come and tell me you never write mistakes, otherwise you would need less staff to reread and correct the articles you handed in for publication. Plus, most of us do this next to our job or life as a student. We don’t have a whole team behind us to rely on to check if we’ve mispelled some words or don’t have the time to reread everything 3 times from a to z. It’s a whole different story when blogging is your actual job. Oh, and for the people who can’t spell a name as famous as Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld or Balenciaga I would strongly advise to get a different hobby, as in NOW!
“There’s a reason for the joke that circulates on the internet that says most blogs have the same number of readers. That’s right, only one.”
Again, I refer to those people who just aren’t passionate enough to update their blog on a regular basis. This is also partially because of the media. If I do read an article in the press about blogs, it’s mostly ends with: “want to start your won blog? You can start one with the help of the following sites: blogspot, wordpress… .” What the article doesn’t say is how much time and effort it really takes to write decent posts and gather readers. And that is a misconception a lot of beginning bloggers have. You don’t get readers just like that, you have to earn them. When they come to that realisation, they mostly let their blog die a silent death..
Does that mean all of us should be ridiculed because of that? I haven’t been on board of the blogosphere for a very long time, but during that time, I’ve met a lot of bloggers who are really passionate about what they do and really put a lot of time and effort into their blog to make it work. And it pays off. You’d be surprised how many readers they have and what their impact is on them. One of the best qualities of a blog is that it makes interaction with its readers possible. It creates sort of an online community and a strong bond between people who share the same passion. Something you can’t really measure with traditional press.
The whole article contains nothing but negative and above all subjective comments about bloggers. It seems to me that the author clearly was in a bad place when he wrote this piece (of crap). Maybe he just couldn’t get over that one bad encounter with that blogger he refers to in the article? How many bloggers did he actually meet in person to be able to generalize all their bad qualities to the whole blogospere? Or maybe it’s just the plain old green monster that popped up it’s head because brands started to pay attention to us and we somewhat invaded ‘your’ world?
Let me tell you I’m not an invader. I’m an aspiring fashion journalist/pr-pro who just wants to learn as much as possible and share my knowledge with those who share my passion. I don’t see traditional journalists as enemies nor do I want to replace traditional media. Quite the contrary, I’m one of those loyal magazine readers who buys tons of magazines each month to help support the industry and keep it alive. I think of those journalists behind my favorite fashion magazines as my mentors and I also would like to know more about them and their take on the fashion industry. I think it’s perfectly possible for bloggers and traditional journalists to work together, discover new paths and take the message we want to bring to our readers to the next level without oppressing one another.
The funniest thing about the whole situation is that some traditional journalists enjoy bashing bloggers, while they actually take the best pieces from the blog (behind the scenes, parties, streetstyle etc) and use it in their media. Or even worse, start their own blog! (Check the end of the article) #Feeling #fail
If you decide to start your own blog, you must think something must be good about blogs, right? So why don’t you talk about that in your next article on bloggers and let’s call it a truce! *Peace out!*
Note: to all journalists who do support bloggers, I ♥ you!
Special love goes out to Glam*it for their feature on Immi (Style For Guys) and the article on the blogosphere this month; Belmodo.tv for their ‘Blogs to watch’ section and ELLE for their weekly blog summary and blog of the month section.
Dear readers, feel free to comment on the article. I’ll be happy to know what you think about this whole mess!