I am undeniably a late bloomer when it comes to blogging!
Okay, I’d heard of and read a few blogs here and there during my last years of University, but at the time all this was VERY far from anything I’d ever considered for myself – even as a hobby!
I was more about getting an MBA and becoming a successful business woman, than playing dress up or posting clichés of my obsessive shoe and clothing collection.
That was back in 2009, second Master’s Degree in hand and stepping into my first day of Forensic Auditing.
Six years later, I may have changed fields, but my personal and professional ambitions have remained intact.
Okay, so right about now you’re probably thinking I’m “snobbing” the rest of the world or bragging about my life, but bear with me, there’s a serious message behind all this, blahblahblah if you’re willing to hear me through.
After a few years of privately documenting my travels from South Africa to Paris, and compiling mini food galleries and look books on Facebook, I eventually gave into my boyfriend’s nagging and started my blog in late December 2013 with absolutely NO IDEA what a fashion blog was nor how all this blogger stuff worked.
Fortunately, my IT savvy hero had it figured out, as he often surprisingly does, and the transition to “side-line-blogger” happened almost naturally.
I knew getting myself out there and appreciated by the masses for my signature “overly frank” but witty and artistic approach to fashion and life in general, would not be easy.
But ultimately, over and above the hard realities and challenges of being a blogger (keeping up with trends, engaging with a public and renewing its fidelity), the hardest part of this whole game was and is still accepting that more often than not, regardless how inventive, talented or just “goddam-good-at-it” you are, there are and will always be a million other wannabes like you, often with LITTLE to no talent, being applauded and idolized like some big shot superstars, just because!
Oops, there goes my legendary, over honest tongue – again! Lol!
With this said, as much as I encourage outfit inspiration, sharing bargain shopping deals and an occasional “selfie” on our best days , I feel most bloggers almost only exist (and subsequently rank as “cyber phenomena”) because they have “material” or “physical talent” in comparison to the average Mr and Mrs, or because they sell themselves as being the overly loving and unnaturally sweet girl or boy next door.
But what baffles me most is how the apostles go from “being inspired” to “infatuated” and basically worshipping just about anything and everything posted by this new era of “cyber champions”, literally rusting the like button – I guess either out of guilt for fear of being perceived as a “hater” in some cases, or out of pure hypocrisy, in others. Either way, it’s rather dismaying.
And seriously, what do we really know about our cyber idols?
Can a witty yet auto-congratulating caption accompanied by a perfectly taken cliché really serve as Curriculum Vitae into someone’s life?
As with our family, real life friends and acquaintances, can we objectively concur that they are all genuinely nice, talented and good or even authentic people, based on a shoefie of their 5th 800$ pair of Saint Laurent or their 100th coffee and donut fix this week?
I think it’s fabulous that for some people today blogging can be considered a serious lifestyle or career perspective, making the once “very small and elitist world” seem more accessible to the average fashionista, and even lucrative for a lucky few. But I maintain that a lot of people are doing it for A LOT of WRONG reasons and a lot of people emulating them for the WRONG reasons.
When you’re still up at 2 am fondling your smartphone screen and enviously cussing away at the content on your feed, or spending 2/3 of your day posting, liking, AND responding to every single comment and content from people you don’t even know and will probably never meet, there is CLEARLY something missing in your real life that you’re obviously getting from your virtual one.
Many bloggers consciously (or not!) feed off virtual attention and fame like their existence depends on it – pun intended!
Even more mind boggling is the ridiculous number of hours spent cultivating this “instafame”posting #F4F, #L4L or participating in the religiously popular and oh so EXCLUSIVE #SFS marathons.
Ah, the famous Shout-out for Shout-out.
Objectively speaking, the concept appears harmless, but a more critical analysis reveals just how “fame-thirsty” some of the players really are.
In a nutshell – if someone is better than YOU, and will probably gain more benefit (fame & recognition!) out of it than YOU, they are definitely not making YOUR shortlist of strategic SFS buddies. If however, they are average, or on the upside, a little more out of your league, BUT have a mouth-watering, oscar-worthy, SOLID following, sacrificing some self-love by featuring their least fabulous post in an overly glossy manner on your feed, is a relatively small price to pay in exchange for a handful of THIER faithful soldiers – especially if you consider that most of them would have otherwise probably never given you a second thought without the candy-coated bribery!
Another aspect of blogging I’ve touched on provocatively on my Instagram is the obsession around the number of Instagram followers one has versus likes per content. I’ve even seen self-proclaimed marketing data specialist rank and congratulate bloggers based on the so-called impressive growth of their follow-to-like ratio and social media popularity.
Excuse me for appearing like a sore-loser, but if you honestly look at me in 2D and make up your mind based solely on what you see or my follower and like count, then you my friend, have totally missed the point.
I’ve turned these questions inside out, six ways to Sunday and still fail to understand how it all got to this.
The struggle is real though and I honestly think in the long run, for a large majority of bloggers, it generates more frustration than satisfaction, creates more unnecessary wants than needs and breeds a generation of superficial, 2-dimensional and unconsciously self-absorbed individuals.
So, question one : am I going to be the next big thing to hit social media? Lol, probably not, especially if I continually fail to abide to its simple rules!
Question two : have I failed in my attempts at being a blogger? Lol, no, I can’t say I’ve failed, I’ve just found 10 000 ways that won’t work…for me.
So, with this mouthful said, I wish you all a fabulous 2015!
May you be enlightened, and not corrupted, amused but not abused.
May you learn to accept your flaws as perfect imperfections and refrain from spreading make belief fairy tales about a life you wish you had for a public who rarely ever truly cares, in a desperate attempt to magnify a less spectacular existence!
May you truly feel the empowerment and humility that comes from being well educated, building a career and being a real life role-model for the younger generations.
And finally, may you find refuge and solace in the power of real values and savor the sweet taste of authenticity.