What is a blogger? Part I
The blogosphere changes fiercely every day. Forget every year, forget every month- the internet can be a wild and unruly beast meaning that as there are no hard and fast rules those that care to do so can create something quite literally out of nothing.
When I started blogging in early 2007 it was seen as a past time, not a profession and certainly not journalism. Akin to an online diary, when I told people I had a blog a common reaction was, ‘Is that like Myspace?’ My how times have changed.
Not long after I rode the wave of bloggers making money from content and advertising and with it the tide of backlash. Self-publishing is a form of freedom from editorial comment and the push pull between whether what you were blogging about for money could be true independent opinion incited fierce debate across the blogosphere and beyond. But bloggers aren’t journalists, and aren’t bound by a code of ethics right?
Rather they answer to their readers. Sometimes collectives form like Independent Fashion Bloggers in the US, and then there are blogging networks like Now Manifest, Nuff Nang and recently arrived on our shores FELLT. But I’m ahead of myself.
People often and originally turned to blogs to read content that was not published anywhere else. What would never make the pages of print media, fashion magazines or television started to spout on platforms provided for free by WordPress and Blogger. A revolution in dissemination of ideas and debate, blogging has changed the way that people seek information on their chosen topic. Bloggers became king opinion makers, lauded front row at fashion week, flown around the world almost like a novelty sideshow. What would Brian Boy turn up wearing in Milan next?
What I don’t think was really predicted was the way that blogging would enter the mainstream en masse and how it would change the broader landscape of fashion publishing in Australia.
I can recall turning up to media calls years ago being the only blogger invited to sit along side fashion editors and largely ignored, at that. Fast forward to 2012 and I now attend events thrown exclusively for fashion bloggers. We’re everywhere it seems and so another backlash can be felt in over exposure.
Culturally Australians like an underdog and someone who has paid their dues. Not someone who has had visible (read: media attention) success in a short space of time. Who are they? Who do they think they are coming out of nowhere?
Enter FELLT into the Australian blogging and self-publishing landscape. Based on a similar principal to Now Manifesto in the US it is a closed network of only 8 of Australia’s top tier fashion bloggers.
Referring to themselves as ‘high quality fashion journalism’ and ‘Oceania’s most competent, most engaging and most popular writers,’ today on Twitter a storm in a teacup erupted over the use of these terms in reference to the fact that none of the bloggers involved are actually journalists.
But why are we in a spin? Is it because this is a club that no one can join? Is it because if you are deemed good enough, stylish enough nay thin enough you will be chosen to join otherwise you simply look on from the sidelines?
Disregarding the actual writing on these blogs for a moment, the common theme that ties these blogs together is that they are run by young, thin and uber stylish women. Some have been blogging a couple of years, some are much newer to the blogging game. This network is also exclusive and not open to anyone to join.
It’s being referred to as a ‘game changer’ for the Australian fashion blogosphere but I think that’s a bit overblown and we’re still all gawking at the fact that we weren’t invited to the party.
Are we jealous perhaps that these women who self publish amazing content are having a semblance of success? And is that a broader symptom of how we react to success here in Australia?
For my part I can’t see it ‘changing’ the game because the game would change with or without FELLT. That’s the beauty of self-publishing and all it entails- anyone can start a blog and you never know where your readership will take you.
I also think it was remiss to use a description of ‘journalism’ but I also think that it’s nitpicking to tweet over semantics. I’m a trained journalist and work as a freelance writer but it is only in that instance that I refer to myself as such. Otherwise I am a self-publisher and blogger. I understand from my training that there is a world of difference between journalist and blogger, and that it is important to know the difference between the two.
So what makes a blogger? In part two I’ll discuss this along with the difference between journalism, self-publishing and making money from blogging.
Fashion Blogs making Little Miss a Hit on News.com.au
You be the Judge: Are Bloggers Journalists? on Forbes.com
Australian bloggers are younger, wealthier and more popular guest post by Jacki James on Stylingyou.com