Blogging has changed, not evolvedPaulina Villalpando
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Today, blogging has become a race to fame, where more money means more followers and 'likes'. It seems like blogging didn't really evolve as some of us, original bloggers (my blog was the first fashion blog in Mexico) had hoped it would. In a post-truth world, blogging has become a dangerous tool that can quickly misinterpret reality. Most of what is showed in social media is a lie - people aren't that beautiful, they don't eat healthy meals every day or visit amazing places that often. Bloggers don't have blogs anymore (what?!) and influencers (a.k.a. the new bloggers) are rated based on the amount of followers and likes they have (or can buy). Don't get me wrong - some people are legit and post real content, but 80% of what's out there is not the real deal. The problem is the entire fashion sector, and more precisely, the alternative views to fashion, are quickly losing credibility due to this.
The sad thing is, credible bloggers are sometimes faced with the challenge of keeping up. I've had long conversations with bloggers who are fundamentally against pursuing followers via Instagram loops, giveaways and contests but feel the pressure to keep up with teens who are aggressively pursuing social media recognition. I've heard horror stories about friends who lie to each other about how much social engagement they have, when in fact most of their follower base was purchased via apps and other tools.
But how on Earth did this happen? Perhaps good followers dropped out. Perhaps they got tired and focused on something else, like me. Perhaps it is a natural thing and this was the future of blogging. Perhaps brands were partially responsible? In Mexico, fashion brand managers or PRs still look out for 'famous' bloggers (fame being defined as number of followers) without checking their follower base and credentials. A blogger friend of mine once told me that in the 10 years she had been blogging and working for brands, no one had ever asked her for her CV because brands simply don't care if, as a fashion blogger, you actually know anything about fashion. But fact-checking is actually quite simple: there are apps that can estimate the number of fake followers in pretty much any social media account. And fact-checking needs to happen more often if both brands, and bloggers/influencers wish to remain credible.
In Mexico, some magazines have stopped supporting local bloggers altogether because they are disgusted by how the sector has changed. This is good and bad. By rejecting the entire blogging and influencer scene they are also legitimising fakeness in a way, rather than focusing on raising the bar and supporting those who are really working hard.
Don't get me wrong - credible bloggers (defined as the ones who have morals, and study, love and bleed fashion) are necessary for the fashion industry and were catalysers of important industry changes during the past decade. I do feel like blogging got stuck in the Kardashian scene and never truly evolved. The next few years will probably bring more changes for real bloggers, but hopefully for the better.