Twenty-Fifteen is undoubtedly going to be the year of the blogger. Evolution over the last twelve months has laid the groundwork for a breakthrough year, turning blogs and bloggers from the ‘celebrities you’ve never heard of’ into mainstream household names. If it isn’t The Independent discussing the evolving bloggersphere and those sitting snuggly at the top, GQ naming a male vlogger as one of their best dressed, or Cosmo and Company celebrating the style of their favourites, it’s Stylist discussing the ‘rise of the superblogger’ and The Guardian dissecting the growth of quality sites that have real value within the mainstream. However, there’s a clear trend and focus of questions within all of these articles and it’s not doing anything for the long-term credibility of the blogging community. Why is the mainstream media just so ruddy obsessed with the finances of these hot young things and so focused on how much money they make?
There’s no doubt having a successful blog and/or vlog can be incredibly lucrative. Nearly five years after I wrote my first post this site makes up about 50% of my annual income – something I never thought I’d be able to say. I’ve nurtured and grown a site I’m proud of and that I treat like my baby, so it’s amazing to be able to turn that into an income stream to support my ever growing wardrobe. (I jest.) Similarly, bloggers and vloggers covering all lengths of the spectrum have been able to turn a love of writing, photography, makeup or filming themselves doing goofy things into something more, thanks to their expansive audience and incredible influence. Every time I hear about an article in a huge publication known for excellent journalism or innovative angles, I can’t wait to get my hands on it with a cup of coffee and a rather large selection of biscuits. However, after the first three words it becomes abundantly clear that the media’s obsession with our growing community isn’t focused on the freshness we bring or how we’re changing the landscape of media consumption, but how you can ‘make a fortune from your bedroom.’
It’s incredibly frustrating to see this obsession evolve almost uncontrollably, positioning the blogging and vlogging community as one that’s practically hemorrhaging money. Although it’s slightly easier than it was a couple of years ago to turn a blog into a serious source of income that can compete with a nine-to-five, it’s still out of reach for the majority; your ability to ‘sell’ yourself or space within your network depends on your ability to reach those that matter in high enough numbers. Inevitably, that’s harder than getting through to X Factor bootcamp. The media, in my opinion, is acting incredibly irresponsibly by showcasing these successful bloggers and holding up a sign saying ‘you too can make a fortune by talking nonsense on the internet.’ It’s simply not true and it’s creating an abundance of teens that truly believe they can be the next Zoella.
The blogging community has so much to be proud of – from creating something from nothing, building an audience of like-minded individuals, showcasing talent, expressing opinion and effectively running a business as a one-man-band. It’s such a shame that the press chooses to celebrate not these incredible talents and ability of young men and women to commit to an idea, but to focus on their ever-bulging bank accounts. Although I’m hugely proud of everything our community manages to collectively achieve and how it allows everyone to build a space that’s their own (and should be immensely proud of, regardless of size,) the blogging bubble will inevitably burst at some point in the future as the world moves onto the next big thing. I fear this will leave a huge number of young bloggers with no skill-set or experience other than how to do a smokey eye in less than three minutes, because the press have told them it’s the magic way to make a fortune.
I really hope to see future articles focus more on the way blogging is changing the way we consume information, that it opens up expertise and knowledge like never before, challenges traditional advertising and shows that anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it. Maintaining a blog employs dedication, commitment, passion, enthusiasm, skill and knowledge – it’s just a shame all the mainstream media seem to see is pound signs. What do you think about the way in which bloggers are perceived in newspapers and magazines?
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