These are the words of none other than troll-baiter herself Katie Hopkins. After a stint in the Big Brother house showing a slightly kinder and more relatable side, within two minutes of stepping outside of the house boundaries she’d returned to her former snake-tongued self. Katie was recently on a panel alongside two bloggers and a journalist, discussing the growth of the bloggersphere and whether or not our generation is unrealistic in their expectations of fame and fortune. Can blogging really be a serious career, or are we all vacuous and delusional lipstick lovers that should just zip it and get a ‘real’ job? Nothing frustrates me more than the perception that blogging can never be a serious career move, that this new generation of influencers and businesswomen is just blagging their way through until the bubble has burst. The world is changing and it’s about time people outside our bloggersphere stood up and took notice.
Blogging Is Harder Than You Think
It’s painfully inaccurate to assume blogging takes only an hour of the day, while the remainder is spent flouncing about drinking champagne or sitting at home watching daytime television. I work harder now than I ever did in an office, because if I’m not continually striving to grow my site and snap up collaboration opportunities, I simply can’t pay my bills. As a one-man-band you have to write the content, take and edit the pictures, promote yourself, run the accounts and attend meetings in-between. We’re not all teenagers making videos from our bedrooms about our new favourite lipstick (although there’s nothing wrong with that,) in the same way that not every wannabee singer queues up to audition for The X Factor. The vast majority of us started our sites as an evening hobby alongside studying or a full time job, which takes passion and dedication.
The Skill Sets Involved Are Immense
As a graduate I learned a lot about branding and marketing over a number of years, building upon my four year degree and A Levels in the subject. Although I absorbed more information than I could ever have imagined during this period of my life, I feel like I’ve learned so much more in the last five years of running a blog. Not only does your own website promote self discipline, but you have to become an expert in social media, photography, coding, SEO and PR – for many young men and women these skill sets will make them more rounded and employable individuals for years to come, especially in an economic climate that’s harder to get a job than ever before. Why should being self-taught or a well rounded individual be looked down upon, just because we happen to like fashion or makeup? It’s patronising and downright wrong.
We’re The New Breed Of Journalists
Journalism and the media is changing. Circulations of magazines have never been lower, the staff levels on publications have never been more scaled-back and advertising has never been so hard to secure. Consumers are moving away from traditional forms of press and towards the internet; blogs have seen a surge in popularity thanks to their relatability, relevance, independence and responsiveness. The result of all of this is the need for ignorant voices such as Hopkins’ to be educated as to the way of the world in 2015; some of these ‘nonsense’ bloggers receive more readers a month than the top five women’s glossy magazines combined. I know I get more hits a month than Grazia sells copies, so it’s about time we were respected in the same way traditional journalists have been for years – if they can make a career writing about makeup, why can’t we?
A Whole Demographic Is Ignored
So many of the debates, articles and discussions around blogging are focused on the pretty 20-somethings that sport designer handbags, are funded by the ‘bank of mum and dad’ and seemingly have the perfect lives. As a 32-year old woman who spent years in the beauty industry before embarking on this blog journey, it’s frustrating to be tarred with the same brush and assumed to be of limited value because of it. So many bloggers are older, wiser, come from fascinating backgrounds and can offer up invaluable pieces of advice on a daily basis. Even those ‘vacuous’ teenagers have more to say than most given them credit for – whether it’s about treating acne, dressing on a budget or how to get Rihanna’s look. The issue for me is a much wider one than the bloggersphere, being more of a feminist concern about how anyone with an interest in makeup has smaller value than someone fascinated with politics.
Brands Understand Our Value
If there’s one way of identifying the value of the bloggersphere, it’s that brands are falling over themselves to work with us. They understand that we’re influencers, that our readers listen to us and make purchases based on our recommendations, and that they can reach a specific demographic far more easily than by chucking up some banner ads on the Yahoo homepage. If we were all silly little girls with nothing of value to say, then we wouldn’t be able to make a penny from our sites – let alone turn it into a career. If the millions of sites and YouTube channels were really such nonsense, then we’d be chatting away to void filled only with our mums. Yes I can ramble on about eyeshadow and nail polish as the next girl, but I’ve used my platform to discuss everything from mental health to cervical smear tests and the progression of social media. I have a voice and I’m not afraid to use it; not even Ms Hopkins can scare me into submission.
What do you think about Katie Hopkins’ sweeping statement? How do you feel about the bloggersphere and the way the internet has changed the way we consume information?
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